Home Decorating For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Color can change a room by creating a mood, disguise flaws, and create illusions. Knowing how to use color in a room reinforces your design ideas.

  • To make a room look bigger, use light, cool colors to create an atmospheric look. Paint all surfaces the same color and match the upholstery to the flooring. Add interest with contrasting textures.

  • To make a room seem cozier, use medium-toned, warm neutrals. Decorative wall features like wainscoting or paneling also add warmth. Use contrasting paint for paneling, and either match or contrast the molding.

  • To make a ceiling look higher, use white paint or at least a shade lighter than the walls. Keep floors relatively light.

  • To make a lofty ceiling seem lower, bring the ceiling color down a foot or so into the wall. It sounds strange, but when you are looking up at a 10 or 12 foot ceiling, you won't see the line; it will just look like the ceiling is only 8 or 9 feet tall.

  • To shorten a long, rectangular room, paint or paper the long narrow walls in light, cool colors to make them recede. Make the short walls advance by using a dark, warm color.

  • To narrow a wide room, use deeper, warm neutrals on long walls, and lighter cool tints on shorter walls.

  • To darken a high ugly ceiling, use black, dark gray, midnight blue, or even the same dark, intense color (such as hunter green or chocolate brown) you may be using on a wall.

  • If the room has varying ceiling heights, don’t hesitate to paint them different colors. Paint a raised ceiling white or a light contrasting color.

  • To distract attention from dropped acoustical tile ceilings, paint them the same color as the wall. The acoustical tile ceiling will seem to disappear. Hooray!

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Katharine Kaye McMillan, former senior editor of a New York City-based national magazine, is a writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing writer to internationally circulated Florida Design Magazine. She is the co-author of several books on decorating and design, including Sun Country Style, which is the basis for licensed signature collections of furniture and accessories by three leading American manufacturers and importers. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, she holds a masters degree in psychology and is a doctoral student in psychology at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.

Patricia Hart McMillan is a nationally known interior designer, whose interior design work for private clients, designer showcases, and corporations has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times and USA Today. Known as a trend spotter and for clearly articulated views on design, she is quoted frequently and extensively in both trade and consumer publications. She a ppears on TV and talk radio. A prolific writer, she is coauthor and author of seven books on interior design and decoration, with Sun Country Style signature collections of furniture based on two books. She has taught decorating courses at several colleges and conducted numerous seminars across the U.S. She is decorating editor for Christian Woman Magazine and reports on design trends for The Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune newspaper based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has been editor-in-chief of two publications and was head of a New York City-based public relations firm representing some of the most prestigious names in home furnishing and building products. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in art history (with an emphasis in architecture), from the State University of New York (New Paltz). She was awarded a certificate from The New York School of Interior Design.

This article can be found in the category: