Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Paint. Can anything change a room more powerfully than wall color? No! It seems to be the item that most people struggle with most in their homes. So what are my favorite colors right now?
Years ago I was fortunate to brand an interior designer in New York City who worked for the Dorothy Draper Company (Dorothy Draper is considered the first interior designer). This designer, Andee Schell, always used blue as her ceiling color. When she invited my staff and me to her apartment I discovered she was right. Light blue ceilings don't feel "blue." They feel "white."
I have found light blue ceilings create a more active interior so I adopted this design concept years ago even in my own home.
The ceilings in my home are Benjamin Moore Ewing Blue CW-585 Flat. The color changes with the light becoming more white at night to almost celadon in some daylight, changing with the moods of the weather outside. That is how you know you nailed a color, it changes with the lighting and moods of the environment in a subtle way. Recently I did another large home with a ceiling color Benjamin Moore Constellation AF-540 Flat that is a bit more true blue with a more icy modern feel to help a 1990's home become more up to date.
To keep any interior from become boring, another rule of thumb is to take 25% of the wall color and use that color as the ceiling hue. So, no more white ceiling, ok?
I love accent walls of a bright hue, and I like to repeat them three times in a home. I also like to add a dark color that melds well with the accent color and repeat that three times. For the rest of a house I like a neutral that does not scream at me. I am going to be living in these walls so I tend to like a color that falls into the background for most rooms, letting the artwork, furniture and textiles tell the story. In our house the accent color is Williamsburg Wyeth Blue CW-590 used in our master potty closet and powder room. This color also creates a country French look on my exterior shutters with cream brick. Our dark colored rooms including my library, boy's bath and pantry are Washington Blue CQW-630.
Currently my two favorite wall colors are Benjamin More Stonington Grey HC-170 which is the best cool grey with no undertones of another color. Stonington is also a historical color so it's here to stay. I have found that Ben More's Metropolitan AF-690 is also good but can be a bit dark with a few undertones. My second favorite is Bruton White CW-710 by Ben Moore. Bruton White has a slight taupe undertone so it's great for a home with warmer woods especially more traditional hardwoods. I just paired this wall color with a darker grey for cabinets with brushed chrome hardware to give an update to a 1990's kitchen. Then I added modern warm industrial lighting from Pottery Barn.
Trim & Finishes
For me, trim is white, bright white. It helps to unify your home as you go from room to room. In baths and rooms where you have a bit of moisture satins and egg shells work well, but for any other room nothing can beat flat. Also, with flat you can very easily touch up the paint your kids will eventually nick or dirty. Just remember you can never scrub or wash flat, but keep some touchup on hand and apply with a small sponge brush.