Good Questions: How to Choose a Secondary Color?

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Hello AT,

I'm in a color conundrum. I painted the wall behind the head of my bed an amazing green - moss, but on the yellow side, almost chartreuse.

I'm stuck on what to do with that adjacent white wall (the rest are exposed brick). I fear keeping the green may be too intense, but don't know what else to try. A pale honey/gold? Something more cream? I would have loved to go gunmetal gray, but I have blond wood trim that I can't paint.

Thanks! Lesley

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Dear Lesley,

Very good question. Pure white can often be very off putting next to a luscious color. Let us suggest two solutions:

1. Take your green and just dial it down the color spectrum so that you are putting a lighter green on the opposing wall. This will give it a pleasing two-tone effect that will not overwhelm.

2. Go with an off-white that reads as white but actually has a little color (green) in it so that there is not as much contrast. This is a softer approach. Again, to find this color take the color strip of your original color and go all the way down to the lightest shade on the card, which is usually an off-white.

Anyone else??

Related Links:

How To: Choose a Wall Color & Not Screw It Up
AT's Fall Colors Contest (Check out the entries for color ideas.)
Good Questions: What Colors Go Well With Brick

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.