In a recent post, we shared some tips on how your interior design can affect your emotions, your behaviours, and even your health. A major part of this impact comes from color. More than just a question of aesthetics, the colors you incorporate into your décor can profoundly influence your emotional well-being – and the well-being of your family and your guests.
It’s no wonder that so many of us struggle to find the right colors to paint our walls. Finding the best colors for your space is one of the most significant (and stressful) aspects of any interior design project, but by learning more about how different colors work in different spaces, you can narrow down your options to pick the perfect shade.
Since this area can sometimes lack architectural definition, using bold paint can help to separate your foyer from the rest of your space – and brings a bit of personality to an often overlooked space. Add vibrant color by choosing a rich, deeply pigmented jewel toned shade: Club Navy by Ralph Lauren, Portrait Backdrop by Fine Paints of Europe, or Grapes of Wrath by Dunn-Edwards.
While dark colors can seem intimidating, especially in a smaller space, a lacquer finish will allow you to maximize the brightness of your foyer. The way the light bounces off the walls even makes your entry appear larger.
If done correctly, refreshing white walls can be equally dynamic – and can lend an air of elegance and sophistication to your foyer. For a dramatic statement, create bold contrast by combining your clean, crisp walls with a door painted a deep shade of black, such as Farrow & Ball’s gorgeous Off Black.
The ideal shade for your living room depends significantly on your décor. For the perfect backdrop to showcase your furnishings, paint your walls a neutral greige – Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball, or Repose Grey by Sherwin-Williams.
Greige is a warm, versatile color that works well with almost any décor and allows you to get creative with some of the accent pieces in your space. Pops of bright color can make a room feel more friendly and welcoming – using a subtler shade on the walls means you can easily accessorize your living room with a vibrant rug or colorful throw pillows.
If minimalism is more your style, though, look for a shade of white with undertones that work with the available light in your space – Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White is always a reliable choice. More eclectic living rooms benefit from having a cool color on the walls, so don’t be afraid to go bold with a shade like Brigand by C2, Black Tie by Dunn-Edwards, or Raisin by Sherwin-Wiliams.
If you decide on a dark color and are worried about your space feeling cramped, you can always apply a lacquer finish – but the right matte paint can give a smaller living room an intimate, cozy feeling.
Renovating your kitchen is one of the most expensive home improvement projects to undertake, so when choosing a paint color for this room, it’s important to pick something with a comfortable, clean aesthetic – one that will withstand the test of time.
A crisp white will make your kitchen feel fresh and modern, and will give you room to incorporate trendy and inexpensive updates to smaller elements like your backsplash or hardware. Shades of grey, like Dior Grey by Benjamin Moore or Seraph by C2, also allow for flexibility in your décor.
Don’t be scared to go bold in your kitchen, though – the deep shade of emerald green designer Kelly Wearstler chose for Cameron Diaz’s kitchen creates a dramatic atmosphere of glamour and sophistication. Just be sure to balance dark walls or cabinetry with bright, reflective surfaces, like Diaz’s brass countertops, sink, and backsplash.
Like your living room, the right color for your dining room will vary based on the style of your interior design. The key thing to remember is that the shade you choose for your walls should complement your décor and tie the room together.
If you hang a lot of art in your dining room, select a wall color that won’t compete – neutrals like grey and greige, crisp whites, or deep, muted shades. We love Benjamin Moore’s Cheating Heart, Cloud by Dunn-Edwards, Farrow & Ball’s Brinjal, or Jasper by Sherwin-Williams.
You should avoid a lacquer finish here, though, as the reflective surface may draw attention away from the artwork.
Using dark colors in the bedroom can help make the space feel cozy and secure, and generally offer a more profound impact. However, it’s important to keep in mind who you’re designing for – especially in the bedroom.
For a single man, we love dramatic shades of deep navy (like Sherwin-Williams’ Naval), while blush-colored walls (like Peignoir by Farrow & Ball) are a great way to add a little feminine softness to a bedroom for a single woman. But for a couple, the best way to ensure that both parties are happy is to go with a more neutral shade, like a darker greige, a soft charcoal, or even black.
If you’re going for the spa look, shades of blue and turquoise will create a fresh, soothing atmosphere – we like Drawing Room Blue by Farrow & Ball and Midnight Haze by Dunn-Edwards. For a more sterile clean, though, white is your best bet – but be aware that a white bathroom will need very regular cleaning. Black walls can bring an air of elegant sophistication to your bathroom, and can make the space feel a bit more masculine.
One thing to note when considering a paint color for the bathroom is how that color looks on you. When you look in the mirror, you ideally want to see yourself surrounded by a color that flatters you – so don’t paint your bathroom a color you would never wear.
For a home office, look for calming colors that are comfortable for you to look at for an extended period of time. Psychology tells us that hues of blue and green can help stimulate creativity and productivity, but a neutral shade like grey or even black will give you more freedom to incorporate color into the rest of your décor.
Since most offices are generally in smaller rooms, going with a rich, dark color can give the space a cozy and moody vibe – ideal for reading, writing, and working. We recommend Preserve by Dunn-Edwards, Leapfrog by C2, and Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball.
In a room where you plan to exercise or engage in another type of stimulating activity, shades of red and orange will get your blood flowing before you even start. However, these colors can also increase your body temperature, which might not be ideal when you’re already sweating from your workout.
Instead, boost your energy with shades of green or grey – and choose colors with undertones of blue to infuse your space with a soothing, cool atmosphere. Our favorites include C2’s Stomp, Lafayette Green by Benjamin Moore, and Lazy Grey by Sherwin-Williams.
Other Color Considerations
Painting your walls is one of the easiest ways to update your space and incorporate new trends – however, when a once-fashionable shade goes out of style, it can instantly make the rest of your décor look outdated, too.
Don’t get discouraged, though. This season calls for dark, rich colors that lend themselves well to a timeless interior design. You can read more about what’s on trend for fall 2017 here.
The same can of paint can produce two completely different colors depending on the light source of the room you use it in. Before committing to one shade, paint a swatch in your room to see how your lighting will impact your chosen hue. And make sure to wait until the paint is dry.
Natural light can provide added warmth to a space, so a cooler shade will help create a better temperature balance. Meanwhile, rooms that depend more on artificial lighting might need a little help from a warmer wall color to maintain a cozy atmosphere.
Relying on color psychology is a great way to ensure your home evokes feelings of comfort and happiness, but rules are meant to be broken. Ultimately, everyone’s response to color is completely individual – so take your time testing samples and find the shades that feel right for you and your space.