Painting pointers from a seasoned color connoisseur
Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, took questions on the Washington Post's Home Front online chat last week. Here is an edited excerpt.
Matching trim, wall
Question: What are your thoughts on painting trim the same color as the wall? I am putting my home on the market in 24 months and plan to repaint my dining and formal living rooms a neutral. Should I embrace this trend, or will it be played out by then?
Answer: I love this trend. Love it. I think it creates really high drama in a room and has a timeless appeal. Now, I would also suggest selecting one room to try it in first before committing to the entire home. Because you are planning on listing your home in 24 months, select a color that will coordinate with the neutrals in the rest of your home. You may also want to consider taking the trim and wall a few shades darker to accentuate the drama of the room.
The right white
Q: I would love your suggestions for choosing a shade of white for all rooms in an open floor plan. I realize lighting plays a big role here, and our rooms do not get a lot of natural bright light. I don't want the color to feel cold or sterile or to be too yellowy. Any suggestions, also, on trim?
A: Believe it or not, finding just the right white can be daunting. I am a fan of the Goldilocks principle when it comes to white: not too cold (sterile) and not too hot (yellow). I call the whites done right “neutral whites,” which include Heron Plume, Alabaster and Origami White. If you're looking for a shade darker, try Egret White, Eider White or City Loft. For trim, try Extra White or Pure White.
Q: I plan to paint the first floor of my house a single color to make it appear larger and more unified. Is gray still the go-to neutral color? If so, can you suggest some gray paints that are on the warmer side?
A: I love warm grays. My favorites are Repose Gray, Agreeable Gray, Fleur de Sel and Popular Gray. These are very nice light grays that trend warm. If you want something a bit darker in shade, just move down the strip a shade or two deeper in the same color family.
Q: For interior brick, do you suggest oil-based paint or latex paint?
A: I would recommend a high-quality latex product for a top coat, but more important, you are going to want to use a good primer as your base. I'm not sure whether your brick has been painted before, but it's important to seal the surface before top-coating. We have some great latex products that will perform very well in this application, namely Emerald Interior or Duration Home Interior.
Q: Every time I repaint a room, I spend too much time choosing colors. I hit the jackpot, however, when I painted my den the Sherwin-Williams color Whole Wheat, which looks gorgeous day and night. But I just can't make a decision about my fairly large old kitchen, which has two north-facing windows, a black oven and a stainless-steel fridge. We just installed unfinished upper and lower cabinets. There's plenty of artificial lighting, but I want a nice, cheerful kitchen. I tend to like Tuscany-style colors, but I'm not sure that would be appropriate. I'm not averse to painting the upper and lower cabinets different colors. I'm up for any suggestions, even if you tell me I should go neutral or off-white.
A: Whole Wheat is a fantastic color. Bravo! Dover White is a timeless white that is consistently a top pick for whites. If you aren't opposed, I'd suggest painting your upper cabinets Dover White and keeping your base cabinets wood. This would allow for a soft color on the wall, such as a warm gray or soft gray-green, which would balance the Whole Wheat den. For gray, try Mindful Gray or Colonnade Gray. For a gray-green, try Comfort Gray or Contented.