How to Pick Paint

We often get asked by clients, “when will we pick out the paint?” and we understand there is always a bit of a concern because many of us have been discontent with a room or two’s color in our past.


Typically, it helps to have swatches during the early design stage that will help create a vision or vibe of how the whole look will come together, but there is a lot that goes into picking the perfect color.


There are pamphlets that help show you what colors work well together and options for modern, traditional, transitional and beyond, but doesn’t color also evoke a mood in us? Isn’t color impacted by cabinets, tile and counter tops; as well as how much light a room gets? As designers we help guide this process offering suggestions that fit your space, style and take all parts of the room into consideration. Our approach is to paint samples on the wall when the majority of design elements are in place so everyone can see how the color looks on different walls, in different light.


Determining which paint manufacturer to use can feel overwhelming. With all the paint companies out there, our favorite and most often used is Benjamin Moore. This has to do with the overall value as well as the color offerings we believe work well in the northeast. Benjamin Moore had a hiccup with color a few years back and redesigned the entire pallet- and many designers were more than a little upset. The classic colors contained more grey in them so now there are even more colors to choose from. We also love our local paint store, Debsan, in Natick because of their rent-a-quart program. You can rent a few colors to figure out your likes and dislikes. At $4 a quart it is a great way to see if the color is right in your home before buying the gallon or gallons that will be needed.


A paint’s quality has a lot to do with the chemical make up of a paint so Benjamin Moore has three quality options as well as paint made exclusively for the ceiling and bath. Each has its own unique attributes that influence the price of the paint from fade and color rub off resistant to zero VOC, self-priming, and washable. The rules seem to change all the time so what is the best finish for my room? Flat, eggshell, semi-gloss- again, leave it to the experts to stay on top of what they are using and finding success with outside of a paint company’s marketing.


When talking paint, it would be a miss not to mention Farrow & Ball as it is above and beyond the leader in high-end paint because of its depth of color. Farrow & Ball takes the cake for paint color. It is a very refined brand and offer eight finishes and 132 colours (spelled like that because it is a British company after all)! Since 1946 their recipe remains unchanged giving their paints a color quality and saturation that is hard to beat (until regulations required going greener in 2010). They replaced their oil based paints to water based to be more eco-friendly. Their ingredients tout chalk, china clay and titanium dioxide that are then mixed with water to create their base paint. Then the pigments needed to create their signature depth of colour are carefully measured and added in exactly the right amount. While Farrow & Ball is pricey and finding painters experienced to work with the paint’s less common consistency, the results are well worth the investment in many rooms because of the depth of color and durability of the finish.


Our in-house designer, Alexandra, loves these popular paint colors from Benjamin Moore mainly because a lot of our clients today gravitate towards muted tones that transition well from other rooms in their home and use decorative accessories and textiles instead as their color vehicles.


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