Valerie Moran shows you how to find your personal palette.

By Susan Haynes
March 25, 2003
Valerie Moran shows you how to find your personal palette.
Tria Giovan

With an eye for style since childhood, Grange CEO Valerie Moranenhanced her talent with a double major in design and culturalanthropology and a fine arts degree. Waxing enthusiastic onchoosing colors, she offers words to decorate by.

• Go through magazines and pull out pages with colorschemes you like, rooms you could live in. Look at specific items,such as pillows or sunglasses. Put together 15 to 20 pages in eachcategory you're working on--your kitchen, bathroom, etc. When Iconsult with people who've done this, I see patterns: allcontemporary, all arty with curves, warm colors, cool colors, lotsof accessories, or a few. [Couples can do the magazine exercisetogether or separately and then compare.]

• Choose colors you look good in. [It will make you feelgreat.] And let your kids pick the colors for their rooms. Any2-year-old can choose between two colors. Older children getinhibited--the "pink is for girls" thing.

• Imprint yourself on your home, but respect the nature ofthe house. My New Jersey home requires a more conservative style[than I would normally do,] because the house is traditional. MyNew York home is a city high-rise, much more modern.

• Vary the depth and intensity of your color scheme bymixing a hue with black, white, or its contrasting color (the coloropposite on the color wheel). Be sure to apply test spots beforeyou commit to a whole room.

• Remember the seasons, and do little things to adjustyour rooms to cold weather or summer heat. Simple changes, such asre-covering throw pillows in a different fabric, can make a roomfeel more cozy and warm or more cool and refreshing.

• When the painting is finished, always--always--keep atouch-up reservoir. Label it so you'll know exactly where you'veused it, especially if you have several similar shades. Vacationhomes can take a beating with so much foot traffic, luggage, kids'toys, etc. Plan to take an hour or two a couple of times a year andgo through the house touching up. It's easy if you have the painton hand, neatly marked. Your house will look fresh for manyyears.