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Painting Your Home: How Color Creates Atmosphere

Choose the best paint colors for your home and personality

By Jessica Walker Boehm on March 26, 2015

Painting Your Home: How Color Creates Atmosphere

Painting is the No. 1 home-improvement project in the U.S., and it may be the most dramatic change you can make in your home – as well as one of the least expensive. In addition, it’s an easy way to change your home’s comfort level when it comes to both temperature and mood.

The color you paint a room in your home can determine how cool or warm the room gets during summer – lighter colors reflect sunlight and darker hues absorb it – and also how much energy is conserved or used. Psychologically, color can evoke certain feelings. In fact, studies have shown that we don’t “see” colors, but rather “feel” them.

What are your true colors? Color is personality-driven. Here’s what the colors you choose say about you:

RED: A dynamic color that can symbolize both passion and anger

  • Signifies: Bold, brash, attention-getting; also soft, warm and comforting

  • Says about you: Strong personality; drive for success, extroverted, believe happiness is the natural state of affairs

YELLOW: Can be an intimidating color

  • Signifies: Warm, happy, light, uplifting, energetic

  • Says about you: Intellectual, idealistic, creative, artistic

BLUE: Studies have shown that if you stare at a medium blue color for 20 seconds, you’ll excrete 11 feel-good hormones.

  • Signifies: Tranquil, peaceful, cool, calm, dignified, sophisticated and serene

  • Says about you: Need for calm, tension-free existence

GREEN: A popular color because naturally people like what we see often, what’s familiar to us

  • Signifies: Freshness, nature, lush, luck, new, money, stability, balance

  • Says about you: Kind, conscientious neighbor, affectionate and loyal friend

PURPLE: A “royalty color” that inspires a wealth of new ideas

  • Signifies: Majesty and opulence

  • Says about you: Set apart from others, unique, talented in creative ways, temperamental

BROWN: Beige, tans and rust colors are all within the “brown” family

  • Signifies: Rich, hearty, warm, rugged, chic, one with nature

  • Says about you: Steady, reliable character; keen sense of duty and responsibility; strong need for security and sense of belonging

Achromatic “colors”:

  • BLACK: mystery, drama, power

  • WHITE: classic, contemporary, country crisp

  • GRAY: smoky, sleek, tailored

When selecting paint colors, keep the following in mind:

  • Size and shape matter. If it’s a small room, try keeping the color scheme simple. Light colors can make a room appear larger than it is, while darker colors tend to shrink the room.

  • Where will the color be placed? A color on the walls can look significantly different from the same color used as trim or on the floor.

  • Bring the outside in. If you have a literal room with a view, work with colors that are already part of nature’s color scheme – for example, browns and greens for a wooded view or blues and greens for an ocean view.

Remember your indoor air quality. Use paints low in VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which are potentially harmful. While industry standards allow for 350 VOC parts per liter, it’s recommended to choose paint with a part per liter of 100 or less.

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