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

  • 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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