What's the Best Color for your Room?

Can you relax in a red room? Will a purple kitchen make you lose your appetite? Learn which colors are best for creating the mood you want in each room of your house.
( [email protected] ) Mar 23, 2004 02:22 PM EST

A little yellow goes a long way

Yellow is the color of welcoming, so having a bouquet of yellow flowers in your foyer is a cheerful way to greet your guests. Because it is a warm color—as are red and orange—yellow brings to mind the warmth of the sun. These colors provoke feelings of cheerfulness and activity. Try these colors in areas that are cold or poorly lit to enhance the mood. Painting a gym or workout area red might be too much, as you may not be able to relax and stretch. I would suggest painting a basement or a room with northern exposure hot red.

The color yellow is very versatile; in fact, a little yellow goes a long way to warming up your soul and making you feel at home. The combination of yellow with a hint of a cool colour, such as blue, green or purple, could be used in a sun-drenched room to tone down the hotness of the room.

Set the mood

The cooler colors provoke feelings of relaxation and restfulness. Bedrooms in a soft violet or pale blue are both calming and serene. I like to add a hint of warm colors to cool rooms to enhance the skin tone. I would avoid using cool colors in rooms that see a lot of activity as they are too calming.

In addition to the hue, you should also consider the value of the color; colors can be light or dark values. Light colors have more reflective quality and give a feeling of spaciousness. I would use light colors in small spaces to avoid feeling closed in. On the other side of the coin, I would use dark colors in large, spacious areas to make objects appear smaller and walls closer together. There is nothing worse than a large room that has been painted light beige, which makes you feel that you are floating in the room. Remember that dark colors create that cozy feeling. Take your wood paneled library and paint it a dark, rich burgundy to accentuate the feeling of togetherness.


Now that you have picked a hue and you have decided on either a light or dark value, you need to confirm the intensity of the color. Bright colors suggest high levels of activity, whereas dull colors are quiet, relaxed and restful. I love to use bright pink with bright white accents in a playroom and a softer, pale pink in a girl’s bedroom. It is also important to take the shape of the room into effect. If you have a long, narrow room, paint the two end walls a warm, dark or bright color to make the room appear more square.

Important questions to ask yourself before painting a room:

How much light does the room receive?

How is the room used?

What are your favourite colors?

Out of width, height and volume of the room—which do you want to play up?

Overall color scheme—do you want your house to flow or to have each room be a distinct color?

Color is everywhere

Color affects us physically; we feel warmer in a red room and cooler in a blue room. The relaxed feelings of a blue room create an ideal environment for fertility—perhaps paint your bedroom blue if you are family planning. Orange can increase appetite whereas violet depresses appetite. These are general rules of thumb; color affects each of us differently. Try painting different rooms different colors and keep a color journal.

Good luck!