When decorating your place, it is imperative to consider your color palette and how it affects you and others that may share the space. Whether you long for a space that is cheerful or relaxing, practical or warm, color plays a huge part in defining your experience. In trying to decide between colors for paint or décor pieces, you should consider color psychology: how a color affects mood, sets the tone for a space, or even signals action. Going for a bold statement? Pick a warm tone. Trying to concentrate or spur productivity? Opt for a cooler color. The impact of color depends on your personal experience and culture, but there are some universal meanings behind the hues.

Not sure where to start? Never fear! I’ll give you some guidelines.

The color blue is perceived as calm or serene, and can evoke feelings of peacefulness and productivity. Green can also create feelings of productivity, and is associated with tranquility, fertility, and balance. On the other hand, red emits an aggressive undertone, and inspires appetite and virility. Orange is energetic and enthusiastic, while yellow is optimistic and light. Purple is construed as intuitive, imaginative or regal. And although they are not technically colors, black and white have strong connotations as well: black is sleek or Gothic, while white is spacious or innocent. Of course, your personal experience dictates your perception of color meanings and your reactions—both psychological and even physiological.

Consider the purpose of a room: a sun-room or a foyer should be light, giving an uplifting and airy feeling. Yellow, orange, and white are common in these spaces. Remember, if it’s a transition space, you can incorporate color and style from the exterior and interior to help with the flow. Your office and bedroom should be a blue or green, to help you relax, unwind, or focus. Phillip Rudy from Freshome Design & Architecture recommends decorating your bathroom with a color you love to wear: “You want to look good when you check yourself in the bathroom mirror,” he writes. “Having a favorite color in the background really does help.” Don’t be afraid of patterns or bold colors in small spaces! They can actually make a space feel larger and more defined. Just make sure your choices feature a common color and are repeated throughout the space. If you’re painting your walls, I recommend checking out this interior painting DIY blog.

For renters that may not be able to paint interior walls, choose one main color to carry throughout the space based on color psychology. Use that color at least three times to achieve a sense of continuity, i.e., funky poster print, table lamp, and vase. The same rule applies for patterns and accent or secondary colors: if you are creating an accent wall or love a bold print on one of your throw pillows, incorporate the pattern and color scheme throughout the space. Keep in mind that if colors appear together in nature, they will probably look good together in your home.

Color inspires and can shape an environment, no matter where you find it. Still, I understand that choosing the color to feature in your space can be daunting. If you are trying to figure out the name of your favorite hue, try using the Color Snap app from Sherwin-Williams. You can even use leftover paint chips for a crafty project later – check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.


By Meridian Herman Lupu

Photo by Viktor Hertz