painted living room
Photo: Courtesy of Restoration Hardware
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For a Light and Airy Feel, Go Cool

Conventional wisdom holds that pale colors expand a space visually by making the walls recede, and it's true. But white can feel bland, and pastels can lack nuance. There's also a huge range of pale shades, both in terms of color intensity and temperature.

Blues and greens, and grays, browns, and lavenders with blue or green undertones, can make walls recede and a small space seem larger. Examples include grayed-down Atmosphere Blue from Restoration Hardware, which is among architectural color consultant Bonnie Krims's top picks because of the way it establishes a tranquil mood.

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