Planning a Room Makeover

How to Choose Colors and Finishes

What color should you paint your living room? It’s a question that can keep people up at night. When it comes to decorating, the number one concern people have is about choosing the “right” color. As if there is some book of color rules that only the cool kids have.

The fact is, color is one of those things it’s just too easy to get neurotic about. There’s only one rule, and we’ll let everyone in on it: Choose the one thing that you love the most. It may be a paint color, or a fabric, a floor swatch or that great couch you can get with no payments for 18 months. Then let everything fall in around it.

Planning a Room MakeoverMaybe your color scheme and texture cues come from what you already have. Maybe you’ve found a certain fabric or a must-have piece of furniture (possibly one that’s already in the space)…Maybe you’re inspired by Mother Nature’s palette as seen on a favorite hike or camping trip…or maybe you’re a strict adherent to the wonders of the basic color wheel (a smart source for double-checking complementary colors).

Or maybe your husband just brought home a big screen TV and you need a color to match “gray” when the TV is turned off.

Where to begin
Whatever your inspiration is, it gives you a starting point. A color, a texture. As far as the actual order-of-business, you’ll want to leave the floor for last, whether it’ll be replaced or simply touched up. Gravity being what it is, your flooring will serve as the project drop cloth, even if it’s protected. No matter how great the plastic or sheeting, if something has even the slightest possibility of getting damaged in any way, it will, so don’t let that something be a brand-new floor.

Planning for care, maintenance, and your indoor environment
As you select new room finishes, think about their formulations, quality and what they’ll contribute to a space beyond a great new look. Rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms call for moisture-resistant finishes and flooring to keep mold, mildew and rot at bay. Easy-care finishes can make life much easier and more pleasant through limited upkeep, and green products whose ingredients forgo the toxins and allergens that can impact indoor air quality are smart choices for better health as well as great design.

Now’s your chance to create a space that not only looks great but offers a healthful, VOC-free environment. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which are found in many building and decorating products, as well as in the adhesives and other chemicals used in their installation. Renewed awareness of the dangers that VOCs pose to consumers as well as the environment in general has inspired a range of products created without harmful chemicals. Shop for these as you design your new space, and you’ll be making an important investment in your long-term enjoyment of it.

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