HomeThe Best Paint ColoursPaint and Colour How to'sWHAT MATTERS THE MOST WHEN CHOOSING PAINT COLORS?

WHAT MATTERS THE MOST WHEN CHOOSING PAINT COLORS?

Posted on January 2, 2023 by KylieMawdsley
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PAINT COLORS & INTERIOR FINISHES: THE HIERARCHY

If you’re looking for the best paint color for your walls or cabinets, you MIGHT be looking in the wrong spot. That’s right, if you’re looking at your own PERSONAL TASTES, you could be getting it allll wrong.

The FIRST place to look is your interior finishes. Aside from sampling properly, coordinating your paint color with your interior finishes is the HUGEST topic. This doesn’t mean you can’t love this paint color too, but sometimes we have to tuck our personal tastes in our back pocket for a while, while we tune in to the needs of our space.

Stone fireplace, vaulted ceiling, wood beams, gray beige, greige warm tones and home decor.

I have HUNDREDS of blog posts about the best paint colors for a WIDE RANGE of finishes (type any word into my SEARCH bar and have fun!). THIS blog post is specific to PRIORITIZING particular surfaces in your home – especially when they don’t coordinate.

FINISHES TO CONSIDER WHEN PICKING A PAINT COLOR FOR YOUR WALLS

BTW, this info can vary depending on your room and its particular finishes. If you don’t have one of the following finishes in your space, move to the next in line.

These items are PRIORITIZED from most important to LEAST important.

1. FIREPLACE

This can be stone or brick, as long as it has a dominant presence in the room (a wee small brick surround has less importance).

A fireplace like THIS is going to be the boss…

Stone fireplace, two-storey tall with Benjamin Moore London Fog, greige or taupe. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

However, a fireplace with a more simple surround can leave more room to consider other finishes in the room…

Kylie M Interiors Edesign. Living room, shiplap, fake painted white brick fireplace, navy blue built in cabinets, wood mantel, gallery wall and home decor. Online Paint colour consulting (2)

2. COUNTERTOP & BACKSPLASH

In the kitchen, the countertop and backsplash call the big shots if you’re picking a wall color. If you happen to have painted cabinets, THEY fall into first place, over the countertop and backsplash.

As for the bathroom, vertical tile installations usually call dibs over the countertop – this includes tile behind the countertop or around the tub/shower.

It’s not only that the countertop (below) is EASY to coordinate with, but the backsplash tile is vertical, so it takes priority…

Bathroom vanity cabinet High Reflective White, white countertop, subway tile accent feature wall. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consultant

3. FLOORING

Undertones and colors in carpet, tile and vinyl matter a lot. Wood flooring CAN matter if it’s a super dominant stain color, gray wash or whitewash. However, if it’s a more flexible wood stain, it’s not as big of a player (because it’s more versatile and will humor a wide range of colors).

In this next photo, the gray wash of the floor has a violet undertone and will be a BIG consideration when choosing the wall color…

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray. Popular warm gray and off-white paint colour. Gray wash laminate wood flooring and white trim. Kylie M Interiors E-Design, online paint colour advice and blogger

However, a more moderate wood floor like this falls low on the list as it’s easier to coordinate with…

Kitchen, red oak wood floor in Revere Pewter Benjamin Moore painted cabinets (darkened). Caesarstone Statuario Nuvo quartz countertops. Pendant lights, metal range hood, Kylie M Edesigns

Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, the countertop in this next bathroom is relatively easy to coordinate with. However, the tile floor is dominant and calls some pretty clear shots. In THIS case, the flooring is a higher priority than the countertop…

Bathroom remodel. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, paint color consultant. Sherwin Williams Argos, Restoration Hardware vanity, cement patterned floor tile

Remember, these blog posts are about general GUIDANCE. you can then take these tips and apply them to your own space in a way that makes sense!

4. SOFT FURNISHINGS

Soft furnishings are seen as being more replaceable than the above hard finishes (although you might disagree, depending on your situation). This includes pieces such as sofas, chairs, drapes, area rugs, and linens.

