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posted: 12/13/2013 1:00 AM

Spruce up your holiday foyer with festive paint

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By Rosa Colucci
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wreath on the door? Check.

Lighted trees on porch? Check.

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Boughs of holly on the staircase? Check.

Christmas magic? Not so much.

You did all of the right things, and still something is lacking. Maybe the problem isn't your decorations. Maybe it's time to give a jolt of color to the background that those lovely decorations are set against.

Maybe it is time to paint.

Painting for the holidays doesn't have to be a labor-intensive drama show. Sometimes, all you need is a big splash in a small space like your foyer or front door. Either way, it is a quick afternoon project that can pay dividends all year long.

Red is a really festive color and works well for maximum impact. You don't need to be afraid of it, either, because the foyer area is not a place where you spend a lot of time. You essentially saturate yourself in color there and then move to the rest of the house.

Benjamin Moore color and design expert Sharon Grech loves the idea.

"My choice for a fabulous festive red for this holiday season is Pomegranate AF-295," she said. "It is the perfect mix of sophisticated and fun. A cooler red, not too saturated nor too bright, Pomegranate is a cheerful, welcoming color for a foyer."

Grech suggests the color be applied in a matte finish. She also loves the idea of migrating the color to your front door or even into the hallway as an accent wall.

Dee Schlotter, PPG brand manager, also loves the idea of painting your front door red. "It has always been your first opportunity to showcase your personality to your family and friends."

She points out that the foyer is an even better space to create the positive energy that red is known for.

"It's where everyone is welcomed, that space should be joyful and beautiful. The sharp clean holiday red is just so festive …You can continue that energy and joy throughout the year."

Now that you have the bug, you might be asking yourself: How do I choose my color?

As with all shades, color is a personal preference, according to Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams and creator of the HGTV Home line of paints.

"People look at bold color, and they tend to go too saturated. Sometimes it is too 'clean' and ends up so bright. I tell people to go a little 'grayer' in their choice," she says.

In layman's terms, stick to the bottom two colors on any paint strip you choose when working with red.

She notes that the center of the paint strip is the "clean" shade in that color and might be more jarring.

Of course, if you are really stuck, every paint company has an online color visualizer that can help you select something that will go well with your existing colors. You can go to the websites of these companies, plug in a shade of an adjoining room and start clicking. The computer program will give you all of the color possibilities.

Companies such as PPG have applications that allow you to take a photo of the room with a smartphone or an iPad and electronically paint the shade right there for a real-life effect.

If you are on the fence, you can try painting a piece of furniture red. An old dresser, chair or a stool are all possibilities. Just remember that the paint needs to cure for a few days at least, and then spray a clear polyurethane to seal it and protect it from scratches. Jordan also loves the idea of painting the inside of the door red as well or maybe even the ceiling.

But she has a warning: "Don't use cheap paint. It will prolong the job and, especially with red, look bad. Ask about primers. If your manufacturer recommends a gray one, do not skip it or the color will look thin."

Scripps Howard News Service

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