How to Choose Colors to Set a Mood

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Color can go a long way toward setting the mood and energy level in a room. Here are some suggestions for using color for your desired effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Interior Paints
  • Wallpaper
  • Color Wheels
  • Use bright, warm colors - such as coral or apple green - to impart a feeling of coziness in a family room. These colors can warm up a cool room that has limited natural light.

  • Add cheer with yellow. It can lift your spirits in, say, a kitchen or laundry room.

  • Think red when you want to invigorate your environment, perhaps in an office.

  • Let cool colors such as sage green and sky blue wrap you in a calm ambience, as in a bedroom. These colors can chill a room, so they're best used when there's plenty of sunlight as a balance.

  • To destress, think neutrals such as pale gray, taupe and beige, which exert a restful influence. They work well in a library, media room or family room.

  • Set a young, playful mood with primary colors. They're great in children's rooms or playrooms.

  • Paint walls dark, rich colors such as deep taupe, brick red, slate gray or sapphire blue to set a formal, sophisticated tone and add a sense of drama. A formal dining or living room is a candidate for these deep colors.

  • Avoid bright white, which tends to be very stark and unsettling, evoking a sterile operating-room atmosphere. In most environments, a white with a touch of rose, ivory or gray is more comforting.

Tips & Warnings

  • To temper your wall color choices, select furniture and accessories that inject needed visual contrast. The brick-red walls of a foyer, for instance, can be balanced with an antique-white console table; golden-yellow accessories will add a spark in a sky-blue bedroom; and a beige sofa will tone down a room painted coral.
  • Remember that cool colors recede, making a room seem larger, and warm colors advance, making a room seem smaller.
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