Kim Alexandruik's motto is to "go for impact." Use it as an opportunity to play with unusual seating and colorful artwork that may be harder to integrate into other rooms. Her color of choice is a "putty-colored gray, with a hint of pink and lavender. Not too light, so it doesn't go vapid," says Aleandruik. Use this hallway designed by Mally Skok as inspiration. Westminster Home Painting

Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers. House Painting Westminster