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.

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    Mute Button

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

    -- Erica Lugbill, designer

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    Best Paint

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

    -- Courtney Price, designer

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    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

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    Time and Place

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

    -- Emily Henderson, stylist

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    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 Nature-Inspired Color Palettes

    Nature-Inspired Color Palettes

    Bring the great outdoors inside! Take your hue cues from Mother Nature and build decorating themes and color schemes that are sure to please through every season.
    Begin Slideshow »

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