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Top 10 paint colors to make you smarter

It’s no secret that color affects mood. Bright, cheerful hues can make us happier, while darker shades do little to improve a bad day. But what about when it comes to brain power? With school almost back in session, we wanted to share some top designer picks for the best colors for learning.

Woman looking at paint samples

We asked celebrity interior designers Kari Whitman and Jennifer Adams to weigh in with their top picks for paint colors that help make you smarter. Whitman is up first with five picks, all by Benjamin Moore, followed by five picks from Adams.




This pretty peachy-orange hue is just bright enough to stimulate the mind, but not too bright to distract. “Orange may seem a bit outside the box, but it’s so stimulating and warm,” affirms Whitman. “Young kids especially gravitate toward bright colors.”


Mexicali turquoise

Mexicali Turquoise

While you likely won’t find homework at the top of any kid’s list of favorite activities, they can at least do it in a room that promotes a sense of enjoyment. “A wall of turquoise makes me think of a gorgeous view of the ocean,” says Whitman. “It’s such a tranquil color and it creates a great, relaxed vibe for learning.”




For older kids, a hue that helps promote focus is ideal, especially once the workload gets more demanding. In that case, reach for gray, says Whitman. “Gray also has a calming effect, and a peaceful space can really help you focus.”


Cedar green

Cedar Green

We love the idea of green in an office or study space, and we’re glad Whitman agrees. “Green is a great neutral that sets just the right mood for learning and studying,” she notes. “I’m at peace whenever I feel surrounded by nature, and this shade reminds me of my home in Colorado.”


Aspen white

Aspen White

If you really want to ensure a focus-friendly room, go back to basics, suggests Whitman. “You can’t go wrong with classic white. It’s crisp, it’s fresh, and it’s the perfect backdrop to showcase kids’ artwork,” she notes. You can also add bolder accents to spice up the space while still keeping it conducive to studying.



Benjamin Moore’s Sanctuary

If you like a certain hue but think it might be too dark, choose a lighter version, suggest Adams. “Purple is an interesting color because darker tones can be bold and exciting but moody, yet lighter purples, such as Benjamin Moore’s Sanctuary and Violetta, are calming,” she explains. Give your child’s study space a boost with a soft shade of this regal hue.


Soft mocha

Restoration Hardware’s Latte

Like Whitman, Adams recommends neutrals for study spaces since they can help kids focus. “Hues such as mocha or tan would look and feel nice. We just painted a room in Restoration Hardware’s Latte and we love it,” she tells us.




“An ideal classroom, study area or work space would be mostly off-white with accents of brighter colors to create interest,” says Adams. She also stresses that variety is important in color, light and furniture arrangements. “Break up a big wall with bold art, and keep other clutter to a minimum.”


Pale blue

Sherwin Williams’ Bravo Blu

Is there any color that creates a serene atmosphere (perfect for learning) quite like a pale shade of blue? “Calm, comforting colors such as light blues help us stay focused,” explains Adams. She recommends Sherwin-Williams’ Bravo blue, Iceberg and Topsail as good choices.


Pale green


Similar to pale blue, a refreshing light green is stimulating while still being understated enough for a room dedicated to studying. “The key is making a peaceful, quiet yet interesting atmosphere for quality study,” says Adams. Opt for Sherwin-Williams’ Opaline or Sagey.

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