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How to Choose Colors You'll Love

With an almost infinite roster of color options, it can be a challenge to winnow down a palette to the right hues. Learn how to develop your eye for color and pick out the best colors for your decorating with these designer tips.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Start Right

      Start with a color you love. Even if it’s not a trend at the moment, it will always be on trend in a space that resonates with you.

      -- Khristian A. Howell, textile designer and color expert

    • Color Relationships

      Colors close together on the color wheel are analogous and will make a calm room. Colors that are farther apart are complementary and add drama.

      -- David Bromstad, designer and HGTV star

    • Well-Blended

      Blend in strong colors. A bold color on the wall will feel jarring unless you consider the trim and ceiling color in your plans.

      -- Patrice Cowan Bevans, designer

    • Nature's Colors

      What’s more livable than the colors found right outside your back door? Look to earthy, natural colors -- blues, greens, beige, and taupe -- when choosing color for your rooms.

      -- Sehra Han, designer

    • Mute Button

      When choosing wall colors, find versions of your favorite colors that are muted with gray.

      -- Erica Lugbill, designer

    • Best Paint

      Choose the best paint you can afford. Good paint has better pigments and a more livable finish.

      -- Courtney Price, designer

    • Color Redux

      If you find a color that you love but you’re afraid it might be too dark, ask the person mixing the paint to do a 50 percent tint of the color.

      -- Gail Wright, designer

    • Time and Place

      Look at paint colors in the morning and night, and put them near your furniture.

      -- Emily Henderson, stylist

    • Take It with You

      When you shop for paint, take along an existing pillow, a piece of drapery fabric, or a photo of your space. You’ll make informed color decisions.

      -- Alejandra Nernardez, designer

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      Establish a Flow

      For a cohesive look, flow two or three of the same colors in each room. An accent wall in the family room is reflected in the master bedroom bedding, for example.

      -- Diana Hathaway Timmons, designer

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      Color Personality

      Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange have an energizing effect. Blue, green, and gray are calming.

      -- David Bromstad, designer and HGTV star

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      Statement Color

      Save strong wall colors for statement rooms that are smaller and visited less -- a library, guest room, or a powder room.

      -- Lulu Dekwiatkowski, textile designer

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      Match It

      You can take just about anything to the paint store and ask the associate to mix a paint that’s a perfect match using the store’s color reader.

      -- Danny Seo, lifestyle expert

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      Rooms by Color

      Choose colors based on the use of a room. Morning rooms can be brighter; rooms used at night can go dark.

      -- Beth Kushnick, set decorator

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      Go Bold

      Give yourself permission to use a bold color. You don’t have to love it everywhere -- one throw or pillow might be just enough.

      -- Nate Berkus, designer

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      Propensity for Intensity

      Play with intensity. I love monochromatic rooms that use a single hue in a variety of ways.

      -- Sarah Richardson, designer

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      Trimmed Out

      In the same way a bright shoe adds surprise and fun to a black outfit, an unexpected touch of trim along a curtain panel or in piping can add color in a way that’s easy to live with.

      -- Anna Lobell, designer

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      From Room to Room

      When rooms open to one another, avoid choosing radically different colors, or the space will look choppy and small.

      -- Courtney Price

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      Tone It Down

      Choose your favorite color, but watch that it’s not too bright.

      -- Maria Killam, color expert

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      Color Everywhere

      Your home is made up of more than walls -- ceilings, floors, stairs, and doors are also great places to have fun with paint.

      -- Bob and Cortney Novogratz, designers

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      Next Slideshow Bedroom Color Schemes

      Bedroom Color Schemes

      Whether you crave a palette of bright colors or prefer a soothing scheme of neutrals for your bedroom, find inspiration from these bedrooms that showcase colors perfectly.
      Begin Slideshow »



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