Color Lessons: Decorating Wisdom from Past 'Room for Color' Contestants

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Every fall on Apartment Therapy, color lovers from around the globe generously share the place that means the most to them, their home, with all of us during our annual Room for Color Contest, sponsored this year by Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams. In addition to seeing beautiful, unique spaces, we also have the privilege of learning from these color-confident contestants. Here is a look back at some lovely rooms, along with some words of wisdom from the residents who created them. Class is in session — enjoy!

Color Lesson (from room shown above): A fool-proof way to guarantee a harmonious color scheme.

Sara says: The simplest way to create a cohesive color scheme is to use distinct values of colors in a similar range of intensities. This allows you to create depth and harmony even if using several hues, because there will be enough separation between each hue to avoid a color clash. The other important factor is color balance. This room shares warm and cool elements, and the warm undertone of the charcoal in the paint color creates a cohesive tie to connect the warm and cool parts of the palette.

More of Sara's room: Her Room for Color Entry

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Color Lesson: Small room? Consider going dark.

Brenda says: Never be afraid of making a dark color the predominant feature. It surprises me how many people are so willing to go color crazy without any type of direction but squirm when they hear that someone has painted their walls black or any other dark color. Thinking that dark walls make a space look smaller is situational and completely depends on how the rest of the room is finished. Our small room was painted in a pale yellow when we moved in, and it felt like we were sitting in a tiny, dirty white box. After deciding to take the plunge into the opposite end of the spectrum, it feels incredibly large.

More of Brenda's room: Her Room for Color Entry

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Color Lesson: Be flexible and experiment (just keep your receipts!).

Lisa says: If you have a favorite color or two, don't be scared to use them. Have fun and play with your colors in all shades. If your kid (or your partner or the voice in the back of your head) suggests a giant black and white striped rug (or some other crazy piece that seems to reflect her or his personality), buy it and see what happens. Once you have the big color (walls, rug, large furniture) in place, take your time with the accessories and don't be afraid to let something sit in the space a while before making a decision about it (keep the receipt)! Making mistakes and switching things up is such fun. Although this room sat empty the longest, it is now one of our favorites — its whimsical vibe and textured colors attract all of us. Our kids call this room the zebra room!

More of Lisa's room: Her Room for Color Entry

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Color Lesson: Balance space visually with the power of color.

Joshua says: Use color to re-balance the proportions of a small room with high ceilings. The blue walls recede to make the room feel bigger; the white ceiling extension lowers the ceiling to help balance the space.

More of Joshua's room: His Room for Color Entry

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Color Lesson: The only one that you REALLY need to know!

Christopher says: Life is too short for bland!

More of Christopher's room: His Room for Color Entry

Hopefully, you'll share your beautiful rooms and decorating ideas with us during this year's Room for Color contest. The entry form is open — all you need is 5 photos and a few minutes!

Contest Info and Entry Form

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