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Colour Theory – How to Pick the Colour to Fit the Room

So colour is great and all, but does it really matter what colour I pick for a room?


One of the amazing things about colour is that it influences our mood.  Different colours can energise us or make us feel relaxed.  They can bring in a sense of happiness or concentration.

It can be challenging to pick a colour for your wall, especially with so many to choose from.  Professional painters will advise against the rookie mistake of combining multiple colours.  What you had envisioned might just end up looking cluttered once you have it on the wall.

The best way to go about things is to choose a simple colour pallet that fits with your furnishings and to bring in the most vibrant shades with your accent walls.  This gives you the best of both worlds – strong colour from the accent wall and an open feel in the remaining room.

With this in mind, here are a few tips on colour theory to help you choose the right colour for your space:

Basic Colour Theory

Understanding some colour theory is a necessity for painting contractors and anyone that works with paint.  Here’s the bottom line: When we see colours, they evoke certain feelings.  It’s as simple as that.

For example, warmer hues, like orange, yellow, and red, are energizing and make us feel a sense of motion.  It’s best to use these colours for long rooms or open corridors to balance the space and make them feel active.  Cooler hues, like purple, blue, or green, are calming and easing.  They can be used in small spaces to bring a relaxed feel and make the space feel larger.

The Right Shade for the Room

When selecting the colour for your room, think about its purpose.  In a living room, you want a calming, comfortable atmosphere.  The kitchen, on the other hand, should be bright, open, and active.  In the bedroom, you may wish to bring in a touch of energy and passion.  No matter the room, there are shades that will enhance the effect and make it even better suited to your needs.


Reds are activating.  They stir up excitement, attention, and energy.  Plus, they bring in a sense of courage and passion.  A bit of red trim or a red accent wall can be great in the kitchen, where you want to be active, alert, and productive.  Reds also work well (in moderation) in the bedroom.  Just enough to bring in a touch of spice.


Orange is another warm-hued colour, so you know right from the start that it will bring more energy and activity into your space.  It’s a bit of a softer feel than red, however.  Orange brings in a sense of playfulness, adventurousness and curiosity.  It carries a fun and optimistic feeling, and is great for stimulating and for promoting freedom and expression.  Consider orange if you find yourself setting up an exercise room or a children’s playroom.


Yellow is a great colour to work with because it is uplifting without being to energetic.  It brings in happiness and relaxation at the same time as concentration and optimism.  Because of this, it’s great for a number of places.  The kitchen and bathrooms are ideal, to begin with.  Yellow is also an excellent choice for a study or home office.  A family room or dining room could also benefit from a touch of this buttery hue.


Green is an interesting colour, since it’s right on the border between warm and cool hues.  The main feeling green brings with it is stability.  It’s a safe, secure colour, showing balance, harmony, and reliability.  Green is restorative, making it a great choice for areas like the living room, bedrooms, or family room.  A touch of green could also be nice in the kitchen, though you’ll want to balance it with a warmer colour there.


Blue is a calming and relaxing colour.  It brings in a sense of trust and freedom, promoting expression, loyalty, and honesty.  It brings a feeling or order into a room.  This is another colour that’s ideal in your living room and family room.  If you’re a huge fan of blue, you might even use it in kitchens or large bathrooms, depending on your colour pallet.


Purple is not the best choice for the common rooms of the house.  It has a soft feel to it that just seems to pull the whole room into a quiet space.  For the bedroom, though, this is the perfect feeling.  Purple brings in a feeling of sensitivity, mystery, and imagination.  It’s great for encouragement, to make a strong impression, or to evoke euphoria and compassion.


Pink is another colour that you’re unlikely to use all over the house, though you may be surprised what a bit of coral or salmon can do for your space.  However, it’s just about the best colour out there for a young daughter’s room.  Pink brings in energy alongside playfulness, compassion, and creativity.  In moderation, it’s an ideal colour to create a bright and happy play space for your young one.

Neutral Colours

Now it’s time to consider the tans, browns, greys, whites and off-whites.  Colour may be more fun, but these colours are indispensable in making your space feel open, active, and balanced.  Neutral colours are versatile.  They bring in a sense of stability, comfort, and practicality.  Neutral colours also carry a feeling of authority, a sense of power and purpose without frills.  Neutral colours should form the base colour pallet for any room, regardless of the colours chosen for trim or accents.

If you’d like to know more about combining colours, or you’d like to talk to professionals about the specifics, of your paint job, feel free to contact us.

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