Picking out paint colors for your home’s interior can be both an exciting and daunting project. For the most part, opinion on color can be subjective, but to truly understand how and why we feel the way we do about certain hues can be narrowed down to color psychology. Although our individual opinions on color can be subjective, there is a science behind how and why we feel the way we do when we view certain colors.
The mind can be easily influenced by outside opinions on what is “trendy” and what isn’t. Where do we even begin to pick out colors for our home when what’s “in” right now can be “out” tomorrow? We encourage each homeowner to take a moment to understand the psychology behind color, how it plays a role in each room, and how you want to feel in the space you inhabit.
Different shades and hues can provoke anger, tranquility, energy, and so many emotions within us without us even noticing. When you look around your home ask yourself, “How do I want my home to feel?” Think of this as the big picture, and then you can narrow down to individuality. Do you want your home to feel peaceful or restful? Do you want your home to excite and draw attention? These are moods you can create by choosing specific color palettes.
Another key factor is the shade of a color. Choosing something bright and light can make a room appear larger. Alternatively, choosing dark shades can make a room feel smaller and more closed in. If your natural instinct is to choose dark, bold colors, but that doesn’t necessarily work with the space you are given- consider bringing these tones into the room in accent pieces such as throw pillows or rugs.
Red is the most intense color within the ROYGBIV scale. Red increases energy levels and provokes conversation. This makes it a great option for inviting spaces such as the dining room, living room, or even entryway. Burgundy, brick-tone reds add in a neutral undertone to the room which can bring down the intensity of a bright, crimson red, and calm and lift the spirits. Our favorite red: Fruitful Orchard 0101 from Miller Paint
Yellow is cheery and happy, but should be used sparingly. Although yellow has a natural happiness to it, if it’s used in too many spaces or in bedrooms, it can create discomfort and frustration. However, yellow can be a wonderful, bright choice for living rooms or bathrooms. Our favorite yellow: Heirloom Yellow from Magnolia Home
Orange lifts the mood and energy in a room and has a wide variety of hues that can shift or change depending on the mood you’re trying to cultivate within the space. Deep orange tones such as terra cotta, copper, or amber can make a living room cozy with the right lighting, especially in the evening. Bright oranges such as apricot or peach have been known to spark interest and increase appetite, making them an ideal color for dining rooms or kitchens. However, the brighter the orange the more sparingly it should be used. Consider incorporating a bright orange with backsplash tile in a kitchen, or as the table setting in the dining room. Our favorite orange: Cavern Clay SW 7002 from Sherwin-Williams
Blue has a natural tendency to feel calming and light. Think of the ocean or sky and there’s a natural calming and freshness that comes with it. Blue relaxes the mind and body making it a great choice for bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as kitchens and dining rooms. Light, bright blues can make a room feel brighter and larger in size. Deeper, richer blues such as a navy blue create intrigue and add drama, best used in a study or home office. Our favorite blue: Sacred Spring 0510 from Miller Paint
Green is relaxing and is great as a base color throughout the home. Because there is yellow in the base of all greens, it balances between being both a cool tone but with a warm, calming feel. Lean a little more towards a blue/green for a tranquil bathroom, or add in a bit more yellow for an energizing and relaxing living room. Our favorite green: Sea Salt SW 6204 from Sherwin-Williams
Purple is rich, sophisticated, and elegant. It is the deepest hue and best suited as an accent, mostly in textiles or rugs. Lighter purples can be used similarly to light blues to evoke calmness without the room feeling too chilly. Deep purples and velvets spark a similar intrigue as navy blues and emerald greens and works beautifully in an office space or study. Our favorite purple: Queen Anne Lilac SW 0021 from Sherwin-Williams
When in doubt, if you’re feeling really stuck, stick with neutral tones such as black, gray, white, or brown. These are often the tones we see dip in and out of trends each year. Right now all gray or white homes are trendy, while the beige walls seen in the early 2000’s are out. But at the end of the day, neutral tones help create a base layer of warmth and comfort without feeling too risky or like you’re unable to style around it. Black, however, is used more sparingly such as with cabinets, or in furnishings. Our favorite neutrals: Agreeable Gray SW 7028 from Sherwin-Williams OR Sugar Dust 0011 from Miller Paint
Choosing the right color palette for your home is a wonderful way to personalize your space and tell the story you want it to tell. If you need a little inspiration, helpful tools such as Pinterest, HGTV, or your favorite home magazines can help spark intrigue and provide different ideas and ways to use color. You can always hire the guidance of a Color Consultant to help narrow down your options and pick out select color samples for you. Picking the right colors for your home can be a daunting task, but at the end of the day it should be enjoyable. This is your time to personalize your home, so why not have fun while doing so.
Have a paint or color question you would like answered? Please send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to try and answer it in an upcoming blog post.