bathroom with bright green wainscoting
Photo: Abode/Beateworks/Corbis
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Pick Bold Color Combos

The trick to pairing colors, says Mark Chamberlain, a decorative painter and colorist in New York City, is to select hues that are neighbors on the color wheel, a tool that designers use.

Then keep in mind that warmed-up hues often pair well with cooled-down ones. The two here are Climbing Lily and Limeade from Ralph Lauren Paint. Limeade is a warm, yellowish green; Climbing Lily is a cooler, greenish yellow.

Rooms with wainscot naturally lend themselves to the two-related-shades treatment, but you can also create separate color fields by taping off the wall halfway up or adding a chair rail.

Tip: Chamberlain says,"To give a traditional room a more contemporary look, use two bright colors. For a more conservative pairing, choose softer hues that have gray or brown in them."

More: 3 Small Spaces, 3 Bold Color Ideas
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