Let’s talk paint!

Most days, if I am breathing… I am talking about paint. What colors we’re loving, what finishes we’re using, and the perfect sheens for every area. The most commonly asked question I get on our blog and social media is “OMG what is that paint color?” and for good reason. We spend endless hours buying small paint samples painting them on 12×12 white poster board, and then looking at them day and night to find just the right hue.

So today, durning my instagram takeover I shared 10 of my favorite colors (and a few secret designer tips) with my friends at RUE! Because I know it’s a ton of info, I have also posted it all here on the blog so it has a place to live for eternity.

Let’s start with white. White is white, right? WRONG. White is most definitely not white. In fact- there are hundreds of “white” paint colors and they are not all created equal. Some are too creamy, some are too gray, and some are just plain chalky. I am so picky when it comes to white paint, that I pretty much only use one white paint, like, ever. When it comes to white, Simply White by Benjamin Moore is the most perfect white in like 99% of spaces. It looks good in basements, east facing rooms, west facing rooms, and even rooms with minimal natural light. 

After white, I would say the second hardest color to get right is Gray. Sometimes it looks purple, sometimes, pink, and sometimes it even turns blue. You don’t know how many sample pots of gray I have had to go through to learn this. Let me save you some time and energy and tell you that the most amazing gray is True Gray by Dunn Edwards. No purple or blue here folks, just a really fantastic slightly taupe-y gray that looks good in the morning noon and night. 

Next let talk blues. Being by the beach, my designs are always infused with coastal influence, but I really try to keep things interesting by not always falling back on a traditional navy when a client is excited about blue. At our studio we tend to categorize blues to keep it simple. Light blues, coastal blues, classic blues, moody blues, and deep blues. Below are a few of my favorites for each category that have been Kate Lester tested and approved. Light Blue: Mount Saint Anne by Benjamin Moore.

Coastal Blue: Moody Blue SW6221 by Sherwin Williams.

Classic Blue: Slate Tile by Sherwin Williams and Smokestack Grey by Benjamin Moore.

Deep Blue: Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore and Stiffkey Blue by Farrow andBall. If you really want some secret designer insight, I firmly believe that the key to a great blue is the addition of a little gray in the pigment, so you will see that many of my selections lean that way. 

Now that we’ve covered the Kate Lester Interiors staples, lets move on to black. Let it be known that I 100% believe that black, is, in fact, the new black. I am currently obsessed with black windows, black islands, black furnishings, and my golden rule is that all rooms we design should have one piece of vintage and a little bit of black! The biggest pushback I get from clients when suggesting black is that it may make a room feel dark or sad. The interesting thing, is that a hint of black actually grounds a space and ups the contrast, in turn making everything more crisp and bright. So please take note when I say that Fade to Black by Portola Paints is the most amazing black. Not too dark or green. Really, just right.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten colors squared away, let’s talk tips. When you are picking paint colors and getting samples limit yourself to three per color. Too many options will literally make you crazy, so trust me when I say, follow these tips and the entire painting experience will be much more enjoyable!

Whether you are painting one room or a whole house, just try to have fun with it and remember it’s just paint! If it doesn’t look right, redo it! Paint is one of the easiest ways to rehab or refresh a space, and it’s easy to change – that’s what makes it great! xoxo k.

Kate Lester Interiors