The go-to paint colours designers' swear by
Find your perfect paint colour thanks to the expert advice of your favourite designers.
When you flip through the pages of your favourite design magazine or scroll through endless photos of gorgeous homes on Pinterest, chances are you’ll find yourself wondering about the paint colours on the walls. Finding the perfect shade of paint can be hard. There are so many colours to choose from so how do you distinguish a great grey from a dull one? How do you determine which shade of white will make your home look uber-chic and which will look like primer? The answer? Ask the experts! Designers know their way around a paint deck so we checked in with six of them, who each provided us with their top three go-to paint colours. Find out which shades are their favourites and where they use them.
I have been working closely with Cloverdale Paints and have three go-to off-whites that I LOVE. OW159 “Dream Nights” is a soft off white, that is the perfect neutral. It’s light enough to brighten a room, but has enough pigment to also provide depth.
CA187 “Silver” is cooler, with subdued blue tones. It’s clean, crisp, and a deep enough colour to contrast with white baseboards or crown moulding. Love it!
8436 “White Delight” is perfect for creating a warm tone on tone white space, a look that I love. Similar to my other two favourites, White Delight offers contrast, which is key to creating visual interest in all spaces.
For people who love dramatic colours (like me!), I recommend Krimson Lake by CIL. It's a deep, moody marine blue that I love to use in a flat paint finish.
My go-to white is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore (see on the ceiling). It's a crisp, clean white – not too much yellow – and I love it for trim and walls.
The colour I specify most during my one-hour interior design consultations is Zeppelin by CIL. It's a warm grey-beige and a reliable neutral. It's a perfect colour when one wants to stay neutral and works in modern or traditional aesthetics alike.
This has been a go-to colour for us for years. It's the perfect warm, yet bright white for any and all rooms in the house including trims and cabinetry. Often, when we use Simply White, it's on the walls, trims and ceiling to create a clean and modern backdrop.
This off-white/pale gray changes beautifully in the light and is often one we use in bedrooms for a soft glow. It has a creamy undertone however does not feel traditional. This is one of my all-time favourites.
Revere Pewter is a classic grey that pairs perfectly with white trims, providing definition and character in a space. It is excellent for living and dining rooms and can steer more towards a traditional feel.
This colour is our top go-to colour at TFI! It is an extremely versatile colour. Silver Satin is a light grey that almost reads white and works in virtually any space. This colour adds a certain freshness to walls without being too white or too grey. Whether it is used on the walls or for cabinetry, we just can’t enough of this subtle yet beautiful colour!
We love this colour as it works well when pulling together taupes and greys. It reads neutral and allows for a lot of flexibility with the rest of the colours in any room. In this kitchen, the colour sets the tone for the room allowing the cabinetry and furniture to stand out. Benjamin Moore’s Collingwood is a classic colour that never goes out of style.
We love Benjamin Moore’s Oxygen when we want to add some colour to our walls. It is a great powder blue which has a certain softness to it. In this girl’s room, we wanted to create a space that was playful and fun but not overwhelmingly girly. Painting the walls with this subdued blue as opposed to a light pink was the perfect way to achieve the type of look we wanted.
This off-white has a drop of cream, making it the perfect, versatile backdrop for any colour scheme or decorating style for those who like to change things up.
I love white rooms but I also like a vibrant pop of color. This cheerful blue brightens up grey days and complements the elaborate mix of patterns and the bold colours I injected into this living room.
Bedrooms are mainly for the evenings so it makes sense to use a darker hue that is soothing and calm. This warm taupe grey is an exact colour match to the grasscloth wallpaper I installed on the main wall, creating a seamless transition from wallpaper to paint. I also selected a high gloss finish so the paint also echoes the shimmers from the wallpaper.
This is a warm off-white that isn’t too creamy. Soft and sophisticated, it’s calming and has a depth that makes it suited for bedrooms and cozy spaces. It looks great with dark wood tones and bronze or black metals.
