How to Choose a Color Scheme

Discover your color preferences with eight tips for picking perfect color palettes.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionPhyllis Harbinger mimics nature in this traditional living room: deep wood flooring and carpets, followed by medium-toned beige walls and furniture, and topped with a crisp, white ceiling.

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Tip #3. Decorate your space from dark to light, vertically.
A real "cookbook" way to make any space look good without much risk, McCauley says, is to use darker color values for the floor, medium color values for the walls and light values for the ceiling.

"Any interior space replicates the outside world," he says. "The exterior environment is generally darker below our feet (the earth itself), medium-valued as you look straight ahead (buildings/trees) and lighter values skyward."

Tip #4. Study the color of your clothes.
Most people buy clothes in colors they like to wear and think they look good in. Similarly, you should decorate your rooms in colors you look good in. "If you don't wear yellow, don't get a yellow sofa," McCauley says. "You're going to look sickly on it."

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