Benjamin Moore’s Andrea Magno on the latest paint trends | Home Front

Andrea Magno
Jan 28, 2016

Andrea Magno is a color and design expert for Benjamin Moore. As part of the Benjamin Moore Color Studio, she plays a role in the development of color tools, and color and design research. Magno serves as a reference on color and design inspiration for a variety of publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, HGTV Magazine and more.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

Good Morning! My name is Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore Color & Design expert, I am so excited to be answering your questions this morning!

Paint is one of our favorite topics on this chat. Today, we have Andrea Magno,  a color and design expert for Benjamin Moore here to answer your questions, whether about the latest trends or what is the best white to use for trim. She plays a role in the development of color tools, and color and design research and is a reference on color and design inspiration for Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, HGTV Magazine and more. Let's chat.

I'm looking for a bluish greenish gray. Is there such a thing?

Yes! A few colors you could try are: Silver Mink 1586, Iced Marble 1578 and Silver Marlin 2139-50. Each has a bit of blue and a bit of blue but still has a gray cast. 

So many of the newer homes have open floor plans that are painted white. I still love the look, but we want to add some gray on the walls, without doing them all? How do you determine which ones to leave the neutral white and which to paint.

I suggest choosing walls that are a focal point in the room to paint gray, for instance a wall with a fireplace or another feature that you would like to highlight. By having deliberate accent walls it will also compliment the white. 

I want to paint closet doors. They appear to be covered in a wood design laminate. What type of primer should I use? What paint should I use for the color? I am also painting newly plastered walls. Again, what type of primer should use?

Try Benjamin Moore's High-Hiding all Purpose Primer (046) as this is a superior quality primer that will help you get a uniform finish. 


What color should you paint your walls to look current if you can't also paint your wood trim? (Trim is unpainted, wood finish).

Since the trim will stay in the wood finish, you can always use some neutrals such as Revere Pewter HC-172 or for a darker color Chelsea Gray HC-168 that will modernize the look and will set the stage for you to bring in color with accessories. Another option you have is to use a color like Harbor Haze 2136-60, this pale blue would be pretty with the wood color. There are a lot of options, feel free to express your personal style!

Andrea, My husband and I just bought a bungalow that gets very little sunlight in the living room. We want the room to look modern but also warm and cozy-. Can you suggest a modern, neutral paint color for us? We currently have a cream with yellow (very yellow) undertones, which looks very 1990s. We have a gray sofa and I know grays are very popular now, but I'm worried that gray paint will be depressing. Please help us in Takoma Park!

One of my favorite neutrals is Pashmina AF-100. This is a great "greige" hue that has some warmth but can also read as a gray. I think it will also compliment your gray sofa while not being depressing at all! 

I am looking for a light blue color for my walls that is a very clear color - not muddy at all. It needs to look good with navy or royal blue accents. It cannot be toward turquoise/green. Pantone's Serenity is a little too violet, too dark, and not clear enough. Any suggestions?

Take a look at Cumulus Cotton 2063-70 and Harbor Fog 2062-70 as these are clean colors that aren't too green or too violet. Generally our Color Preview colors with give you the clarity you are looking for. Plus, these colors would look great with navy or royal blue! 

I have a small room that needs to be painted. It that leads into the master bedroom, that has just been painted with Benjamin Moore Barely Beige. The small room is now a silver sage and I am thinking about BM Heather gray. Would that work with the valance curtain that I already have there that is a woven check in claret? Thanks.

Heather Gray could work but you may want to consider Sea Haze 2137-50 because it is a bit more neutral. When the valance with Claret in it is next to Heather Gray, the green undertone may become more pronounced. Therefore, a more neutral color may flow better. 

Hi Andrea, so happy to have you with us today! I am having the hardest time picking a paint color for my bedroom. My main living area is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl (love it!), trim is White Dove and the doors are in Wrought Iron (also love). My bedroom is on the first floor and semi-visible from the living room, so I would like the color to flow. I don't get a lot of natural light in the bedroom, but I also like the idea of a darker room. I've been leaning towards gray in the bedroom as well, although darker than Gray Owl, with accents of teal/peacock blue and fuchsia -- although honestly I'm still playing around with different ideas. Any suggestions?

