How to Select Inteior Paint Colors

Color can make or break the room—it can provide an energy boost, enlarge a small space, bring in light, and so much more. But choosing the right color, shade, and finish without the help of a designer or decorator can be difficult.

Color theorists, consultants, and industry experts suggest dividing colors into three manageable categories: pales, neutrals, and deeps. 

Think of pales as those light and uplifting colors that are versatile and easy. 

By contrast, deeps have a mysterious quality that intrigues with immediate character and domination over a room. Deeps create depth and intimacy in a space.

In between pales and deeps, are the neutrals; the earth tones. Earth tones can be combined for a calming effect by looking for a neutrals undertones, whether warm or cool, and combining neutrals from the same family.

How Lighting Will Affect Your Color

When it comes to color, lighting matters; and lighting is room specific. A south-facing room can make bright colors beam, whereas a north0facing room can cause a bright color to look more muted and cooler.

Because of that, it is suggested that you put samples on the walls of the rooms you intend to paint. Look at the samples in different lights, and at different times of day. Sun, overcast, and time of day will effect the color of your samples. So you’ll want to be sure that the color you’re considering is a color you’ll be happy with at all times of the day and night.

How to Decide On Your Sheen and Shine

After you’ve selected a color, the decisions continue.  And selecting a sheen can be as important as selecting a color--the right color in the wrong sheen can really diminish the beauty of a newly finished room.

Sheens vary from dead flat (no shine) to high gloss (extreme shine).  Generally, flats are great for ceilings, while gloss, semi-gloss and gloss look great on trim and doors. But in certain applications, a high gloss wall in a deep hue can add light to a room, while also enhancing the dramatic effect of the dark color. High Gloss on a Ceiling is another way to add flare to a room.

A note of caution though: high sheen finishes look best on near-perfect surfaces, which increases the amount of preparation necessary prior to painting.  Shine tends to reveal flaws and imperfections in a substrate.

How to Select Color for Multiple Rooms

With some planning, color can be used to accentuate the architectural character of your home.

In a home with an open-concept floor plan, selecting different colors in different spaces can define those spaces and highlight interesting architecture. Alternatively, selecting similar colors  in different shades or hues will bring an open-space together. A simple and easy way to ensure your home has a harmonious color palette is to select various shades of the same color, or of similar tones, as you pick colors from room to room.

Seek Professional Help—From a Color Selection professional

If you’re still stuck on which colors to choose for your home, or if you just need some reassurance that the colors you’ve chosen will look just as you hope they will—you have options there as well.

For a quick and easy view of what your color will look like in your home, use Sherwin Williams “ColorSnap Visualizer”. Using computer technology, you can upload a few photos of your room, select the color, and see that color on your walls!

ColorSnap does have its limitations though—first, you have to upload photos and then the color you see will be effected by the screen your viewing the color on. All screens display colors slightly differently—kind of like how different TV sets make the same shows and colors appear different from TV to TV. The difference is slight, so you will get a good idea of what the color will look like. But it won’t be exact.

For slightly more effort and not much more cost, you can buy some samples. It’s recommended that you put samples on each of the walls you intend to paint and make the samples large enough that you can truly get a feel for how the color will appear in you home—think a 4 feet x 4 feet box, NOT a 12 inch by 12 inch square.

Finally, if you really are having a difficult time even beginning to select a color. Or, if you’re like me an MUCH better at applying paint than selecting colors, you can hire a professional. Both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore offer in-home consultations. Sherwin Williams offers in-home color consolations out of almost every retail store location. Benjamin Moore is a bit more limited; not every store has a consultant on staff, so you may have to call a few stores to find one that has a consultant on staff.

Alternatively, and especially if you have more to decide upon within your home than just colors, you could contact an interior designer. Designers tend to be more costly than color consultants, in part because they have a wide range of design and decorating knowledge. The drawback of that though is that some are better at color selection than others, so do your due diligence in vetting anyone you hire to help you select colors.

Happy color hunting!

Can You Paint Aluminum Siding? Yes, You Can!

Have you ever come home from work, gotten out of your car, and brushed up against the aluminum siding on your house only to have the fading, chalk-like color rub off of the aluminum and onto your jacket or pants? You’re not alone. But you have options…….

