Some people have a natural knack for home decorating, but others can feel lost when it comes to even minor design decisions. This can be the case when it’s time to choose paint colors for the interior of your home. The colors you select for each room will have a big influence on how each space feels. So, which hues should you choose?

Thankfully, this problem has been studied by great minds since at least the Renaissance. While color choice is partly an art, there’s also a science to it as well. Based on everything from cultural traditions to how the brain works, we know that certain colors evoke certain responses from people.

Here’s a simple cheat sheet for what effects each color creates:

  • Black: strength, intelligence, authority
  • White: openness, cleanliness, neutrality
  • Gray: timelessness, neutrality, practicality
  • Red: passion, love, comfort
  • Orange: warmth, optimism, steadiness
  • Yellow: happiness, warmth, sunlight
  • Green: nature, serenity, intellect
  • Blue: calmness, peacefulness, wisdom
  • Purple: sophistication, intrigue, mystery
  • Brown: tradition, stability, comfort
  • Pink: romance, gentleness, calm

So, which color goes best with each room of your home? Here are some recommendations:

Living room: orange

Orange provides calm and warmth while stimulating conversation, a great choice for the living room.

Dining room: red

Red stimulates the appetite and encourages sociability and liveliness, making it perfect for dining spaces.

Kitchen: gray

Some grays come off as cold, but shades such as taupe add a bit of warmth and work well with any other color.

Hall: soft brown

Hallways should be welcoming and soothing but not distracting, so a muted brown fits the bill.

Bedroom: pastel blue

Blue creates a sense of calm, and people who sleep in blue bedrooms report the most sleep out of all the colors.

Study/office: green

Conducive to creativity and intelligent thought, green is a natural choice for studies and offices.

Bathroom: cream

With the cleanliness of white and the warmth of yellow, cream provides a refreshing and soothing touch for bathrooms.

Utility room: white

Clean, utilitarian and neutral, white is a solid choice for no-nonsense spaces like utility or laundry rooms.

Looking for colors to complement the above choices? Use a tool such as this one to find complementary, analogous or triad combinations that pair well together.


Paint color selection is sometimes dismissed as an inconsequential decorating choice, but it can in fact have a real impact on how you live in, work in and enjoy your home. Choose your interior paint colors wisely, and each of your home’s rooms can further enhance the way you live.