A question that I often get is "How do I pick paint colors and make a home feel cohesive without being boring?". So, I thought I would create a quick go-to guide to make the process a little more pleasant!
There are no rules here and no right or wrong answers. This is just my general approach and I find that it works well for me! If color just isn't your thing, keep in mind that I offer a color toolkit service where I provide color options for you based on your style, lighting and furnishings. These packages start at $100.
Okay, let's dive in with the color palette first. Without this, you're kind of lost. Think of it as your map and guide. It's always fun to find some inspiration for the palette. It could be a rug, fabric, painting, a collection of rocks, or just a simple vase. This palette can be used in one particular room or several rooms. It really depends on how open the rooms are to each other. For example, my finished basement has a much different palette than the rest of my house, but since it's on its own, it doesn't really matter.
Whatever your inspiration is, make sure you LOVE it! Also, don't try to totally match the colors in the inspiration piece because that could get way too busy and saturated. It's best to use it for reference and tone it down. I don't think there's any magic number in terms of colors in your palette but I would refrain from making it look like a rainbow. I think a nice formula is a neutral and then two or three accent colors. If one or two of these colors is woven throughout your house, you have a home that's in harmony. Ahhhhh.
So let's talk neutrals, likes whites, grays and tans, first. These are the workhorses of your palette. This neutral base doesn't have to be in every room, but it's important that it work with the colors in the adjacent rooms. You can also use more than one neutral. In fact, it's a way to add some interest to a more subdued palette. For example, Nimbus and Revere Pewter look great in adjacent rooms. Here are some of my favorite neutrals. All of these are Benjamin Moore.
Now let's add color!
Okay - now that we've established our neutrals, how do we add the COLOR from our palette? Let's say you want to add jazz things up in your family room. There are two ways to approach this. I would either 1. paint the family room walls a color from your palette, keeping the furnishings neutral with colorful accessories to tie it all together or 2. add color via your furnishings, art and accessories and keep the walls neutral. It's amazing how you can make a room feel colorful even with white walls.
See how this room is so vibrant despite the white walls?
If you decide to add color to your walls...
If you want to add color via paint, the sky's the limit. I'm going to share some of my favorite blues and greens since that's what I mostly deal with. Don't forget, you can paint a piece of furniture an accent color - so fun! I'm a big fan of Amy Howard paints!
The paint colors shown below are all Benjamin Moore.
Let's talk about trim color next. I believe, that for the most part, it should be the same throughout the entire house. The excpetion to this would be a room that's off on its own where you might want to do a fun trim color, like navy! Oh yes, it looks so nice! For trim, my top picks are White Dove and Super White (see swatches above).
"I have all these paint colors - how do I narrow them down?", you ask. The first thing you have to do is to take the paint chips out of the store and into your space. You'll be able to narrow things down pretty quickly. Maybe you're left with three. I would suggest getting the Benjamin Moore pint samples and painting them directly on the walls. You could also paint them onto poster board and move them around the room, but there is NO SUBSTITUTE to sampling directly on the walls. Texture and lighting all play key roles. Put a 2'x2' square on each wall since each wall has a different exposure to the sun. Then assess the swatches in the morning, afternoon and night on both sunny and cloudy days. Don't be surprised if the colors transform tremendously throughout the day! They're never the same.
To make your final decision, make sure to assess the paint color with your lighting, flooring and furnishings. All of those things can make a huge difference. Once you've found the perfect color, you'll know it. It's like slipping into that perfect pair of jeans! No brainer! The hardest part is narrowing your options down.
I think that's it for now. I hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line!
I'm all about sharing ideas in home design, gardening and living so we can love our homes. I'm joined by my dog, Boomer, who is always by my side.