Interior decorating is not an easy job — there’s a reason we often turn to residential home designers to take the reigns and make the big decisions. If you’re currently in the midst of decorating your home, you may be facing one of the most important choices in the design process: paint color. In order to help you make sense of the task before you, we’ve put together a few tips that should ease the process.

Think About Your Mood

The color of a room’s walls will dictate a lot about the mood that room inspires; as a result, it’s crucial that you consider mood before anything else. Soft, cool colors and neutrals often create a quieter color, while strong, bold colors are used for drama. Since brighter colors are stimulating, you’ll want to avoid them in the bedroom; sometimes, they can even lead to unrest and irritability! Dip your toe into color psychology and go from there.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Paint stores have light boxes for you to test paint chips in. Natural daylight shows the truest color; incandescent lighting brings out warmer tones and yellows; fluorescent light casts a sharper, blue tone. In short, a strong color on the walls of a room with a large window may appear too bright and overpowering but may be the best choice for an accent wall that only receives indirect light. Play around with your options and — most importantly — don’t rush.

Test It Out

The very worst thing you can do is hastily paint your entire room and then realize belatedly that the color just isn’t right. If you take your time, you can actually bolster your confidence in your final choice; test colors on poster board or even areas of the actual wall. Worst case scenario, you find out that it doesn’t look how you imagined and you only have one small spot to cover up.

Whether you’re remodeling a single room or the entire house (35% of remodeling jobs involve the whole home), the color of your walls is extremely important. If you still can’t make heads or tails of the experience, seek out a professional; residential home designers possess the knowledge and skill to give you exactly what you’re picturing — even if you can’t see it yet.