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Color wheel hacks to make your home more inviting

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

Forget expensive home renovations. The simplest and least expensive ways to unify your home is through well-selected paint colors.

If you've tried your hand at home design, however, you know that picking the right color is easier said than done. Sure, finding a shade you like is effortless, but colors that flow from room to room are a little harder to come by.

The good news? You don't need a degree in interior design to create a space that flows. You just need to start with one of your favorite colors and build your palette from there.

1. Find your favorite color family

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

If you don't already have one, locate a color wheel. A color wheel will show you different families of color and how they relate to each other. With your color wheel in hand, select the hue that appeals to you the most. You will base your paint selections on this initial hue, so choose wisely, keeping in mind that the hue only refers to the base color — not its tone, value or saturation.

If you like cool colors, for example, you might pick the blue color family as the building block for your palette.

Tip: To pick your hue, start with the room you want to have the boldest color, such as kitchen or bathroom. Once you've chosen a shade you love for that room, pick more subtle variations of that color family for the rest of the house.

2. Choose several tones and saturations from the same color family or adjacent color families

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

Tone is the presence of black or white in a color, and saturation is the strength or weakness of the color in different types of lighting. With those definitions in mind, select three to five different paint colors — with varied levels of tone and saturation — from the color family that you initially chose or from the color families that are adjacent to it on the color wheel.

With our example of a blue color family, you might pick a robin's egg blue, a dusty blue and a lavender. Paint connecting rooms with these colors to create unity without repetition. Play with color samples before painting a wall since colors will look different in different lighting.

Tip: You don't have to limit the colors to the walls. If you have robin's egg blue on your kitchen walls, consider painting the adjoining dining room a more neutral color, and accenting with some furniture pieces painted a dusty blue.

3. Vary light and dark through complementary color families

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

Of course, most people don't want their entire home to represent just one color family. Homes can really come alive when you introduce a mixture of both cool and warm colors. Look at your color wheel again, and find a color family that falls on the opposite side of the wheel from the hue you initially chose. This is the "complementary" color.

If you selected blue, for example, you may want to paint the entryway or an accent wall with a color from the yellow or green family. This surprising pop of color will further unify your space while adding visual interest to the scheme.

Tip: When you're choosing colors from different color families, take note of what you can see from each room in your home. If your living room is blue, either choose another saturation of blue for a breezy feeling, or a complementary color for a stark — but exciting — contrast.

4. Select smart and saturated accents

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

Once you have painted a couple walls with the complementary color you selected, find additional ways to infuse a saturated version of the color into other rooms. In your dusty blue kitchen, for example, you could hang picture frames that you have painted a bright mustard yellow.

Tip: Be sure all the pieces that accent the room are the same shade. Accents in five different shades of yellow will create a look that's more cluttered than sophisticated.

5. Keep the trim consistent

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

Finally, if your trim is mismatched, choose one color and stick with it. A consistent white trim throughout your home will help the rooms feel connected, and it will also help brighten cool color families and subdue warm color families for an added sense of consistency.

Tip: Do you find white trim boring? You can still be unexpected without disrupting the flow up your home. Choose a neutral color, like light grey, to trim your rooms.

How to use complementary paint colors to make your walls pop

This post was brought to you by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, available at Lowe’s.

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