This grey-green is cool and modern and works beautifully in bedrooms or bathrooms where you’re craving a hint of subtle colour. It can make whatever it’s paired with feel updated and fresh. I especially love it in rooms that get cool northern light; it reads almost like a mint but without the iciness.
This is my go-to grey. Many greys can veer too brown or too blue but this one doesn’t have any strong undertones. It’s a livable colour that would be equally at home in a living room or bedroom. I love it paired with warm neutrals, creams and natural wood tones to create a tone-on-tone palette.
How to: Renovate your laundry room
Doing laundry isn’t a fun activity for most, but that doesn’t mean the laundry room should be ignored when renovating your home. If it’s well designed, it can be so convenient and efficient, you’ll be wishing you had more dirty clothes!
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
Planning your layout
Everyone meticulously plans their kitchen and bathroom layouts, and it’s just as important to do so in a laundry room. It requires plumbing, venting and electrical, so taking the time to create a floor plan is crucial. Make sure you know where your vents and valves need to go. And remember, front-loading machines are designed to have the washer on the left and the dryer on the right. Place them the other way and you’ll be reaching awkwardly.
If you’re short on space, have your laundry room double as a storage area or mud room, based on its location and your needs. it may be as easy as adding more cabinets and counter space or installing an extra-large sink. the laundry room is built for function above all else, so think about multi-tasking when planning your layout.
Tour this Vancouver home's modern eclectic look.
This Vancouver home's modern eclectic look is a testament to the power of a sister act.
Now that the dust has settled on their massive whole-house renovation, homeowners Anna Wright and Alistair Sale – both busy professionals and parents of Lewis, 10, Freddie, 8, and George, 6 – each have their favourite features of the new interior. For Alistair, the cook of the family, the open kitchen is the (long-awaited) best part. Anna is most excited about the master ensuite bathroom she doesn’t have to share with the kids. And for the boys, it’s their bigger playroom in the finished basement.
The Vancouver family lived in the 3,700-square-foot 1920s home for five years before embarking on the huge overhaul. “I’m so glad we lived in the house for a while first and figured out what we wanted,” says Anna. “If we’d done the renovation right away, we would have done things very differently, and those decisions probably wouldn’t work for us now.”
The crisp white brick fireplace surround, built-ins and original wood panelling set off the dark grey on the upper walls of the den. Leaded glass cabinetry doors are another original feature. The antique chandelier was picked up at a London flea market.
A contemporary pale orange sofa pops against the white panelling and dark grey walls. The Mid-Century Modern desk was a lucky find at an antiques store a few years back, as was the Tolix chair.
Going vintage is often a more economical decorating idea than buying brand new, says Sophie.
The birdcage pendant light adds another unexpected dose of colour and whimsy.
In the dining area, an antique zinc-topped table from a French flea market pairs well with mismatched colourful Eames dining chairs. “We thought the different hues of the dining chairs would be quirky and fun,” says homeowner Anna Wright.
The designer pendant light was a pricey find from London, England.
Expanding the existing skylight and adding more windows above the sink brought loads of natural light into the white painted kitchen. Homeowner Alistair Sale greatly appreciates the bigger sink, but extra kitchen counter space, double wall ovens and a gas cooktop were at the top of his must-have list.
French doors lead out to a newly enlarged wraparound deck off the open kitchen/dining area, making the backyard much more accessible. The kitchen peninsula is perfect for casual breakfasts and homework time.
The zinc top on the antique dining table can take plenty of wear and tear from everyday family meals; the stark white modern dishware strikes a pleasing contrast against the patinated surface.
A desk area in the kitchen serves as the family workspace and offers plenty of storage space for the kids’ paperwork and school supplies. Inspirational photos and small pieces of art bring personality to the nook.
The new master ensuite bathroom is Anna’s retreat from hectic work and family life.
The matching gold mirrors in the master ensuite are a glitzy big-box score.
Grey and white cement floor tiles provide ornate pattern in the otherwise serene white room.
The bathroom floor tiles themselves weren't very expensive, but shipping the from California was.
