Choosing the Right Interior Paint Color

One of the most daunting tasks when decorating your home is choosing interior paint colors. A wall of swatches and paint chips at the home improvement store can be overwhelming. And, one bad choice can be costly to remedy after the walls are painted.

In my office I have a binder full of my go-to paint selections that I usually use as a jumping-off point for most of our interiors projects. Here is a pared-down list of some of my favorite interior paint colors as well as some suggestions for selecting your own interior color palate.

The Right White

I most often use white for ceilings, trim and cabinetry in our projects. My go-to whites are Benjamin Moore Super White (PM-1), Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White (PM-3) and Dunn Edwards White Picket Fence (DET648). Of my 3 stand-by’s, Super White is closest to pure white and its clean shade suggests clarity and simplicity. With Decorator’s White the faintest touch of gray softens this versatile shade of white. And, Dunn Edwards’ White Picket Fence provides a slightly warmer shade of white.

Cool Neutrals

I tend to prefer neutral colors that are on the cool side, toned down with grey rather than red or yellow. To me, going this direction gives the room a fresher feel. My three neutral top picks are Benjamin Moore Silver Satin (856), Farrow and Ball’s Wevet White and Farrow and Ball’s Strong White.

Silver Satin is a light greige color that works well in most spaces wince it’s bright while still having enough contrast to white trim and ceiling. A slightly lighter greige color, Wevet has a contemporary feel, with its cool starched base. Strong White white is a fresh neutral that is grey in tone but has an element of warmth.

Beautiful Blues

Anyone who knows my design style knows that I love the color blue and enjoy using it my interior spaces. Blue, especially light blues, are tricky to choose since they often border on grey or can be too saturated, leaving you with the risk of going toward baby blue. I have 2 go-to blues fthat work well on their own or in combination with neutrals.

Although it labeled a grey, Farrow and Ball’s Parma Grey is actually a perfect light steel blue. The color is light, sophisticated and fresh. Benjamin Moore’s Silver Mist (1619) is a slightly lighter option than Parma Grey. Its silvery shimmer characterizes this very pale shade of whisper-soft blue. Delicate and light, it relies on a generous amount of gray to achieve its misty quality.

Gorgeous Greys

While I consider grey a neutral, it’s another challenging color to choose because many greys have a lot of blue in them. What may look great as a paint chip could read powder blue once painted. I have 2 greys that I frequently use: Benjamin Moore Grey Owl (OC52) and Benjamin Moore Metro Grey (1459).

Both Grey Owl and Metro Grey read as true greys, neither having too much blue. Grey Owl is a classic light, warm grey that works well in most interiors. Metro Grey, which is a little cooler, but still bright and fresh, feels a little more contemporary since it is slightly cooler in tone.

Hopefully our selections can serve as inspiration to paint selections for your own home. Some other tips that may help in your selections:

  • The color in your painted room will always read darker in person than a color chip. For this reason, I would err on the lighter side when making a paint selection;
  • Always view paint swatches in the actual space where you will be painting. Different lighting will impact how the color reads so it’s important to select the paint color in the space;
  • Be consistent with color tones in your overall color palette. If you are using warm colors for your walls, use a warm white for the ceiling and trim colors.

Robert Frank is a local resident and owner of Robert Frank Interiors, a full-service interior design and construction company located in San Marino, California. Robert Frank Interiors works in collaboration with clients to create beautiful, functional spaces that reflect their lifestyles and personalities. Visit us on the web at