Benjamin Moore's Andrea Magno on the 2017 Color of the Year | Home Front

Andrea Magno
Oct 27, 2016

Andrea Magno is a color and design expert for Benjamin Moore, the North American paint, color and coatings brand. As part of the Benjamin Moore Color Studio, Magno plays an integral role in the development of color tools, and color and design research.

Last week, Benjamin Moore announced its choice for the 2017 Color of the Year: Shadow, a deep, saturated purple. In the announcement, the company said it reflects consumers’ newfound level of confidence in using deeper, saturated colors. Magno is here to answer your questions about the bold choice and help you with your own paint choices.

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Andrea Magno is a color and design expert for Benjamin Moore, the North American paint, color and coatings brand. As part of the Benjamin Moore Color Studio, Magno is a key player in color and design research. One of those areas is the annual Color of the Year introduction, which just happened. The 2017 Benjamin Moore  Color of the Year is Shadow. Read about it here. It's a cool deep, saturated purple color. So if you would like ideas of what room to paint Shadow or if you have more basic questions about paint, send them along to Andrea. Let's chat.

Good morning everyone! I'm Andrea Magno from the Color Team at Benjamin Moore. Happy to answer all of your color questions and hopefully provide some inspiration for your painting projects!  

Planning to paint my entire interior white. What sheens are appropriate for walls versus trim, ceiling and doors. Which is the right white, and do you suggest that be the only shade or do you like to vary the tint of the ceiling and trim?

I suggest using a matte or eggshell finish on the wall with a satin or semi-gloss on the doors and trim. Some great whites to consider are Cotton Balls OC-122, Simply White OC-117, White Dove OC-17, and Chantilly Lace OC-65. You can use one variation of white on the walls, ceiling, and trim but change up the sheen. Or use a white with a slight difference for a subtle layered look.

Shadow is a rather intense color. What rooms do you see it working best in?

We've been working with the color Shadow 2117-30 a lot and have had great results in a variety of rooms. For instance, it is amazing in a living room and even looks great in a small study. Even though it is an intense color, it is surprisingly versatile. 

What is best shade of white for a very dark basement with two small casement windows? Room is roughly 15 ft. by 20 ft. I'd like to paint it white so it can appeal to new buyers if we decide to sell our home in a year or two. Thanks!!

I suggest looking to a warm white for a basement, as it will make the room feel more welcoming. Take a look at Cloud White OC-130, Acadia White OC-38, and Mountain Peek White OC-121.


What is your favorite combination for a white wall and white trim?

One of my favorite combinations is Mascarpone AF-20 on the wall with Simply White OC-117 on the trim. Both are warm whites that compliment each other very nicely. 

Big fan of Ben's paints! Can you recommend some warm greys that don't veer off too far towards beige?

Sure! We have some excellent warm grays. Some favorites are Cumulus Cloud 1550, Thunder AF-685, and Gray Owl OC-52.

We're repainting a north-facing kitchen. We're doing white dove on the trim and white cabinets as well (white dove?). I'm looking for a reco on wall color that will look fresh in a north-facing room ... our house is 100 yrs old.

White Dove OC-17 will look great on cabinets and trim! For a cooler color scheme try Quiet Moments 1563. For a warmer wall color take a look at Edgecomb Gray HC-173. Either color is nice with White Dove OC-17 and will work well with your north-facing light. 

Hi Andrea! We love using BM paints in our home. Our home is small, dark and historic and gets northern light, so we have Hale Navy in our kitchen, which we love. We really like Kennebunkport Green for the living and dining rooms, but are worried it may be a bit too saturated. Is there a similar color that's less intense, or do you recommend getting a 50% version of it? I know that doesn't work for all colors. Thank you for any advice! Sarah

While I do like Kennebunkport Green HC-123, you may want to try something a bit lighter like Weekend Getaway 473 or Croquet AF-455. I think you would get a similar look but with a slightly less saturated and lighter color. 

We are remodeling our kitchen (taking out wall between K and DR), installing maple hardwood floors throughout, painting old cabinets a slate gray and the appliances are all black. I want to paint the walls a red to brighten it up, but I'm not sure if I should go for deep red or a bright red, or even a shade closer to orange. What would do you suggest?

To compliment the slate gray and black, I would suggest a deeper red such as Spanish Red 1301, Pomegranate AF-295, or Maple Leaf Red 2084-20. Another idea would be to use a lighter gray on the wall like Silver Lake 1598, and then bring red into the kitchen through accents or painting a piece of furniture in any of the reds above. 

I know the colors marked HC in your line are based on old colors, I believe from American architecture in past centuries. Is this right? Why do these colors live on?

The Benjamin Moore Historic Collection was introduced in 1976 for America's bicentennial and have become interior and exterior favorites. At the time, Benjamin Moore worked with The National Parks Service to create a color collection based on historic places in America. These colors are timeless and compliment many decorative styles, which is why they have become go-to options for customers, contractors and designers. 

I moved recently and had a bunch of things--art, vases, some linens--bundled up in a corner and realized I have a preferred palette. My previous homes weren't consciously decorated because I was moving a lot, so things were in and out of storage. Seeing everything finally unpacked and all together made me realize things I've picked up over the years--local art, place mats, etc.--all have the same colors/shades in them. Is that standard? Do people have colors they are drawn to throughout their lives and can you have a personal palette without it eventually look rather ossified? Also, I really like "Shadow." Do you think it will work in a bedroom?

