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Coral is a color-wheel drama queen, a hot-weather take on red—upbeat and vibrant. "It gives you the best of both worlds," says Los Angeles designer Sasha Emerson. "It's less brassy than orange, and less cheesy than the red you see on signs at used car lots." If you plan to use it on walls, make sure the room gets plenty of natural light. "You need white paneling or lots of windows to break up the color so you don't feel like you're in a big pumpkin," notes Laura Casey, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based interior designer. A pop of orangey-red on a pillow or lamp brings the glow of summer to a monochromatic room, says San Francisco Bay Area color expert Kelly Berg. "It's a lot of bang for the buck."
—Consider the hue a bold jolt for small spaces like powder rooms, breakfast nooks, libraries, and playrooms. But never a master bedroom, where it doesn't make for a restful night's sleep, Emerson warns. White, cream, pale pink, light blue, and brown complement coral beautifully. "Turquoise and coral are gorgeous together, especially with blond furniture or Hawaiian rattan," she adds. "Just be sure they're toned down so you don't get a '50s diner effect."
—Make a dining room inviting by painting coral on walls and using the shade as accents. Lay a sisal rug on the floor for an even more summery feel.
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