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Colour TrendsHow to Choose Colour

6 Rules for Painting Trim; Light or Dark

By 11/09/2010January 16th, 202021 Comments
Everyone that has read my ‘The best Trim Colours—NOT Cloud White’ post is convinced that I think it’s a bad white, but that is simply not true. To recap that post, trim colours should be chosen based on the ‘fixed’ white in your home. So if your kitchen cabinets (for example) are anywhere from white, to off-white, ivory or cream then your trim colour should coordinate with whichever shade of white they happen to be (as a guideline, not like this is a fixed-in-stone rule).


Interior Design by Stephen Gambrel
The guidelines to follow when choosing the trim colour for your home will be in my November newsletter coming out this week so if you want to read it, click here to subscribe to my free newsletter.
Also every month I receive emails from readers who say they don’t receive it even though they have subscribed, and apparently that happens to a tiny percentage, so if you are one of those that are having issues (and you don’t get this month’s by the end of this week), email me directly at [email protected] and I’ll send it to you myself.

Interior Design by Stephen Gambrel


I’m still in Portland until tomorrow night at the Fall CMG Conference and the biggest news so far is that the ‘gray’ that I was calling the ‘NEXT’ gray was NOT it. The consensus is that the greeny gray (which I think is the perfect neutral gray) is NOW and that the NEXT gray actually has a pink undertone to it.
Remember the pickled pink oak from the 80’s? Well some version of it is coming back, remixed of course so it might look like something we would buy again. Maybe. I can hardly wait to see that, and as I said on my Facebook page today (love the comments they are so funny), it’s no big shock that I did not arrive predicting pinky gray!! I think we still have too much pink carpet and cabinets left over from the 80’s to be happy about a new version of pink coming in. Anyway, you’ll get a full report from me when I return!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here. 

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  • Elements says:

    I love seeing the next big colours coming through. Thanks for highlighting, it always helps for those clients worried about fashionable flow colours and how long they will want them around once they are painted.
    Have a great week.

  • pk @ Room Remix says:

    Pickled pink oak? I can't imagine that I'm going to be fan when that comes back! 🙂

  • Amy @MaisonDecor says:

    Ha! We just sold our summer house and it had a huge kitchen filled with….pickled pinky cabinets!! I never liked them and always pictured myself painting over them, but now the new owners will be in style!!

  • Belinda says:

    I believe your newsletters go to my bulk and I usually miss them. Will see if I can fix it for the next one. 🙂

    Gray with a pink undertone sounds eww.

  • Dovecote Decor says:

    With three girls and all pink laundry loads, I'm still in my pink recovery phase. If the 80's are back, maybe the economy is too. Please tell me no big hair!

  • Nichole@40daysof says:

    This pinky gray news is so depressing. I am mentally preparing myself to have dated interiors for the next decade! On the other hand, it makes every other gray seem like manna from heaven. 😉

  • Maria Killam says:

    I changed the wording a little in my post, I don't want ya'll left with that actual pickled oak is coming back. It will look new and updated however it arrives, just like brass is back but it's muted and dull not shiny like the 80's. I'm just not sure if I could be convinced (re the pink)!!

  • I went to a client's house last week and they had a pink toned beige wall, and i thought of you and had to laugh (to myself!) Talk about your influence on your readers 🙂 Can't wait to hear about your week.

  • Sherri Cassara says:

    Okay, you are scaring me with the pinky gray comment! I go to great lengths to either get the pink flesh tones OUT of someone's house or camouflaging them! I can't even imagine. That will be one trend that I will have to pass on! Please, stop it if you can 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Just out of curiosity, what's an example of a Ben Moore pinky gray?

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    Wow, pinky gray – yuck. I love blue-gray and green-gray, but not the pinky ones. I'll have to give this one a pass. I also just finished painting my kitchen cabinets this summer – they were a pinky pickled oak!

  • Lila says:

    I love your posts. So helpful and full of information! So I guess I should be looking for green-gray for now!
    Lila Ferraro

  • madeleine says:

    I am wondering how you know which is the next? Is it based on clients or major designers?

  • giveto says:

    i like the name of your blog!!

  • pve design says:

    trims are so personal. i love black trim too – or white or even painted to match…it is all in the details.
    love to hear about new trends in color.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Madeleine,
    That's a great question and one that I answered in this post:

    Hope that answers your question!

  • Stephanie says:


    If one is starting a home from scratch, how do you go about choosing the appropriate white? We are probably going with a white kitchen (which will be facing east). We don't want it glowing white or ivory. We want a soft, nice white. What are your rules when building a new home and starting fresh with no existing white in the house? I'm assuming we'd start with the kitchen and then match the trim in the rest of the house with this? Can't wait for your feedback! Thanks!

  • Kelly @ JAX does design says:

    Eeeek, no! Please don't let pink come back! The image I have in my mind of a pinky grey is NOT pretty…


    PS You should stop by my blog and enter my giveaway – it's colourful and has lots of yellow 🙂

  • Donna says:

    Hi Maria, and I discussed this particular gray. We decided that the pink gray tile for the laundry room was a bad idea. (Did I ever agree??!!)

    Perhaps trendy is not always the right answer. Ha! Of course, it's hard for me to be 'trendy' anyway. I'm really a non-conformist at heart, so this news won't phase me at all. I'll be waiting with 'baited breath' to hear your report and am looking forward to the newsletter.

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  • chez says:

    Does trim color need to be the same throughout the house? Our living room has cream trim based on the creamy marble fireplace. Our kitchen has bright white cabinets and white subway tile with carrera marble counters. The kitchen is open to the family room which has light/cool gray walls (BM Cascade White). Is it okay to use white trim in the kitchen/FR (BM Chantilly Lace or BM Simply White?) and a creamier trim in the LR — or should all of the trim in the house be the same? Thank you so much – painters coming soon!

    • Maria Killam says:

      It should all be the same but start in the kitchen/great room if that’s where your white cabinets are. When you re-decorate in the other rooms, repaint the trim then. But eventually it should all be the same. Maria

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