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Maybe you tend to play it safe because it’s easier to cling to neutral greige walls than to try out the soft sage green or sophisticated citron your heart desires. In this mini guide, Tobin; designer Beth Armijo, owner of Armijo Design Group; and color consultant Michelle Marceny, owner of the Color Concierge; reveal dozens of ideas for dialing in your home’s paint palette and setting the right mood in every room. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of choices, pick samples from paint manufacturers’ historical collections, which offer a solid edit of colors, Armijo says.

If it’s difficult for you to identify the hues you love, start by opening your closet and surveying your wardrobe.

We have good and bad news: The color palette that brings you joy today will eventually need a redo. When we live with palettes that make us happy today—even if they change in a decade— we get a lot of satisfaction for a relatively small investment.”

Colors that reflect light—soft (but not pastel) pinks and subtle, neutral golds, for example—are excellent choices for dining rooms because they complement most every skin tone (and the lovelier you feel, the longer you’ll linger at the table, right?). Marceny notes that many of her clients want dark dining rooms these days (read: navy blues, dark greens, and rich rusts), which is a good choice if a space has ample natural light (generally, these will be south- or east-facing rooms).

When you’re trying to plow through a busy workday, do you find color stimulating in a good way or downright distracting?

“If you’re on the computer all day—programming or coding, for example—you might feel best with a dark, subdued color because it helps your eye rest.” Because the kitchen is a hardworking space, Tobin likes the room to feel fresh with layered neutrals. If you have no fear (or are trying to be fearless with color), these rooms are excellent places to try deep, saturated hues, especially greens and blues.

“It’s such a nice marriage.”) The experts agree that darker shades can promote a sense of calm coziness that makes these ancillary spaces feel distinctive. Just keep in mind that you’ll need plenty of light, real or artificial, to keep the room from feeling too dim. “If I’m looking to create serenity and peace, I lean toward whites and creams, not saturated tones,” Tobin says.

“The lighter and brighter colors get, the more exuberance comes out in you.” Marceny agrees and looks to light greiges—such as Benjamin Moore’s cult favorite Classic Gray and Sherwin-Williams’ Gossamer Veil—to evoke calm.

(Tobin mentions pinks, oranges, and greens for a spark of fun that still allows the space to feel fresh and serene.) Paint the ceiling or one wall in a more vibrant hue—a popular trick that’s both cost-effective and high impact.

Ensure Your Paint Job In Your Home Stays In Good Condition With

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