#interior design paint
Designers’ Best Secrets: Paint
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Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. interior designer
I like to paint the furniture the same color as the walls. It makes everything become more sculptural. Also, consider the underside of furniture. Try painting the bottom surface of a table red, especially if you have white floors. The light from the floor will reflect up, producing a reddish cast under the table. Guests won’t know where the color is coming from. It’s like magic. Another trick is painting the ceiling a light lavender instead of white. When you come in from outside, a lavender ceiling gives the perception of the sky. Finally, I have a lot of clients who are afraid of color, but there is no reason why a coat closet can’t be orange, a kitchen pantry purple or a laundry room magenta. Every room can be fun, and if you don’t like it, you can change it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? It’s only paint.
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Josette Buisson, artistic director, Pittsburgh Paint
A white ceiling can be a big mistake, especially when your walls are very dark. Visually, it’s going to bring it down so that it appears too close to your head. Instead, wrap the entire room in color, including the ceiling. I know a decorator whose kitchen is coated entirely in black, and when you walk in, the ceiling seems to go on forever.
Rita Motta , interior designer
Because I was already going to paint the cement floors in my apartment with porch and garage paint, I chose a small, six-by-ten-foot area, about the size of a rug, and drew a mod, ’60s-revival pattern and painted it yellow. I like to be loud with pattern, and it works well in Miami.
Sarah Cole, director ,Farrow Ball
Paint the insides of shelving a dark color. That will set off dishes, glassware or books. Also, if you have a long, narrow hallway, paint the walls a dark color from ceiling to floor, making sure to include the baseboards and molding so the line is unbroken. Then paint the floor and the ceiling white. The effect will be that the floor and ceiling will reflect light, so it’s not a dark, gloomy space, and the walls will look graphic. It will also make the room that you’re entering look especially bright and airy.
Photographer: Peter Murdock
Doty Horn,director of color and design, Benjamin Moore
Try painting a room one color but in two different finishes. For example, you can create a sense of height by painting the ceiling the same color as the walls but in a glossier sheen (shown, far left). The reflectivity of the light on the ceiling will make it appear much higher.
Kara Mann ,interior designer
If you paint the wall moldings the same color as the walls, it will give the space height and a very European feel. Another suggestion for especially long or narrow rooms is to use a paint with a pearl finish on the walls to add a luminescence. It will not only subtly reflect light but also give the illusion of a bigger space.
Sarah Fishburne,manager of innovation and design, Home Depot
Behr Paint has the Eight-Foot Rule, which says that contrary to what people think, white ceilings can seem lower. The rule is that if your room is less than eight feet high, paint the ceiling a shade or two lighter than your wall color. If your room is higher than eight feet, paint the ceiling two shades darker than your wall color.
Ronald Bricke ,interior designer
I once did a library in a Park Avenue apartment for one of my clients. We had purchased a very large Chesterfield sofa in a wonderful deep red. After a divorce, she got the Chesterfield sofa in the settlement. When my client and her new sofa moved into another apartment, which happened to have lower, eight-foot ceilings, the sofa looked huge, like a Russian tank had parked in her living room. Because it was brand-new, she didn’t want to reupholster it. To make it “fit” into the living room, I painted the entire room red, and the sofa just disappeared.
Vic Barnhill,Mythic Paint
Flat or matte paints don’t reflect light, so they hide imperfect walls better than higher-sheen paints such as eggshell, semi-gloss or high-gloss. However, the smoother the finish, the easier it is to wipe dirt and grit out of cracks and crevices. Flat paints allow moisture to penetrate the walls, and that can result in a mold or mildew problem, so it’s best to use them in low-humidity areas such as bedrooms, living rooms and hallways. Keeping that in mind, use semi-gloss paints in bathrooms and kitchens or any other high-humidity area. They have tighter films and are able to repel water. High-gloss finishes are good for cabinetry and trim. Remember, if you’re using high-gloss paint on walls or ceilings, make sure the surfaces are perfectly smooth, because it will show every imperfection.
Jay Jeffers ,interior designer
In the past, I have done horizontal or vertical stripes in a mixture of high- and low-sheen paints in the same color. I would also suggest creating an interesting pattern on the wall and ignoring the intersection of wall to ceiling. The pattern will distract the eye from the ceiling height or any inconsistencies in the walls themselves.