Painting a room is the quickest and least expensive way to update a room and give it personality. But choosing a paint color requires a bit of thought and insight. What will you use the room for? What do you want it to say? Here are a few things Ann Fiorio, interior designer, ASID of California Contract and Home in Campbell, says are worth considering before placing one brushstroke on the wall.

Consider the overall mood of your room – A dining room needs a punchy, energetic color like red to inspire lively discussion. In contrast, a master bedroom calls for a soothing color like blue or a similar shade that instills a sense of calm, Fiorio says. Kitchens need a “clean” color while a guest room or power room, which guests use for a short time, could handle a bolder choice.

Consider the lighting in the room. If a room has good natural light you have more freedom to choose from a wider palette of colors. If the room tends to be dark, lean towards a lighter shade, Fiorio says. She suggests always testing the color in your room – not the store where the lighting is different. Most paint stores have 8×11 sheets of color that you could borrow and tape on your wall. Fiorio suggests looking at four different choices on different walls to see how the light affects the colors throughout the day.

Consider your existing flooring material. A dark floor or light carpet will play a big part in choosing your paint color. A room with similar flooring and wall colors evokes a sense of calm while a room with high-contrasting floor and paint colors is more energetic and lively, Fiorio says. You could also pull a shade from your flooring and paint it on the wall for a complementary look.

Consider your ceiling a fifth wall. A white ceiling looks unfinished, Fiorio says. Instead, paint it a reduced version of your wall color. For example, if you have a neutral taupe on your wall, reduce it by half and paint it on your ceiling.

Consider washability. High-sheen paints used to be the only ones on the market that were the easiest to keep clean. But now most paint manufacturers have produced a washable matte version, Fiorio says. Only use a high-sheen paint on walls without imperfections as the sheen will draw attention to every nick and scratch. Fiorio suggests painting bathrooms in a mildew-resistant satin finish as well as kitchens. Woodwork should be in a semi-gloss finish while common living spaces and bedrooms could use a flat finish. Children’s rooms could benefit from a washable matte finish.

Consider the feel of your entire house. The color palette in your entire house should work together as a whole. If you have earthtones in half of your house and cool colors in the other half, your home will feel disjointed. Every room can have its own personality, but your whole house should have one cohesive look, Fiorio says.

Kelly Barbazette is a journalist turned stay-at-home mom. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in Gilroy. She also writes for Gilroy Today.