Aluminum siding that has the original color—that is, it has never been painted outside of the factory—will “chalk” with age. The chalking process occur slowly and over many years as the sun’s ultraviolet rays break down the resins that bond the color pigments and paint to each other and to the aluminum. The chalky substance staining your cloths (or staining your brick, your driveway, your front porch, or any other area of your home where rain runs off of the house) is actually the dried up, loose color pigments that are no longer bound to your aluminum siding. And every time it rains, those loose dry pigments get re-activated, until hey dry again somewhere else on your home (or clothes!!!)

Ok, so now you know the cause of your problem. And you’re wondering, “do I have to re-side my entire house, or can I paint my aluminum siding?” To which I say, “Yes, you can paint your aluminum siding.”

To paint your aluminum siding, first you’ll need to treat the entire home with a non-toxic, plant-friendly detergent, something like “Simple Green.” A pump sprayer works great for applying the pre-treatment solution to the house. This pre-treatment will loosen up any stubborn pigments as well as any other dust, dirt, or mildew. After you’ve pre-treated the house, the next step is a strong pressure-washing of the entire exterior surface—work top to bottom so that you’re cleaning the home of all of the chalkiness.

Finally, you’re ready for primer and paint. On aluminum-siding homes, we only use premium exterior products like Sherwin Williams “Duration” or Benjamin Moore Regal Select. Both of these products are self-priming over aluminum, so you can skip the primer and go directly to applying 2 coats of the color if you would prefer to save a little time and money. But for the most durability and longest-lasting finish, applying 1 undercoat of a top-quality exterior primer is never a bad idea.

Have questions about painting your aluminum siding yourself? I’m here to help. Not interested in painting your aluminum siding yourself? I’d be glad to do it!

Either way, drop me a note at

Happy Painting!

Benjamin Moore Announces its Color of the Year for 2019

Yesterday at an invitation-only event held at The Grill & Pool at the Seagram Building in New York, Montvale-based Benjamin Moore announced that Metropolitan (AF-690) would be the Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2019. The announcement was made to an invite-only group of the areas leading interior designers, architects, painting contractors, and influencers.

Described by Ellen O’Neil, Benjamin Moore’s Director of Strategic Design Intelligence, Metropolitan is “[c]omforting, composed and effortlessly sophisticated . . .[it] exudes beauty and balance.” O’Neil goes on to explain that Metropolitan is “contemplative” and “glamorous gray” that, being within the neutral range of the color spectrum, is neither “arresting nor aggressive.”

“Metropolitan”, though it was Benjamin Moore’s top listing as Color of the Year 2019, was among 15 additional “harmonious hues” announced as part of the Benjamin Moore Color Trends 2019 palette. Drawing on the calming role of gray, those complimenting colors include: Putnam Ivory HC-39, Balboa Mist OC-27, Kendall Charcoal HC-166, Smoke 2122-40, Black Pepper 2130-40, Soft Fern 2144-40, Cloud White OC-130, Beau Green 2054-20, Metropolitan AF-690, Hale Navy HC-154, Head Over Heels AF-250, Kona AF-165, Decorator's White OC-149, Pashmina AF-100, and Hunter Green 2041-10.

The complete press release and additional information regarding Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2019 and Benjamin Moore Paint and products can be found here.

Sherwin Williams 2019 Color of the Year

Sherwin Williams today announced its “Color of the Year for 2019".’ That color is Cavern Clay (SW 7701), described in the Sherwin Williams’ press release as, a “warm terracotta color with ancient, elemental roots” and a nod to midcentury modern style, but with the soul of the American Southwest, which together create the desert modern aesthetic.”

The announcement of Cavern Clay as Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year for 2019 suggests a move from the cooler neutrals so ubiquitous in residential interior paint color pallets the last 10 years towards more warm earthy hues that are casual while at the same time remaining sophisticated and refined.

Susan Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin Williams, describes Cavern Clay as one that “embodies renewal, simplicity and free-spirited, bohemian flair.”

According to Sherwin Williams, the refined bohemian flare that Cavern Clay can bring to a space is well-suited to both residential and commercial business spaces. Residential Designers looking for a way to bring the warmth of the outdoors a client’s interior room will find that option in Cavern Clay and it’s suggested pairing colors, such as Moth Wing SW 9174, Dark Clove SW 9183, Distance SW 6243 , Haven SW 6437, and Origami White SW 7636.

Business owners and the designers who advise them on commercial spaces will also find a business-friendly tone in Cavern Clay, whether for a warm office space, or a visually-striking, Instagram-friendly backdrop within a hotel or restaurant.

You can read the entire press release naming Cavern Clay as Sherwin Williams 2019 Color of the Year here.