I love that you are looking at everything you have collected over the years together. More often than not, people gravitate towards certain colors and often it can be subconscious. I would certainly use this to direct your color selection for the rooms where you will be using these items. Shadow 2117-30 would definitely work in a bedroom. I can see it being used with crisp white linens to create a rich and sophisticated look. 

What's a great neutral to paint all the rooms in my beach house?

For a beach house I would suggest Revere Pewter HC-172, which is a great neutral that works well with many other colors! For something a bit more gray, take a look at Collingwood OC-28. White trim in Snowfall White 2144-70 would be very pretty with either color. 

I love black. What's one of your best black paints for a study?

A black study would be amazing! Take a look at Black Ink 2127-20 or Black Iron 2120-20. Either option is slightly off black, which will show a rich undertone. Or if you want a super black, try Black Satin 2131-10. 

Has painting one wall a different color fallen out of favor as a design statement? It seems dated to me but it's one way to use an intense color like Shadow.

We still see people using accent walls but it works best when the accent wall is selected deliberately. For instance, choose a wall that is a main focal point in the room and pair it with another wall color that compliments it so that the colors work together for a cohesive look. Neutrals like Stormy Monday 2112-50 or Fusion AF-675 would work well with Shadow 2117-30 as the accent. 

My husband wants to paint his home office a navy blue. The room is large and gets lots of natural light, and has a slated (dormer?) ceiling so there's plenty of white space to off-set a deep color. I love Hale Navy, but is that too dark? We tried Indie Go-Go but it's too...purple. Any other suggestions for a wonderful deep blue?

A study in Navy Blue would be fabulous! Hale Navy HC-154 is a great choice. Two other options to consider are Gentleman's Gray 2062-20 and In the Midnight Hour 1666. 

My living room in my TH is more modern than traditional in height and architecture and moldings can you recommend a gallery white to showcase my Walter Gotschke prints. Color of year might work as accent wall in my powder room. Living room is 11x20 with 9ft+ ceilings

Two crisp, clean white options that would work well with your prints are Chantilly Lace OC-65 or Distant Gray OC-68. Either is neutral enough that it will allow the prints to really stand out. Shadow 2117-30 would be great in a powder room. I really like the idea of using a deep color in that kind of space. 

Can you still buy oil based paint? I thought it was the most durable?

There are a lot of regulations around oil based paint today. Benjamin Moore has a product called ADVANCE that is a water reducible alkyd, which means that it is as durable as a traditional oil based paint but cleans up with soap and water. This product is great for millwork, trim and furniture. 

Hello, I am looking for a recommendation for a paint color for my north/west-facing master bedroom. It doesn't get a lot of light so it's already kind of a dark room. I'd like a green, but maybe a blue or a gray would work. I have white bedroom furniture and a gray bed and a gray rug. I'm going for a relaxed vibe.

A blue, green or gray would be very pretty. Take a look at Beach Glass 1564, Vale Mist 1494 or Metropolitan AF-690. Anyone of these colors would give you that relaxed vibe and work well with the white furniture. 

My living room (which only has one window and is therefore quite dark) is painted a VERY light gray in a satin finish. It basically looks white. My husband would like to repaint the room in something that looks more silver (or gray), and less like plain old white. What would you recommend? Note: our furniture is dark wood so I'm hesitant to go too dark.

For a gray that will not read as white, you can go a bit darker with a color like Coventry Gray HC-169 or Half Moon Crest 1481. If you use a lower sheen like matte or eggshell, there will be less reflectance from light in the room so you will be able to get a better sense of the gray hue. 

I have a Craftsman bungalow of which the kitchen and bathroom(s) were gutted. the bathroom has black & white penny hex tile and whit subway tile with a black border. Everything is black & white. what color would you recommend? The entire house has 10" ceilings. The kitchen has a southern exposure w/heart pine floors, stainless steel appliances, quarter sawn oak shaker cabinets on one 1/2 of the kitchen and uba tuba granite countertops throughout. I would like to keep it neutral b/c have a lot of artwork and accessories to incorporate my colors of choice.

A nice neutral that would work well with the black and white tile is Pashmina AF-100. This color is warm and would be a good backdrop to your artwork. A slightly cooler option is Sea Haze 2137-50. Both colors are nice for a Craftsman style bungalow and would work well with the wood tones you have in your home. 

Andrea, Thank you for the recommendation! I think I'll choose Vale Mist 1494. :D

Great, good luck! 

What is your best selling paint color?

One of our best selling colors is Revere Pewter HC-172, which is a great neutral! Other favorites include, White Dove OC-17, Palladian Blue HC-144, Dinner Party AF-300 and Manchester Tan HC-81.

It was really a very informative chat. Lots of great tips and suggestions. Thank you for doing it. Next week, Sophie Dow Donelson, House Beautiful's editor in chief, will be my guest to talk about the 120th anniversary of the magazine as well as chat about design trends. Bye for now.


Thank you so much for such great questions! Best of luck to everyone in their painting projects. Remember your local Benjamin Moore retailer will be able to help you select the perfect product for your project and can help you with any other color related questions. Have a great day! 

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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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