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How to Paint Rooms Like a Pro: 10 Do’s and Don’ts From Modsy’s Expert Designers

Painting your walls can be pretty intimidating. It’s not a home update that’s permanent—but the time and financial investment definitely raise the stakes. So, choosing a paint color is not something many people take lightly!

And beyond paint color, there’s a whole slew of other decisions to make and tasks to tackle. What sheen do you choose? Should you paint your ceiling and trim as well? Can you skip the primer? It’s overwhelming, to say the least.

However, as experts in interior design, we’re well-acquainted with the process of picking paint colors and putting in the work to paint a room. With this experience (and the many mistakes we’ve made along the way) we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts to help you out when choosing a paint color and painting your walls. Read on for our tips for painting a room and some guidelines to help you choose the right paint color for your space.

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Paint Color: Symphony Blue, Benjamin Moore

How Do You Choose A Paint Color?

Whether you’re painting an accent wall, choosing a trim color, or painting an entire room, the basic principles for choosing a paint color remain. Start by narrowing down your color options. Once you land on a high-level color, hone in on the shade and undertone you prefer.

But how do you choose the right color and shade?? Maybe you know you want to go with white paint on your walls. Well, do you want a bright white or something softer? Something with blue undertones or yellow? You quickly realize that white is not one color but one hundred. And, frankly, the same goes with most other colors as well!

 

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If you’re wondering how to even begin choosing a color palette and narrowing down what colors to consider out of the thousands of paint colors on the market, our Modsy designers can help. When you start a design project, you not only get your room designed in life-like 3D, but you also get to try on paint colors so you can see how the color will look with your furniture and decor!

And if you’re looking for some specific color tips, check out our posts on the best Benjamin Moore paint colors, the best bedroom paint colors, and the 2021 colors of the year from Pantone, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore.

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Paint Color: Cheating Heart, Benjamin Moore

Painting a Room: The Do’s & Don’ts

However, there are also some high-level do’s and don’ts that can help you narrow in on the right shade for your space. These tips will help you as you narrow down your color options.

Do: Paint a Swatch and See How it Looks

One of our favorite designer hacks to hone in on the right wall color is to get a sample can of paint and paint a 3×3-foot swatch on your wall of the color you’re considering, and observe it for a week. (Ideally somewhere obvious, like behind your sofa or above your bed, so it’s front and center throughout the day.)

See how the color feels in the space throughout the day. How does it look in morning light versus afternoon? What does it look like after the sun is set and your room is only lit by lamps? And how does the color interact with your furniture, decor, and finishings? The tones of a wall color will shift throughout the day, depending on the lighting and the surrounding environment—so it’s important to make sure you like your wall color at all times of the day.

And if you have colored decor in the room you’re going to paint—whether it’s bold throw pillows, bedding, or a rug—make sure to hold those items up to the painted patch to see how the colors interact.

Don’t: Ignore the View Outside Your Window

Did you know that the colors occurring outside of your home—your neighbor’s house, the building across the street, a wooded backyard—will impact how a color looks in your space? If your neighbor has a yellow house, your wall color will reflect more yellow tones back at you. That beautiful wooded backyard? You’ll likely get some green tones in your space. All the more reason to test out some color swatches before you commit!

Do: Consider the Colors and Tones of Your Flooring and Furniture

It’s not just the colors outside of your home that will impact how paint will look in your space. You’ll also want to consider the hues of your furniture and decor, as well as the colors and tones in your flooring. The color of your floor will reflect and cast hues on your walls in the same way that your neighbor’s house will. (So, that blue carpet or those red terracotta tiles will visually impact how a paint color looks in your room!)

And, in terms of furniture, you’ll want to make sure wood tones and upholstery colors interact well with the paint color you choose. You aren’t dealing with color reflection with these pieces as much—but you want to create a bit of contrast. So, if you have a light grey sofa, you probably don’t want to choose a light grey paint color. Maybe go for something a bit more bold on the walls? And if you have large pieces of wood furniture, or even wood flooring, consider offsetting the wood’s tone with the color you choose—aka use a cooler tone on your walls to offset warm wood tones in your floorboards or furniture, and vice versa. Have more than one wood tone to contend with? Check out our guide to mixing wood tones.

