Color theory not only involves knowing what colors pair well together—but also what color sets the desired tone for a room. Here’s a quick guide to rules-of-thumb about color in every space of your home.

Opening-Up a Space

You’ve probably heard that lighter colors make a space seem larger, while darker colors can make a space feel like the walls are closing in. This principle holds true in the case of most rooms in your house; however, if you’re trying to use a light paint color to make a space feel light and airy, there’s one more important consideration in terms of hue: whether the base tone of your light colored paint, especially white paint, is warm or cool. We’ve all seen those off-whites that turn jaundice over the years; if you’re going to go with a white, pick one with a blue undertone, like Bakery Box by Behr.

Daring to Go Darker

Although we never want a room to feel claustrophobic, there are some spaces in a home—such as an alcove or reading nook—where an extra case of the cozies couldn’t hurt. This is where a darker, deeper, richer color comes into play quite nicely. A deep forest green is relaxing and conducive to daydreams, while a deep burgundy suggests a space where one can take time out to enjoy a glass of wine and a good book. Pair this deeper, richer color with lamp light and some cozy, lush furniture for an everyday getaway right down the hall.