For all the things you see me do on Home Town, the DIY projects, the paintings, the design plans, the tear down and installations, I feel most qualified in matters of color. My degree is in fine art which included studies in color theory, so choosing the colors you see in every home is what really makes my heart beat fast.
People often compliment my use of bold color in homes, but in actuality—I keep it surprisingly neutral on the walls and sometimes introduce an unexpected bold color on the trim, or just in the furnishings we bring into the room. The key to choosing colors that feel part of their surroundings, that feel aged and part of their environment rather than a brand new color that feels just a little day-glo, like a new pair of shoes that squeak a little when you step and are starting to rub a blister on your heel, the key is... Dinge. Choose whatever color you like that has a bit of yellow in it to make the color feel integrated and truly part of its environment instead of too-new, too bright, not quite right, and out of place. It is so subtle, but an important delineation between a house that's comfortable in its color vs. a house that's squeaky. I mostly use neutral palettes of white and green and build on that with the furnishings, and I'll share my old standbys below. You may think green is not neutral, but I say it certainly is. Look out your window and tell me what naturally occurring color you see the most of! These are my favorite paint colors, each one with its own little bit of "dinge":
Sherwin-Williams Dover White SW6385
My all-time favorite white, forever and always, to the point my design team just defaults to it when they aren't able to get a quick decision from me in a pinch, the color I've painted almost every room in my own home. It makes any room feel warm and crisp.
Benjamin Moore Misty Air OC-44
In our kitchen, I wanted the walls to be a time-worn cream that would contrast nicely with the Dover White trim, oven and hood vent. Misty Air, after many tests, read perfectly cozy and worn and creamy in the late afternoon sun in our kitchen. I even used it in our laundry room, too.
Benjamin Moore Celery Salt OC-136
In the Rice cottage of season 1 of Home Town, I loved this green-yellow-white we used as the neutral for all walls in the house, accenting with a faded teal in the library. It’s so cheerful!
Valspar Brown Buzz 6005-3B
In the Carson dining room of season 1 of Home Town, the dining room needed to be a non-descript and aged color that reminded me of the wall colors I’d seen in old French country homes. Brown Buzz is that perfectly ambiguous color.
Sherwin-Williams Rock Bottom SW7062
Rock Bottom is another ambiguous favorite of mine that’s a chameleon in the changing light. Sometimes it’s black, sometimes it’s green, sometimes it’s deep blue. All the time, it’s dramatic without being cold, and I used it for our kitchen dutch door and window mullions as well as the exterior trim on the Smith home from season 2 of Home Town.
Sherwin-Williams Woodland Lichen HGSW3283
I really vacillated on the color for Helen’s room, unsure if I wanted the green to be deep and moody or softer. I only knew I didn’t want to make a baby room for a person who would only be a baby for one year. Her room is up high in the trees and feels like being inside a treehouse when you look from the windows and so I let the surroundings guide my color choice. It’s a moody, neutral, sleepy green that just might be the key to Helen’s history as a great sleeper?
Benjamin Moore Caldwell Green HC-124
When choosing our master bathroom wall color after we renovated, I went back and forth between this and Privilege Green, but ultimately chose Caldwell because it was light (but not too light) and historic (in a 1920s way, not a 1990s way), and it works so beautifully with my brushed brass fixtures and marble walls and floors.
Sherwin-Williams Comfort Gray SW6205
This is the perfect southern ceiling porch paint. Do not bother searching for another. It is the right paint blue. It is the only one we use on every episode of Home Town. You’re welcome.