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Paint Colors: Illuminating, Pantone

Kendall Charcoal, Benjamin Moore

Don’t: Be Afraid of Bolder Colors

Bold-colored rooms are fun and can add a vibrant touch to your space. But a bold wall color can feel intimidating, especially if you currently have neutral walls! Just take time to find the bold hue that suits your space, design style, and decor! One of our favorite ways to bring a bold wall color to life? The Jewel Box room—one of our 2021 trend predictions! Don’t want your whole room to be full of bold colors? Dip your toe in by just painting an inlet (pictured above) or try an accent wall of a bold color, with a neutral tone on the other walls!

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Paint Color: In The Pink, Sherwin-Williams

Don’t: Pick a Trendy Color if You Don’t Love It

However, even if everyone else is painting their walls a certain color, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you (remember the Millennial Pink craze of the late 2010’s?)! While you don’t have to stick with a paint color forever, you do want to make sure the color you choose is one that makes sense for your style and your home. So, don’t choose a color just because it’s trendy!

Do: Pick the Right Sheen for Your Space

Interior paint comes in several different sheens. There’s glossy, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, and flat, to name a few. So, how do you know which sheen to choose? Well, the sheen you choose actually does matter, since different sheens are good for different looks and purposes.

An eggshell is the most popular sheen for interior walls. However, flat paint is matte and creates a more modern vibe, while semi-gloss and satin are great for walls and trim. Just consider this when choosing the right sheen for your space: the lower the sheen, the harder it is to clean. This is an especially important consideration in homes with kids and pets, where you’ll likely need to wipe down the walls more often! But it’s also a good consideration in kitchens, where splashes and spills happen when cooking, and wiping down the walls is required.

White walls contemporary room

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Paint Color: Alabaster, Sherwin-Williams

Tips for Painting a Room

Ok, so you’ve landed on a paint color. That’s great! With the thousands of paint colors out there, that’s no small feat. But now you actually need to do the work and put paint to walls. And that can be quite the daunting task! Here are some of our designers’ top tips for painting a room to help you get the best possible outcome!

Do: Paint in the Warmer Months

Spring and summer are good times of year to paint a room, since you can open windows for ventilation and get a breeze going. (You don’t want to fumigate yourself just to paint a wall!) Just make sure it’s not a super humid day, as paint won’t fully cure in hot and humid weather. And avoid rainy days too. Paining a room might seem like the perfect rainy summer day activity, but open windows, rain, and fresh paint don’t mix! Plus, with extra moisture in the air, like on a humid day, your paint will take longer to cure.

Don’t: Skip the Prep Work

Prep work makes all the difference when painting a room. It’s the difference between a sloppy or professional end result. Take the time to cover or move any furniture in the room you’re painting, tape your edges, and don’t forget to prime your walls. Priming is especially important when going from a darker to lighter paint color—but even if you’re sticking with neutral paint colors but opting for a different hue, priming will guarantee you get the exact color outcome you want rather than having weird undertones.

green ceiling and wainscoting with wallpaper grand millennial

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Paint Color: Lounge Green, Sherwin-Williams

Don’t: Ignore the Ceiling

The ceiling is part of the room too—so don’t forget to freshen it up alongside your painted walls! A fresh coat of white paint can make your new wall color pop. But you could also go bold and try the trend of painting your walls a more neutral color and going bold on your ceiling color!

Do: Freshen Up the Trim

A fresh coat of paint on your walls can truly transform a room. But don’t neglect the trim around your doors and windows! If your wall is fresh and nice but your trim is scuffed and dirty, your room simply won’t look as nice or finished.