5. PAINT COLOR IN THE ADJOINING ROOM

While you want there to be flow from room to room, it’s MORE important that your paint color suits the ROOM ITSELF first, and then work out from there.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray (Baby Fawn) stone fireplace. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, client photo

If you don’t have ANY of the above to consider, it sounds like you have a pretty clean slate! In this case, consider your room’s exposure, and your personal tastes, and have some FUN!

SURFACES TO CONSIDER WHEN PICKING A PAINT COLOR FOR YOUR CABINETS

In order of most to least important (as it relates to interior finishes).

1. COUNTERTOP & BACKSPLASH

As it relates to the kitchen, if these two surfaces aren’t well-coordinated, the BACKSPLASH takes priority when choosing a cabinet color.

Why?

The backsplash is on the same vertical sightline as the cabinets, whereas the countertop is horizontal. This means you’ll usually notice the coordination between the backsplash/cabinet BEFORE the countertop/cabinet combination.

Older style granite countertops with travertine look backsplash. Wood cabinets painted Benjamin Moore warm soft white. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy update ideas

If you’re choosing a paint color for your bathroom vanity, the countertop will matter more than any vertical tile application. In this next bathroom, the backsplash tile DEFINITELY calls the biggest shots when it comes to the vanity color…

Egret White Sherwin Williams walls. Bathroom, navy blue vanity similar Benjamin Hale Navy, beige, white blue hexagon tile backsplash. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, white quartz countertop,

If your space is well-coordinated, all surfaces could carry equal value

2. FLOORING

Undertones and colors in carpet, tile and vinyl matter a lot when choosing a cabinet paint color. However, as with choosing a wall color, wood flooring tends to be more flexible/versatile unless it’s a SUPER strong stain color or gray wash.

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, powder room with dark gray hexagon tile floor, green painted vanity, gold brass accents, fixtures, mirror. LG Minuet quartz white countertop

The green is a GORGEOUS CONTRAST to the violet-blue undertones in the tile floor

3. EXISTING WALL COLOUR

If you’re not repainting your walls, the existing color plays a pretty big part. HOWEVER, of the finishes listed here, it’s likely the least expensive to replace. I say this because sometimes you can’t make ALL of the surfaces in your space 100% happy – something has to give, and this something is often the wall paint color (or don’t paint your cabinets).

Benjamin Moore White Dove cabinets and walls with lacquer on cabinets. Calacatta Botanica white quartz countertop, zellige tile backsplash, black hardware. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Of course, there are exceptions. For example, if you have a very small backsplash area and a HUGE expanse of tile flooring – the flooring might take priority. Or maybe you have black countertops that are SUPER easy to coordinate with, meaning the floor is a bigger consideration. Consider your space and which surfaces matter the MOST to your cabinets.

IF YOUR FINISHES DON’T COORDINATE, WHICH ONES DO YOU PRIORITIZE?

It depends on your home. And while there are always exceptions (too many to even BEGIN to cover), this next tip should get you considering your space with the right lens.

Generally speaking, vertical surfaces are prioritized over horizontal ones.

For example, if you’re choosing a cabinet color, MOST times, the backsplash is more important than the countertop. If you’re choosing a paint color for your living room, the stone on your fireplace could be more important than the flooring.

Why?

Because these surfaces are VERTICAL and are more visually attached to the cabinets (or walls) they’re being associated with. However, if your surfaces ARE well-coordinated, they carry equal value and should suit the same colors.

Cloud White cabinets, hexagon subway tile backsplash, formica soapstone countertops. Kylie M E-design

Remember, if your interior finishes aren’t well-coordinated, there might not be ONE color that makes them all 100% happy – it’s often about finding the next best thing!

PARTNER POSTS…

Kylie M’s Ultimate Guide to Paint Colors & Their Undertones

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Paint Colors Using LRV

How to Get the Perfect Color: LIGHTEN & DARKEN

How to Choose the Right Kelvins For Your Paint Color

The 5 Blog Posts You Need to Read BEFORE Choosing a Paint Color

Chat soon,

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

NEED HELP

CHECK OUT MY ONLINE PAINT COLOR CONSULTING

KYLIE M INTERIORS, PAINT COLOR EXPERT, BEST ONLINE PAINT COLOR CONSULTANT, BENJAMIN MOORE, SHERWIN WILLIAMS, FARROW AND BALL

 



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