How the Paint Color on Your Walls Can Change Your Mood

Set the perfect mood in every room by using a little color psychology

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt better -- or worse? Then you’ve experienced the psychology of color. Colors can instantly calm us, energize us, or clear our thoughts.

So before your next décor re-do, spend a little extra time thinking about the right color for you. “Assess how the space is typically used and what mood you want to feel in that space,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Use muted or softer colors for relaxing spaces and warm or bright colors where you typically have lots of activity.”

We gathered information from top color experts, including guru Kate Smith, the pros at paint companies and other design specialists, to create our guide to the basics of color psychology. Use it to help you decide what colors to use in which rooms -- and why.

Red

Red

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Bold, powerful and sexy, bright red walls will stimulate, excite and inspire confidence while deeper hues evoke feelings of richness and romance. Use red in living rooms, kitchens, rec rooms, even a bedroom -- any space where you want to feel energetic. This space showcases Sherwin-Williams’ Habenero Chile and Hot paint colors.

Bright Pink

Bright Pink

Courtesy of Glidden

Soft pink is perfect for nurseries, but brighter pinks are fun and festive. Bold pink hues evoke playful, flirtatious feelings and high-octane energy (much like its color-wheel cousin, red). It’s best used in gathering spaces, like this family room with walls in Pink Salmon by Glidden.

Orange

Orange

Courtesy of Behr

Orange is the new black? Not when it comes to mood. A happy, optimistic color, orange walls evoke fun and whimsy. It’s best in living rooms, dining rooms, or other social spaces in your home. Just beware of its ability to stimulate the appetite. This orange living room features Behr’s Aurora Orange and Marmalade.

Yellow

Yellow

Courtesy of Valspar

The color of sunshine, yellow is a cheerful, invigorating, enlightening shade that also evokes feelings of nourishment and comfort, making it perfect for a welcoming kitchen, such as this one with walls painted in Apricot Mousse by Valspar.

Light Green

Light Green

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Green is the color of nature, and its lighter shades create a tranquil, soothing atmosphere. It also creates a harmonious vibe, which makes it perfect for a bedroom or relaxed living room, like this one with walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s Winchester Sage.

Bright Green

Bright Green

Courtesy of Behr

While light green is soothing, bright green is refreshing and all about renewal. It’s awesome energy makes it a star in kids’ rooms, but it’s also perfect for hubs of activity like the kitchen, such as this one in Festive Green by Behr.

Light Blue

Light Blue

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Pale blues evoke a soothing, reassuring and heavenly calm. Like the open sky, blue gives off a spacious feeling, while its connection to water conveys coolness and cleanliness. It’s best used in restful spaces like bedrooms and baths, including this one painted in Blue Cruise and Turkish Tile from Sherwin-Williams.

Bright Blue

Bright Blue

Courtesy of Behr

Bright blue also gives a sense of spaciousness and reassurance, but its electric hue is exhilarating, and all about high energy. This combo makes it perfect for a bedroom: In the darkness of night, bright blue walls, like these in Belladonna by Behr, fade into a reassuring shade, but in the morning light, the wall color inspires you to hit the ground running.

Lavender

Lavender

Courtesy of Valspar

Purple combines red’s energy and blue’s calm. Lavender leans more toward its blue base, bringing a meditative, calming energy to a room -- perfect for spaces where you want to relax and rejuvenate, like a bedroom or bath. This bath is painted with Valspar’s Early Lilac.

Violet

Violet

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Bright purple shades lean more toward the red base, giving rooms a mystical, royal air. Violet promotes soul searching and encourages creativity, so it’s a good choice for a craft room or a teenager’s bedroom, like this one in Wood Violet and Pussywillow from Sherwin-Williams.

Black

Black

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Painting a room black is a bold move -- and it will make everyone in it feel bold, too. Black is an empowering color and evokes potential and possibility. Its modern, sophisticated vibe is best used in dining rooms and living rooms, like this room with Bohemian Black walls from Sherwin- Williams.

White

White

Courtesy of Behr

Pure white walls are pristine, ethereal, and lightweight. White’s simplicity encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles and think about new beginnings. It’s best used in kitchens or bathrooms, like this one painted in Smoked Oyster by Behr.

Gray

Gray

Courtesy of Behr

Practical and neutral, gray says responsibility, professionalism, and wisdom. This makes it perfect for home offices. It’s also versatile and a good choice for transitional areas of the home, such as this hallway painted in sophisticated gray tones from Behr.

Beige

Beige

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Discreet and understated, beige makes a space feel classic, authentic and organic. It feels wholesome and stable, and is best in dining rooms and living rooms, such as this one painted in Beach House and Toasty from Sherwin-Williams.

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