Improving Your Home with New Color Strategies

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The effective use of color can change a small drab room into an airy space or a cavernous room into a cozier, friendly area. Colors can energize a room and turn the heat up, or cool down a space and create a calm and relaxing oasis. Because we all have our favorite colors, surrounding ourselves with them can make us feel more confident or romantic or creative. Interior designers know that careful color choice can make a home appealing to potential buyers or kill a deal from the moment they walk in the door.

If you are ready for a complete transformation or a change in one or two rooms, choosing one of the new paint colors for 2011 can make you fall in love with your house or apartment all over again. The new interior fashion color schemes might seem a little shocking at first, but the richness and luxury of the deep red-browns and purples when combined with softening grays and white and black accents is a beautiful, inviting palette of colors.

Romantic sky-blue, red-pink and smoky pink can be part of the picture while the neutral whites, beiges, and light grays tone down a tendency to over-power. Who can resist those warm dark golds, honey sand tones, deep oranges and dark reds? While large surface rooms may be looking at citrus yellows, light greens, blues and pink-lilacs, the powerful smoky purples and rich chocolate browns will add richness, warmth and texture.

Within this exciting new color scheme are several choices that will work well in problem rooms. The conventional wisdom that light colors recede and dark colors advance still holds true. A room that is dark or feels small can be immediately visually enlarged by lightening the walls. Minimize your furnishings and choose a few substantial but not over-sized pieces to continue the effect.

On the other hand, large barren looking rooms can benefit from divided spaces and warm, rich colors. Those dark colors pull the walls in to a more comfortable size visually, especially when furniture and accessories echo the color scheme.

Perhaps you have a long, awkward hallway or room that has no personality or sense of balance. By painting the end walls a dark color you can shorten the perceived length, and create a living space that has more purpose and appeal. Similarly, rooms that feel too short can be extended when light color is applied to the problem wall.

Sometimes a room feels small and uncomfortable because of a lower-than-normal ceiling. Instead of selling the house, try painting the ceiling a light airy color that lifts it visually. By painting the wall color onto the ceiling about 6 inches, you can take the illusion of height even further. Painting the wallboards to match the wall color is another trick to heighten the room. If your ceiling seems miles too high, adding a dark warm color and carrying it on down the wall about 12 inches will have the opposite effect.

For those rooms that feel too cold, especially in the winter, you don't need to keep turning up your thermostat. Instead try switching out the color to one of the new warm golds or honey-oranges. You'll be amazed at how much warmer you feel in the very same room that used to make you shiver. Also, cool down those rooms that get too much sun and heat in the summertime with light greens, blues and lemon-yellows. You may even be able to leave the air conditioner off a little more.

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