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Give your home a splash of color

Incorporate a palette of colors into your rooms for maximum effect.

As with the clothing you wear, your choice of colors in your home can say a lot about you and make you feel more or less comfortable in your environs.

Want to give your home a splash of color but afraid it will be too brash? Incorporating color into your home doesn’t have to be intimidating — if you put it into perspective.

According to many home decorating experts, the first thing you should concentrate on is the color of your walls — before you add or change the colors of your furnishings.

“Start with the walls,” advises Davis Remignanti, lead Design Consultant at furniture.com. “Unless you live in an apartment and can’t paint, avoid white walls.”

“Reflect on your own fashion tastes when choosing colors for your home. Many people know what colors look good on them. Those same colors can be incorporated into your personal space, because they are familiar, flattering and comforting,” he says.

Of course, sometime we all need a little help in making choices — especially large ones that involve our homes. Here’s some step-by-step advice from Remignanti on making good color choices.

• First things first: Identify any major room features that you can’t or don’t want to change — the color of woodwork, the brick in the hearth, those custom drapes, etc. — then decorate with and around them.

• Work your way up: If starting with an empty room, select a rug or floor covering first. You’re more likely to match walls and furniture to the rug than vice versa. The colors in your rug will provide good choices for wall and accent colors.

• Create your color palette: Good room design should incorporate a palette of at least five colors: two main colors, one supporting color (this is often a neutral or wood tone) and two accent colors. For hints on combining colors, visit www.furniture.com/color on the Internet.

• Create a flow: For rooms connected by an open archway or large doorway, choose harmonious color palettes. You’ll create a color link between the two spaces and avoid a jarring transition from one room to the next.

• Use patterns sparingly: For beginners, it’s better to use only one multi-color pattern per room. If the rug carries a pattern, avoid “competition” by keeping window treatments, upholstery and accents simple.

• Don’t over-indulge: Too much of the same color in a room can be a mistake. Even if it’s your favorite color, maintain a good balance of main colors and accent colors around your room.

• Light it up: Generate an elegant room-wide glow by using gold or peach hued light bulbs in table lamps. Bright enough for daily tasks, they can add a beautiful warm tone to a room.

• Embrace change: Be brave with your accent colors, because they can be changed easily. Candles can be burned, picture frames re-painted, pillows recovered. Go with your instincts, but don’t be discouraged if you’re not happy with your choice — it’s all part of the process of getting comfortable with color.

“Whatever the decorating challenge, it’s important to remember, no rules are written in stone,” stresses Remignanti. “Still not confident about making color choices? Many manufacturers now offer paint samples and fabric swatches — take advantage and test your color combining skills on a small scale first.”

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