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Say It With Color

Various colors of paint. (Florence Low / The Sacramento Bee)
Various colors of paint. (Florence Low / The Sacramento Bee)

In these tough economic times, sprucing up your home might be the last thing on your mind — or in your budget.

However, there’s a relatively inexpensive way to give your home a facelift: a fresh coat of interior paint.

Depending what you buy and where you shop, for around $2,000 you can get everything you need — except the muscle power — to prime and paint using 10 different paint and trim combinations throughout a roughly 2,000-square-foot home.

“Paint gives you the biggest bang for your buck as far as decorating expenses,” says Pam Milam, owner of Reinvented Rooms, a Fresno-based interior design business that offers services that include paint-color consultation.

And when it comes to updating your home with interior paint, white is a thing of the past.

“Color is in,” says Warren Vercher, manager of Kelly-Moore Paints in Fresno. “And people are doing multiple colors in their homes. No one room is the same anymore.”

In fall, colors tend to be deeper and richer, says Chris Hays of Chris Hays Interiors.

“Fall colors are all about earthy tones found in nature,” she says. “The fall palette is warm-based stronger colors — the color of fruit such as pomegranate and persimmons and the color of fall leaves.”

While the fall palette changes subtly each year (as do the spring, summer and winter palettes), basic colors are driven by what’s hot in the clothing and home fashion industries, Hays says.

Here are six colors you might want to consider in your home this fall:

BROWN: Beige never goes out of style. Deep chocolate is perfect because in traditional décor it can be paired with another earth-tone, such as green, and in a contemporary look, it complements bright aqua blue or purple. It also goes well with camel, antique gold or straw gold.

PURPLE: It is all about shades of eggplant or plum. These go well with mossy green, rust, camel, antique gold or straw gold.

ORANGE: Think pumpkin-pie with its brown undertones. It can be paired with camel, antique gold or straw gold.

RED: Hues of deep wine or burgundy pair with camel, antique gold or straw gold.

GREEN: Shades from mossy to olive work well with camel, antique gold or straw gold.

GOLD: The color of straw can be accented with any of the other fall colors.

Milam suggests one color in spaces used less often, such as formal dining rooms or powder rooms. She says accent walls are good in frequently-used rooms. For trim, baseboards, windowsills and doors, she recommends warm, creamy, off-white; keeping trim the same throughout a house provides a thread of continuity.

Still not sure where to begin with color selection? Here are a few tips:

Figure out what you like. This can be as simple as peeking in your closet to see what color clothes you have, Hays says. Or look at other people’s homes. But before picking paint, have a color scheme in mind for the room. This means looking at rugs, upholstery fabric and accessories and “pulling out a color” from there, Milam says.

Sample the colors. Go to the store and select several shades of the same color; bring home multiple swatches or small cans of paint.

Tape swatches of the same shade together or paint a piece of sheetrock to form about a 3-foot square; pin or prop this against different walls — and be sure to look at it during various times of the day when lighting changes.

Consider paint finishes. They range from flat (no shine; cannot be washed — unless it’s flat enamel) to high gloss (brilliantly shiny and easily wiped down). Eggshell, which has a little shine and is washable, is the top choice for living rooms and bedrooms. Satin — a bit more washable than eggshell — is a good choice for spaces prone to dirt and grime, such as children’s rooms or hallways. Semi-gloss is the most popular for kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easily washed and has a bit of sheen.

But what happens if after painting you feel a bit overwhelmed by color?

“Live with it for a week or two,” Milam says. “Don’t make a snap decision on whether it’s right or wrong.”

Color always can be toned down by hanging art and photos on a wall or placing a large piece of furniture, such as an armoire, against it.

And if all else fails, Vercher says, “You can always repaint.”

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