5 Ways to Refresh Your Rooms with Color

A fresh paint job enlivens a ho-hum interior, but picking the right color (or combination of colors) and figuring out where best to put it and how much to use can prove perplexing. See these paint tips put to work in 5 colorful spaces. Then steal a few to stylishly and inexpensively update any tired rooms in your house.-Jill Connors

Find more refreshing color ideas at thisoldhouse.com!

1. Unify Your Living Spaces

Wall colors that relate to each other draw the eye from one area to the next, creating a harmonious flow.

Try Muted Opposites: An entry hall and adjacent room in soft shades of complementary red and green-opposites on the color wheel-has a soothing effect. Paired with a honey-hued wood floor, the brick red and olive green work as neutral earth tones.

Paint: Yolo Colorhouse

More: Choose Paint Colors With a Color Wheel

2. Use White to Highlight Your Color Choices

"Painting trim white will ensure that warm hues don't look dingy or cool hues too stark," says McGuire. Even neighbors on the color wheel get a boost. Here, a door casing acts as a frame, cleanly setting off the dining room's warm yellow walls and the foyer's cool green.

Paint: Valspar

MORE: Tour a Bold-Color Kitchen Makeover

3. Create an Accent Wall

A single field of color can set off a room's best assets-both the built-in details and the artwork and furnishings you introduce.

Use Color to Highlight Architecture: Painting the exterior wall of this all-white studio a leafy green draws attention to its peaked ceiling as well as the outside views glimpsed through the French doors and windows. Here, a vibrant color choice is ideal because of the abundance of natural light, where something more subdued would appear washed out.

Paint: Pantone

MORE: Decorative Paint Effects Made Easy

4. Set a Stage With Paint

"A deep color becomes the backdrop for whatever is in front of it," says McGuire. Bold red on this accent wall puts the focus on a collection of framed photos while providing a warm and energizing foil to the room's pale neutral furnishings.

Paint: Ralph Lauren Paint, Ralph Lauren Home

MORE: The Color Wash Design Guide

5. Define an Area in an Open Plan

A colored wall can delineate space for a specific activity. Here, grayish green behind the dining table helps carve out a distinct eating area within a whitewashed kitchen.

Paint: AFM Safecoat

See more inspiring color refresher tips at thisoldhouse.com!

Find all our painting advice at thisoldhouse.com:

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How to Pick a Paint