This Weeks Q + A: How to Choose Paint

I’m excited to introduce a new series that I will be doing weekly called “Q + A.” Each week I will focus on a question that I receive from your comments. To start off the series I’ve decided to focus on paint. I often get asked about which paint is best for a space. Paint comes in a variety of finishes from flat to high gloss, so when I select paint, I consider not only color but also the right sheen and finish for the room. See below for some of my guidelines on how to choose paint.


1. Picking the Perfect Color

white marble bathroom owens and davis

Consider adjusting the strength:

My favorite thing is adjust the strength of a paint color. I feel it personalizes a color to specifically what you love.  For example, in the beach house master bedroom and bathroom I used Sherwin Williams Anew gray 25% strength, because I loved the full strength version, but wanted it light and fresh against all the white marble and white ceilings.

Q: “What is the best white with white marble counters?”:

modern mediterranean kitchen becki owens

A: You may know I love white paint (remember the white paint guide post ), but here are a couple of whites I love and why I love them. For cabinets that are paired with Calcutta, Colorado gold or any white marble I like to use a bright white lacquer with no pigment in it.  It really helps the cabinets not look dingy next to the marble.

Q: “I like white, but not glaring white. What’s a good color?” 

Updated Kitchen Nook - Becki Owens

A: This is a question I get asked all the time. Swiss Coffee from Benjamin Moore is a color that has worked well for clients who want the white look, but don’t want it stark and cool.


2. How to Choose Paint Sheen or Paint Finish

Today, many super-premium products, such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura® paint, offer the same durability and washability in all sheens, so the selection of the finish is more of a personal preference. But her are a few rules of thumb:

For Walls & Ceilings

Ceiling are generally painted with a flat

Walls are a satin or eggshell finish.

Trim & Doors

For trim and doors, you can choose from pearl, satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss.

Kitchen, Laundry Room & Bathroom cabinets

For kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom cabinets, many people like to use a higher gloss finish, but I have done some kitchen cabinets a satin finish because I wanted them to look more matte.  And

living room becki owens

Usually when I paint a room white I paint the same color  on the trim and the walls, but I use a different sheen. Like eggshell on the walls and satin on the trim, unless you want the trim more shiny, then do a semi gloss.  Just keep in mind the more shiny you go the more imperfections the paint will show.

TIP: If you own an older home in which the walls have been patched multiple times, or a home that has a lot of high walls with a lot of natural light, you may want to use a flat or matte paint. This is also true for the exterior of your home.

I hope these guidelines for paint have helped to answer some of your questions.  I love hearing from you and want to answer any questions you may have as you update and design your homes.  Please continue leave me your comments and questions. I look forward to answering them each week. Have a wonderful Monday.




15 thoughts on “This Weeks Q + A: How to Choose Paint

    • admin says:

      I would do a semi gloss or a satin, depending if you want it too look shiny, I personally would do satin! It love it on board and batten.

  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m having a tough time deciding on a white. I read your white paint post, and thought it was great. My living room furniture will be light gray accent chairs, light brown leather couch, cream rug (with gray Xs), and dark wood floors. We also have cream tile in the kitchen (with dark cabinets that I plan on painting white) with granite countertops, which we will probably leave. I see decorator’s white and think I love that, then I saw dove white and love that as well. They all look good! And we’re painting before we move in, so I don’t have the luxury of painting samples on the walls of the house and watching them several days, although I can do that here in my current house before we move in?! (those tiny cans are so expensive ugh)

  2. Candess says:

    When you paint the walls and trim the same color, do you generally paint the ceiling that same white color?

    I LOVE your design style, my absolute fave in all of the blogosphere 🙂

  3. Pingback: Last Week’s Links | House of Jade Interiors Blog

  4. Nikki says:

    What whites work best for newer homes as I have read somewhere that cooler whites work best in newer homes? I ask because this makes it hard as I much prefer the warmer whites!

  5. Jsedwards says:

    We just bought and are renovating an 1850’s farmhouse and pretty much the entire interior walls and ceilings are some width of bead board. I am giving it a good white paint to brighten and liven the house up. If you had to pick white paint for walls, trim and ceilings throughout what would your choices be?

    • admin says:

      I love Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, it would look great on your walls, trim and ceiling. YOu could also look at my white paint guide for some more suggestions.

  6. Jackie Davis says:

    I love your paint guide very helpful. We have chocolate-ish hardwoods floors and white shaker kitchen cabinets. I’m thinking Marble for the island & a possibly a Cambrian Black for the surround.

    My question is paint color, If we did BM Swiss Coffee on the walls & BM Simply White on the wainscoting, crown molding, trim & doors, would you recommend using the Swiss Coffee on the ceiling or what white(s) would you recommend?

    Thank you!

  7. Sherry says:

    I am planning on marble in my kitchen. I want to paint the cabinets white and wondered if you thought Swiss Coffee would be too creamy against the marble? Thinking Calacutta Oro.

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