Neutrals, Who? Here’s How to Bring in a Pop of Color with Painted Trim

Unexpected color is always a good idea.

Neutrals, Who? Here’s How to Bring in a Pop of Color with Painted Trim

When it comes to infusing spaces with color, stylist and Clare Collective ambassador Ashley Whiteside is pretty much a pro. Which is why client Katherine called upon Ashley to refresh a room off the entry of her young family’s home—a project she hadn’t had time to give attention to after moving in two years prior.

Intended to be used as a music room and sitting area for guests, the space was essentially a beige box, but one with good bones, great natural light and tons of potential. In other words, the perfect blank slate in which to incorporate one of Ashley’s secret weapons: brightly painted trim.

With Ashley’s expert guidance, the two worked together to land on the Good Jeans, perfect trim color, pairing it with block print inspired wallpaper from Spoonflower that adds a pop of pattern and personality. The result? A space that her family loves—and can use every day. We caught up with Ashley to hear all about how she pulled it off.

@katherinemilesjones for @spoonflower

What were your and the homeowners’ goals in updating the space?

“My goal was to renew! I wanted Katherine to feel like she had a space that filled her cup again. Every woman, and every mom, needs that. Specifically in this case, she was drawn to a modern traditional look but with unexpected elements. We wanted it to be grounding, interesting, exciting to the homeowner and simple to keep neat.”

How did you land on Good Jeans as a color for the painted trim? Did you consider other colors?

“A common exercise I have is for my clients to begin by sharing their Pinterest boards with me. This helps filter out the noise and get to the real source of their decorating joy. In Katherine's case, the draw to a medium gray-blue was unmistakable. Plus, every single thing she already had in the room was neutral, easily allowing us to inject color without going too far.

I considered going with Goodnight Moon or Nearly Navy, as they're quite close to the navyish color in the wallpaper, but leaned into Good Jeans because it does prove a little unexpected since it’s not an exact match to colors in the paper and brings more light and energy. It was also the perfect balance between soft blues that might feel too juvenile, and darker blues that might feel too masculine.”

What’s your process like for sampling a color and ensuring it will mesh with the wallpaper?

“I fully utilized the floor of the room and laid out all the options considered, making for a mad scientist kind of scene. From there, it's like putting together a giant puzzle. She had 20 wallpapers she was considering, and I brought the entire swatch collection from Clare. I whittled it down to four papers and recommended two paint colors each, then left her with instructions to hang one paper by one paint swatch every day for eight days.

She moved the two around in the room during each day, allowing different light to be considered. From there, I implored her to go with her gut. What kept speaking to her? What pairing would she be most disappointed to not use? Which one felt like magic when she entered the room? That should be her pick! In the case of some other pairings, she still adored them, but felt after this experiment that they would be the best fit for other rooms in her house.”

What advice do you have for those who are curious about doing bold painted trim in their home, but are nervous about pulling it off?

“Regardless of what architectural elements you have in your space, accentuating them with color is such a power move! I don't think I've painted the trim white in a project of mine in five years. Often, this is because I’m doing a "jewel box" room (where walls, ceiling and trim are all the same color), which makes the space look so much larger, or implies architectural interest when there is none. Don't skip out on the trim, and don't assume white! Sometimes, a dated room can be brought back to life solely by reimagining the trim.

Playing with tones or varying saturation is a great place to start. For instance, consider a monochromatic scheme. If every element is the exact same shade of coral in your room, not only is the intensity a bit much for the eyeballs, but the space will feel flat. You could give dimension by layering in peach, a little dusty rose, and even raspberry.

Complementary schemes are derived from opposite sides of the color wheel. Red and green, for example—but it doesn't have to look like Christmas. Considering Clare colors: What if you used Meet Cute and Field Trip? This base, composed of a barely-there blush and a deep, earthy green, is complementary yet unexpected.``

In terms of actually painting trim and other wall features, what tips do you have?

“I always recommend painting the space before wallpapering, simply because this protects your paper. Bonus prep step: if you're about to hang wallpaper yourself for the first time, paint the wall behind it in the color of the paper's background. This will make your installation much more forgiving because if the wall happens to show, it's significantly less noticeable. If you're trying to paint next to an existing paper, definitely use Clare's painters tape and a gentle hand when tackling adjacent trim.”


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