The Psychology of Color Choices: Affecting Mood Through Paint Colors 2

If you’ve been a professional painter for very long, you have no doubt encountered a number of hideously colored rooms and offices. Sometimes, the person who chose the color simply has unique taste. More often, the person choosing the color did so without a large sample or drawdown card and chose something far too loud for a large space. Other paint color choice disasters can include colors that are incompatible with each other or glosses that are too bright or too dull. However, perhaps the most egregious error that a person can make when choosing a paint color is to choose a color that is completely and totally wrong for the purpose and feel of the room.

A man evaluating paint colors

Choosing the right color can seem overwhelming to clients.
Image courtesy of Home Idea Resource.

Colors and design are important for far more than just aesthetic appearance. The right combination of color choices can change the entire mood of a room or building. Red is an intense color that exudes power, while blue is seen as calming. Green is seen as a natural color, while grey is more sterile and cold. Yellow is an emotional color, orange conveys warmth, and purple communicates spirituality. For example, social media websites most often feature a color palette based on blue hues, while environmental publications most often feature color pallets based on green hues. Financial websites tend towards green tones (money!), while cookbooks often utilize red and orange colors (fire! spice!) to highlight content.

The psychology of choosing colors can seem complex, but your professional experience already gives you an advantage and knowledge base greater than that of your client. After all, you’ve likely seen an awfully lot of painted rooms! While some clients will no doubt remain steadfast in their choice of paint, you certainly can and should offer your input if you have any hesitations about what the final result will look like.

The best way to offer your input is to ask the client what they want the “feeling” or “mood” of the final result to communicate. Then ask what colors they are considering. By combining your knowledge of paint psychology with the extensive number of paint jobs you have seen come to completion, you should be able to offer useful input that will help lead to a final result that exceeds the client’s expectations.

Color psychology wheel

Color psychology can help you choose great colors.
Image courtesy of Wild Mice.

Even if you aren’t a designer by nature, the ultimate result of the paint job will be a reflection on you, the painter.  Although you may not be responsible for the paint color choices that resulted in that awful high-gloss tangerine for the master bedroom or that dull purple for the house exterior, the last experience the client has with regard to paint will be with you. Since the final job will be a representation of you and the quality of your work, you owe it to yourself (and your professional reputation) to offer your expertise to the client so they don’t do something they’ll later regret. Click here to learn more about choosing great colors for the job!



  1. Pingback: Brighten Up Your Work Space: Office Paint Selection in the Modern World | BYK | Choosing Colors, Gloss, More

  2. Pingback: 4 Things to Do TODAY to Become a Better Artist - Gnomon School Blog - Art Tips for Immediate Results

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