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Bye Bye Beige! Top 5 Colors to Add to Your Decor

Sure, beige is a nice color, but to achieve emotion in style, you often need to accent with color. See more hot home design pictures.
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Beige is a lovely color. Tan, off-white and eggshell are lovely colors. Understated neutrals can be elegant and, at times, ideal backdrops for your décor.

They are not, however, terribly creative or dramatic, as far as color goes. Some would argue they're not even colors, and certainly no one walks into a room and is struck by the boldness of a beige wall or the warmth of an off-white sofa. To achieve emotion and style through color itself, you typically need go with something a bit more, well, colorful.

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Here, five of the most popular, interesting and of-the-moment colors to introduce in your abode, whether through paint, upholstery or objets d'art. Try one. Try two or three. You may find you like the oomph you can achieve if you step outside the relative safety of neutrals.

First up: Green ain't just for the trees

Grass green brings a pop of brightness to a pale, minimalist bedroom.
Grass green brings a pop of brightness to a pale, minimalist bedroom.
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Avocado, forest, grass, mint, olive or kelly can bring nature into your living space, providing a perfect mix of warm and cool that works with practically any style of décor. Use mint to add a soft touch to a modern room, olive as a cool, sedated counterpoint to an orange wall or kelly for a touch of brightness in an ivory theme.

Try combining:

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  • Olive with purple, taupe or warm red
  • Forest with slate blue, burnt orange or gold
  • Mint with ocean blue, red or hyacinth
  • Avocado with lilac, warm orange or sky blue
  • Kelly with mocha, ochre or pale coral
  • Grass with taupe, fuchsia or teal

Looking for a bit more warmth? Try this …

This rich orange-toned rug complements the sitting room's art.
This rich orange-toned rug complements the sitting room's art.
Photos.com/Thinkstock

Orange is not, perhaps, the first color people think of when they think of home décor. It can seem loud and a bit overpowering. Plus, nothing rhymes with it. But you'd be amazed at what orange can do.

Shades of orange like tangerine, peach, apricot, salmon, coral or burnt can provide warmth, excitement (especially if you go dark), a touch of the feminine and, excuse the overused term, but "pop." Especially powerful in accent form (a burnt-orange vase, a coral-based lamp or peach-printed drapery), orange can be an easy and even safe way to add some excitement and bold style to a neutral room.

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Try combining:

  • Tangerine with red, mocha or rose pink
  • Peach with olive green, turquoise or mint green
  • Apricot with avocado green, dusty pink or lavender
  • Salmon with mint green, ocean blue or aubergine
  • Coral with gold, crocus or kelly green
  • Burnt orange with ochre, teal or navy blue

Orange is ideal for daytime living, but not, perhaps, for where you sleep. For a greater sense of calm, consider adding the next color on our list.

A pale lilac makes a neutral bedroom look soft and elegant.
A pale lilac makes a neutral bedroom look soft and elegant.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

If you think purple is just for 8-year-old girls, you're in for a shock. Shades like aubergine, eggplant, lilac, mauve, crocus and wine can be soft, welcoming and utterly elegant. Purple can contrast a warm or cool color palette and add a touch of whimsy and femininity without turning everything all sweet (as pink can sometimes do). It's an especially suitable color for spaces where you sleep or lounge.

Try combining:

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  • Wine with sunny yellow, teal or warm gray
  • Aubergine with peach, turquoise or warm greens
  • Mauve with deep pink, periwinkle or coral
  • Eggplant with espresso, forest green or pink-red
  • Lilac with ochre, tangerine or avocado green
  • Crocus with gold, olive green or aqua blue

And speaking of purple, one of its most excellent companions is, lucky for us, absolutely IN this year (and last year, too)!

If you know fashion and style, you're probably quite familiar with teal: blue with just a hint of yellow, not enough to turn it turquoise but enough to make it warm (and flattering to pretty much everyone and everything).

Teal can be summery, soft, bright or deep, and it gives you all the cool advantages of blue without the chill. A teal sofa (in leather!) will be the undisputed centerpiece of a room, but even just a pinch, like an accent table or photo frame, can liven things up and bring your look into the moment.

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Try combining:

  • Light teal with pink, apricot or lilac
  • Dark teal with gold, warm greens or red

And finally, for a coolly elegant, coastal feel …

It's safer than orange, subtler than teal and more masculine than purple -- and it can give a city home a decidedly "Nantucket" feel, like the air is salty and a cool sand beach is right outside your door.

Slate blue is a soft combination of blue and gray, and it can just add a touch of modern oomph to a neutral room while still keeping it understated. And as far as wall color goes, it's tough to go wrong with this shade of blue.

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Try combining:

  • A pale slate blue with crocus, burnt orange or olive green
  • A deep slate blue with gold, lilac or pale mocha

Whether you prefer bright or light, warm or cool, bold or understated, remember this cardinal color rule: Contrast is the key to balance and gives a room depth, character and an overall pleasing feel. So mix it up, if only a bit. You don't have to be boring to be consistent.

For more information on color, home décor and style, look over the links on the next page.

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More Great Links

Sources

  • "2011-2012 Color Trends." Cozy Bliss. (May 12, 2011)http://www.cozybliss.com/2011-2012-color-trends/
  • "2011-2012 Home Décor Trends." Muses Magazine. (May 12, 2011)http://www.musesmag.com/muses_magazine_memo_board.html
  • "2011-2012 Trends in Interior Design." A Designer Spot. (May 12, 2011)http://www.adesignerspot.com/decorating-styles/2011-2012-trends-in-interior-design.html
  • "Interior Decorating and Paint Colors, Trends for 2011." Home Re-design Kaleidoscope. (May 12, 2011)http://www.design-decor-staging.com/blog/interior-decorating-paint-colors-trends-2011/21166
  • Schlotter, Dee. "PPG Pittsburgh Paints Forecasts a Palette of 'Wow Color Now' for Home Décor in 2011-2012." The Voice of Color Café. Jan. 14, 2011. (May 12, 2011)http://www.voiceofcolorcafe.com/2011/01/ppg-pittsburgh-paints-forecasts-a-palette-of-wow-color-now-for-home-decor-in-2011-2012-2/

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