Is there a rule about painting rooms in different colors? My partner just got back from the paint store, and they refused to sell him more colors until he tried them all out on the wall. We both love bright colors - him even more than me. Is there a wrong or right way to do this?

- L.
A: That is kind of funny, although it does seem odd. Why wouldn't the paint store want to sell paint? If the colors make you both happy, go for it, especially if you aren't planning on selling soon.

I prefer soft neutrals, grays, and whites, but more than that, I want you to be happy in your own home. As I'm sure you've heard, most people want something in neutral tones and would use bright colors as accents.

Color has a lot of power to change your mood. Bright colors are dramatic and strong, especially if they are red, orange, and yellow. They're also cheery, exciting, and fun. Even bright blue, green, and purple are bold.

It also may be that you prefer clean, simple colors - hues that aren't toned down or muddied with white or gray or other colors. When you need to use more than one word to describe a color, it's probably muted, grayed, or softer than a pure color. Examples are brownish green, orange-yellow, and grayish purply blue.

A happy medium is to pick a bright color and create a slightly quieter, simpler scheme, with lighter and darker versions of the same color as accents. Choose off-white or light gray with coordinating undertones for the trim. Pure white might be too much contrast.

Also, if you choose to paint each room a different color, consider anchoring the rooms by painting a common wall the same color and coordinate the adjacent walls. Then tie in the colors you choose with fabrics and accessories.

Good luck with that paint store, and let me know how it goes.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.

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