Chris Hemsworth Trades Malibu for Oz, Leaving a $6.5M Listing in His Dust

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It’s a listing fit for a god – and his young family.

Chris Hemsworth and actress Elsa Pataky have moved with their three young children to his native Australia, leaving their own private Valhalla – a spacious estate in Malibu – in their dust.

The couple is asking $6.5 million for the secluded home they bought from another Aussie, “Crocodile Dundee” star Paul Hogan, in Malibu’s coveted Point Dume neighborhood.

“I know Chris and his brothers very well – I helped Liam find his house in Malibu – and they’re wonderful to work with, salt of the earth,” said listing agent Ryan Davis of the John Aaroe Group’sAaroe Estates.
Point Dume, known by tourists for its rocky promontory along the beach, is popular among locals for its excellent preschool and elementary school, Davis said. It also offers a plaza with a grocery store, coffee shop and other amenities that make the rural scale of Malibu more convenient.

The 6,800-square-foot home, renovated by the crocodile wrangler before People’s Sexist Man Alive and his wife bought it, features a grand gourmet kitchen with soaring ceilings, a fireplace, a giant center island and tons of storage – including exposed shelves for showing off decorative glassware or an otherworldly hammer.

An expansive master suite boasts two walk-in closets, a seating area and a private lanai with mountain and ocean views. Three additional en-suite bedrooms are ideal for children and visiting Australian brothers, plus there’s a guest house, a bonus bedroom, office spaces and a library.


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What You Need to Know About Home Improvements and Taxes

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When we bought our first house, it was perfect. Well, except for the 40-year-old heater. And the green kitchen with beige appliances circa the 1970s. And the creepy basement. (But otherwise perfect.)

Over the years, we made a number of improvements. We also made a number of repairs. We replaced the roof, added a powder room, and replaced the front porch. We painted walls and swapped out windows and doors. Yet, when we sold our house a few years ago, I still had a list of home improvements that we never got around to doing. We never did refinish the basement or knock out the kitchen wall. I never got a new master bath. Time, money, and resale value were all factors in deciding how to prioritize repairs and improvements to our home.

When you make any repair or improvement to your house, you can guarantee an immediate hit to your wallet. However, repairs and improvements are characterized and classified in different ways and can lead to bigger breaks down the road when your home is on the market and competing against other Phoenix, AZ, real estate listings, for instance. Here are a few rules for sorting out which improvements may lead to tax breaks, and which ones may just break the bank.

What’s the difference between a repair and an improvement?

It’s important to know the difference between repairs and improvements for tax purposes. A repair returns your home to its previous condition but doesn’t necessarily make it better than before, while home improvements make your home better and can boost the sale value.

When can you deduct a repair?

To figure how the repair will be treated on your return, you’ll want to consider the nature and timing of the repair. Repairs that you make simply to make your home look or feel better – like patching and painting the walls – offer no tax advantage. They’re tax-neutral. Repairs you make following a fire, hurricane, tornado, or other disaster may be deductible under the casualty/loss rules. While rules can be complicated, you can generally deduct the cost of a repair to return your property to the state it was in before the disaster.

Can you deduct home improvements?

As a rule, you generally don’t get to take a tax deduction for increasing the value of your home. However, there are a few exceptions. If the improvement is to accommodate a disability (for example, the cost of a wheelchair ramp), you can claim some or all of the cost as a medical expense. If the home improvement does not increase the value of your home, you may claim the entire cost as a medical expense; if the improvement increases the value of your home, the difference would be a medical expense. Remember that the rules for medical expenses still apply, including the 10% floor.

What about energy-efficient upgrades?

If you improve your home to allow the use of alternative energy, you may qualify for an energy tax credit – at least through 2016. The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit is equal to 30% of the cost of qualified equipment. Qualified equipment includes solar water heaters, solar electric equipment, and wind turbines. There is no cap on the credit for most property types, and the improvements don’t have to be made to your main home.

Can updates to a home office be deducted?

If you make a repair to or improve part of your home that you use for business, including a home office or a rental, you can claim a deduction. You’ll want to make sure that the repair meets the criteria for business expenses to take the deduction. You may also have to deduct the cost over time, so check the rules carefully.

What if none of these circumstances apply?

All is not lost. If your home improvements are considered capital improvements, you may still get a break by increasing your basis for calculating a gain or a loss when it comes time to sell. A capital improvement is an addition or alteration to your home that meets all three of these qualifying conditions: it adds value or prolongs the useful life of the property; it is a permanent part of the property; and it is intended to be a permanent installation.

