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A Guide to Paint + Sheens

Out of all of the years I have been a designer, the most common question I continue to receive is "what paint color is that?" when sharing a project reveal! I love this question because it really is true, choosing the right paint color for a room is SO important. Choosing the right paint color will create a flow in your home and allow the rooms to transition seamlessly. It is also proven that the paint colors in your home can completely affect your mood.

When designing a home, I always opt for neutral colors for the main living areas because neutral tones are perfect for building off of. It's easy to incorporate accent colors or bold patterns when the majority of the room is neutral.

My top favorite colors to paint a living room are:

China White by Benjamin Moore, Cloud White by Benjamin Moore, Milk Glass by Dunn Edwards , and my personal favorite: Alabaster by Sherwin Williams . I have this Alabaster in my own home and it is the perfect warm white and gives a subtle contrast between the white trim. Aside from our favorite colors, our favorite paint brands are: Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Farrow and Ball

For the kitchen perimeter, my favorite color right now is Modern Gray by Sherwin Williams. I actually utilized this color in my own kitchen! It is a lighter tone that made having a contrasting island color possible.

A common misconception about paint colors is that painting a room dark will make it feel small, but this is not true. We love a dark and moody room. Our favorite areas to paint dark are powder baths, where sometimes we will even extend the paint to the ceiling. Having a powder bath that is moody makes it feel like the jewel box of the house. It also gives your home that "wow factor" and will be sure to impress your guests!

Paint Sheens

Paint sheen is the glossiness of the paint finish. We never leave any wall without some type of sheen because this will protect your paint. Flat is a common desirable finish for walls but with this type of sheen, it is extremely hard to touch up. Especially if you have kids, it will display every scuff and fingerprint (speaking from experience)!

Here's an easy chart to guide you through paint sheens and them most used areas we use them:

  1. Flat-ceilings

  2. Matte-walls

  3. Eggshell-walls

  4. Satin- Millwork/trim, baseboards, casings, + doors

  5. Semi-gloss- Millwork/trim, baseboards, casings, + doors

  6. High-gloss- Often used to create a wow moment can be used on all of the areas above and also on cabinets.

The basic rule to follow is the higher the sheen, the higher the gloss. Flat or matte will be little to no gloss. High-gloss is true to its name is is the highest shine or gloss, that also brings higher durability and therefore a longer lasting paint.

Our go to sheens for walls are eggshell or velvet, these two fall in the middle of the sheen spectrum.

For the trim we do satin or semi-gloss and paint while finishing the ceiling with a flat sheen. Even though we are using different sheens we still paint the trim and ceiling the same color.

Overall, you can never go wrong with a neutral wall color and an eggshell sheen! Next time on the blog, we will be sharing our favorite cabinet colors. I'm so excited to share this with you all as I have collected the most beautiful blue and green tones to share. Stay tuned!

Photography by: John C. Woodcock


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