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How to Pick Can't-Miss Color Pairs

Get inspired to add the right hues to your home with five tips from top color experts.

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Photo 1 of 3Color expert Constance Ramos chooses soothing blue and brown palettes for bedrooms.

Do Your Homework(1 of 3)

1. Know the color basics
Your first stop when contemplating color combos is the trusty color wheel. Think back to high school art class, says The Color Palette Primer author Joann Eckstut, who explains that there are three basic color schemes:

  • Monochromatic — colors with the same hue but different values (brown and taupe)
  • Analogous — colors that are next to each other on the wheel and thus similar (green and yellow)
  • Complementary — color-wheel opposites that give the most contrast and are exciting to the eye (orange and blue)

2. Look for inspiration all around you
Think about the places where you enjoy spending time or that are filled with objects you love. It could be your garden, a favorite shop, a book about the Grand Canyon or even your shoe rack. "This is what I call your 'happy place,' and it should be the first place you go before you set foot in the paint store," says color consultant Jane Lockhart, who lifted her living-room color scheme off a restaurant menu. "Look at the colors and see which ones stimulate, draw you and how they work with each other."

Next Photo: Consider Your Surroundings