Color is key when you only live in a few hundred square feet of space, as most of us in New York City do. And a fresh coat of paint can literally mean the difference between a dull, drab or even stressful living space and a warm, happy, welcoming place to call home. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either.

The first question is, what color do you want to paint your home? According to a recent study, the color you use to coat your bedroom walls can play a big role in the quality of the sleep you get each night. The survey finds that the color blue is linked to calm, soothing feelings and is thought to slow the heart rate and even reduce blood pressure.

Here’s what else researchers discovered:

Green and yellow are also winners, with those choosing these colors clocking up roughly seven hours and 40 minutes of sleep.

However, it’s best to avoid purple, which is too stimulating and can cut nightly hours of rest to less than six. Grey and brown get the thumbs-down for being too dreary and depressing.

Whatever the research, though, you should pick colors that make you feel personally calm and happy. And before moving on, we must say a few words about white: Many people in the Big Apple believe that having a small apartment means your walls must be white, lest the place seem even smaller. That’s a myth, as most professional decorators disagree. If you’re a fan of white, then go for it.  But if you’re one of those people for whom white walls feel like a padded cell, go for color. And don’t be afraid of warm, rich or even dark earth tones, especially in your sleeping area. A darker room means less light reflection, so you may find yourself sleeping later and better. Click here to get more ideas about painting small spaces.

Once you’ve chosen your colors, the next step is choosing how you’re going to paint your apartment. In other words, hire someone to do it, or do it yourself? This is really a financial question. In New York City, you can find any number of people offering their painting services on Craig’s List for less than $500 a room. But as with anything else in NYC, use caution.

Benjamin Moore has some good tips for hiring a painter, which you can read here. Here are the headlines:

1) Ask Around

2) Get Estimates from at Least Three Contractors

3) Interview Each Candidate

4) Pay Attention to Behavior

5) Check References

6) Review the Contract

If you want to save money, and you’re a handy kind of person, you can always act as your own painter. The Huffington Post has some great tips for first-time painters, which you can read here. These are the main points:

1. Prepare Properly

2. Invest in Quality Paint

3. Spend the Extra Money on Brushes

4. Coat Well

5. Only Buy What You Need

6. Register Your Color

We wish you the best of luck on your painting project. And we’d love to see the results! Share your newly painted room photos with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest!