Paint makes the room

Paint is a wonderful thing! It can transform whatever it touches. To me the smell of paint equals new beginnings. It allows you to breathe new life into tired spaces or repurpose and reuse items in a new way. In my opinion anyone can learn how to paint, however my decorative painter Deb Hides might argue with me on this point.

Look at how different the same color looks in these two rooms!

Farrow & Ball: Parma Gray
Decorative painting by Deb Hides, photo by Liz Donnelly
This room is also Farrow & Ball- Parma Gray
Photo Liz Donnelly

A few points to know about paints & painting

  • To get the best results sand, prime and paint with two coats of a good quality paint.
  • You get what you pay for; if you spend more for higher quality paint you get better results. You will get both better coverage and better wear (avoiding peeling and spotting), this is particularly important on the coast where sun and salt make paints deteriorate at a faster rate.
  • When choosing whites you can tint them with pink, gray, blue or green to keep the white from looking washed out or stark.
  • If you are not sure about colors working together ask yourself if you would see them in nature. Green goes with most colors as does blue because it is contrasted in nature with numerous colors.
  • Tone on tone is always going to look good, it is not a cop-out to go tonal it can be very sophisticated and calming.
  • Paint trim in the entire house the same color it show continuity and allows you to play with wall color.
  • Be bold with color but if you do you must have a consistent color palette, I had a client (whom I adore) who had a blindingly bright orange living room, but the rest of the house did not go with the orange so that room felt like an island in the home. Each room needs to flow into the next, when in doubt go neutral you can use pops of color as accents.
  •  Chalk paint can be made in any color; this is a fun way to use a crazy color…You can paint your kitchen backslasha fun color of chalk paint and then write down all your important family commitments…carpool at 5pm looks cooler on a Chartreuse chalk board! I always wanted to paint the area where my stools are tucked under my kitchen island…make a creative fort for the kids…not they are teenagers…I think I have lost my chance

What paint finishes should you use and where?

  1. Flat or Matte Paint: is best for older walls as it will camouflage imperfections, but is most suitable in bedrooms or homes without small children and animals…as it is not the most durable finish and is hard to clean.
  2. Eggshell or Satin Paint: has a higher sheen than flat/matte finish and works well in all rooms as it is easier to clean and stain-resistant.
  3. Semi Gloss and High Gloss: this is a decorators dream, it is shiny and durable and cleans easily, it is best for trim, doors, cabinetry, windows and furniture…but this will show high light imperfections. I have my first floor ceiling painted in semi gloss, when I told my painter I wanted to use it he said “ it cannot be done”, that is because he did not want to do it, it was hard work but he did it and I love the effect, it is so chic.

My favorite 12 colors for summer

  • Benjamin Moore: Sea foam 2123-60 (my favorite…Sea glass color)
  • Benjamin Moore: Gossamer Blue 2123-40 (rich but mellow blue)
  • Sherwin Williams: Aloof Gray sw6197 (just what it says)
  • Farrow & Ball: Skimming Stones 241 (neutral creamy beige)
  • Farrow & Ball: Parma Gray 27 (wonderful blue gray)
  • Farrow & Ball: Borrowed Light 235
  • Ralph Lauren: Edwardian Linen RLWW216 (creamy)
  • Calvin Klein: Basso Bone (very neutral)
  • Benjamin Moore: Quiet moments 1563 (tranquility  in a paint)
  • California Paints: Glamour White DEW348 (Gray hues very neutral)
  • California Paints: Boysenberry Shadow DEW391 (purple very pale but not too girly)
  • My go to white is Benjamin Moore Decorators White-it is bright and clean and I love it. This is great in high gloss on furniture too. BEST TRIM COLOR!

Paint is wonderful because in a day you can change a room from dirty and tried to fresh and clean!

Wonderful cottage bedroom set-inspired by Farrow & Ball: Borrowed light

Let me know you questions and tell me about your projects. I love answering questions and helping with design dilemmas!

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4 thoughts on “Paint makes the room

  1. I love to see paint colors up on walls with natural light …. this is an awesome entry. you should shoot it daylight and lamplight, as I know Farrow and Ball paint changes a lot in the different light, right? …. that grey is so beautiful …. and that borrowed light color, wow! Love that bathroom!


  2. Hi, can you remember what colour you used on the walls in the bedroom with the Borrowed Light painted furniture? I am struggling to decide on a colour for my kitchen walls in which the cabinets will be painted in Borrowed Light. My kitchen is South East facing.



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