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Home & Garden

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Rich gray color on the walls can bring a room alive without competing with artwork and furnishings.

Grays add elegance to palettes pale or bold

Gray is the new black, and these gray tones create the elegant, shadowy strength of your personal space. Gray is in – and in a big and influential way. Let’s check it out.

Bold colors are in, but they are a bit muted. Remember gray mentioned above? Well, the bold colors have gray in them, rendering a sophisticated, muted look to their palettes. Their beauty is in their subtlety.

You don’t notice the gray in the colors, but you get the feeling of class. How? Osmosis maybe?

The new neutral is pastel. No, not the baby, candy, Eastery pastel, but a more sophisticated, subtler hint of color. OK, so the pastels are also infused with that gray, giving them a new, classy feel.

See, the gray is everywhere in the 2014 color palette forecast.

Pantone has come up with more than 70 colors for 2014, and Sherwin Williams has predicted more than 50. That means lots of great colors to work with in the new year.

So how do we choose colors for our homes? Let’s think about this.

Why do we find one place appealing and are uneasy in another? It could be the color.

Why are we attracted to one product over another? Again, it could be the color.

Manufacturers spend tons of money analyzing the psychological effect color has on people, so there must be something to this feeling of attraction or repulsion when confronted with a color.

Did you know that color accounts for 60 percent of our response to an object or to a place?

The psychological effects of color are subtle yet significant. Color and mood coincide more than you might imagine. So naturally, you want to paint your environment in colors that make you feel good.

But wait. How do you do that? Ah, lighting is very important.

Natural daylight shows the truest color. Incandescent light brings out the warm tones with a yellow hue, and fluorescent light casts more of a sharp blue on colors.

So when you pick a color, it might look one way on the color chart and another way on your wall. It is always a good idea to paint a part of the wall in the color you choose, then live with it for a day or two to see how the color looks under the lighting conditions in your home.

If you find a color you love, you can use it over and over and still get a variety of feelings from it.

A single color on the walls and trim takes on a new look when applied in different finishes. Try an eggshell finish on the walls and a semigloss on the trim – the surfaces will appear as slightly different colors.

Well, go ahead. Try the new colors on for size.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.”