Here’s a rule of thumb for figuring capital improvements: If you can carry the improvement out of your house (a new refrigerator or microwave), it’s not a capital improvement. If you can’t take it with you when you go (a remodeled master bath), it’s probably a capital improvement.

Here’s how it works by the dollars. Let’s say I bought my house for $100,000. And let’s assume that I really did get around to adding that master bath at a cost of $10,000. My new basis? $110,000. That’s $100,000 (purchase price) + $10,000 (adjustment) = $110,000. At sale, I would figure any capital gain or loss (difference between selling price and basis) with an adjusted basis of $110,000.

The reality is that you can’t always plan your repairs or home improvements around your tax return. Leaky roofs don’t always show up when it’s convenient. But knowing the rules ahead of time can help you ease the hit to your wallet – and help you time the improvements that you can control.


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3 Signs You Shouldn’t Put Your Home on the Market Yet

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Many sellers think they’re ready to sell, but scratch the surface and you may find fear, anxiety, or undue pressure to make a move. Since typical real estate transaction contracts don’t provide an exit for the seller – only the buyer – it’s best to hold off listing if you’re not sure you’re ready to sell.

Having your home sit on the market for an extended time will make buyers wonder what’s wrong with it. If you’re about to list your home for sale but any of the following warning signs apply to you, you should give some serious thought to waiting.

You haven’t emotionally detached from the home

Selling a home isn’t like selling your car – there are major emotional considerations involved. Have you been in your home for 10 years or more? Did you grow up or make incredible memories there? Is your home sale the result of a major life event, like a death or divorce?

If so, the thought of packing up your home, moving out and allowing complete strangers to traipse through it could spark a panic attack. It’s better to hold off, mourn the loss of your home or life event, and list the property when you’re fully prepared to move on. Otherwise you face an uphill battle.

Your desired price is more than 10 percent off what agents are telling you

The first few weeks a home is listed is when it gets the most action from the serious buyer pool. If you’ve priced your home too high, it could still be languishing on the market six months down the line.

At that point, you’ll drop the price – but the buyers will punish you for those greedy first few months,
and your ultimate sale price will end up being a lot less than what your agent suggested.

If more than one agent recommends pricing your home at more than 10 percent below what you want for it, that’s a sign you should hold off and not test the market.

You don’t have a sound exit strategy if you get a deal

No plan to relocate, rent or buy a new home? You might not be the best candidate for listing.

Without a plan, you have zero motivation to clean, organize, stage, paint or make the home market-ready. And if it doesn’t show well, you leave money on the table.

Sellers with a well-developed game plan spend time and money in advance of listing. They also keep their home in great condition for the duration of the sale. It’s not easy, but hard work pays off.

If you’re not ready to make the commitment, don’t put your home on the market.


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Charlize Theron Sells LA Loft at $1M Loss

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How furiosa Charlize Theron must be to have taken a $1-million loss on her Los Angeles loft.

The Oscar winner paid $2.76 million for the 1-bedroom, 2-bath Hollywood condo at the height of the housing bubble in 2007 – and sold it in October for $1.7 million, Variety was first to report.

The two-story penthouse has the exposed air ducts, open floor plan, and tall, steel-framed windows of a New York loft.

It boasts three terraces, including one with a fireplace and one with a view of the cylindrical Capitol Records tower. The condo building, which started out as a department store in the 1920s, also offers “discreet” alley access to a full-time valet service.

The listing agent was Nima Tehrany of The Listing Group.


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The Most Expensive Trailer Parks In America

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The group of LA dream-seekers who can afford to score a home for sale in Malibu, CA is tiny and elite. The price of admission to a portion of that 21-miles strip of oceanside paradise and unobstructed views of the Pacific will most likely start around 20 to 30 million dollars and skyrocket from there – unless you go mobile.

Yes, mobile. As in, hunkering down in a double-wide in a trailer park. But not just any trailer park, of course: Mobile homes by Malibu standards eschew any common notions you may have had in favor of exclusivity, luxury, and high style. Oh, and of course, a price tag to match. But again, here, a high six- or seven-figure price tag is every bit a bargain.

