Ask Sally

Ask Sally

Dear Sally,

I’m the owner of an older home (built 1928) and my husband and I have started a renovation process of our downstairs. We’re still pretty early on in construction, but I’ve started to look fairly seriously at paint colors. It’s important to us that the house looks updated. But we collect a lot of art and unusual furniture, so we’d prefer sticking with a more traditional palette for the walls and trim. Is it a bad idea to keep the walls mostly white? Do you have any tips for selecting paints?

Confused in Charlotte

Dear Confused,

First of all, I LOVE OLDER HOMES!

It sounds like you’re looking for something that allows your art to sing its own song without feedback or background noise. I find predominately whites and neutrals to be an excellent choice, especially for clients looking to show off their collections. My personal favorite is a paint color called White Dove, by Benjamin Moore. Give it a Google and you will find that I am not alone. There are architects, interior decorators and designers that have been raving bout this goodie for decades! I don’t care what finish you use; flat to high gloss, it has great depth. In older homes I think White Dove is the perfect white trim color–not too warm, far from cream, not too cool, absent of gray. It also works for walls, especially with a ceiling painted a basic ceiling white. White Dove is one of eleven, and the only true white of the bunch, in the “Most Searched Paint Colors” on the BM web-site. And another little tidbit, White Dove, while known amongst old timers as the 80’s decorator trim choice, White Dove’s still got it going on. She is noted within BM’s “Color Trends 2014.”

Since you are ahead of the renovation schedule, skip the costly, in time and money, old-school method of buying paint samples and painting them hither and yon. To get a sense of a paint color, I recommend ordering large sample chips directly from paint manufacturer’s web-sites. I find these large sample chips a much better way to experience the color than looking at it on a computer monitor or a 2 inch swatch from the paint store. You can move these novel size chips around, play with the natural light and, in your case, analyze the color against your various pieces of art. You can order White Dove in a 4×8 size sample from the Benjamin Moore website.

You should never feel like you have to use more or brighter colors. Trust me when I tell you that it’s much easier to add a little accent color down the road than it is to paint over a primary colored dining room.

Good luck with your renovation. I’d love to see your finished pics!

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