DIVORCE DECORATING AFTER

After her divorce, the first thing Cat Larose did was paint her bedroom a rich bordeaux hue.

"My ex-husband was a beige man," said Larose, a Canadian color marketing expert. "He was very practical and thought colors were bad for resale. I acquiesced to that."

Marriage is always a compromise, for better or worse, and ending a marriage is never fun. But one upside after a marital split is a chance to express one's true colors at home, sometimes literally.

As a catalyst for redecorating, "divorce is right up there with having a baby," said Larose, a blogger (cafegirl chronicles.wordpress.com) who recently published a color-themed divorce memoir, "Any Color but Beige" (Friesen Press).

Home makeovers -- or "breakovers," as she calls them -- are a common response to ending a marriage and making a fresh start. Several of her readers have told her that they, like her, reacted to divorce by reaching for a paintbrush.

"Paint color is often the first thing people change after a split," agreed Kathy Basil, a showroom manager for Hirshfield's Design Resource. "It's relatively inexpensive yet can have a dramatic impact." She's worked with a lot of former couples, sometimes both spouses, she said. "Many times after a split, people don't have money for a major makeover."

And the master bedroom is often the space that gets repainted first. "Even if you have to keep the same furniture, if you only have the budget for paint and new bedding, that can make a huge difference," Basil said.