There are two such gated communities in Malibu, mobile home communities with clubhouses, spas, tennis courts, and that highly coveted Malibu beachfront real estate. At Paradise Cove and Point Dume, double-wide mobile homes range from $400K to around $4 million, with monthly land lease prices between $1,500 and $4,000. We spoke to David Carter, a real estate agent with Pritchett-Rapf Realtors who not only handles listings for both communities but also has lived in Paradise Cove for 30 years. Along with his son, Quint, and daughter, Bracken, who grew up in Paradise Cove and now work with their father, Carter sells the uniquely exclusive mobile home life in the ‘bu.

“For most, these are second and third homes,” says Carter. “So instead of paying $25 million, they can get that laid-back beach lifestyle – and private beach access, at Paradise Cove – for around $4 million.” According to Carter, there’s a strong sense of community among the families in these parks, which include many film and music industry stars and wealthy celebs. Residents can also remodel their unit down to the frame, while still registering as a mobile home. Plus, he points out, while they pay monthly land rental fees, they escape the astronomical property taxes that would come with that $30 million stunner.

We gathered some of the most breathtaking for-sale mobile homes at Paradise Cove and Point Dume that will turn the notion of a trailer park right on its head.


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Kris Jenner, House Collector, Buys Another One … But for Whom?

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Last time momager Kris Jenner bought a home, it was to get her daughter, Kim Kardashian, and son-in-law, Kanye West, out of her Hidden Hills mansion. Then there was the $1.3-million condo she snagged for daughter Kendall Jenner a couple of years ago.

It’s hard to know who she has in mind with her latest, $2.285-million purchase, first reported by Trulia.

The 4-bedroom, 5-bath colonial is just 20 minutes from her Hidden Hills estate, in a gated community where many a Kardashian has lived before.

A dining room large enough for the whole family boasts high ceilings and French doors that open onto a romantic courtyard.

A spacious family room and formal living room each has its own fireplace, and the office has French doors leading to the front porch.

The master suite features a sitting room and a giant bathroom with a soaking tub, and the back yard is an entertainer’s paradise with a triple-waterfall pool, spa and bar area.

The listing agents were Tomer and Isidora Fridman of Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Real Estate.


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Jackie Collins’ Sizzlin’ Beverly Hills Mansion Lists for $30M

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This is where the magic happened – at least in blockbuster author Jackie Collins’ head.

For more than two decades, the late conjurer of more than two dozen steamy romances lived on this Beverly Hills estate, which her family has listed for $30 million with Susan Smith of Hilton & Hyland.

Collins, who had a flare for sex scenes and leopard prints, designed every detail of the nearly 22,000-square-foot home, and it’s easy to picture her lounging here with a black felt-tip pen in hand.

The modern mansion makes a bold first impression with a two-story gallery foyer, abundant skylights and a sweeping staircase.

A spacious living room continues the art-gallery vibe with built-in shelves, marble floors and ambient lights embedded in the double-crown moldings.

A 100-foot gallery connects the main home to a guest suite, offices, a screening room and a gym plus sauna. Collins told The Wall Street Journal she did most of her writing in a study off her bedroom and one off the gym.

The mansion boasts 8 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, many with views of palm trees and the Hollywood Hills. One bathroom features shelves bearing more art objects, plus a dressing mirror with Hollywood lights fit for a literary diva.


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Want Your Security Deposit Back? Ask These 6 Questions

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When you’ve just landed a new apartment in Boston, MA, a security deposit is kind of like the pile of work on your desk at 5 p.m. on a Friday. You could push it aside for now, but you’ll still have to deal with it on Monday (or when it’s time to move out). But until that time comes, it’s easy to be distracted with decorating, meeting the neighbors, and celebrating your new place.

However, it’s important to be proactive so you can help ensure you’ll get back every penny you deserve – and you can’t just assume the security deposit will let you “live out the last month,” either. That concept exists only in tenants’ minds and isn’t really a thing (ever) … unless your landlord has agreed to it.

Here are six important questions to ask before you sign the lease that can help save you some dough.

1. Does your landlord want the place returned spotless?

Your landlord might be the white-glove type that meticulously checks for cleanliness, and not just by putting on a white glove and inspecting for dust. They might expect a sparkling-clean oven, microwave, and fridge (and freshly spackled and touched-up walls). Find out by asking your landlord what they expect at move-out time. If you’re a bit of a slob, you might want to pay a cleaning service to scour your place before you move out. That way, you control how much you spend instead of leaving a mess for the landlord to clean … and to charge you for. Don’t leave dilapidated furniture behind. If the landlord has to discard it, expect to pay for any charges incurred.