Your home sounds lovely and I like the idea of using a darker color in the bedroom! Take a look at Storm AF-700 for a darker gray that will also go with the accent colors you are considering. 

Thank you for today's great article on displaying collectibles! Question: I have a collection of Fiesta dishes. I love the art deco shape of the Fiesta disc pitcher and display some of them around the house (usually 3 together in colors that complement the room.) I'd love to display ALL of them together, but haven't yet lit on a way to do that. Any suggestions? Here's a link to the Fiesta Factory website page for disc pitchers, for anyone who isn't familiar with them: By the way, I love the Benjamin Moore Color Capture smartphone app (free) and use it all the time.

By the way, here is my article today on decorating tips from 9 of the best designers in the business. Your Fiesta pitchers sound fabulous. You should definitely display them all together in one place for maximum impact. Shelves divided into cubes would be wonderful.

Hi there. I was wondering what your thoughts are on non-white ceilings? I have a small third bedroom that I have turned into a dressing room of sorts. There is an area rug that is black with dark mauve-ish accents. I've been thinking about doing the walls in Benjamin Moore Intense White, but painting the ceiling a color -- perhaps a dark pink (nothing too bubble gum though). Do you think this could work, and if so, any color ideas?

I love that idea, so fun! For a deeper pink that would look great on a ceiling, try Gypsy Love 2085-30. However, using a color such as Cabernet 2116-30 would compliment the dark mauve accents in the area rug. 

Our library (converted family room) has a dark blue cloth sofa and two brown leather chairs, and burnt orange curtains. I would like to paint the walls a light tan/coffee color. Any suggestions? We're also looking for a rug for that room, to anchor the sofa and chairs (they slide on the hardwood). We play board games in that room, mostly sitting on the floor (soon-to-be rug) and we want something that's comfortable to sit on. Any suggestions? Thank you for these chats; they're great!

I would suggest painting the walls either Greenbrier Beige HC-79 or Bleeker Beige HC-80. Both of these are great go-to colors that will compliment the other color in the room. As for the rug, look for something patterned that brings in the navy and burnt orange to tie the room together. 

How about glass wall cubes? I think this would be fun: it would visually separate the colors and maybe give a slight reflections. I think the shadow box effect of the wood might not set the pitchers off to best advantage.

Cute idea.

I have a dark mahogany vintage bedroom set in a smallish room with two north facing Windows and a lot of woodwork including crown molding. What wall color would you suggest?

I would suggest going with a lighter color for the walls. Take a look at Brandy Cream OC-4 or Frappe AF-85, the undertone in either of these colors will complement the wood tone without being too dark.

My Bruce hardwood floors were refinished by an amateur who ruined the finish. Can you please recommend a professional in Virginia who can repair uneven machine work and uneven staining?

Anyone have any ideas?

All of the trim and internal shutters in my traditional older house is BM Linen White. It is oil base paint and has “aged” so it is not quite the color you get now. I do not want to change this paint color. My living room and dining “L” are currently BM Golden Straw and has been for about eight years. It is now looking a bit dingy and I am going to change it. I am thinking of a white, not Linen White but it has to work with Linen White trim. White sounds simple but it is not. There is a fireplace mantle and bookcases in Linen White covering one wall. The sofa is a solid golden-honey color. There is a gold and white ikat covered wing chair. There are “tree of life” patterned curtains in both rooms with gold, green, tan, and some soft red on a background that tones with the Golden Straw but is lighter. The worn sea grass rugs are going to be replaced soon with something undetermined. Some but not all wood is oak. Any ideas for a white paint? There is not much natural light in these rooms. Linda in Alexandria

With more than 250 whites, it can be tricky to find the right undertone. To move away from Golden Straw to an off-white, try Mannequin Cream OC-92 or Corinthian White OC-111. Both have a soft yellow cast that I think will have a subtle contrast against Linen White, plus it will also work well with the other pieces in the room. 

So excited to be able to chat with a Benjamin Moore color expert! I only use BM when I paint, because it's just so easy to use (recent difficulties with semi-gloss Aura notwithstanding!). I'm trying to figure out what color to do the main part of my house and would love some suggestions. I have a very open house, with lots of walls. The upstairs bedrooms are all in Manchester tan, while the main level dining room is a navy blue and cream split. What should I do for the entrance/hallways/2 story walled family room?

