All Your Paint Questions, Answered by Our Design Pros

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WORDS BY Heather Goerzen

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Published on October 26, 2021

Paint is one of those design elements that impacts everyone, and every home. Whether you’re into crisp and clean walls, or never met a bold and dramatic space you didn’t absolutely love, there are countless options, tones, and treatments to consider. Honestly, probably one of our most asked design questions is: “what color should I paint my (insert: living room, bedroom, dining room, etc.)?” 

And because we know its such a hot topic, we decided to ask you to ask us anything — and everything — you’ve been wondering about paint. From trim treatments and small spaces to cabinet colors and accent walls, our design experts are here with the answers. Read on for the highlight reel (and get ready to grab your paint brush).

PS: In case you missed it, we also tackled all your tricky design dilemmas on living rooms and bedrooms.

Should white trim match your white walls?

“We love using the same white hue on your trim as your walls. It creates a streamlined, modern aesthetic without any distinct break between trim and walls. It’s one of the tricks of the trade that our VP of Design, Shelby Girard, uses in her own home. If you prefer to differentiate between the two (which is also a solid move), opt for a lighter trim in a semi gloss that will look clean, crisp, and bright.” -Brady Burke, Lead Designer

Shelby Girard home office

How many colors should you have in your home?

“There isn’t a magic number, but a good rule of thumb is to use three colors — a dominant color, usually a neutral, a secondary color that’s a little bolder, and an accent color that’s the boldest of the three.” -Vivian Torres, Lead Designer

blue paint dining room

How to pick a non-white cabinet color that won’t feel dated later?

Oh, that’s a really good question. The first thing that comes to mind is to go to your closet and see what the deal is there. You’ve probably curated your clothing collection over time, so it’s a great tool for revealing what colors you’re naturally drawn to. If you’ve got a sea of neutrals, stick with something warm and light (consider mushroom, or even a soft moody sage if you want to break the mold just a bit). If you’ve got a lot of dark shades, go for something bold like black or navy. If your closet features a range of bright colors, go for it with something really vibrant and colorful, like a teal blue green.” -Melissa Wagner, Lead Designer

blue kitchen cabinets

What color do you recommend for a picture ledge?

“You can always opt for a neutral or white hue that matches the color of your walls for a seamless look. But if you want to add a little more contrast, I’m a big fan of a taupy gray color like Nimbus from Benjamin Moore. It’s a versatile color that plays well with other colors in your artwork and adds a subtle warmth without competing with the scene.” -Kelsey Fischer, Lead Designer

picture ledge

Best black paint for an edgy, moody powder room?

“Yes! Dark and moody colors in smaller spaces allow the room to feel intimate and inviting, rather than cramped. Darker tones like black are often difficult to use in larger spaces beause they feel like a risk, so a powder room is the perfect canvas to test out a bolder tone! Try Benjamin Moore Onxy for a true black, Soot for a hint of gray undertone, or Anchor Gray for a softer, but still equally as statement, black tone.” -Brady Burke, Lead Designer

black paint bathroom

What color should you paint other walls with an accent wall?

“Paint the other walls a light, neutral shade that both complements the accent wall as well as the overall room palette. If you’re opting for an accent wall, you want that one to take center stage. The goal is then to achieve balance, rather than have the two shades competing with one another.” -Vivian Torres, Lead Designer

blue accent wall

Are painted accent walls over? Would you use wallpaper instead?

“While we get the accent wall craze, we encourage you to go beyond your fear of commitment and go all in! Paint the whole room, or for something in between, consider painting all the trim with a pop of dramatic color. If only one wall is your thing, wallpaper the ceiling instead of an accent wall! However, if you’re set on an accent wallI, make sure to paint (or wallpaper) the main wall, making it a focal point — like the wall behind your fireplace, or behind your bed.” -Brady Burke, Lead Designer

navy blue bedroom

What color paint goes best with a terracotta roof?

“I say a crisp, warm white. Something that will really let that roof stand out and give you some contrast. Look for something with subtle cream undertones for that Cali-meets-Mediterranean vibe (complete with ocean views) versus a more cold and sterile white. Check out our tried and true warm white hues.” -Kelsey Fischer, Lead Designer

Have more design dilemmas that could use an expert perspective? We’re here for it. Take our style quiz and discover your designer BFF.

Words by Heather Goerzen