What Your Paint Color Says About You

If your walls could talk, here's what they would reveal.

By Sarah Stebbins
Dominic Blackmore/Ideal HomeDominic Blackmore/Ideal Home
Look around the rooms in your home and you'll probably pick up on a theme (or two). Perhaps you're gazing out at a sea of blues and greens-or a spectrum of sunset shades. "Paint color is an expression of your personality," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of Pantone: The Twentieth Century in Color. "We branch out occasionally, but most of us have a proclivity for certain types of shades." Read on to discover the meaning behind your favorites and tips for creating looks everyone can live with.


If You Gravitate to Soft, Warm Shades… Adrian Briscoe/Homes & GardensAdrian Briscoe/Homes & Gardens Associated with sunshine and roaring fires, yellow and orange (and close cousins peach and pink) have a cheerful, welcoming personality. And most likely, so do you. "People who use warm tones tend to be friendly and nurturing-they love having others over," says Eiseman. The fuzzy feeling we get from these colors isn't just symbolic. Because of their brightness, warm shades appear to spring forward, literally making a room feel more intimate; cool hues, on the other hand, seem to recede, expanding a space.
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Dan Duchars/Ideal HomeDan Duchars/Ideal Home
The luminous quality of the colors is also energizing, stimulating conversation and appetites, says Eiseman. Still, to some, warm can be cloying: Eve Ashcraft, author of The Right Color, had a client who compared a buttery yellow room to "cholesterol." To "bring the temperature down," she recommends mixing in cool blue gray or green furnishings. Also consider less saturated versions of your favorite shades.
Related: Decorating With Blue





If You Gravitate to Soft, Cool Hues…
Adrian Briscoe/Homes & GardensAdrian Briscoe/Homes & Gardens "Most reactions to color come about because of what's around us in nature," says Eiseman. So there are certain universal truths. In studies, people tend to associate pale to medium blues, lavenders, and greens with the sky, a body of water or wide-open field-elements we perceive as being tranquil and soothing. And because mild, cool shades have a lower intensity than warm or bright ones, they are literally easier on the eyes, says Ron Reed, assistant professor of interior design at Texas State University in San Marcos and author of Color + Design: Transforming Interior Space.

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Dan Duchars/Ideal HomeDan Duchars/Ideal Home
If you are drawn to blues and their brethren, you probably view your home as an oasis of calm in a hectic world. You may also be a bit of an introvert. (And we don't mean that disparagingly-check out the bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking for a celebration of the introspective among us.) To prevent watery shades from feeling chilly, Ashcraft, suggests balancing them with hints of yellow, orange, or brown in your furniture and accessories.



See more about what your paint color says about you


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