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color-ama color basics for the home decorating newbie by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3 4
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Of course, the colors of the color wheel show only pure hues; in the real world, colors range in saturation and value as well, which is where your choice becomes a bit more complicated -- but also, a lot more exciting, particularly for folks who donít favor candy-color-vivid hues. You can easily tone down a punchy combo by decreasing the saturation of any or all of the colors, by adding more white to lighten them up, or by shifting a hue in just a slightly different direction to tame the contrast. Think red and green are just a little too Christmas? Try a deeper cherry red with a lighter, fresher celery green; or tone the red down to a pink, and lighten up the green to a zingy lime green.

red and green

cherry and celery

pink and lime

That classic all-primary red/yellow/blue combo strike you as just a tad too loud? Try pairing that red and yellow with a lighter but still saturated sky blue to soften up the look without losing the sense of fun; evoke a sexy ethnic look by pairing deep red with peacock blue and rich gold.

red, yellow, blue

red, yellow, sky blue

deep red, gold, peacock blue

Basically, the thing to remember is that youíll want to use similar colors to keep things harmonious, and different colors when you need something with a little punch. Itís all a matter of balance, and achieving the right level of contrast to suit your tastes. For some folks, having too many different colors around feels chaotic and unsettling; for others, subtle color schemes feel staid and stifling. But remember, even for you folks out there who find loud color obnoxious, judicious use of a very different, punchy color can be a fine choice for small furnishings like pillows, curtains, throws, and other accent pieces. A small dose of a good color can make a great, big impact on the feel of your digs.


check out these related articles:
paint 101 | in living color color inspiration

plus check out the open house gallery to see how other folks use color in their digs!

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