Do's & Don'ts: Color

Color Rules for Small Spaces

When it comes to coloring your apartment, it's definitely okay to go outside the lines.

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Connect Spaces With Shades of Color

Just as different wall colors can divide your apartment into different work areas, different shades of the same color can unite all the rooms, as can a pattern that's repeated. "In a small space, in particular, these little touches — the pillow that matches the lampshade fabric, the style of the mirror that echoes a side table — can all add up to a cohesive space," McCauley says.

Get Spicy in the Kitchen

Apartment kitchens are a great place to use color, says kitchen designer Jason Laudau of Amazing Spaces, LLC (www.amazingspacesllc.com) in New York. "Hang up the china you never use — it saves space, adds color and glams up the kitchen," he says. "Or be very bold and paint the walls a trendy color. Red is hot!"

Go Bold in the Bathroom

Sure, something pastel in the peachy-pink palette will look great in the bathroom — especially when you look in the mirror and see your rosy complexion. But for major affect, increase the bodacious scale. That's what designer Ron Marvin www.ronmarvin.com (www.ronmarvin.com) did in his New York City apartment bathroom that's painted a rich, chocolate brown.

Vamp It Up

Beautiful faux finishes and specialty techniques can add a lot of character to a small space, says designer Dawn Burns-Pratt, ASID. "Painting the ceiling a darker color and extending the same color down the wall about 14 inches, or using metallic stripes in that same space with a chair rail and lighter color below looks terrific — and expands the appearance of the space," she says.

Add Color That Travels

The wonderful thing about color is that it's a really cheap way to decorate, and it can be added in non-paint ways, says designer Alice Fakier, this year's HGTV Design Star runner-up and host of Ask Alice on HGTV.com. "Apartment dwellers can get color on their walls by painting big canvases, hanging fabric or using wall decals," she says. And when you're ready for a larger space? You can take your color with you and go.

Stretch It With Stripes

Draw the eye up with a wall of colorful stripes, says Langdon. Or paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls to make it seem airier.

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