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Make a color splash with bright paint

David Bromstad went from struggling artist with a thing for color to TV design star.

The champion of HGTV’s first “Design Star” reality series in 2006 and former Disney illustrator got his own show, “Color Splash.” A line of eco-friendly paints debuted in April.

“I can’t even tell you how much my life has changed all in the most wonderful, incredible, fantastic way,” he said. “I loved my life before. I’m an artist. I paint. But I’ve really loved what’s happened, too. I get to work with such wonderful people. It’s so fabulous. I still pinch myself.”

Now, he’s got some tips for how to make over any room cheap. Think color as in Bromstad’s favorite, acid yellow.

Not only does color lift a room, but it can lift spirits, even in small-dose accents. And who couldn’t use a lift these days?

Bromstad, 35, has partnered with Mythic Paint (“which doesn’t even smell like paint,” Bromstad said) to carry his new signature hues such as Wasabi, a hot green.

“I’m adding a little spice to the brand,” he added. “I’ve always dreamed of naming my own paint colors. Now, I get to do it.”

With a bicoastal schedule that would exhaust an ultra-marathoner, Bromstad has been “super super busy.” He lives in Miami and commutes to San Francisco to film his show.

“I’m commuting 10,000 miles a week,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s insane.”

While jetting across America, Bromstad finds time to think and plan. Of course, he daydreams in vivid color.

With so many colors to choose, does he have a favorite?

“People always ask me that. It’s so unfair,” Bromstad said. “I love all colors.”

That makes choosing difficult, especially when redecorating your own home.

Bromstad recently moved into a loft in Bal Harbour, Fla., created by combining two apartments.

“It’s … probably my biggest design challenge yet because of the configuration and because it’s my space,” he said. “I’m really pushing myself to make it unique and make an impression on the world. I’m getting there slowly.

“But right now, it looks like a crayon box threw up in my house. I have a huge orange couch, taupe walls and lime green accents. I hate it.”

His solution? “I’m going with white and gray with lime green accents and a splash of acid yellow.”

That might not sound that different, but that’s part of the magic of paint. A little change can go a long way.

That will be the theme of a workshop he’ll hold in Sacramento.

“We’ll cover the how-to’s of color,” he explained. “We’ll cover the new neutrals and whites, adding pops of color. We’ll talk about picking the right color – it’s hard. Most people pick paint at the paint store, looking down at a table. That’s all wrong. That’s basic knowledge that most people don’t understand.”

Bromstad stays true to his mantra: “Color is the root of great design.”

And new paint makes a huge difference in any room because it’s quick and relatively cheap.

“That’s the smartest way to design, especially in this economy,” Bromstad said. “Paint is the most inexpensive and easiest way to transform a space immediately. For under $100, you can make a major impact.”

As for color trends, yellow is hot.

“Most people don’t look good in yellow, but it’s wonderful on walls,” Bromstad said. “Yellow is the color of the year. It’s very bright, energizing. In the times we’re in now, people need to be uplifted.”

Bromstad particularly likes bold, bright “school bus yellow.” “It’s almost a mustard: cheery, exciting, a lot of energy,” he said.

Other colors on the decorating horizon are a spectrum of purple “all shades, from mauve to magenta to deep purple,” he said. “We’ll see more muted shades of purple in the fall and soft iris blue with a touch of purple. It’s gorgeous.”

As for neutrals, “gray is the new brown; it’s everywhere,” Bromstad noted. “And whites will never go out of style.”

Bromstad encourages people to experiment with combinations and take chances.

“It depends on the room,” he said. “I could see doing a black wall or deep dark charcoal with Wasabi and yellow (trim) and maybe some pink and turquoise accents. A magenta wall would be just stunning.

“Choose a color that makes you feel good,” he added. “The main thing is to have fun.”

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