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Using Color

Light colors create bright, airy looking rooms and can trick the eye into making small spaces look bigger and ceilings appear higher. Since light colors reflect the most light, they can brighten north-facing rooms, dark hallways or rooms with little natural light. To further enhance the power of light reflection, use wallpapers with a smooth texture or a light sheen. To minimize the effect of light on walls, use textured papers that hold more shadow.

Light colors are also a good choice for rooms that have dramatic carpet treatments or furnishings as the walls won't compete with furnishings.

Dark Colors

Dark colors create intimate spaces. Because dark colors absorb light, walls appear closer and make rooms look smaller and more intimate. Dark colors are great for "quiet" rooms, like studies, home offices and formal dining areas.


Dark colors also provide excellent camouflage. Too high walls, uneven walls and heavy traffic areas all benefit from the hiding power of darker wallpaper. As with light wallpaper, textured papers absorb even more light.

Dark walls tend to dominate a room, so they make fine companions to light and bright colored carpets, furniture and accents.




Warm Colors

Reds, browns, oranges and peaches are all defined as "warm" colors. Intense shades create drama and excitement, while subdued hues create warm, friendly spaces. Warm colors are often used in eating areas like breakfast nooks and eat-in kitchens.

Why do we call these colors warm? Because research has shown that warm colors in rooms actually make people feel warmer! As you might guess, warm colors are popular in colder climates.








Cool Colors

Blues, greens, purples and grays are "cool" colors. Intense cool colors lend a fresh, dramatic appeal to a room, while softer cool shades make rooms feel less confining - a perfect choice for bathrooms.

Use cool colors in west-facing rooms and other areas where heat is a problem. Just as warm colors make us feel warm, cool colors make us feel cooler. In very warm climates, entire homes dressed in cool colors make the home more inviting.








Bright Colors

Highly saturated with pigment, brights are not diluted with black or white. Bright colors work best in active places - children's rooms and recreation areas.

Because bright colors attract so much attention, they are often used as an accent color against a light or dark background.








Subdued Colors

With less saturated pigment than bright colors, subdued colors contain a mix of pigment with white, gray or black. Relaxing and restful, these hues are frequently found in bedrooms and studies, and to create a soft background for bathrooms and dressing areas.

Increase visual interest in a room with subdued wallpaper by adding bright colored accents.







Back To Basic Decorating Guide

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