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Trying on the 13 Most Popular Benjamin Moore Paint Colors in 3D

Looking to paint a room in your house? With thousands of wall colors out there, picking out a paint color and choosing a color palette can be pretty overwhelming—whether you’re looking to paint an entire wall or just an accent wall or trim. So, we find that it always helps to have some help narrowing in on color options

We’ve been fans of Benjamin Moore paint colors for a long time, so we decided to round up the 13 most popular paint colors by Benjamin Moore. And, we’re not just showing you paint swatches here—we’ll also show you what these best-selling paint colors look like in different rooms so you can see how the hues interact with different furniture and decor.

Did you know? With our 3D design technology, you can try on any paint color in your room. All you have to do is start a design project and our designer will guide you through the color-selection process. (Plus, they’ll help you with layout, furniture selection, and more!)

Read on for our top picks of Benjamin Moore popular colors—and get ready for some major color inspiration.

modern living room gray orange color scheme

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1. Edgecomb Gray

Edgecomb Gray is one of our go-to shades of gray. A timeless color with a modern edge, this earthy, organic neutral is visually soft and has a stylish bent. The timeless nature of Edgecomb Gray means it works well in any room—but we especially love it in entryways and hallways if you’re looking for a versatile neutral color.

This hue works well with other warm colors and materials, like leather and warm wood tones. Edgecomb Gray looks best when used as a full room color—and it’s neutral enough that it can be used even in very large spaces.

blue comfy modern living room

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blue wall dining room with fireplace

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2. Hale Navy

This is one classy shade of blue. Hale Navy is a deeply saturated shade of navy blue that gives off some major nautical vibes. It’s a timeless classic if ever there was one. But depending on what it’s paired with, it can actually take on a pretty trendy vibe since it’s such a bold color. But since this is such a bold color, it’s best to keep other colors in the space more neutral and opt for a simple color palette so nothing else in the room is majorly competing with the wall color.

It’s a great color for almost anywhere in your home that you want a soothing but bold pop of color—but we especially love to see it in living rooms and blue bedroom designs. It’s also a great color for molding or an accent wall vs an entire room! Hale Navy works particularly well in transitional, modern rustic, and traditional spaces.

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pink rug glam dining room

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yellow mid century living room

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attic yellow nursery

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pastel yellow paint

3. Hawthorne Yellow

Looking for a cheery yellow? Hawthorne Yellow is just the thing. This soft and bright shade of yellow is like a perpetual ray of sunshine in your home. With a slight gray undertone, it’s a universally appealing shade of soft yellow which we especially love to see in nurseries, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Hawthorne Yellow is soft enough to be used in a whole room if you use yellow sparingly elsewhere in the space. But it’s also a fun, poppy color for an accent wall if you’re going for a colorful, eclectic space. This color goes really well with transitional, eclectic, and coastal design styles.
bright minimalist bedroom gray white

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being paint

4. Revere Pewter

Revere Pewter is a light gray with warm undertones. This classic shade offers a restorative sense of calm to any room. (In fact, we named this color the best cozy neutral in our Benjamin Moore neutral paint colors round-up!) We love this color in open floor plans, where it can span from one space to the next. This versatile color looks good in almost any space.

Because of its calm and serene essence, Revere Pewter looks especially great in homes with rustic and transitional styles—but it can truly work with almost all design styles. It looks great with crisper white trim and can jive with all hardware finishes, from brass and bronze to silver and pewter!

Want a slightly lighter shade? Pale Oak is super similar to Revere Pewter, but just a touch lighter.green wall mid century modern dining room

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eclectic rustic bedroom green wall wood accents

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green walls purple couch green rug

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green paint

5. Hunter Green

Hunter Green is having a major moment in the trend spotlight. Currently considered a “new neutral,” this shade of green can enliven almost any style or space. This color pairs beautifully with wood tones in traditional and modern rustic spaces—but it’s just at home in a glam space, paired with jewel tones and metallic finishes. It layers well with other colors for an eclectic vibe, but when paired with neutrals, Hunter Green becomes the star of the show.

