Choosing Color Professionally

The most popular interior design question for anyone trying to decorate, particularly when they’re watching their budget, is…What color should I paint my room?

Colors have the most impact in any interior design project, so choosing them is one of the most difficult parts of the project.  How to start the process?  Consider the room itself:


Many novice interior designers forget to take into account how the room will be used.  Pale pastels for cottage interiors are lovely, but if you have children and pets, it may be a design disaster waiting to happen.

While choosing colors, find ones you love and that reflect your personality, commons sense should be a factor as well.  Also consider the ‘psychology’ of color.  Different colors have different types of impact within a room.  For instance:

Reds have impact, not only psychologically but physically – it increases blood pressure, heartbeat and even energy in many people.  Perhaps not the best color for a spa retreat bathroom or bedroom!

Green is a relaxing color considered more versatile than blue.  Greens can slip from kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and bedrooms with just a slip of the shade.

Yellow is a warm and welcoming color, and it is more attention getting than green.  Perfect for a low light entryway or hallway.

Blue is a cool color, with a calming effect, so it is ideal for use in bedrooms.  Reconsider it if you want it as a primary color in the kitchen or dining room, as there are not many blue foods, and it can be considered an appetitie suppressant.


When and how much the room will be used should be a color consideration as well.  Rooms used primarily at night do best with clear colors that retain their strength and vibrancy in low lighting.

For kitchens and dining rooms, consider vibrant clear greens, yellows and reds.


Light changes colors.  What looked great in the paint store may not look as nice by candlelight in the dining room.  Use paint samples in the room and check their colors in natural light, candlelight, bright light, etc.

Particularly check the lighting that will be most used in the room.  If paint samples aren’t available, purchase a quart size for under $15 to save time and energy repainting a color that doesn’t work

Try using color from your favorite thing in a room to start a color palette.  What’s the first thing you see when you walk in the room that you love?  Perhaps the yellow in your favorite dish towel hanging by the sink?  Start there and work through the function, use and lighting issues. 

That yellow can be the start of something big for a budget kitchen makeover