Since you have an entrance that is two stories, I would suggest using a neutral that is a bit darker. Take a look at Brandon Beige 977, this color would work well with navy, white and Manchester Tan. Since you have an open floor plan, a color like Brandon Beige will give you a lot of options with accessorizing and furnishing your home! 

I have a small (just under 1,000-square-foot) 1918 bungalo. The living room opens through French doors into a formal dining room. Because of their proximity, should both rooms be painted the same color? The previous owner had all of the rooms painted a basic beige. I am considering a soft candlelight or ivory for the living room but undecided abou the dining room. What's your advice? Thanks!

I don't think that both rooms need to be the same color, but you want to be sure that each color compliments the other. For the living room Westchester Tan 246 is a nice ivory color. For the dining room, you could use a darker color such as, Montpelier AF-555. This deeper blue will create an elegant look for the dining room, compliment an ivory hue in the living room and work well with a bungalow style home.

try 5th avenue floors. they did good job on mine & get high marks on angie's list. guy is cute too!

Sounds perfect!

First, I almost thought your last name was mango, which would have been awesome ;) My bedroom is light blue with dark brown furniture and white doors (a bedroom door and a door into the walk in closet). I was thinking about painting the doors or maybe the "inserts" of the doors a different color: any recommendations? Or would it look odd/dated? Thanks!

I get mango all the time! I like the idea of painting the doors but I would paint the entire door, keeping the trim white. A gray such as Gull Wing Gray 2134-50 or Whale Gray 2134-40 may be nice options for you. 

Hello I would love to paint my powder room ceiling black. My issue is the ceiling is textured. How does it look to when you paint a textured ceiling a dark color? Should I use semi gloss or egg shell or a mat finish?

I love the idea of painting the ceiling black! Universal Black 2118-10 is worth checking out. I definitely suggest using our Waterborne Ceiling Paint because it comes in an ultra-flat finish and will work best with a textured ceiling. 

What looks fresher and more modern: trim lighter than the wall or darker than the wall?

Whether the trim is dark or light is really personal preference. Lighter trim is more "expected" so painting a darker color can look great and showcases your unique style! 

We just added white trim to our main floor and would like to paint the entire floor as well. Could you suggest a color that would compliment the trim and would still add some color to the space. Right now it's all antique white.

For darker floor, Sparrow AF-720 would be nice with Antique White. Or for something lighter, Baja Dunes 997 would be really pretty as well. If you are painting the floor a mid-tone or dark color it will likely be more forgiving than a light floor. Check out our Floor & Patio Latex Enamel, which also gives you the option between a Low Sheen and High Gloss. 

Can you suggest a specific color for the exterior front door of a cape cod cottage, preferably a blue or teal, that would complement dark cedar shingles and white trim? Indoors I'm using Mount Saint Anne for trim and White Dove for some walls. I'm trying to find an accent color to distract from or diminish the appearance of some slightly obvious mismatched weathered shingles.

I would suggest Blue Echo AF-505 or Mayo Teal CW-570 as great blue/teal options that I think will be really nice with the dark cedar shingles and white trim. 

Good morning: We are thinking about possible colors for our dining room (formerly the sunroom). The closest rooms nearby are painted Classic Gray, Revere Pewter and Eagle Rock. Any ideas here? Thanks...

Since you have several pretty neutrals in your home, the dining room can be a great place to bring in a deep, rich color. For a warmer color that is still pretty dark try Caponata AF-650. For a brighter option that will bring a dose of color into the home, take a look at Cranberry Cocktail 2083-20.

What is the lowest VOC's I can get in paint? Any ideas on reducing them other ways? I'm allergic to chemicals.

We offer several products that are 0 VOC. But since you have allergies, a great product for you is Natura, which is certified Asthma & Allergy Friendly! 

Thanks for all of the great questions! As you are making your color selection be sure to try our pint samples- this will help you make your final choice with confidence. Good luck everyone and thanks for taking part in the chat! 

Thank you so much Andrea! Great chat and so much useful information. Next week: join me and Barry Dixon to discuss design and decorating. Have a great week.

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

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Andrea Magno
Andrea Magno is a color and design expert for Benjamin Moore.
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