A Splash of Color

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Don’t be afraid to use a dark paint in the powder room, dining room or bedroom. A deep tone on the walls can make the space more intimate, dramatic and cozy. And you don’t have to go whole hog—you can paint just an accent wall to draw attention to a dramatic fireplace or a lovely set of windows. If you have built–in bookcases or niches, experiment with painting the insides a color that will make them pop—say, a soft sage green to set off the white pottery displayed within.

“Painting is the cheapest, easiest way to give your home a new look,” says Designed to Sell’s Lisa LaPorta. Even if you’ve always had off-white walls, take a chance and try–out a quart of paint in a warm, neutral hue. You can always paint over it if you don’t like the color. These days, neutral goes beyond beige to include a range of colors from warm tans and honeys to soft blue-greens.

Even deeper colors, long a no–no for interiors, are enjoying a renaissance. “Don’t shy away from dark colors in a powder room, dining room, or bedroom,” says California staging designer Michael Friedes. “A deep tone on the walls can make the space more intimate, dramatic, and cozy. And surprisingly, it can even make a small room seem bigger because there’s no delineation of the corners.”

How to start choosing a color? With a pillow, textile, or piece of art that has a color in it you love, LaPorta says. “The background color is often great for walls, and you can pull out the other colors (in the piece) for accents around the room.”

You could also try painting an accent wall to draw attention to a dramatic fireplace or a lovely set of windows. Either paint the wall a contrasting color, such as a rich red flanked by taupe walls, or a more intense version of the paint used in the rest of the room, like a deep butterscotch that will play off soft camel walls. If you have built-in bookcases or niches, experiment with painting the insides a color that will make them pop — a soft sage green to set off the white pottery displayed within, perhaps.

If you’re too timid to whip out the paintbrushes, add punch with richly colored accessories, pillows, and throws, LaPorta says. When seasons change or you’re ready for something new, these couldn’t be simpler to switch out.

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