Can a Paint Color Spark Joy? These Hues Just Might

updated May 3, 2019
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If you’ve recently decluttered your home with the KonMari Method, you may be thinking, “What’s next?” With a clean slate and your home in harmony, these hues with joy-sparking names could be the key to a happier space.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“Once all that mess is taken care of you can think in new ways,” says Leatrice Eiseman, the color forecaster who serves as executive director of the Pantone® Color Institute and director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information & Training. “Sometimes people hesitate to redecorate because they are confused when there is so much stuff around. When you start with a clean slate, then you can really allow your creative juices to flow. It’s like a new beginning and color can represent a new beginning.”

A fresh coat of paint can help make your newly tidied space shine. And, by choosing the right color you can continue to spark joy in your home by making an uplifting statement.

“One of the most interesting aspects of color is its ability to impact mood and how a space feels,” says Benjamin Moore’s color and design expert Andrea Magno. “… Along the lines of Marie Kondo, if a certain color brings you joy, there’s a good chance that it will translate well to the home and continue that feeling of color happiness.”

Eiseman, who heads up Pantone’s annual Color of the Year selection, recommends looking inward to discover what colors lift your spirits. “It goes back to your childhood and often when we are kids the things that have the most impact are things that make us happy,” she says.

You may find that the colors that make you smile have deep psychological roots in your past. The hue may be inspired by your favorite pink bunny rabbit or bright red bicycle you got for your birthday.

“Selecting colors that bring you joy and strategically using them within your home can set the tone for your day and significantly impact how you feel when you retreat to a space that’s uniquely yours,” says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr Paint.

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(Image credit: Swatches: BEHR)

Naturally, joyful colors are subjective and range from person to person. You may want to bring the sunshine into your home with a cheerful yellow. Or you may want to create a tranquil refuge with a fresh aqua.

“If we think in terms of ‘clean,’ cooler colors speak to me. There are a lot of blues, greens and lavenders on the cool side,” says Eiseman, who notes that after completing the KonMari Method people may want to select a fresh, tranquil color to complete their zen-like space.

Greens also double as neutrals. It’s an easily accessible shade that can be applied to spaces. After all, green is the most ubiquitous color in nature.

“With green and blue, almost anything else is going to work with it,” says Eiseman. “It’s a great discovery. You don’t have to do the default white or off-white. If there is a new beginning, why not go into new territory? It’s neutral enough that it will work with other colors.”

For those who want to spark joy with a calming color, Eiseman recommends aqua tones. “It is a cooling and soothing color,” she says. “It makes you think of water and things that are clean.” If you need a deeper and richer hue, the color expert suggests venturing into the teal family.

But what if your happiness exists on the other end of the color spectrum? You prefer sunny yellows and exuberant oranges.

“Bright, warm colors spark joy and lift our mood. Also, colors inspired by nature, like yellows, greens and pinks, give us a sense of health and growth that helps us think positively,” says Sherwin-Williams’ color and trend expert Sue Wadden.

For instance, in a dark, dreary, and cluttered apartment, sunny tones can instantly lift the mood and evoke a more cheerful atmosphere. “Certainly the yellows and the warm peachy tones tend to be joyful colors because warm colors bring that sense of joy,” says Eiseman.

Pinks are also a great option for warmer hues. Eiseman suggests shades that are more subtle and toned-down: “You’ve got to be cautious with pinks so that they aren’t to candified and too sweet.” So, you might want to rethink that Pepto-Bismol pink.

For more on color theory, check out Eiseman’s books “Colors For Your Every Mood” and “The Complete Color Harmony.”