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These Are the Best Paint Colors According to Science

The science of genetics determines eye color and hair color, so why not let science dictate what color you paint your walls? Here's a look at some of the best paint colors, according to science.

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Yellow not only is the color that represents happiness, it can also trigger a sense of optimism and inspiration. CNN reports a study on the color yellow found that the first words that consistently come to mind when people see the color are “sunshine,” “warmth,” “cheer,” “happiness” and sometimes even “playfulness.”

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Warm Tones

If you’re looking for colors for a living room or sitting area, consider warm tones such as earthy browns and beiges, because these colors can help stimulate conversation. Kate Smith, a color consultant, told WebMD that warm tones help you “feel the warmth, the connection with other people.”

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If you’re looking for a lively color, try orange. Orange can give off an energetic vibe, according to Sherwin-Williams. “An orange wall can bring a dynamic energy to any room. It can simultaneously “brighten a space while warming it up,” the paint company notes.

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Studies have shown that the color pink can be calming. In fact, BBC reports that a 1979 study of colors used in prisons found that pink helped lower aggression. “In Switzerland, 20 percent of prisons and police stations have at least one pink cell.”

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Use gray to induce a feeling of serenity in your home. Whether it’s used in a living room, dining room or bedroom, gray allows other colors to pop against it. “It might be pegged as too serious for certain rooms, but gray can sing on its own anywhere from the bedroom to the study,” notes the blog.

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Looking to make a big, bold statement? Red works well as a stimulant, so try it in the dining room. Red, according to an interview with Leslie Harrington, a color consultant and a noted expert on the use of color in residential and industrial decor, encourages conversation. “If your dining room is red, people may think you are a better cook,” Harrington told WebMD. These are the best dining room colors this year, so try it in the dining room.

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You probably know blues can be calming, but researchers found they can also boost imagination and creativity. A study, published by the journal Science and summarized in a New York Times article, conducted tests with 600 people to determine whether cognitive performance varied when people saw the colors red or blue. The study found blue groups did better on tests that required imagination. If you work from home, try painting your office blue to promote creativity. While you’re at it, try out the best home office chair.

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Looking to spark creativity? Try green. Pacific Standard magazine notes that a study back in 2012 found that even brief exposure to the color green can increase innovative thinking. Try green in your home office, study or craft room.

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Purple or Violet

Psychology Today reports that people link grayish violet with sophistication. A muted purple or violet would work well in a foyer where you greet people and make a first impression. Add a DIY shoe-storage bench to make your entryway even more comfortable.”

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Not sure if a bold color is for you? White not only makes a room look spacious, but it appeals to those who are looking for a clean looking space. Plus, there are many shades of white to choose from—both cool and warm. “The key to choosing a white paint color is actually trying it in the room,” according to Architectural Digest. “Get samples of your top few picks and paint generously sized swatches on the wall. You can see how the colors look at different times of day and under various lighting conditions.”

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Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.