Interior Design

10 Paint Colors That Are Sure to Spark Joy in Your Home

Happier walls await.

May 21, 2019
Photo by Bobbi Lin

On the heels of the KonMari craze, I’m always looking for ways to spark joy in my life and in my home. And one key aspect of decor that can boost my mood—or leave me feeling “blah”—is paint color.

A bright, happy color can put a smile on my face after even the toughest day, while a bland, boring one will do nothing to help my gloomy mindset. (Just ask the lifeless tan walls in my bathroom…)

But what shades are truly the best for creating an uplifting atmosphere? I reached out to two interior designers to find out about their processes for paint selection. Here are their recommendations on how to cultivate happiness throughout your home.


Joy Feels Different for Everyone

Before you dive into paint swatches, it’s important to realize that joy is a personal thing. Some people might be happiest when surrounded by bright, bold colors, while others might prefer soft, subtle shades. You might like warm colors, while your partner gravitates toward cool ones.

“Different colors spark joy for different people—that’s the beauty of color!” says Jessica McClendon of Glamour Nest. “It's an emotional, subjective component of design.”

“While the wall color that sparks joy might be different for each of us, there are some things to keep in mind as you search for the perfect color,” says Julia Goodwin, an interior designer based in California. “Joy doesn’t have to be loud and vibrant; it can be pulled from lots of other feelings, such as calm, soothing, or invigorating.”

If you share a space with a partner, roommate, or children, you may want to have a brainstorming session to see what colors will spark joy for all of you. During the process, it can be helpful to consider what other feelings you associate with happiness. Maybe it’s excitement, or maybe it’s peacefulness. This exercise will help you narrow your focus and find the right color for your home.


Five Colors for a Bright, Cheerful Space

If you’ve decided you want a vibrant, energizing space, the experts recommend going for bright, saturated colors. “Yellows or warm orange-peach tones will remind you of hot summer days,” says Goodwin. Pigmented cool tones can be invigorating, as well—think jewel tones like teal.

Don’t go too heavy with bold colors, though: “While you may be drawn to yellow, at times it can feel overwhelming,” she cautions. “Try using the color in a fun way, such as creating a geo wall or using a few shades to create a color-blocked space.”

Some colors to consider:

To make use of accent wallpaper to create a energetic interior space, start with a pattern you like, and build from there.

Keep in mind that bold, warm-tone colors are typically stimulating, so they might not be the ideal shade for your bedroom or other space where you want to relax and sleep.


Five Colors for a Calm, Soothing Space

On the other hand, you might find serene, spa-like spaces to be more joyful, and in this case, muted colors are the way to go.

“If you want calming and soothing, then maybe a dusty soft blue-grey is the answer to bringing you joy,” says McClendon.

“For those craving a calmer, more soothing, and tranquil space, think of greens and blues—dive into colors that remind you of nature,” recommends Goodwin. “Don’t be afraid to dip into the deeper richer colors and not just stick to the softer tones that might feel comfortable at first.”

Check out these low-key, yet joyful hues:

With these subtle shades, you can easily brighten up the space by adding a pop of color with accessories and statement furniture.


Don’t Make These Joy-Diminishing Decorating Mistakes

Once you’ve picked out the perfect color, it’s important to experiment with it before you paint the whole room. “When it comes to painting with any color, always get an actual sample to test in the space,” says Goodwin.

Why? “Each room in your home receives light—both natural and artificial—differently, so remember to review your color options at different times of day and be strategic about sample placement to understand how it will look when it fills your room.”

The experts also advise going for the thing you love—even if it might be a little intimidating: “If you truly love the teal sofa, you'll love it for years to come, and I promise you'll love it longer than the grey sofa you’re considering settling for. You must fill your home with items you love in order for it to bring you joy!” says McClendon.

So go ahead and paint your walls that gorgeous beet-shade you’ve been eyeing for months. If it sparks joy, it’s worth the commitment.


What paint color brings you the most joy? Let us know in the comments!

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