I adore color, but I sometimes suffer from color overload, the result of my work, too much visual stimulation via magazines and blogs, and the like. In the end, as much as I love color, I find that a more restrained palette is easier for me to live with. But finding the right colors to live with can still be a challenge. I've never been comfortable with white walls, I've quickly grown tired of walls that were too colorful or dark, and pastels don't do it for me if they feel, well, too pastel.
Over the years, I've finally found combinations that work for me. I favor neutrals and pale colors that are mercurial, with the ability to change and respond to light, taking on various moods throughout the day and night. Often, these colors have a lot of gray in them, which keeps the pastels from looking too insipid or saccharine and gives a certain depth and sophistication to neutral beige tones. Soothing without being placid.
I've also found that a neutral palette makes decorating, and redecorating, easier. I can flirt with trends and color obsessions without a full scale makeover, and I find it surprisingly easy to mix both cool and warm tones with the proper neutral background as an anchor.
Here are some of my current favorites, paint colors that I've been living with and that excite me as much today as they did when I first put them on the walls:
Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore My dining room is painted in this color and it reminds me of Belgian linen. It's beautiful with ironstone, mercury glass, the grayed tones of birch bark, dark woods, burlap, muslin, and mossy, chartreuse greens. Another good accent color is Java from the Eddie Bauer collection at Valspar.
Tealight by Benjamin Moore This color has the same mercurial tendencies as Rainwashed, but with slightly more emphasis on green. Works as well with gray, silver, whites, and glass as it does with deep browns.
Another paint color I've been very happy with (not pictured) is Cincinnatian Hotel Briggs Beige from the National Trust for Historic Preservation line, at Lowe's. I painted my kitchen with this color and it's the perfect segue from Grant Beige in my dining room. Paired with soft white trim and lots of chrome and vintage metal accessories, I find that it manages to be warm and cool at the same time.
Those are some of my favorites. What are your favorite paint colors?