Think of Your Rooms Like Paintings


Ben Moore Yorktown Green (HC-133)

Lately, I've been painting everything Benjamin Moore Yorktown Green (HC-133, shown at right). It's a beautiful green with a lot of blue in it. It can look very serious and sophisticated and would make a perfect backdrop for your marble or white plaster busts. Of course, if you're not the kind who has a large collection of busts, it's also a color primed to support a more carefree life.




A lot of people worry about painting their walls or woodwork such a dark color, but I like to think of this choice as if I'm a painter setting out with a big white canvas. One of the first things you learn as a painting novice is to cover your canvas with color. This is known as creating “toned ground,” and it makes the process of filling in the page far less daunting. It offers a middle ground from which you can either pull planes into the foreground or push then into the background. Decorating a room with dark walls relies on the same concept. Each object you add to a dark room has the opportunity to play up its chiaroscuro (contrasting light and shadow) depending on the way it reflects or absorbs light. White busts look great on Ben Moore HC-133 because they respond to light in an entirely different way.

Obviously, it's not the color alone that sets the tone of a room. If I wanted a room painted HC-133 to feel particularly youthful, feminine or maybe just exotic, I'd look for organically patterned objects with a white ground overlaid with bright blues, berries, and maybe some canary yellow or coral, like the Cecilia Curtains in Jade from Antropologie or the delightfully far off Cube Ottoman in Fuana Multi from Chairish. For a more manly look, I'd try the Worn Velvet Curtains in Copper from West Elm and order the Cube Ottoman in Fritz Indigo. I think either would set of selections would look very well composed and nothing like one another. It's amazing how the same canvas can be taken in so many different directions.