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slides: DESIGN LINE: Best Paint Colors For Interiors

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


If you think you’re the only person that has trouble selecting paint colors for your home, let me assure you you are not!  Nearly every client I meet has paint-related horror stories.  From a small color block to a three dimensional room, colors can shift dramatically with different light sources and backgrounds.  Here is a series of colors that I happen to love: a series of light neutrals and dramatic darks that are sure to make your space shine.  Big piece of advice no matter what you are painting:  paint a large swatch first before you tackle the whole job.


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Color: Ralph Lauren Tudric Pewter

Neutrals are often the toughest colors to decide on.  Will they be too boring?  Too cold?  One of the toughest but potentially ravishing neutrals is grey.  This color can be so ultra-sophisticated that it comes off too chilly.  With a dab of warm undertones, Ralph Lauren’s Tudric Pewter can be refined, airy and hip, while being inviting and comfortable too.  As a backdrop to these warm red and orange furnishings, a grey room can be playful too.

Interior Design: Deborah French Designs

Photo: Dana Meilijson

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Color: C2 Paint Hammock

Some spaces can handle grey, while others scream for more warmth.  When there is nearly as much trim as wall, and the ceilings stretch over 12 feet high, walls can absorb a lot of color, making everything look lighter than it actually is.  Hammock, a golden taupe from C2 Paint, will definitely appear darker in a smaller room than it does in this spacious kitchen.  Nevertheless, it is hard to go wrong with this sophisticated warm neutral that won’t ever look too easter-egg yellow on the walls.

Interior Design:  Kelly Taylor Interior Design

Photo: Nat Rea Photography

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Color: Benjamin Moore Berber White

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of shades of “white”  paint in the world. Some have grey undertones; others are slightly yellow; and still others are loaded with pink.  I have no doubt that each of these whites has its place.  However, in most cases, I like an “off white” that hugs the middle, with a little undertone of each.  This makes Benjamin Moore’s Berber White one of my staples.  One of the most versatile neutrals on the market today, it can be used in bathrooms, hallways, and bedrooms alike.

Interior Design: Arch Studio, Inc.

Photo: Paul Dyer

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Silver Birch

Color: Pratt & Lambert Silver Birch

In some cases, the best neutrals are the colors that most people don’t think of as neutral at all, like Silver Birch from Pratt & Lambert.  One of my signature hues, this paint deceives on the small chip, looking very cool and dreary, but once on the wall, it masterfully plays with light.  As the sun shifts, so the green morphs into blue into silver and back to green.   This versatile hue makes the perfect backdrop to a host of color combinations.

Interior Design: Kelly Taylor Interior Design

Photo: Scott Lapham

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Color: C2 Paint Vex

In that vein, pale greens can make excellent neutrals, as in this lovely sage from C2 Paint.  Played against dark woods and white trim, this soft color shows a bit more personality than beige, and is a great choice for a large open space that wants to be bright, light and simple with a hint of a hue.

Interior Design: Kate Jackson Interior Design 

Photo: Nat Rea Photography

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Benjamin Moore Mayflower Red

While neutrals are essential, let’s face it, bold colors get the oohs and aahs.  Of all the bolds,  reds can be extremely tough colors to choose, but when they are right, as in this chic kitchen and living space, a simple painted wall can be the star of any decor.  Steer the wrong direction and you have a hot mess of pink.   My favorite reds, like Mayflower Red from Benjamin Moore, have just a hint of rust.  Not too orange, but not blood red either, these lovely shades straddle the middle, adding warmth, class and surprise to any room.

Interior Design: Niche Interiors

R. Brad Knipstein Photography

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Color: Benjamin Moore 50% Hale Navy 50% Newburyport Blue

Despite thousands of pre-mixed colors on the market, it’s not always easy to find the perfect one.  This custom mix by EMI Interior Design achieves the perfect dark blue.  And set against white ceilings, trim and cabinetry, there’s no danger of this space appearing “dark.” Imagine how easily this space will be transformed when the homeowner tires of blue.  A fresh coat of a different color will make a wildly different statement down the road.

Interior Design: EMI Interior Design

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Color: Benjamin Moore Sharkskin

More times than I’d like to remember, I have been asked to select a “Forest Green,” which is so, well, passé.  Benjamin Moore’s  refined Sharkskin is a whole other matter.  Still classic, this color can be masculine or feminine; it can be brightened with coordinating hues of bright teals and yellows for a living space, or anchored with mahogany bookshelves for a time-honored study.

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Deep Blue

Color: Farrow & Ball Hague Blue

A lifetime spent on the ocean renders no color more inviting to me than deep sea blue.  Mixed with rich reds, browns, or beautiful deep wood tones, this intense hue is ideal for a library.  But I’m quite sure there’s not a room in your home that wouldn’t like Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball.  As the backdrop for almost any color combination of furniture imaginable, this amazing hue is shockingly versatile.  For those of you scared of dark walls, I promise this color will not disappoint.

Interior Design: Natalie Younger Interior Design

Photo Credit-Bethany Nauert via Apartment Therapy

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Color: Sherwin Williams Caviar

Speaking of dark, here is the show-stopping paint color that you must see to believe.  Who says dark walls make a dark room? Sherwin Williams’ Caviar is the perfect black for a theatrical backdrop.  Bright windows, ceiling and upholstery make this room anything but somber.  Drama. Drama. Drama.

Interior Design: Ramsey Interiors

Photo: Matt Kocourek

Kelly Taylor is the 2012 recipient of New England Home magazine’s “5 Under 40” award for excellence in design as well as Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s 2012 Gold Award for residential interior design.  She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, RI. Find her on twitter at @ktidnet or visit her website at www.ktid.net.


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