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As fall settles in and we spend more time indoors, it's a perfect time to think about transforming your interior wall colors to bring freshness, seasonal warmth, or just plain change.

Fresh paint is one of the least expensive ways to make a dramatic impact in a room - whether it's a warm red dining room, a pleasant soft yellow kitchen, a subdued blue powder room, or a luscious purple bedroom. If you don't like it or grow tired of it, you can always paint again.

The first thing to think about when choosing a color is that each color creates its own mood.

"Colors have the power to put us in a variety of moods," said Barbara Richardson, director of color marketing for Glidden. "So when you choose colors for your home, choose wisely, according to a room's function and how certain colors make you and your family feel."

Another color expert agrees.

"As technology speeds up our world, people want to control their own space with color, creating moods and carving out safe havens," said Leslie Harrington, director of color and design for Benjamin Moore.

So, when you think about color, consider:

  • Red. It demands attention and has a great emotional impact. It makes us feel empowered. It's a great color for a play area or workout room.
  • Orange. In bright tones it's cheerful and exciting. Deeper hues are exotic and exciting. Orange and red hues increase appetite and induce laughter, making them a good choice for the dining room.
  • Yellow. Warmth and enlightenment. Yellow is a good color to brighten up a small, dark office. Also a good choice for kitchens in softer hues.
  • Green. Fresh, secure, and tranquil. Because it makes you feel calm and restful, it's a good color for bathrooms and bedrooms. But you have to be careful with green in the bathroom - the wrong shade can turn skin tone yellow when you look in the mirror.
  • Violet. Exuding luxury and sensuality, it's a good color for the bedroom, especially lighter shades, which are more comfortable and assuring.
  • Brown. Symbolizing physical comfort, ease and contentment, browns and taupes are great for neutral areas like living rooms and kitchens. They are also a good bridge color for areas or hallways that tie one room to another.
  • Pink. Universally representing sharing, pink is no longer just for the little girls' rooms. Today mauve and blush hues are popular in living rooms, dens, and dining rooms.
  • Blue. The color tranquility, brings comfort and serenity. Like green, great for bathrooms and bedrooms.

    The National Paint and Coatings Association says the first step in choosing a color theme is to decide on the main color, which can be inspired from a favorite rug, painting, or other focal piece.

    Next, you'll want to think about proportion and balance. After you select a dominant color, and other colors in unequal amounts. Be sure you maintain some degree of color continuity throughout your home. Try to develop a big picture plan and integrate each room into the plan.

    Because floor coverings aren't changed often, you'll need to consider how your paint choice will integrate with the color and texture of the floors. When it comes to selecting your paint colors, the NPCA offers the following tips:

  • Take any necessary coordinating samples when you shop for paint - carpet, fabrics, wallcoverings, etc.
  • When you look at the paint chips, look at each color on the chip individually, masking the others. When you look at the whole strip, your eye will tend to blend them. Look at the chip in natural daylight and artificial lighting in the room that will be painted.
  • If you still can't decide by looking at the chips, buy a quart of small quantity in a color or two that you like. Paint a 2-foot-by-2-foot square on the wall and look at it throughout the day under various lighting conditions.
  • Buy all the paint you will need at the same time to ensure the color is consistent. If you go back to buy more in the future, it's likely the paint - and the colors used to mix your specific shade - came from different batches from the original.
  • If you're painting a room that has a lot of sunlight, choose a light-stable brand to prevent fading.

    But the most important thing to remember when choosing your paint color is to select a color that feels right to you. And if you paint a wall and realize it isn't quite right, don't panic - making the trip back to the paint store for a revised color is a simple and inexpensive fix.

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