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Category:  Decorating

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How to Pick Great Decorating Colors

By Julie Lohmeier

In reading decorating message boards and forums, one of the most frequently asked questions concerns paint color. In general, if you have a focal piece of furniture (often the bed or sofa), my recommendation is to pick a color from that piece or a complementary color and build from there. Or if you have drapes or fabric for drapes that you love, use that as your starting point. But if you are blessed - or cursed - with a totally blank palette, then try this.

Go to your local paint store and look at the swatch brochures. The paint companies highlight their most popular and trendy colors in these. Or try the Benjamin Moore web site at Itís great. They have an interactive tool where you can see different colors on the walls and trim of rooms. For only $10, you can download a software program where you can do the same with your own digital photos. How cool is that?!?

Here are some popular colors that Iíve seen and some new ones in the Benjamin Moore latest brochures. Go through the Personal Color Viewer at intproj) to find the paint shades I have mentioned below.

Buff  This is the new neutral. It looks great with trim - stained or bright white (my perennial classic favorite), is neutral but not boring off-white. I have this color through probably about half of my house including hallways, foyer, and basement. Everything works well with it. Some specific colors are Tyler Taupe, Porter Ridge Tan, and Shelburne Buff.

Chestertown Buff This is a designers favorite. Itís warm, not too gold, not too taupe and not too bold. It works well in many settings and any room.

Blue  Making a big comeback, blue is no longer the robin eggís blue of your grandmotherís house growing up or powder baby-boy blue but either a slate or steel blue (Jamestown Blue) or even a more vibrant Caribbean blue (see Ash Blue or Deep Ocean). It can go from bedroom to bathroom to more formal rooms quite easily. Youíll often see this paired with white or red for a nautical theme or with light yellow or gold in traditional patterns. In our office, we used Summer Nights, a deep blue thatís not navy, not turquoise, not royal but really rich and vibrant.

Corals  Iím seeing this color used in dining and living rooms. Use a pale color on the walls and a deeper hue as accents. Check out Crazy for You. Keep an eye out for peaches and corals - they could be the next big color.

Green  Green is big too - ranging from seafoam to lime (Pleasant Grove) to almost army drab (Weathersfield Moss). Spring Valley is a versatile soothing color, appropriate for living rooms and bedrooms. You can use a variety of colors to accent - from cream for an understated look to peach or plums for more dramatic contrasts.

Red  A favorite of decorators. Use it in dining rooms or living rooms where you want to make a bold statement. Great for traditional or Asian styles. Take a peek at Ladybug Red or Raspberry Truffle.

Gold  Paired with every color imaginable - red, blue, purple, or by itself. As an accent or as the predominant color. Very popular in Tuscan decorating, especially with faux finishes. Check out Concord Ivory - a very modern version of a traditional classic.

Bold colors still rule although lighter pastels are being shown as accents and for increasingly for dining and living rooms. Although I have seen beautifully appointed rooms using purples and plums - a really hot trend a few years ago - it seems that these hues may be cooling off. ..........

Along with her husband, Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home remodeling and building projects. Always working on a tight budget, she has found how to create a showplace home without breaking the bank. She shares her remodeling tips, homedecorating ideas, and other various rants at @copyright Julie Lohmeier,  


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