Andrea Magno, a colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore, joined staff writer Jura Koncius on The Washington Post's Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.
We are moving into a small townhouse after retiring. What is the least expensive way to freshen a 10-year-old place? We'd also like to paint the living room a Southwest tan, taupe or coffee with milk colour. The new place doesn't get a lot of sun.
Paint is one of the least expensive ways to update the look of your home. A few options for a "coffee with milk" colour are Kangaroo, Hush, Bar Harbor Beige and Bleeker Beige.
I'm expecting my first baby this summer and deciding on paint colours. We want to put up a chair rail and paint grey below the rail and green above the rail. However, there are so many options, and it's hard to decide. Any suggestions?
One combination could be Kittery Point Green with Fieldstone on the bottom. For a lighter option, look to Silver Sage on the top and Gray Owl on the bottom. As for the white trim, Chantilly Lace is a good choice.
We are nearing the end of a major renovation and expansion of our 1940 Cape Cod-style house. I would like neutral paint colours but don't know where to start. I don't want white. All the floors are white oak stained a medium-brown shade.
For a warm neutral that would work well, look at Natural Linen or Edgecomb Gray. Both colours will work well with the flooring and are light and timeless, so they will work well with different fabrics and furnishings.
I am helping an older woman who has failing eyesight and is not a morning person. Her bedroom faces east and has only one window. What paint colours should she use to brighten the room?
Two restful and pretty bedroom options are Woodlawn Blue or Palladian Blue, which has a bit more green to it. The colours are both light, so they work well with the east-facing window.
I want to paint my home's public areas (living room, hall and dining room) a warm white since they get no direct sunlight and tend to be gloomy. How can I find a warm white that doesn't have overtones of other warm colours such as pink, orange or yellow, and won't clash with my artwork and accessories?
Cloud White, Cotton Balls or Simply White are warm whites that won't take on too much of a pink or yellow undertone. Since there isn't a lot of natural light, be sure to sample the colour so it reads the way you want it to before painting the entire space.
I am doing a powder room where I want to have white (or some variation) above the trim and a darker colour below. Any suggestions?
Pretty white options for a powder room are Pink Damask, White Blush, Acadia White, Silver Satin or Cloud Cover. This is a mix of warm and cool whites, depending on the look you are going for.
Isn't there too much grey paint out there? I feel like it's being overdone in many homes. What colour is a nice neutral substitute for grey?
We have many neutrals that can substitute for grey, such as Manchester Tan, Natural Wicker, Maritime White or Jute. These colours are neutral, work well in any room and are a nice alternative to grey.
I always thought I wanted a khaki colour wall with a white trim, but now that seems outdated. What would be the updated look to this?
A favorite Benjamin Moore colour is Revere Pewter, which has a touch of grey to it, moving it just a step away from khaki to give an updated look. As for trim, another go-to colour is White Dove.
I'm thinking about painting my basement. It's currently a pale blue, but I think it's time to go to a nice simple white. Does your answer change regarding whites if it's in a basement with almost no natural light?
Going with a crisp white is a nice way to go for a basement. A couple options: Mayonnaise or Mountain Peak White.
I am going to repaint my condo and would like the minimal trim to blend into the walls. I'm thinking of using Linen White or Simply White. What finish do you recommend I use on walls and the trim if I use the same colour? What colour would you recommend for the ceiling to keep things as airy and minimal as possible? What about the interior doors?
I'd suggest using an eggshell finish on the walls and a semigloss finish on the trim. I think if you use Linen White on the walls and trim, you can use Simply White on the ceiling to keep the look airy and light. Or it would be very pretty to use Simply White on the ceiling, trim and walls, again using eggshell and semi-gloss, but look to our Ultra Flat Ceiling Paint. Simply White would also be a good door colour to carry through the entire condo because it is a slightly warm white that will work well with many other colours.
We'll be redoing our kitchen this year. The appliances will be black and the countertops will be white. The kitchen table has a black top and will be paired with a black and grey rug. We have a chair rail and the wall below it is currently painted to contrast with the wallpaper. Once that's gone, we'll paint it white, but I'd really like to paint the part below the chair rail grey. Is this a mistake?
I don't think it would be a mistake to paint the lower part of the wall a grey. Perhaps consider a light grey so that there isn't too much contrast with the white. Some pretty greys to consider are Cumulus Cloud, Gray Owl or Coventry Gray.
I'm helping update a bedroom that was styled in the early '80s. What base colours could I use to update the bedroom without totally throwing off the feel and look of the rest of the house? There are no grey base tones anywhere. It is more of the honey beige with some blue and mauve tones.
Take a look at Quiet Moments or Paris Rain; these colours are a bit more on the cool side but would still work with the honey beige hues. Or take a look at Winter Wheat, as it is a warm off-white that will look fresh.
If you live in an old house with nice wood floors, and then you bring in lots of nifty, mid-century wood furniture, how do you keep everything from getting too brown and dark? Or, in the case of my dining room, from feeling too orange? Do you think choosing trendy dark walls will hurt or help?
If you want to show off the midcentury wood furniture, I think using a lighter colour or off-white will help showcase the pieces. If the walls are too dark, the furniture may not stand out as much as you want it to. For example, Dove Wing or Timid White would work well against the wood tones and will look modern while avoiding anything that looks too orange.
We want to update our bright main foyer and adjoining dark hall with a trendy colour and not just neutrals. Any ideas?
If there is bright light in the entry, it would be on trend to use a deeper colour such as Hale Navy. But if you want to use one colour in the entry and the hallway, Smoke is a soft pale blue that is part of our 2019 Colour Trends palette.
We are preparing to put our house on the market this spring. Our real estate agent says to paint every room in Balboa Mist with white woodwork. We also want to paint our dated brown wood kitchen cabinets. I want a deeper, but still neutral, colour, like a greige that blends with our grey and brown/rust-flecked counters. Can you recommend some options for the cabinets that will look good with Balboa Mist?
Take a look at Pashmina or Thunder. Both colours are very current and work well for cabinets. This would certainly help to update the kitchen and works well with Balboa Mist - another great colour choice!
I'm looking to build a small home in 2019. I've always loved design and new looks. But I vehemently hate everything I've been recently seeing, including stark lines, high-contrast colour schemes and auditorium layouts. I do, however, love colours and warm palettes. The '70s were my heyday and preferred looks. Any advice?
Stay true to the design aesthetic that appeals to you most! If you are building a new home, collect images - even if they are older - that have architectural elements that can be brought into your new construction so you avoid an auditorium feel and achieve the cozy look you are going for. I've seen new homes built in a mid-century style, for instance, to reflect the tastes of the homeowner.