Refresh Your Rooms With Color

A fresh paint job enlivens a ho-hum interior, but picking the right color (or combination of colors) and figuring out where best to put it and how much to use can prove perplexing.

To narrow your choices, break out a color wheel. Paint pros use this tool to see how colors will look together before they roll them on. Hues that are next to each other on the wheel, such as yellow and green, make pleasing pairs, as do shades of complementary colors, which are found on opposite sides of the wheel.

To judge where and how much, try the 60-30-10 rule. "Basically you use a dominant color for 60 percent of the room, a recessive one for 30, and an accent for 10," says color expert Debbie Zimmer of the Paint Quality Institute. For a whole-house scheme, Zimmer suggests using the same three colors but varying which ones play the starring and supporting roles.

If you're thinking on a smaller scale, consider adding a single dose of a color you love to just one element in a room, such as the inside of a built-in bookcase. "Painting one surface or an interesting architectural detail is such a great way to get some bold punch," says Ann McGuire, a color consultant for Valspar and founder of Beehive Studios.

See more paint tips put to work in 15 colorful spaces. Then steal a few to stylishly and inexpensively update any tired rooms in your house.
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