What colors make a room feel happy? Color psychologists say these shades boost well-being

Boost your mood by incorporating these happy colors into your interiors

Pale blue living room, sofa, jug - vase of flowers, antique vase and painting / A full yellow kitchen with wooden chairs and tables / A two toned green dining room with a darker shade on the bottom of the wall and al ighter shade on top, a wooden dining table and one chair.
(Image credit: Rachael Smith / Little Greene / Little Greene)

Color has the powerful ability to influence our mood and raise our spirits. Yet so many of us struggle to choose a color that has a truly positive effect. So, what colors make a room feel happy?

When it comes to room color ideas, you could choose your favorite color, with shades that are personal to us working wonders on our moods. Alternatively, opt for bright, bold, or nature-inspired shades that are proven to have a positive impact on your mood. 

It can be easy to fall back on safe shades and neutrals when decorating a home, but being adventurous with color can make us happy. 

'Color has the power to transform how a space makes you feel,’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene. ‘Be ambivalent about color trends and instead choose colors that speak to you, be that to make you feel happy and energized or tranquil and serene, your color choices should feel personal to you.'

Here, color psychologists and paint experts have explained which colors are proven to make a room feel happy, and the schemes you should avoid. 

What colors make a room feel happy?  

‘Color theory in its entirety can be a complicated subject,’ explains Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball brand ambassador. ‘There are a few basic principles to help steer you in the right direction, whether you are trying to create the perfect ambiance for a chosen room or specifically wanting to trigger an emotional response in space. The other key factor is light.’ 

When decorating a room to feel happy, consider color theory to steer you in the right direction, using the color wheel to decide on your room or even whole-house color scheme will help you to choose harmonious palettes that will bring happiness and tranquility to any space.  

1. High energy warm tones

A full yellow kitchen with wooden chairs and tables

(Image credit: Little Greene)

‘Happiness is a relative term. What colors make you feel happy?’ asks Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information & Training and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. 

‘Generally, the warm tones of yellow, and orange, warm lavenders and blues, such as periwinkle and warm red or warm pink are associated with happiness.’ 

Although such bold color options may seem daunting, decorating with orange or warm red room ideas can be achieved by adding in colored textiles and decor, rather than painting the whole room.

‘We all have colors that we associate with happiness, and these can often be symbolic for us,’ continues Lee Chambers, psychologist and wellbeing consultant. ‘When it comes to our environments, warmer tones have the ability to boost our mood and give us a burst of energy, and shades of pink, orange and yellow can all give us a slice of joy when we are feeling a little low.’ 

When using bright colors, consider opting for more muted tones with matte finishes to provide depth and ensure the shade isn't overly vibrant or too stimulating. 

Yellow room ideas, on the other hand, are great high-energy spaces that can inspire movement and activity. ‘Yellow (orange shares similar characteristics) is the color of energy, happiness, and optimism and therefore a brilliant choice for either a kitchen or a home office – but try and avoid in a bedroom as this primarily is a space for rest,’ warns Patrick. 

2. Bright sky blues

Pale blue living room, sofa, jug - vase of flowers, antique vase and painting

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Adding blue room ideas to your home speaks to the lazy blue skies of summer, offering your home an air of hot days all year round. 

‘If sky blue makes you happy because it reminds you of a clear day that you always enjoy, that would be the appropriate color for you,’ Leatrice advises.

‘Blue has many emotional attributes – at the paler end, tranquillity and calm, to intelligence at the darker end. It is often considered a restful and sympathetic color – so a paler blue is ideal for a bedroom such as Light Blue or Parma Gray. Err towards darker blue shades for the home office, living room, or kitchen,’ adds Patrick. 

Decorating with blue is a great option if you want to try color drenching, as different layering shades can create a sense of depth. 

3. Nature inspired greens

A two toned green dining room with a darker shade on the bottom of the wall and al ighter shade on top, a wooden dining table and one chair.

(Image credit: Little Greene)

‘Green is a joy to use – the primary color of nature and the outdoors. Green is the perfect color family to deliver calm and serenity and therefore has the flexibility to be applied in every room throughout the home but is especially great for bedrooms and sitting rooms. It symbolizes renewal and growth,' explains Patrick.

Green room ideas are not only versatile, but the shade itself is too. When taking inspiration from nature, consider the whole range of green tones, from mossy forest greens to slubby olives and pistachios. 

Decorating with green can even be achieved by simply incorporating plants into your space, or opting for full tonal layering. Like blue, different green shades through accents will add depth and texture to an otherwise monochromatic scheme.  


What colors don't make a room feel happy?

Fire engine reds can be incredibly stimulating colors, with many people associating the shade with danger or warnings. Because of this, it is often one of those colors that causes anxiety, and it's wise to avoid using high saturation reds and tone the scheme down. 

When decorating with red, consider using more natural options such as a raspberry shade, or alternatively add bold colors in increments, painting a doorway, trim, or adding the color through decor. 

Creating smaller features from bright shades can create colorful focal points that bring happiness and joy. 

One of the most positive colors is considered to be yellow. One of spring's most beautiful shades, yellow is not often seen in interiors but works well for both energizing spaces, or toned down with neutrals as an accent for bright, happy pops of color. 

Yellows can be added to your home as bright homages to summer sunflowers, or dirtier mustards for a more moody look. Either way, this color is touted for its ability to bring positivity into your life. 

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.