2. What is normal wear and tear?

If you’ve lived in a place for several years, it won’t look as good as the day you moved in. The carpet will show wear, the paint will fade or show smudges, and there might be small nicks here and there on the walls. These things are just normal wear and tear – stuff that happens over time in any home or apartment. The landlord shouldn’t charge you for that. In other words, the landlord can’t remodel the place on your dime. But if the wear and tear is excessive and outright damage has occurred (wine or vomit stains on the carpet, the unmistakable odor of cat pee, a child’s “artwork” painted directly on the walls, broken doors or holes in walls from who knows what), that’s on you and will come out of your security deposit.

3. What’s the charge for repainting?

Were the walls in your rental just painted, but you already know that you simply cannot live with those “builder beige” tones without losing your mind? You might not have to cover the walls in floor-to-ceiling artwork. If you wish to paint the walls a soothing aqua chiffon or maybe a lovely hyacinth, you first need permission from the landlord. If you get the A-OK, you’ll either need to paint the walls back to beige before you move out or let the landlord take a repainting fee from your security deposit. Unless you know how to prep walls for painting like a pro and can be certain you won’t get paint on trim, baseboards, or anywhere else it shouldn’t be, let your landlord do it. Once you know upfront how much they’ll charge you for the privilege of painting, those beige walls might start to look kind of nice.

4. Who is responsible for lawn maintenance?

Lawn maintenance is a tricky area for renters and a subject that should be spelled out explicitly in the lease. If it isn’t, generally speaking, when you rent a multifamily unit, the landlord is responsible for lawn care. If you rent a single-family home, you are probably responsible for the upkeep of the grounds. But there’s upkeep and then there’s upkeep. What you consider kept up might not be what the landlord has in mind. Find out, for example, how often you need to mow the lawn and whether you need to water it, trim bushes and shrubs, and keep weeds under control. If there is any doubt, maintain the property of the house you’re renting as you would your own house.

If the landlord needs to spend money to get the grounds in the same shape as when you moved in, that will come out of your security deposit. Keep in mind that maintaining is one thing, but making the yard your own is another. Get permission before you plant a flower or vegetable garden, and know that any bushes or trees you plant should stay with the house when you move.

5. What about pets?

Pets can cause damage. Cats might ruin the carpet by using it as a scratching post, and dogs sometimes dig holes in the yard. Landlords know this, which is why some don’t allow pets. The ones who do might charge a pet deposit (if your state allows it). If you paid a pet deposit, the landlord uses it, not the security deposit, to pay for any pet-related damage. If you weren’t charged a separate pet deposit, the landlord can use the security deposit to repair any pet damage.

6. What if something breaks?

If you spot a problem, tell your landlord right away, whether you caused it and need to pay for it through your security deposit or whether the repair is one the landlord pays for. Either way, if you neglect to tell the landlord and said problem later turns into a disaster, you could be on the hook for the excessive damage. For example, if you spot water coming in from a leaky roof, the landlord needs to fix it right away, and they will pay for it. But if you don’t report the dripping water and a mold problem eventually develops, those mold-removal costs could very well be on you.

Bottom line

The closer you can get to having your place look just the way it did when you moved in (take photos!), the more likely you’ll be to get your full security deposit back. But if the landlord does keep some or all of your security deposit, they almost always need to present you with an itemized receipt detailing the reasons. How long landlords have to get this done varies by state, so familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. If you don’t get your security deposit back or a written explanation as to why not, write to your landlord and ask for your security deposit. If that doesn’t work, you may want to take your landlord to small claims court. You’ll probably get your deposit back that way. In some states, landlords must also pay you a penalty fee in such cases.

Do you have a tip for getting back a security deposit? Let us know in the comments!


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5 Signs You Have ZIP Code Envy

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Envy isn’t just one of the seven deadly sins – it’s also a great driver of the housing market. If you find yourself feeling not so hot about your current place and ogling other people’s neighborhoods, you may be suffering from “ZIP code envy.”

Whether you’re wishing for access to public transportation, proximity to life-enhancing things like
parks and running trails, or just the glitz and glamour of living near Whole Foods, it can be hard to imagine past your current living arrangement.

Read on to see if any of the signs below sound like you and learn how to bounce back (and maybe even find your dream home in the process).

1. You take the “scenic route” home every day

Normal people take Sunday joy rides through nice neighborhoods. But you’re not normal. Your “Sunday joy ride” is through a coveted neighborhood – and it’s become a daily habit. You stop in front of condos and imagine the lives led therein, namely yours.

