How to use color in your home

Turns out…I love color!

We built our house ten years ago in the height of Joanna Gaines and her show Fixer Upper. Our previous home was filled with color…we are talking green cabinets with a gold/yellow backsplash. I know…risky! Then…when we decided to build, I felt like I needed to play it safe.

I think this is what many of us do. We are afraid we will tire over a color so we don’t take the leap. But as I get more and more design under my belt…I am learning a thing or two about color…it evokes certain emotions and can really make you feel alive in your space.

So how should we be using color?

In Big Spaces

If you have a big open room in your home, similar to ours where our kitchen, dining, living, and entryway are all open, you will stay neutral here. This is not the place to go crazy. Now with this said, choosing a white with a nice undertone for your space and lighting is definitely a must. You can read my blog post on choosing the right white HERE.


Photo Source: Studio McGee

Defined Areas

As I was working on “The 90’s Vibe No More” House, I met with designer, Jean Stoffer to discuss my floor plan layout. (She is absolutely fabulous and if you haven’t watched her show, Establishing Home, you need to!) We were walking through the different spaces and I had some rooms that were off the main areas but they did not have a defined stopping and starting spot. Jean recommended that we cased these doorways out so we had some definition of where you can stop/start millwork as well as color. This solved all kinds of issues and is such a small thing you can add for a big impact.


How to Transition Paint Color

When we were painting our bedroom, the question was…where do we transition the paint color. The answer, when the door is closed, what will you see? On the inside of the room, you don’t want any of the outside color showing through, on the outside, you don’t want to be able to see any color from the inside. So usually this means you tape off the door casing, right where the door stops.


If you have a cased opening that leads into another room, you stop the paint color where the trim ends and casing begins. This photo below from Chris Loves Julia is a great example of this.


Photo Source: Chris Loves Julia

What Sheen to Use

Most paint brands have about 5 different sheens which is basically just how shiny your paint is. It ranges from flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss (or high-gloss). I prefer an eggshell on the walls. In our bedroom, I used a Farrow and Ball paint and they have a sheen called modern emulsion that is a matte finish but very easy to wipe.

Some people are nervous to use a flat or eggshell on their walls because it may be trickier to wipe clean. The good news, paint has come a long way and I think this has less to do with the sheen, and more to do with the quality of paint you use!

For trim, baseboards, and crown, I like to use something with a higher sheen. If the walls are flat or matte I would do a satin trim. If the walls are eggshell, I would do semi-gloss! And I am loving high gloss cabinetry in small spaces these days like a pantry!

Creating a Cohesive Look

If you are nervous about not having a cohesive look in your home if you start adding color, I always love building out a mood with all the colors and textures I am wanting to use in a project so I can see how it fits together.

Here is one for my own home as an example…

I hope this helps! Are you a color gal?




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