Sonu Mathew, Senior Interior Designer, Benjamin Moore

Sonu Mathew answers your questions about paint and color choices.

Sunset  – April 4, 2011 | Updated May 16, 2018

Expert: Sonu Mathew

Sonu Mathew, Senior Interior Designer for Benjamin Moore, has a celebratory approach to design and color.  They offer a path to redefine, reinvent, and rejuvenate not only an environment, but its inhabitants.  Her expertise has been cultivated through work in hospitality, corporate, and residential design.  Sonu especially enjoys her work in uncovering emerging trends in color and design.

Q:  What is the most common mistake people make when painting a room, and what advice would you give to avoid it?
A: Often, a color is chosen in isolation, which can lead to disappointment. Make sure to take all your selected colors and look at them in the context of your environment. A soft white may look blue when it’s next to your orange rug. It may look gray in the darkest corner of your living room.  So, purchase a sample of the color, paint it out on poster board or foam core and live with it in your space before you decide.  Also, when considering a color, look at it vertically if it’s going on a vertical surface, horizontally if it’s going on a horizontal surface.  Light bounces differently off of a surface based on orientation.

Q: I love the modern look of painting everything in a room–including the trim, light switches, and outlets. How can I achieve this look without making the room appear smaller or dull?
A:  If you are after a subtle and discreet effect that does not draw attention to the details, minimize contrast and paint it all the exact same color. The look will be sleek and understated and you can add interest by introducing other hues, patterns, and texture through accessories, light fixtures, ad fabrics. Alternatively, if you have great architectural details you want to highlight, paint all the fittings in a varying tint or shade of the wall color.  If the walls are a classic sky blue, the trim and other areas may be dressed in a midnight or a soft grayed blue.  And don’t forget the ceiling!  By adding 50% more white into your wall color, you’ll find a coordinating ceiling color that’s unique and complementary, too.

Q:  Does it matter what paint I use?
A:  Many people assume picking a color is enough.  It’s not.  Color is the destination and a good paint is the vehicle that gets you there. All color and paint are NOT created equal.  It’s critical to select color and consider the quality of the paint you choose.  Educate yourself as a consumer—look for paints that are not only recognized for being environmentally responsible, but that balance that with durability.  Having to repaint because the paint doesn’t stand the test of everyday use can be a waste of resources.  And when it comes to color, remember that Benjamin Moore uses a proprietary colorant system, which is the only way to achieve an authentic Benjamin Moore color in your home.

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