In Living Color: Easy Paint Updates

By Kieran DiTullio

Paint the walls in dazzling hues to give your home a dramatic new look.

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Orange room
Photo from The Nest Home Design Handbook: Simple Ways to Decorate, Organize and Personalize Your Place, Clarkson Potter/Publishers

Orange Zest

There's no better facelift for a room than a fresh coat of paint. But as anyone who has ever grappled with choosing a paint color knows, it's much easier to just go with white. We feel your pain, but relax: You can find your true color with a few tips. Color looks remarkably different on a wall than it does on a 2-inch chip, so go with a shade or two grayer than the color you want. This especially helps for lighter colors -- a pale hue that seems pleasant enough on a chip can look positively Day-Glo on a wall. Also, walls reflect off one another and intensify hues -- another reason to tone it down. Test before you buy: Nearly all companies offer samples, so pick three shades and paint generous swatches. Observe how the colors look in differing light over a 24-hour period and make your decision after that. Happy painting!

Here: The rich orange on these foyer walls gives guests a warm welcome. When you work with strong colors, be sure to consider the shades of the adjacent rooms: Here, the saturated lemon yellow on a neighboring wall is strong enough to hold its own against the pumpkin hue.

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