Updating a room? Want to bring some new energy into your home? A brush, a roller and a strategically chosen color can accomplish a lot.

There's no scientific consensus on the psychological effects of different shades of paint, but plenty of interior designers – and Feng Shui practitioners – play by a few basic rules when decorating.

  • Green – It's associated with relaxation and growth, and green can be used to create an atmosphere that promotes a calm state of mind. Cool shades of blue achieve a similar effect, especially when combined with design elements related to water.
  • Red – Want a call to action? Paint the room red! Symbolizing fire, energy – and some say hunger – red can be effectively toned up or down to achieve specific goals. For example, the darker shade of burgundy expresses richness and sophistication; a bright, apple red is associated with passion.
  • Yellow – It's an open invitation. Yellow is considered disarming and joyous when it's bright – and even when it's muted it evokes an energetic response. Use this color in a reading room or office where your mind is stimulated.
  • Orange – Increase your creativity and action with orange. In its bright shades, orange can be a great mood-setter for a room where you expect company to gather and fun-loving times.
  • White – If you're looking for a light, airy place to promote order and clear thinking, choose white. If it's too stark, consider adding an accent wall of a muted earth tone to warm the room.
  • Black – Used well, black can be dramatic. It represents introspection and the mysterious, but for most people, it's a challenging color. Unless you're sure it's what you want (or are willing to repaint if necessary) it's best to stick to black for accent colors, especially in a white room, where it helps create a timeless, grounded feel.

Experimenting with color can be fun, but bold paint choices aren't usually recommended if you're selling your home

That's when you can turn to your local RE/MAX agent for guidance. He or she can advise you on what buyers in your area want and what they don't want. In many cases, the safest color for a home for sale is a neutral shade with the broadest mass appeal. 

If you're selling your home, you probably should save the experiments for your new place.