Ultimately, the way to enhance your mood with color may be both simple and liberating: Notice which colors move you,then splash them around.

Western culture tends to avoid the bold colors that are most enlivening, says designer Ingrid Fetel Lee, author of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. We default to neutrals, like beige (“yellow with all the joy sucked out of it,” as Lee calls it. ) We may worry that using lots of color will seem unsophisticated–like a child let loose with markers–or we may know where to begin. “But there are ways to gain color courage,” Lee says. Start taking small steps to brighten your life with color. Add a riotous pillow to a drab corner, or don a purple scarf on a blah day. “Even one splash of color can have a powerful effect on how you feel and on the energy you bring into your day,” Lee says. Here’s some inspiration.

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