Without an expert eye, the seemingly simple task of choosing paint colors can be challenging. "In any given room, you have to consider a number of surfaces, which provides a lot of opportunities to play with color," says Benjamin Moore color specialist Nivara Xaykao. "Even if a homeowner is opting for all-white, there is usually some variation in tone and finish between surfaces, so it is key to think about the scheme holistically."
If you're at a loss about how to pair colors, the brand's 2018 Color Handbook acts as a handy cheat sheet, spotlighting a number of paint trios that work every time. "Three colors isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it's a common idea in the design vocabulary and a good way to illustrate the golden ratio of 60/30/10," she explains. "We provide a main color for the space and offer two corresponding accent colors, which can be considered for a trim, door, piece of furniture, or even color inspiration for your accessories."
Prefer to go rogue and choose your own? Don't worry, there's no right or wrong way to pair paint colors, but Xaykao recommends referencing the color wheel to get started. "Think about how colors relate to one another and what kind of mood you want to convey," she recommends. "For example, since there’s less friction between analogous colors, people often find these combinations more soothing. On the other hand, colors that fall on opposite sides of the wheel (complementary) have a natural tension, so this kind of scheme can often produce a more energetic look."
To make the decision easier, we asked Xaykao to spotlight the failsafe color combinations that look great together. These are the ones she particularly loves for fall.
PAINT COMBINATION 1
- Dark: Montpelier, Benjamin Moore
- Medium: Prescott Green, Benjamin Moore
- Light: Apricot Ice, Benjamin Moore
Striking yet inviting, this trio of colors is perfect for fall. "This is a very livable color scheme and the three colors can be rearranged in a number of ways to complement a range of rooms," she says. "I like using the dark main color for a study because I feel like it can block out a lot of noise and distraction."
PAINT COMBINATION 2
- Dark: Cranberry Cocktail, Benjamin Moore
- Medium: Oxford Gray, Benjamin Moore
- Light: Lily White, Benjamin Moore
This paint palette might resonate if you've visited destinations like Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. "This is a classic New England exterior scheme, with a main color that conjures a barn red, crisp white accents, and some modern touches of gray," she explains.
PAINT COMBINATION 3
- Dark: Blue Angel, Benjamin Moore
- Medium: Arctic Blue, Benjamin Moore
- Light: Sea Foam, Benjamin Moore
The Benjamin Moore team had a specific room in mind when they chose this paint combination. "The effervescent combination of light blues and greens are tailor-made for a bathroom," she says.
PAINT COMBINATION 4
- Dark: Cedar Green, Benjamin Moore
- Medium: Pale Vista, Benjamin Moore
- Light: Gray Owl, Benjamin Moore
Considering some adventurous colors? Start with a gray base color, says Xaykao. "Grays are so versatile and can be accepting of a wide range of accent colors, like these interesting greens. I can see this as a very forward scheme for a child's room—something that he can grow with, keeping the walls gray and swapping some of the other colors as he gets older."
PAINT COMBINATION 5
- Dark: Amherst Gray, Benjamin Moore
- Medium: Straw, Benjamin Moore
- Light: Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore
"Revere Pewter is one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular colors, which I attribute to its chameleon-like ability to act as a gray or a beige," she explains. "For this reason, it pairs nicely with warm colors and cool colors." Try this color combination in the kitchen—"Amherst Gray looks beautiful on cabinets."