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Tips for Painting Boldly

July 31, 1993|LYNN O'DELL

Don't be afraid to experiment. Buy lots of quart cans of paint in shades you think you'll like, advises Michele Jackson, whose own home is brightly painted. The colors on the sample cards and what ends up on the wall can be dramatically different. "I went through several quarts before I found a green that was bright but didn't really knock your socks off," she said.

* Consider the style of the house. Lynn Lonzo, an interior designer and color expert in Mission Viejo, says that a Tudor or Cape Cod house, for example, generally doesn't look good in primary tones. But you can use deep, rich color in a more muted shade. She suggests green with a red complement or blue with an orange complement. White can be added to tone down the colors or for variation.

* Link color to the room's purpose. Cool colors, such as blue, make people feel more calm. Greens and violets are passive colors while warm colors like red and orange create excitement. Yellow is generally cheerful and orange is even more exciting than red, Lonzo said. You can stimulate conversation in a living room with bright colors.

* Consider the source of light. A lot of light is the key to using bold colors. People shy away from bright colors because they don't understand lighting, says Larry Allen, who forecasts color trends for Sinclair Paints. When natural light comes from the north, a room will look cooler. Light from the south looks warmer. If you put a warm color in a north-facing room, the result could look muddy, Lonzo says.

* Resist succumbing to fads. While it's fun to try new styles, it's important to be true to your own tastes. "When people choose colors for themselves, especially for their homes, where it's going to be around for awhile, the important thing is to pick what you like, what makes you feel good," Lonzo says.

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