As we look towards spring and want to shake off winter, thoughts turn to our personal environment: our home. Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to update and refresh.

You’ve probably seen them. People at Home Depot or the local paint store, holding a handful of paint swatches with puzzled looks on their faces. For most of us, selecting a paint color is difficult. Beyond deciding which blue matches your eyes or what green is closest to your daughters bed spread, there is a psychological impact of color in our lives.

Every color we encounter in a space has some impact on how we feel. It can make us feel happy or sad, literally give us a headache or put a warm and fuzzy feeling into our hearts. A recent study by Olympic Paints found that yellow, an old standby for babies rooms, can actually provoke anxiety and babies in yellow nurseries tend to cry more.

Color can affect our appetite, work productivity and even our lovemaking. The saturation or intensity of a color can also alter how you feel. A soft blue can bring back fond memories of childhood while a strong, dark blue can be oppressive.

Don’t let the paint color you choose have the wrong effect. That perfect pink in the store can look like Pepto-Bismal in your bedroom. Terra Cotta might seem the correct selection for that Italian look, but can be dreary and depressing when it surrounds you.

The next time you are stymied and overwhelmed with the choices in the paint department, think beyond what might be neutral or safe, yet remember, color is a psychological tool can can hugely affect your mood and life. Use it well!

On the next post: A Primer On Specific Colors and How They Affect Your Psyche.