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» Do White Right
White is the most complex color on the spectrum, so choose wisely. “If you do too stark of a white, it starts to look like a refrigerator,” says Kristina Sterling, owner of Seek Interior Design. Test a few options by buying sample sizes and painting two-by-two-foot squares of each color on your wall. Or steal Sterling’s favorite: “I love China White by Benjamin Moore. It’s a little more gray and works in lots of different spaces.”
» Tone It Down
You might be tempted to pick the richest color on a paint strip, but buy the tone just below it. “The paint is going to look brighter or darker than the paint chip when you get it home,” Sterling says. “When you get that lighter tone on the wall, it’ll give you the look you’re going for.”
» Change Your Accent
The red accent wall is long gone (thank goodness). Instead, says Sterling, opt for a wall of tile or wallpaper, or paint the ceiling. Andrea Schumacher of Andrea Schumacher Interiors agrees: “Treat your ceiling like a fifth wall.” Light-colored walls with a bold ceiling make an easy, eye-catching style statement.
» Color Coordinate
Take color cues from the room’s wallpaper or drapes. “Start designing a room by choosing the most expensive accent first and then match your paint choices to it,” Schumacher says. “Pull out colors from the wallpaper pattern and paint them on adjacent walls or the ceiling or in an adjoining room.”