A "happy medium" is no cliche when it comes to happy colors. Look to midtones that are located on the paint chips between the deep, saturated colors and soft pastels. Choose a shade you love -- you can even mix two or three together -- then layer in pale and intense tones as you go. To increase the happiness quotient, include one of the primaries - red, yellow, or blue. These shades are what energize toddlers in preschools, lift spirits in medical centers, and encourage creativity at media companies, Internet startups, and centers of innovation. You'll know when to stop when you step into the space and feel happy.
Decide how you want to dive in and start with our happy paint color picks to help you create your look. Note: Actual colors may appear differently than on screen. Always consult paint color chips. Palettes designed by Khristian A. Howell.
A living room should be a happy place where you greet friends and family and hang out. Start with small accents, like throw pillows, lamp bases, photo frames, or area rugs that feature one or two of the "happy" palette. Teal, goldenrod, and persimmon are trendy shades of the powerful trio. Work these into your scheme in little doses, see how you like them, and then add more. Does goldenrod make your heart sing? Add more of it as an accent chair and patterned curtains. For even more impact, paint the wall above the fireplace or the backs of bookshelves.
A happy bedroom is a restful one. For this space, turn the volume of the happy colors down to the hushed tones of blush, soft apple, and faded periwinkle. These muted shades also work well as wall paint because, unlike jewel tones that sparkle in public spaces, they are visually quieter. If you prefer a more saturated look, choose one or two hues to keep at full volume and mix in more subdued neutrals.
To make a dining room feel happy -- yet still sophisticated enough for entertaining -- pick variations of happy colors in classic, mature shades, such as crimson, nautical blue, or jade green. Decide where you want to let this happy shade play -- is it subtly on dinnerware and accessories, in more forward doses on window treatments and upholstery, or in full view on walls? Wherever you pick, incorporate neutrals and wood tones on the other locations.
You can go bold in a kitchen, where clamoring activities naturally make it a happy space. Pick the most overt, playful shades of the happy palette -- stop sign red, sunshine yellow, and cobalt blue. When set off against white cabinets and white or dark gray countertops, these shades ring out with clarity, so use them in tempered amounts like backsplash accent tiles, a window valance, or countertop accessories. If you want to make a bigger statement, paint the island, and it will become an instant focal point.
This happy palette is perfect for a kid's bath, where primary reds, yellows, and blues are already evident on shampoo bottles and bath toys. In an adult bath, this palette can play out in a more conservative way as midtones like coral, lemon, and sky. Here again, the palette can work as a trio, or pick one shade to apply around the space on walls and accessories. Or, try a duo: Paint the vanity cabinetry sky blue and hang a coral-framed mirror above, for instance, or a lemon curtain hanging in front of a shower tiled in sky blue glass.
Let the colors of your entryway set a cheerful welcome for visitors. Examine the adjacent spaces and pick up on a happy hue to make a big splash in your entryway. For example, if you use sea glass green in your living room, use a midtone of the color (think jade) in your entryway. Pair your happy colors with carefree patterns, such as stripes, and surfaces, such as a high-gloss white console table. Look for ways to incorporate multicolor items in these happy midtones, such as on a rug or piece of art.