A spacious kitchen with a cozy and eclectic vibe.
Inspired by a box-office hit, this homeowner puts a country spin on the beach house look to create the weekend getaway of her dreams.
When the homeowner of this 3,600-square-foot Canadian weekend getaway near Caledon, Ont., saw the movie Something's Gotta Give, she was star struck. Not by actors Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson or Canadian cutie Keanu Reeves, but by the sprawling Hamptons beach house movie set that played a starring role. Apparently, the rom-com's seaside retreat home left quite a few viewers swooning. But for this homeowner, customizing the on-screen dream to suit her property and her outdoorsy family (including her husband and two daughters) was key. "I wanted to achieve the look on the exterior but in a vernacular appropriate to an Ontario country house, which is why "Inside, I wanted that crisp yet comfy aesthetic of the movie, but realized in earthy tones that would reflect the surroundings."
Detailed traditional millwork-beadboard, raised panels and coffered ceilings - all in white creates the tailored architecture she envisioned. The coziness comes from plush-to-the-touch upholstery, comfy nooks like the kitchen's bay window banquette and an eclectic mix of furniture that personalizes the home and gives it an evolved-over-time feel. Old-fashioned mullioned windows were left bare to bring the outdoors in. "I didn't want anything competing with the stunning view," she says of the 45 acres of meadows, forest and rolling hills. "I didn't even want the colour palette to conflict with it." She chose natural earth tones, dark woods and rich fabrics to warm the white walls and balance the expansive windows.
"You want things to be easy in a country house." And though it may not have been easy to create, she made it look as effortless as it does on the silver screen.
In the light-filled entryway, the abundance of white is grounded by the dark wooden floors, banister and stair treads. The newel post boasts an early 20th-century feel.
“When it’s just us four, we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the kitchen table because the view is spectacular,” says the homeowner. Durable indoor-outdoor fabric on the banquette ensures easy cleanup.
The Wolf gas range was a must-have (it’s much like the one in the film’s memorable pancake-making scene between actors Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton). Double-hung windows, recess-panelled cabinetry and a glossy white subway tile kitchen backsplash gives an overall timeless feel.
This elegant chrome fruit tree sits on top of the marble countertop and adds a decorative yet useful function to the kitchen space.
“The kitchen’s a real copy-cat of the one in the movie Something’s Gotta Give,” says the homeowner. She was keen to create a comfy, eclectic vibe by mixing elements like a farmhouse-style sink, vintage-look faucets and industrial-inspired stools topped with a contemporary polka-dot fabric.
The simple white-coloured bowl and clear cups add a contemporary vibe to this country-inspired home.
Guests can enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the screened-in porch’s cozy sectional while the host barbecues just outside in the courtyard. After dinner, the kids love to roast marshmallows in the double-sided wood-burning stone fireplace.
The three-season room, which is a destination for family and frequent guests, had to be large enough to be multi-purpose. The two marble and iron tables are where most meals are served in the summer.
“I didn’t realize how much people would fight for spots on that canopy sofa,” says the homeowner, who admits that she herself has a hard time getting up from it to make dinner.
Though the homeowner was encouraged to install stone steps from the house to the pool, she opted for a grassy slope. “There’s less chance of tripping, and you feel a connection to the environment,” she says. A border of mixed perennials blends seamlessly into the surrounding countryside.
“I wanted enough comfortable seating areas in the kitchen to accommodate everyone,” says the homeowner, who entertains guests often all year-round. Two sets of French doors flank the fireplace for easy flow to the screened-in porch. “When you open them in the summer, the breeze just flows right into the kitchen,” she says. “It’s like being outside.”
In the multi-function dining room, the wooden tabletopwas stained a darker shade and given rounded corners so people could easily slide in and out of the banquette. On most weekends, this is where the family plays games and the girls do homework.
These radiant orchid inspired flowers add colour to the open-concept seating area that connects to the kitchen. The rustic vase adds a country-like feel.
The stairway landing gets an unexpected pop of colour thanks to a fuchsia seat cushion.