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Category:  Decorating

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Pickle Green or Passionate Puce?

How to select the right color for your room!

by Pamela Cole Harris

Did the yellow paint in your room seem like a wonderful, sunny choice two years ago, but now reminds you of two day old eggs? Is the harvest orange seem trendy? The dusty plum seem elegant? And did that certain shade of green that seemed restful yesterday seem faintly reminiscent of moldy algae? Then it is time to find the right color for your room!

Here are some hints to help you make a choice:

1. Look at home improvement magazines, decorating magazines and architectural journals. Pick 5 or 6 color schemes that you like. Take those to the paint store when shopping for paint chips. Take the chips home and live with them a bit before you make a decision.

2. Remember that lighting and shadows will make a color appear drastically different than the color you expected. Take this into account when you pick out a paint color at the store. After you have lived with the paint chip for several days, bring a small can of your preferred color home and try a sample on each wall. View it at different times of the day and with different lighting combinations.

3. If you don't want to paint the walls, try painting a large piece of scrap wood or drywall. You can then lean it up against the wall to decide if it is right.

4. Do you like the color but feel it's too intense? Try a shade or two lighter. Repeat the process of painting the color on the wall.

5. You may love stark white, but unless you live in an operating room, it will be a bit too harsh for a living space. Try a white with a hint of blush, blue, or beige.

6. If you are going to spend a lot of time in a room, you should avoid bold color schemes. While they may be beautiful, they can be psychologically tiring in a home office, living room or kitchen.

7. If there is a piece of fabric you really love, take it with you to the paint store. Pick a color in the fabric to be the color of the walls. You can pick up other colors in the piece with pillows and curtains.

8. Remember, if you want a two-toned color or if you would like an accent color, you need to follow the same steps to view it in different lighting.

9. Don't buy color until you have lived with large samples of the color for a few days. Several small cans may cost extra money, but they will save a nightmare later when you discover that that dusty plum is really purple passion when the lights are on!

10. Enjoy! You have a color you can live with! The right color for your room!

Pamela Cole Harris is an editor and writer with 35 years experience. Visit her website,, for a free newsletter with remodeling, home improvement and decorating ideas for the financially challenged, creatively deficient and technologically illiterate.


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