Readers share their favorite shades to live with, from orange to aquamarine—and everything in between.

By Real Simple
Updated July 18, 2011
Christopher Silas Neal

Sage green reminds me of spring, but I mostly love it because of how well it hides dirt. Somehow my kids’ fingerprints nearly disappear on my living room’s sage green walls. Another great trick: I throw a tablecloth with sage green leaves over my kids’ homework on the dining-room table when we have company. No one has a clue that the mess is under there.
Jen Baker
Hackettstown, New Jersey.

My mother wore a lot of bright lipstick red clothing when I was a child—just one of the reasons the hue has such positive associations for me. When I see my two red couches or walk into my red dining room, I think of ripe cherries, autumn foliage, and Christmas. The color is heart, home, warmth, and good cheer, all rolled into one.
Catherine S. Vodrey
East Liverpool, Ohio

I adore olive green furniture. My contemporary pieces in that color complement my antiques, making them look less dated and helping them blend in with the rest of the decor.
Leigh Dierck
Los Angeles, California

I’ve spent my whole life in the military, which means I’ve moved around a lot (to 33 different places in 52 years!). Decorating each new home has been one of my greatest pleasures, and that’s due, in part, to chocolate brown. It goes with everything. I made my first chocolate brown purchase at age 19, when I bought a king-size bed. Today I have drapes, throw pillows, and a dining-room table in that same color.
Sharon Ross
Yigo, Guam

Where I live, the winters are long and gray. But thanks to my yellow rooms, I wake up to sunshine year-round.
Jan Hournbuckle
Brownsburg, Indiana

I became obsessed with fuchsia while planning my wedding (I selected that shade for the bridal-party flowers). However, my husband isn’t a fan, so I have to sneak it in—like placing a fuchsia dish on our wood barn table, fuchsia runners in the guest room, or fuchsia towels on the rack. My husband keeps quiet about it, although I know it drives him a little crazy.
Courtney Browell
Fort Knox, Kentucky

Aquamarine is a game changer. Add aqua pillows to your couch or paint a wall that color and presto! You have a fresher and more uplifting place to kick back and relax.
Sarah Roberts
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

The cure for a drab room isn’t color—it’s white. You can’t go wrong with white linen curtains or a bright white comforter on a bed. Scatter a few plants in the vicinity and you have organic calm.
Stephanie Morabe Harper
Dublin, California

Cobalt blue instantly transports me. I once told my husband that I would like to laminate my floor cobalt blue so it would look as if I were gliding on the ocean when I walked across it.
Karin Pacetti
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

I first fell in love with plum in college. (My roommate wore a gorgeous eye shadow in that shade, and I coveted it.) Thirteen years later, I’m decorating with it. Unexpected yet somehow classic, plum makes any room feel more inviting. I have plum accessories in my bedroom and sitting room, and I plan on adding a plum accent wall to my living room.
Amy Lucca
Smithtown, New York

A beautiful picture of two rocking chairs hangs above my bed in a light blue frame. Every time I look at it, I feel so carefree—as if I were sitting in one of those chairs rocking on a sunlit porch. That’s one reason I’m drawn to blue. Another: My sons can’t get enough of it.
Nicole Piccone
Mahopac, New York

Orange is a true wow color: It’s the essence of happiness. I have orange accent pillows, an orange wall, and even an orange bathroom. Every person who walks in there says, “I love it.” Of course, I do, too.
Cheryl Hauser
Minneapolis, Minnesota

When a new decorating project arises, I often think that I’ll use a bright color. But ultimately I settle on the one I find most comforting: beige. One of my rooms is a pumpkin-tinted beige; another is more like wheat. They both feel warm, cozy, and familiar.
Giovanna March
Lake Grove, New York