Courtney Lake

Picking colors for your home

While there probably isn't one definitive best or worst color for any specific room in your home, there are definitely some guidelines you can follow to make good color choices. In addition to considering the use of the room, you should assess the overall lighting in the room, the size of the room and your own personal color preferences before choosing a color. Home design expert and blogger Courtney Lake shares his tips on choosing the right color for each room of your home.

Photo credit: Monogram Decor

Colors for the dining room

When choosing dining room colors, earthy tones tend to be the most popular choice. Not only do these colors convey a feeling of warmth, but they are also very versatile. Using the psychology of color, colors such as red and orange tend to be stimulating and are thought to increase a person's appetite. On the other side of the spectrum, blue tends to suppress the appetite, and as such, it is often thought to be a poor color choice for a dining room.

Colors for the kitchen

Kitchen Decor

Photo credits: Designer: Courtney Lake / Photography: Photo by Adza

When choosing colors for the kitchen, using the color of the cabinets as a guide is often the best approach, because the cabinets are among the most expensive features of the room. Popular colors to use in the kitchen include earthy tones such as brown, peach and yellow. Strong colors such as brick red can also look nice in the kitchen, especially used as an accent color along with more neutral shades. Courtney Lake, of Courtney Out Loud, uses the produce aisle as a steadfast rule for selecting colors in the kitchen. "This simple rule allows you a full spectrum of colors that will make your morning cup of coffee more tolerable."

Greens and blues are not generally thought to be the best choice for kitchen, especially in the lighter shades. However, accents of dark hunter green or blue can sometimes be used effectively. Courtney believes that navy is also an exception "applied in lacquer to cabinetry and mixed with a warm metal like oil-rubbed bronze or brass. That combination immediately turns what is otherwise a hue that reminds me of rancid meat into a luxe and sexy backdrop perfect for whipping up some romantic meal."

Yet Lake states that when it is all said and done, he is a bit of a classicist when it comes to kitchens. "I love a tone-on-tone off-white kitchen that mixes shades of cream and taupe with the warmth of marble. It's a timeless look that can be easily updated with little effort as your tastes evolve."

We recently completed a small kitchen in Berkeley that is a testament to the versatility of this color combo. ((NOTE, let's leave this as a photo caption, if this is the photo that he shared).

Colors for the living room

Colors for the living room

Photo credits: Designer: Courtney Lake / Photography: Photo by Adza

Living room colors are often best selected by taking the overall size and lighting of the room into consideration. The mood you are trying to achieve is also important. Light colors will make the room seem larger, but using dark colors is also sometimes desirable, because they can add a cozy look to a room.

Warm colors, whether they are light colors like beige, cream or shades of yellow can add a warm and inviting look, while cooler colors such as gray can add a more formal appearance. Extremely intense colors such as bright red are generally not good choices for a living room, as they are too stimulating, but shades of burgundy and maroon can be used effectively.

Associated with the sky, sea, earth and fire, as well as a wide variety of shades to choose from, blue is the color of choice for Courtney Lake. Partial to National Seashore and Cravin' Blue from Dutch Boy Paints, Courtney points out that blue paint with a gray base will have a warmer tone than a blue with a clear base. The bit of gray in the base makes these colors quite versatile, as they can pair with either cooler or warmer tones. Try them with a tangerine orange and a steely gray for a bold take on a modern and colorful living room.

Colors for the bathroom

Colors for the bathroom

Photo credits: Designer: Courtney Lake / Photography: Photo by Adza

When choosing colors for the bathroom, take into consideration the overall effect you are trying to achieve. Light colors and natural shades such as light blue, seafoam green and light earthy shades have always been popular for bathrooms, because they can create a relaxing spa feeling.

However, Courtney Lake believes that bathrooms are the one place that you should be dramatic, which is why he favors shades of gray for the room. "More often than not, bathrooms have little to no natural light, so why not play up the drama with a dark and moody color?" Courtney's favorite gray is Seal Gray from Glidden Paints — it has a brown base to it which gives it a warm underglow, and it pairs beautifully with natural stone and midtone wood finishes.

We used the color in a San Francisco high-rise to create a moody and relaxing place to unwind.(NOTE: SAME WITH THIS ONE, use quote for shared photo).

Try to avoid extremely dark colors if the bathroom is small, because these colors will just make the room seem smaller. However, darker colors can be used effectively to create dramatic effects. Because the room is small, almost any color that fits your personal taste can be used effectively.

Colors for the bedroom

Guest bedroom

Photo credits: Designer: Courtney Lake / Photography: Photo by Adza

Choosing relaxing colors such as blues, greens and light earth tones is often the best approach for the bedroom. Try to avoid bright and jarring colors such as red, bright yellow and other intense shades, at least in large areas, because they are too stimulating for a restful room such as a bedroom. However, a romantic look can be created with colors such as burgundy, peach, coral or pink shades.

More about paint colors

Best colors for kitchen cabinets
Decorating with green
Decorating with colorful artwork

Tags: color room colors

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Comments on "Best & worst colors for each room in your house"

Tom April 01, 2014 | 10:58 PM

Wow so nicely said im always confused with colors bt the way you have explained it makes so sense.Thanks for this

jennifer wolfe September 24, 2013 | 1:59 PM

If I see another red hued dining room, I'm going to puke! There are no rules for colors--that's so archaic. Paint your home with colors that make you feel good. I have a greenish blue dining room and everyone who comes over loves the look of that room. No one is passing up seconds because of the color of the wall, trust me on that--although I certainly could afford to do so!

shirley sanders September 04, 2013 | 3:05 PM

Thinking about painting my dining room red with white trim. I have just painted an old table and chairs w chalk paint. table is grey and chairs are a soft white.

melissa July 06, 2013 | 8:09 PM

I have found spas are very relaxing what about a medium to light shade of plum for the living room and for the bathroom shades of both plum and sage?

Paula Williams May 22, 2013 | 7:54 AM

My living room and kitchen are one big room, which making it harder for me to decide on a color. Cabinets in kitchen are maple and my living room had brown curtains and brown couches. I don't like colors that are too light, such as antique white or cream and my husband doesn't like dark colors. Do you have any suggestions as to what would be a good choice considering our tastes and the decor I described? I just do not see how I can apply 2 colors to these two rooms since there is nothing diving them.

amina January 22, 2013 | 6:30 PM

Your advice on the best colours for each room in the house has been very helpful, could you please tell me how to select and blend colours using a colour wheel? Thank you

June Armstrong March 23, 2011 | 5:55 AM

We have a small business of building small starter homes. I need advice of cordinating all the olors

Marcia February 19, 2010 | 4:02 PM

Can you tell me the name/color of the paint in Javier Bardem's kitchen in the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona and who makes it?

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