A bold color, it can be used more sparingly as an accent color—either as a painted accent wall or to highlight architectural elements like a fireplace. But if you want a really bold-colored room, go all out and paint all four walls in this striking and decadent shade of green.

cherry blossom artwork pastel natural textures

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blue ottomans beige couch living room

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white paint

6. Swiss Coffee

Swiss Coffee is part of Benjamin Moore’s Off-White Color Collection—a collection of sophisticated and versatile shades of white that create tranquil and serene environments. A universally appealing shade of warm off-white, this is one of our favorite colors that goes well with almost any space. Swiss Coffee is a soothing and warm color, so it’s especially great for a bedroom, nursery, or home office.

This color goes well with other warm tones—like brass and gold accents, and other colors like peach and sandy brown. The versatile nature of Swiss Coffee means it doesn’t have to only be relegated to walls, but it can also be used on trim and ceilings. This is a great color for almost any style, but it works especially well in boho, eclectic, and contemporary spaces.

dark gray nursery with butterfly artwork

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dark gray paint

7. Wrought Iron

Wrought Iron is part of Benjamin Moore’s Color Preview, a color collection of bold, saturated colors that help enliven your space. And this color does just that. A beautiful charcoal gray, Wrought Iron is a bold color that is perfect for creating cozy and modern spaces—like a living room where you watch TV or even as an accent wall for a trendy nursery color scheme!

We like pairing this neutral color with other neutrals—bright whites look amazing with Wrought Iron, and black brings out the depth of this color. Pairing it with black and white is a fun way to create a gray room color scheme. But we also love layering it with natural woven textures and brighter colors, which pop against this color. Whether you’re using this in a whole room or just as an accent wall, we love the look of a bookcase or shelves layered in front of this wall color.wooden dining room beige

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rustic dining room dark fireplace

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beige paint

8. Manchester Tan

If khaki pants were a paint color, it would be Manchester Tan. This color was derived from the sandstone facade and sculptural details of the historic Manchester Town Hall in England. A classic and elegant shade, it’s a true tan that’s great for any space. But it works especially well in a room where you want to add visual warmth—like a bedroom, dining room, or family room.

Manchester Tan really pops against white and warm wood tones—whether those are in furniture or finishes. It’s a perfect color for transitional, rustic, and minimalist spaces.mint wall blue nursery three frames

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bright rustic eclectic dining room

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mint wall home office

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light blue paint

9. Palladian Blue

Palladian Blue almost rides the line between blue and green. This soft, airy hue evokes the feeling of where the sky meets the sea, with a tint that Benjamin Moore says is a touch of mother of pearl. If you’re into pastel colors, this is definitely a color worth trying on.

This color is soft and doesn’t overwhelm a space, so it looks beautiful all over, popped against crisp white trim. Since it’s such a light shade of blue, it can be paired with dark blue accents for contrast. Palladian Blue is perfect for nurseries and sunrooms, or any space in your home that is bright and cheery. It suits many design styles, including coastal, eclectic, and even traditional.

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white paint

10. White Dove

White Dove is a classic white and a fan favorite of many Instagram influencers and bloggers. This classic, softly shaded white is light and luminous. While white walls are particularly popular in modern and minimalist homes, this soft shade of white goes well with any style. We especially love White Dove as a calming shade for bedrooms and nurseries.

Many people love this shade for ceilings, moldings, trim, and doors—but it also looks beautiful on walls and can be used as a lovely neutral backdrop.

Looking for a shade of white that’s just a little cooler? Check out Chantilly Lace.

Read Next: How to Decorate a White Room

blue batton and board gray bedframe yellow pillow

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blue walls natural textures coastal bedroom

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blue walls spunky black red chairs gold mirror

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11. Van Deusen Blue

Van Deusen Blue is part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic Color Collection—a collection of 191 time-honored hues comprising their most popular palette, inspired by America’s historic landmarks. This is a refined and elegant shade of blue that definitely leans traditional. It looks great when used as the main wall color in a space—especially if the room has molding or classical architectural details.

