I get the best questions about paint colour and how much it can or cannot do to “rescue” a mistake someone has made in their house or a mistake they inherited from a previous owner.
Sometimes, colour can swoop in and magically save the day, so there’s nothing wrong with wondering if your situation can also be saved by the right colour.
But sometimes, paint colour alone, simply cannot do that much heavy lifting.
Here’s a question I received the other day:
“Maria, which colour trim can I use to tone down my orange hardwood floors?”
The answer to that question is. . . you guessed it, there is NO trim colour that could do that job. To tone down the orange, you’ll need to re-stain or replace your floors.
Here’s another question I received just this week:
“This is the kitchen and living area of my home. It is too traditional for my taste. I love clean lines, airy and elegant interiors. I would like to make a sensible change to the kitchen — something that provides the biggest impact that will not necessarily cost too much.
The paint color is beige with yellow/green undertone or gray-ish when it is in the shadow. The color officially is called Baked Beans from Glidden. Do you think the biggest impact is to change the countertop to something white, which means I may have to paint (what is a good paint color given the overpowering black cabinets?) or is there any paint that would make the countertop less red if I were to keep it?
The countertop is Bordeaux. The kitchen/living area floor is hardwood. This picture was taken without the blinds on. With blinds on, it is darker. Thank you in advance for your input!”
Here is my response:
“Your paint colour doesn’t bother me as much as the earthy colours in your countertops and backsplash, especially given you have a bright white sofa that in no way relates to the kitchen (where there is zero white of any kind to be seen). You need to change the countertops and backsplash to white. The end. Paint alone can’t do that much heavy lifting.
Your walls are green-beige and don’t relate to anything else that I can see from your picture. The green doesn’t actually clash with your kitchen; however, your backsplash is predominantly taupe with perhaps just a little green in the horizontal accent tile. That’s not enough to consider the wall colour as relating to another element in the room.
The pillows in your adjoining living room are black/white and red. Again there is no green in this palette.
When you update the countertops and backsplash to white, I would then consider painting your walls a greige. There are a few greige options to choose from in my Bonus Book of Whites inside my White is Complicated — A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White eBook.
When you introduce white plus bright colours, or black and whites like you have, you want to choose a neutral wall colour that doesn’t have a strong dinstinguishable undertone like the one that’s currently on your walls.”
Here’s an espresso kitchen with white marble countertops and a white mosaic backsplash where the walls are painted in gray with a purple undertone. This paint colour looks great with the espresso cabinets and white countertop and backsplash and it also relates to the purple drapery and bench fabric, so the colour works.
Here’s another kitchen with more marble in the countertop and backsplash. The backsplash is a little too busy to my eye, but it’s basically white and not nearly as bossy as my reader’s picture above.
The bottom line is I wish I could give you a magic wand that would make the colour of your earthy hard finishes disappear just by choosing the “right” wall, trim or cabinet paint colour. But I can’t. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and change your finishes or ignore them until you can.
Do you need paint to do some heavy lifting at your house?
PS. Register today for either of my Specify Colour with Confidence™ courses coming up this Fall. As an EXTRA BONUS, I’ll teach you exactly how I conduct online colour and design consultations every day, from my home office. And in the course you’ll also receive a sales template that took me over a year to perfect.