Any trades in Australia

Find a painter the easy way

Where do you need painters?

1
Tell us
what you need

2
Painters
contact you

3
You choose the best
painter

Colour psychology: what paint colours should you use in each room?

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Samantha Thorne


You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s amazing how much colours can have an impact on our day to day mood and wellbeing. The phenomenon is called ‘colour psychology’ and it’s been studied by experts for decades. And according to the experts, there’s an optimal paint colour or range of colours for every room in the home.

We’ve put together a guide for you to find out what colours are best for your mood and your health, and we’ve broken it down by room and area. Let’s go!

Paint colours in the entry or foyer

This one really comes down to personal preference and the vibe you want to create in your home. For a real calming and serene effect, go with muted neutral tones.

For something bold, go for red. While red cars are known to stimulate aggression on the roads, in an entryway, it instead creates a really strong first impression. However, red isn’t recommended in an entry way for people who are prone to stress as it has been shown to raise high blood pressure.

Yellow is another good colour for an entry way as it can make a space feel big and welcoming to visitors as they walk in. You can also try placing warmer colours towards the end of a hallway - we are naturally drawn to warm colours, so if you have a long and wide foyer, a warm colour at the end will naturally make people want to walk further into your home.

Paint colours entry and foyer

Read: How to paint a room

Paint colours in the kitchen and dining room

Colour consultants recommend that if you have pleasant memories of hanging out in your kitchen as a kid, then using the same colours as your childhood kitchen may be best for your home.

Muted yellows are a great choice for kitchens of all sizes, as it increases feelings of joy and energises the room. Research also shows that yellow has the potential to increase appetites, so is perfect if you like entertaining and having people around, but might not be great if you’re constantly counting calories.

If you have a rather large kitchen or dining space that is really used as the heart of your home, go for a warm blue. Studies have shown that blue is a calmative, so is perfect for encouraging a more relaxed outlook on life in the busier, social areas of a family home.

It’s also a great choice if you fancy yourself a bit of a cook and like to experiment in the kitchen. Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that blue increases imagination and creativity.

If you want to create a sense of timelessness and sophistication in your kitchen and dining area then greys, soft purples and whites are perfect.

Paint colours in kitchen and dining room

Read: how to use paint swatches

The best paint colours for a study or home office

When you’re in your study, you’re wanting to concentrate and get work done as quickly as possible. Bright colours are a good choice for these kinds of spaces, since they can encourage activity. Green is the colour of intellectualism and concentration, and is therefore the perfect hue if you’re in the same space for hours on end.

There’s a reason why more modern offices are filled with plants - because studies have proven the productive effect of the colour green.

Paint colours study home office

Nurseries and kids bedrooms

Choosing a colour for a children’s bedroom might seem pretty simple - most couples opt for a muted yellow or green, a neutral gray, a bright white or the tried and tested pink or blue.

According to the experts, bright walls or warm coloured rooms aren’t the best as they have an energising effect on the brain. We don’t know about you, but this sounds like a recipe for disaster when all you want is for your kids to sleep.

While pink might be the colour of choice for little girls, as they grow older, it can lead to feelings of agitation and anxiety, so might be best avoided for wall colours.

The best colours for kids bedrooms are pastels and cool colours which have a very relaxing effect on the body and help prepare over-active minds for sleep. You can always decorate a kid’s room with other coloured accents, like throw rugs, toys and art works.

Paint for nurseries and kids rooms

Colours for other bedrooms in the home

In general, for any bedroom in the home it’s best to avoid bright or overly dark colours. Bedrooms are places where we want to wind down and relax, so pastels or very muted earthy or neutral tones are your best bet.

Colours for bedrooms

Paint colours in living rooms

If you like to entertain and you want to stimulate activity and conversation, then warm colours and darker, muted reds are a great choice.

However, if you want to avoid nightly snacks on the couch, avoid red, as it can make you feel hungry and encourage you to eat more. There’s a reason why fast-food restaurants use the colour red.

Bathroom colours

Bathroom colours

White is probably one of the most popular colours for bathrooms today, as we associate the colour with purity and cleanliness. However, adding splashes of soft green and blue can also be beneficial, as these colours promote relaxation and calm.

In particular, beige greens or pale greens with a very soft yellow undertone are the best shades for stress-reduction in a bathroom.

Bathroom colours

Tips for choosing the right paint colours for you

When it comes to choosing paint colours for your home, it should come down to your personal preference first and foremost. If you’re not a huge fan of a dominating colour, you can also mix and match colours in the same room. For example, one colour for the walls, and another for skirting boards, trim and architraves.

If you’re interested in choosing paint hues according to colour theory and psychology, first work out what the primary use of the space is and then select a colour that is scientifically proven to enhance the mood that you’re  going for. However, if you have an aversion to the recommended colour for the space, it’s best to avoid.

One common theme we have come across in scientific studies on interior colours and their effect on mood is that it all comes down to ‘conditioning’ - that is, if you’ve had plenty of bad experiences associated with one colour, then it’s never going to be a good colour to surround yourself with in a home. Why? Because subconsciously you are going to associate the colour with past feelings.

If you’re unsure, then speak to an interior designer, interior decorator or painter. All three will be able to recommend a range of colours for your home based on their profession and experience.

Share this article:

Find great painters


Get up to 3 free quotes. Compare and choose the best professional for your job.