Neutral palettes still favored for interior paint refresh

by Laura Straub 

A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive, simple way to refresh a room and set a new tone for your space. With countless colors and techniques to choose from, current trends are a great starting point when it comes to selecting a new style. 

According to Bob Manashian, administrator at Advanced Painting Ohio in Broadview Heights, gray palettes have been red hot for the past few years, both inside and out. He said light gray especially continues to be a popular interior color.

Jason Walker, co-owner of The Final Coat in Akron has noticed customers also opting for muted colors. Neutrals like gray and muted hues enable homeowners to decorate – and redecorate – while setting off their focal pieces. 

But when Walker’s customers decide to turn up the color, they really turn it up. All the way to their ceiling, in fact. 

“When painting ceilings in rooms that have a more bold color or something with higher chroma we tend to see a 10 percent reduction of color to ceiling white,” said Walker “In short, they will add a bit of the wall color to the ceiling white to give a subtle flow to the room rather than a stark contrast.” 

For homeowners looking for some contrast, accent walls remain popular. Walker recommends dark colors for small walls and bright colors for large or long walls to help make the room look as spacious as possible. Accent walls can also feature painted patterns, wallpaper, stucco designs, wainscoting or board and batten paneling.

Although there are plenty of options when it comes to accents, varying the wall color between different living spaces presents a challenge in today’s open concept homes. 

“When you have an open room like that it’s hard to find a break point,” said Manashian.

He said his customers typically stick with a light color throughout to maximize the open look, while using pictures, flowers, accents and furniture to give each space its own unique flair. 

Walker added that often a satellite room is a good candidate for color variation. Woodwork offers an opportunity for color variation as well. 

“Painted woodwork is the biggest thing I’ve seen in that past couple of years,” Manashian said. 

Although customers typically opt to paint it clean white, he’s done some dramatic black trim too. 

Walker reports many customers requesting painted woodwork as well. He’s also been gel-staining light oak to give it a richer feel. 

Although reverting painted woodwork back to its original state is easier said than done, repainting walls is very doable. That’s why Walker encourages homeowners to embrace the fact that this space is their home and to play with wall colors – especially when it comes to kids’ bedrooms or playrooms, a man cave or a she space.

Worried about affecting resale values? Walker tells his customers to remember, you can always put it back to the way it was. 

Soften the budget hit

While a “change of color can really change your mood,” don’t feel compelled to break the bank to give your home a full makeover all at once, said Kris Toth of Toth Painting Solutions.

Room by room or floor by floor, phased-in changes can make a world of difference.

Toth said clients are opting to paint the downstairs rooms and perhaps the stairway to the upstairs, but holding off on painting the bedrooms upstairs until a later time. It’s also not unusual to for clients to just have the walls painted and save the trim and doors for a future project.

 “We’re seeing lots more home improvement projects with people spending more time at home. Sometimes just painting the kitchen and bathroom are enough to give the house a fresh look,” Toth said.

Kathleen Gavin contributed to this article.