HomeThe Best Paint ColoursPaint and Colour How to'sHow to Choose Wall Paint Colours Based On Your BOSSIEST Interior Finish

How to Choose Wall Paint Colours Based On Your BOSSIEST Interior Finish

Posted on January 18, 2022 by KylieMawdsley


When it comes to choosing the best paint colour for a room, it’s about finding INSPIRATION. And inspiration isn’t always found in the most INSPIRING places, and in fact, we often find inspiration in our BOSSIEST finishes – finishes that we aren’t ALWAYS that thrilled with, to begin with.

HOWEVER, failure to find (or notice) inspiration is a GREAT way to choose the wrong paint colour. So, how do you find inspiration? READ MY BLOG! Just joking #notreallyjoking.

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This backsplash tile is the BOSSIEST finish in the room, and because it’s so bossy, it’s where we have to pull our INSPIRATION from…

Sherwin Williams Reliable White in kitchen with cherry cabinets, beige countertop, beige backsplash tile. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Why is it the BOSSIEST finish? Because it has the most limitations as to which paint colours will go well with it. It’s also VERTICAL and the majority of bossy or inspirational surfaces are vertical (with the exception of tile floor or a kitchen with a countertop and NO backsplash).

And even if your finishes aren’t well-coordinated, it’s the BOSS who’s calling the shots.

Here are a few bossy examples…


As far as wall paint colours go, it’s USUALLY best to pick up on a colour that’s already existing in your space. While there are definitely exceptions, especially as it relates to contrast, this is an EASIER way to create a palette.

Using this next photo as an example, you would pick a popular shade of white or gray with similar undertones for your walls. You COULD venture into the blue-green range, but you HAVE to know what you’re doing to make it work!

White paint colours with marble backsplash and countertop. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting and advice blogger

And did you know that you can ALSO choose your wall colour based on the colour of the GROUT around your tile? That’s right! So if you’re having a hard time finding a paint colour that jibes, you could consider doing a little Polyblend Grout Renew to EASILY and affordably change the colour of your grout (and it’s available online in over 40 different colours)!


Whereas the backsplash is the FIRST place you should look for inspiration (being vertical), you can also check out your countertop. When might a countertop be BOSSIER than the backsplash?


Brick, stone or tile are AWESOME places to grab inspiration from…

Living room, gray stone fireplace, round wheel chandelier, white built in bookcases, Stonington Gray paint colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color expert

Why look elsewhere when a fireplace like the one above gives you ALL the inspiration you need? If you want to head down a different path, you better be prepared for things to look disconnected. Remember, just because YOU want a colour doesn’t mean your home agrees with you!

As shown in this next living room, sometimes flexing out of ONE style and into another can be next to impossible, ESPECIALLY when you have a home with particular Tuscan vibes…

Living room with warm beige cream blend walls, Sherwin Williams Divine White, tuscan stone yellow cream fireplace, wood floor. Kylie M Edesign, diy ideas

Even if the above homeowner had wanted something different (ie. gray or white), it’s that big ole stone fireplace calling the shots! The key is to choose the most MODERN version of the type of colour your bossy surface demands.


Whether it’s in a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or foyer, flooring can be a GREAT place to pick up visual clues AS LONG AS there isn’t a bossier VERTICAL SURFACE!

In this next example, you could paint the walls a soft white, a subtle warm gray/taupe or even a blue-gray or gray-blue-green blend! The more variation your finish has in it, the more OPTIONS you’ll have for your walls!

How to pick a paint colour for your room using undertone and inspiration by Kylie M Interiors

And if there’s ONE THING I want you to take away from this blog post, it’s this…

If your finish has 3+ colours in it, the key is to NOT introduce a colour that doesn’t ALREADY EXIST.

In this next example, notice how the old green colour introduces something that isn’t already in the tile and it doesn’t tie in very well. The NEW samples are the way to go, in which case, green could then be used as an ACCENT colour (for towels and decor), rather than a full-time commitment on the walls…

Ideas to update home with beige tile, carpet or furniture. Undertones and more. 1990s and 2000s home. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour and diy decorating ideas expert and blogger (2)

And even though the above tile isn’t traditionally INSPIRING, it’s definitely the bossiest surface in the room!


  • because it has the most LIMITATIONS as to which paint colours will look good with it (due to its undertones)
  • because it’s on a vertical surface

BTW, if you’re getting paint samples, you should check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…

Paint colour review of tool Samplize, peel and stick samples. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Farrow and Ball, Home Depot. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

  • samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
  • they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling
  • if you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room

Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE


If you’re choosing a sentimental item (ie. artwork) as inspiration, you better plan on having it for a LOOOOONG time.


If it’s a transient piece and you paint and decorate your room around it, your palette might not match the NEXT piece that comes in the front door.

If all else fails and all you have is wood floors with neutral/brownish stain or neutral carpet as your inspirational piece, look to these ‘secondary’ items…

  • sofa
  • artwork/decor
  • bedding
  • toss cushions or drapes

The reason why these are ‘secondary’ inspiration pieces is that they’re likely to be replaced over time and you may not want to pick your colour scheme based on them. The other items (tiles/countertops, etc…) tend to be higher cost items and are more ‘permanent’ – unless you’re like me and your home is a revolving door of products and colours – and husbands… 😉

Hanging artwork above a chair. Teal, Collingwood and Escarpment. Kylie M INteriors Edesign

Entryway cabinet, wood hexagon pattern. Ken Kirkby westcoast painting, SW Urbane Bronze painted stair railing, Edgecomb Gray walls. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consultant, blog

Benjamin Moore Kitty Gray feature art wall with Collonade Gray. Ken Kirkby totem pole original painting. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, virtual paint color expert



Figure out which colours exist in this piece, along with their UNDERTONES.

If you’re not sure what their undertones are, what should you do? Bring home a wide range of paint colours and see which ones blend/connect. From there, do your research on THOSE paint colours.

I’ve also got a GREAT blog post for you to read… What Are UNDERTONES & How to Find Them


For a colour to be a contender, you should be able to clearly see it in your inspiration piece from EIGHT FEET AWAY.

If your piece only has ONE OR TWO COLOURS in it, it’s easier to add something NEW to the palette, which comes down to colour FAMILIES as well as CONTRASTING/COMPLEMENTING (which are entire blog posts unto themselves).

HOWEVER, if your inspiration surface has THREE+ COLOURS IN IT, it will be much harder to introduce a NEW colour to the palette.

In this next photo, there’s a WIDE range of colours to choose from in the stones…

River rock stone fireplace with wood mantel, Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist best paint colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy update ideas

The key is to not add anything NEW to the colour palette as there’s plenty to work from there – adding a NEW colour wouldn’t make sense. Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist taps into the warmth of some of the stones and its warm violet undertone hit the mortar as well!

And while I could go on and on…and on (as usual), these tips and ideas should get you WELL on your way to finding the best paint colour for your home.


The 12 Best Whole Home Gray & Greige Paint Colours

How to Create a TIMELESS Home – 4 PART SERIES

The Best Warm Neutrals That AREN’T BEIGE! 

What Are UNDERTONES & How To Find Them

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Paint Colours With LRV! 



Online paint colour consulting using Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams colours. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, DIY update ideas. Market

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas



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