You cruise down residential streets named things like “Grand Champion Way” and ruefully compare them with yours, which may be somewhat more humbly named, like 83rd Avenue.
If this describes you, you need to ask yourself: “Why don’t I want to drive through my own neighborhood anymore?”

Narrow in on what your current location lacks and use the results to create your open house checklist when you’re shopping your next place.

2. You buy things for your future home

When you see a friend’s antique garden statue in their yard, you want one for your front yard too – even though your landlord or HOA won’t allow it. You’re constantly pinning images of gorgeous kitchens on Pinterest, and may have even started collecting tile and counter samples – even though you live in a rental.

If this sounds like you, then you might be closer to finding a new place than you think. Now’s the time to start getting your finances in order so that you’re ready to jump into action when you start interviewing lenders and selecting a real estate agent.

3. You use Trulia Maps in your downtime

Normal people waste time on the Internet checking Facebook or looking at sports stats. But not you. At any given moment, you have several tabs open on your browser so you can explore new neighborhoods.

You digitally tour desired streets, fixating on amenity locations, demographic information, and shopping opportunities. You may even “X out” of your tab when a friend or colleague glances at your screen. And, yes, you’ve already created one (or 40) of Trulia’s new boards to save your favorite finds.

Stop dreaming and start acting – figure out the common themes among the homes you covet and identify what it would take (an improved credit score? new job? new city?) to make your dreams a reality.

Make a list of what you need to do and create an action plan with touch points each month for checking in with yourself to track progress. In six months, you might be ready to take that next step.

4. You make questionable sacrifices

You’re pulling all-nighters to get that bonus or promotion at work, because you see the reward as the step that will enable you to make the leap to a new neighborhood.

All your work may be commendable; studies indicate that “benign envy” may motivate people to work harder. But when you’re showing up to work with bags under your eyes and a caffeine-induced facial tic, you’ve got to wonder whether your envy is benign.

If this sounds like you, consider keeping your eye on the prize while pulling back your ambitions. Moving to your new, exciting neighborhood won’t be any fun if you’ve wrecked yourself in the process.

5. You’re well known on the open-house circuit

Do you walk into an open house or apartment showing and find the real estate agent greeting you by name?

If so, it’s time to double down on achieving whatever goals are stopping you from moving. Are you having a hard time saving for a down payment? Help is here. Are you worried about breaking your lease? Have no fear.

The next step: reach out to a real estate pro who can help you take stock of where you are, figure out where you want to be, and what options you have to get there.


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The 14 Most Popular Paint Colors (They Make a Room Look Bigger)

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There are some hard and fast rules when it comes to interior design. Dining room chandeliers should hang 60 to 66 inches off the floor. Never match the color of your walls to a color in one of your fabrics. Hang curtains all the way to the ceiling to make the ceilings appear higher. But when it comes to making a room – especially a small one – look and feel bigger, there truly is no one right answer.

So whether you’re looking for a paint color to live with for a while or one that makes the tiny third bedroom in your home for sale in Sarasota, FL, look just a smidge bigger, we consulted designers, paint companies like PPG Paints, and painters to come up with these 14 paint colors you should consider for your next project. Save them to your home inspiration board on Pinterest, and read on for tips on how to best use them.

Best all-around colors to make a space feel larger

Light colors and neutrals are always a classic option for small spaces, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo bold colors when you want to make a room seem bigger. Just take a cue from designer Anne Miller of Miller House Interiors in Charlotte, NC, and pick softer tones for your accessories and furnishings. “I love a saturated paint color and encourage clients not to be scared of using one,” she says. “The key is to remember to balance out that color with softer neutrals so that the room is not overwhelming.”

1. PPG Paints Swirling Smoke

Swirling Smoke is a go-to for Lee Crowder, a colorist with Darling Homes in Dallas, TX. “I have to stop myself from using this one too much because it is just a great all-around color. It is light with a tint of gray and is very calming.”

2. Benjamin Moore Cloud White

“Paint ceilings white and use lighter colors to make a room appear larger,” suggests Dan Schaeffer, owner of Five Star Painting in Austin, TX. “Think light grays, blues, and other neutral colors. You can also use an eggshell or satin finish to help reflect light.”

3. Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

Hale Navy has a spot on Benjamin Moore’s bestselling blue shades list – and for good reason. “It is a favorite to make a space feel bright,” says Sean Juneja, co-founder of Décor Aid. “I equate brightness with freshness, and Hale Navy is very fresh and clean.”

4. Farrow & Ball Skylight

“Skylight is also an amazing color; a clean, light gray-blue,” adds Juneja. “On a whole, cool colors are fresher and brighter than warm. Warm colors evoke intimacy and softness. Cool colors make me think of bright days and breezes and a sharpness that you can only capture with blues and greens.”

Designer trick: Paint walls and trim the same color

Designer Charlotte Lucas of Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte, NC, paints the walls and trim to match in tight spaces and in rooms without much natural light: “The more transitions you have in a room, the more the eye stops at those points – for example, at the window, door, or casing trim. This trick also helps with low ceilings. If you have 6 inches of white crown molding at your ceiling and your walls are gray, your eyes stop at the gray, often 6 inches short of the ceiling. By painting the walls and trim the same paint color, your ceilings appear to be taller, since there are no breaks in the trim!”

5. Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog

“I recently painted a family room – walls, trim, crown, and built-ins – Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog. There were so many windows, French doors, and built-ins in this room, it felt so choppy having the Coastal Fog on the little bit of wall space and white trim everywhere else,” says Lucas. “By painting the walls and trim [the same color], it created an entirely different space and transformed and modernized the traditional room.”

6. Benjamin Moore Navy Masterpiece

The matching-walls-and-trim tactic works with deep shades too (but beware that glossy finish). “I have done this same technique with darker colors as well, painting a formal living room Benjamin Moore Navy Masterpiece,” adds Lucas. “The darker color creates a more cozy and dressy environment. I suggest using a satin or semigloss … the higher the gloss, the more unforgiving the paint is!”

7. & 8. PPG Paints Geyser and Colonial Aqua

Lee Crowder suggests natural hues for this floor-to-ceiling trend. “Clean colors like celadon or a sea glass always make a room feel light and bright,” she says. “PPG Paints Geyser and Colonial Aqua are great selections for that feeling.”

9. PPG Paints Stonehenge Greige

“The general rule is, the lighter the color, the bigger and brighter the room will appear,” suggests Geoff Sharper, owner of Sharper Impressions Painting Company. “Stonehenge Greige by PPG Paints is a very popular color that is light enough to enlarge a room but still gives you some of the modern and hip grays that are trendy right now.”

Square-footage-boosting accent colors

“Contrary to popular belief, light colors do not [always] make teeny rooms feel spacious,” says Jessica Geller, co-principal, ID 810 Design Group in New York, NY. “Instead, embrace the small square footage and go for deep [shades] that create intimate and cozy cocoonlike rooms.”

10. & 11. Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray and Valspar Indigo Streamer

“Feel free to go crazy with saturated colors on cabinetry for an instant update on outdated cupboards,” adds Geller. “Dark grays like Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray and navy colors like Valspar Indigo Streamer quickly bring them into 2016.”

12. Benjamin Moore Orange Blossom

“Orange radiates warmth and generates happiness, whether it’s a tender, romantic hue or vibrant and energetic. Different shades are highly personal and subjective, but one thing is for certain: Using orange is always a bold and uplifting move,” says Amy Courage, co-founder and interior designer at DesignBar in Chicago, IL. “Benjamin Moore Orange Blossom is an elegant and sophisticated shade that enables the relaxed energy needed to make a room appear lighter and brighter.”

Create the illusion of larger space

The number one factor to consider when choosing a paint color? According to Sharper, it’s how much natural light enters the room. “The general rule is, the lighter the color, the bigger and brighter the room will appear,” he says. “And the less natural light you have entering the room, the lighter the paint color you should lean toward.” So if you’re really hoping to boost the look of a space’s square footage, opt for brighter shades with a light reflectance value above 50, which bounce back more light than they absorb.

13. Sherwin-Williams Alabaster

“This is their ‘Color of the Year,’ and I have suggested it to a client who wants to open up a room,” says Melinda Peters Elliot of Fine Designs & Interiors Ltd. in London, OH. “It looks particularly good when there are a lot of windows and the trim around the windows is white.”

14. Sherwin-Williams Hazel

“This is such a peaceful and calming color,” says Alice Chiu of Miss Alice Designs in San Francisco, CA. “It can make a small space appear larger because it naturally brightens up a room with its vibrancy. It’s like being in the middle of an expansive ocean sparkling in a lovely mix of blues and greens.”


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