Interview With The Pros: Painting & Color Theory Tips.

Interview With The Pros

Interview With The Pros: Painting & Color Theory Tips

An Interview with Michael Abrams, a premiere interior designer in the Chicagoland area:

Our customers would love to hear your thoughts about selecting paint, paint color and also the use of color in the rest of the room where a new stone veneer fireplace has been added.  A typical setting is a family room with ceiling heights of 8”- 9’, hardwood floors in lighter golden oak color, and the furniture stays the same, but the client is willing to add accent pillows, rugs or other affordable accessories. Please share your thoughts on getting the most for our dollar in a room remodel…

North Star Stone: Where do you start in the planning process? Do we start with desired paint color or maybe select the stone color first and then select the paint?

Michael Abrams: I typically approach a project by selecting an element that will become the foundation of the entire room such a rug or a stone veneer fireplace wall. The paint color is then easy to choose as the more fixed elements are in place and I work with complementing them.

North Star Stone: What are the trends for wall color in a family room? Also do you suggest using an accent color on family room wall? And which wall? Is it the wall with the fireplace?

Michael Abrams: The most popular color today is gray; it’s the beige of this decade and will stand the test of time. I typically do not use accent painted walls. My theory is to keep a space calm and relaxing and pop of color can be jarring. I prefer for “WOW” to be in the form of original artwork or unique architectural detailing. That said I have seen many accent walls that look great; it is just something I do not do.

North Star Stone: What brand of paint do you suggest and why?

Michael Abrams: For the past 14 years since I opened my practice I only use Benjamin Moore paint. There paint is high quality and I have never had a problem finding the perfect color. I am especially drawn to the Historic Collection as well as the Affinity Collection.

North Star Stone: As you plan your new family room, do the colors need to blend with the rest of the house, or can the family room have its own color and feel?

Michael Abrams: I am big believer of continuity and consistent flow throughout a home. While the entire home does not need to be in the same color palette I prefer for the common/public rooms to have a very similar color flow while the private rooms like bedrooms can easily change color direction. The last thing I ever do is have space be a different color.

North Star Stone: Many of the older homes don’t have canned lights and are rather dark. Also as we get older, it seems like our eyes need more light. Any thoughts about lighting in the family room? Also if the room is dark, what paint colors do we use and which paint colors do we avoid?

Michael Abrams: Each room should have a minimum of three (3) light sources, more if you can. This provides for functionality as well mood lighting. If a room is naturally dark or installing multiple light sources are unavailable I would suggest using lighter colors as they reflect light while dark colors absorb it.

North Star Stone: What are your suggestions for painting the ceiling? Do you like a tinted paint color and in what type of color, or do you prefer a ceiling white?

Michael Abrams: I avoid the standard ceiling white as it as harsh as white paper. I have tinted the ceiling paint color in the past. Recently I am painting the ceiling the same color as the trim but in a flat instead of semi-gloss. Painting the ceiling a color or installing a wall covering on it is another to dress up the fifth major surface besides the four walls.

North Star Stone: What are the advantages of hiring a professional painter? Any painting tips for the DYI homeowner for getting great results?

Michael Abrams: When it comes to painting I suggest hiring a professional. The majority of work associated with a quality paint job is in the preparation. It takes almost no time to apply the paint but it can take several days to prepare the walls properly to receive it, resulting in an outstanding result. If you are a DYI homeowner purchase the right tools and materials and scrape, patch and sand the walls thoroughly to receive the paint.


Learn more about Michael Abrams and his interior design creations on his website.

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