There are plenty of places to look if you’re interested in finding out which color choices might mean that you’re creative or quiet or calm. Online quizzes, books and color psychology forums crank out potential explanations for the colors you’re drawn to, but when it comes to decorating your home, the shades you use should really be felt, not analyzed. “Above all, color is a reflection of personality and provides the means to express our emotions,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, where experts annually determine a color of the year.
Colors mean different things to different people. Blue, as seen in this room’s accents, for instance, can come across as breezy and calming to some, cold to others. Eiseman suggests that homeowners design a space around the mood they want that space to convey to them.
If you’re not ready to face a daunting wall of paint chips at the hardware store just yet, start narrowing down the colors you connect with by scrolling through images on Houzzor in the pages of a design magazine and noting which ones spark an emotional response.
Think about which colors your favorite things have in common. “If [the colors] ‘speak to you’ and you are drawn to them, then those colors and combinations will have even more meaning when you paint those same colors on your walls and in your other furnishings,” Eiseman says.
Even if you love a color or a combination of colors, some hues work better in some spaces than others. Nashville, Tennessee-based interior designer Anna Forkum opted for a rich aqua (Benjamin Moore’s Spirit in the Sky) in this vintage-inspired guest bathroom both for its retro vibe and for how it complemented the room’s existing details.
“Having the white wainscot halfway up and then all the angles, it seemed like it could handle a strong color in a small space,” Forkum says.
A bright floor might make the paint show up a little warmer than the color you love. High ceilings can make a color feel more potent. Painting multiple walls can also create a shift in tone.
If there’s one color in particular that feels right, like the warm brown of this Dallas powder room, breaking it up with different textures and forms —penny tile walls and a custom marble surround in this case —can make a statement without going overboard.