"Start with the walls," Davis advises. Incorporating color into your home doesn't have to be intimidating -- if you put it into perspective.
* First Things First: Identify any major room features that you can't (or
don't want to) change -- the color of woodwork, the brick in the hearth,
those custom drapes -- then decorate with and around them.
* Work Your Way Up: If starting with an empty room, select a rug or floor
covering first. You're more likely to match walls and furniture to the
rug than vice versa. The colors in your rug will provide good choices
for wall and accent colors.
* Create Your Color Palette: Good room design should incorporate a palette
of at least five colors: two main colors, one supporting color (this is
often a neutral or wood tone) and two accent colors. For hints on
combining colors, see www.furniture.com/color.
* Create a Flow: For rooms connected by an open archway or large doorway,
choose harmonious color palettes. You'll create a color link between the
two spaces and avoid a jarring transition from one room to the next.
* Use Patterns Sparingly: For beginners, it's better to use only one
multi-color pattern per room. If the rug carries a pattern, avoid
"competition" by keeping window treatments, upholstery and accents
* Don't Over-Indulge: Too much of the same color in a room can be a
mistake. Even if it's your favorite color, maintain a good balance of
main colors and accent colors around your room.
* Light It Up: Generate an elegant room-wide glow by using gold or peach
hued light bulbs in table lamps. Bright enough for daily tasks, they can
add a beautiful warm tone to a room.
* Embrace Change: Be brave with your accent colors, because they can be
changed easily. Candles can be burned, picture frames re-painted,
pillows recovered. Go with your instincts, but don't be discouraged if
you're not happy with your choice -- it's all part of the process of
getting comfortable with color.
"Whatever the decorating challenge, it's important to remember, no rules are written in stone. Still not confident about making color choices? Many manufacturers now offer paint samples and fabric swatches -- take advantage and test your color combining skills on a small scale first."