But it’s not just for the traditional and classical spaces; Van Deusen Blue can also come to life in contemporary spaces and modern rustic style. We love this color in bedrooms, as it’s a muted but punchy color that has a very soothing vibe.

khaki walls natural texture bedframe

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khaki paint

12. Saybrook Sage

Saybrook Sage is also part of the Historic Color Collection. This soothing, elegant shade of green works well in bright spaces, like an open living room, a sunroom, or a nursery. (Though it also made our list of best Benjamin Moore bedroom paint colors.) Natural materials and wood tones complement soothing earth tones like this.

We love using this color as an accent for a cool, fresh space, or painting an entire room this color to give the whole space a serene vibe. Saybrook Sage works well in transitional, minimal, and coastal spaces because of the bright, fresh nature of this color.red walls beige dining room set

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red paint

13. Caliente

Ready to up the ante? Caliente is a vibrant and charismatic shade of red that brings some serious energy to your space. A very bold hue, red room color schemes can feel difficult to pull off, but this color looks great in kitchens and dining rooms. But if you feel so inclined to use it in your bedroom, stick to an accent wall—otherwise such a bold red will overwhelm your space.

Caliente goes well with modern styles, but it can also hang with traditional design elements. We recommend balancing this spicy color with neutrals, like black and white, and metallic touches, like brass or silver.

Want to explore even more Benjamin Moore colors? Check out the Benjamin Moore 2021 Color of the Year. Or start a Modsy project and try on any of these popular paint colors in a 3D model of your exact room! You’ll work one-on-one with an interior designer who can help you pick the perfect paint color for your space.

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5 Neutral Wall Colors We Love (That Aren’t Boring Beige)

Neutral wall colors are a great way to add sophistication and style to a room while creating a serene, calming environment. Neutral paints also help ensure your walls won’t clash with new decor if you switch things up a few years down the line. But if you think “neutral” means boring beige, think again. To prove it, we’re showing off 5 of our favorite neutral paint colors that are anything but snooze-worthy.

Neutral wall color ideasFresh Cedar

Who ever said pink can’t be neutral? For a super warm, earthy vibe, try this shade of Fresh Cedar from Behr. This hue works well in eclectic spaces with lots of texture – that way your furniture and decor won’t be overshadowed.

For example, textured pieces like the Dilan Safari Chair from Safavieh and the Edge Brown rug from Loloi, perfectly harmonize with this warm share pink. For a neutral color, it certainly adds cheer to a space and doesn’t skimp on personality!

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Neutral wall color ideasAttitude Gray

Into cool neutrals? Then this Attitude Gray wall color from Sherwin Williams might be perfect for you. It’s an awesome backdrop for dark metals and warm leathers like the Owen Armchair from Pottery Barn and the Coast to Coast Bis Swivel Barstool used as a side table here. It’s a great neutral paint for industrial style decor because it mixes well with reclaimed woods, exposed beams, and brick walls.

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Neutral wall color ideasCachet Cream

Feeling peachy? Your living space sure will be when you add Cachet Cream by Sherwin Williams as your backdrop. This creamy neutral is is anything but drab and is perfect for balancing brightly-colored furniture pieces like this Effie Tripod Chair from Anthropologie.

One note of caution: if you have mostly white furniture, this hue might look too yellow. But, with dark wood floors or bold velvet statement items, it hits just the right notes.

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Rushing River

Okay, this one is kind of beige. But it’s a slightly darker, cooler take, unlike some of those drab, dull beiges. Rushing River by Sherwin Williams makes a sophisticated backdrop and also adds contrast/depth to a white living room. It’s the perfect wall color to emphasize texture and we love how it pairs with the gorgeous Carved Lovella Daybed and the round jute rug from Crate & Barrel.

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Tavern Taupe

Sherwin Williams’s Tavern Taupe offers a darker, warm neutral that makes a lovely compliment to blue accents like the Ashby Home Nassau Table Lamp and the Pottery Barn Azure Patchwork wall art. (P.S. this neutral/blue combo is our most-requested color palette.) A rich neutral wall color like this is never boring and adds warm, cozy vibes to any space.

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