Get the Secrets of Color Design With Paige Davis

A bedroom with grey patterned wallpaper, a headboard with grey fabric, a cream dresser, and a lamp.

Host of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Home Made Simple” and former host of TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” Paige Davis has teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to be the face of National Painting Week. As a home design expert who isn’t afraid to splash color around, Davis shares her tips for painting rooms that will brighten up your home and life.

Angela Sabrowsky (AS): We’re so excited to talk to you about National Painting Week here at We’re a website that a lot of people turn to for advice on home improvement. And especially with spring, they’ve got a lot of ideas on their minds. So we’re wondering, why is this the time for homeowners to tackle painting jobs they’ve been putting off?

Paige Davis (PD) Well, spring is a good time to do any sort of remodeling and especially painting. For one thing, we’re coming out of the doldrums of winter — the overcast skies and no leaves on the trees.

And spring comes and suddenly everything is blooming, whether it’s leaves or flowers or green grass again, and I think there’s a sort of a natural motivation and inspiration that comes from seeing blooming flowers and bright gorgeous colors. But also, spring is a temperate season so it’s much easier to get projects done when you’re not dealing with the harsh coldness of winter or the beating sun and the hot months of summer.

AS: How do you think the colors of the season translate into colors for your home?

PD: Well, I think it motivates people to choose color at all. There was recently a survey that says most people really want to add color to their home, which in and of itself is a bit of a change. So I’ve teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to really celebrate that. It seems like that day and age of people wanting to keep things neutral and natural has changed. People are embracing color.

I don’t know if it’s because of all these design shows that have really inspired everyone — I’ll take some of the credit, I suppose! But it’s really exciting, so National Painting Week has been birthed and this is the second national week, and with that came, and so people are blogging on there and sharing their ideas and pitfalls and their advice and inspiration.

AS: Speaking of advice, what kind of suggestions do you have for someone, who, like me, tends to go more for the neutrals but who wants to add color?

PD: First of all, without changing anything in your home on a larger scale you can add color immediately with accessories. I have before me this bright yellow picture frame and a blue candle. You can also do it with vases and light fixtures. That’s just an easy way to go. It’s easy to change out. I think that’s why a lot of people want to go with neutrals because they think they will change with the seasons easily.

But color doesn’t have a season that way. Color is something that will always be powerful and will always be wonderful. One of the reasons that people are afraid to do it is because they’re afraid that they might make a mistake. They’re afraid to pick the wrong color. I definitely have tips to alleviate some of that stress and that might embolden you to push past the beige and the taupe.

AS: What are some of those tips, and what are some color trends right now?

PD: In terms of choosing color, one of the tips I give is to make a mood board. There are always trends, but you don’t want to be hamstrung by a trend. You can’t change your paint on the walls the way you can change your shirt during the week. Just because it happens to be a trend today, doesn’t mean you’re going to like it a year from now. So you want to choose a color combination that just quite simply appeals to you.

Your home should rise up and meet you, and it should also represent who you are. But before you go big painting it on all your walls and making these financial commitments, you can start with a mood board. For example, here on ours we have four different quadrants that represent how our room came together.

If you can see it on a smaller scale, you can see if it will really work or not. You also have the opportunity to switch all these things around. You can try these paint samples with these three-dimensional objects, and if you don’t like that — switch it up. And don’t buy bigger until you’ve committed to something smaller. I just think the mood board is a great idea.

It works like a dream board if you’re working toward being able to afford to do something in the future, and it also works as a mission statement when you do end up shopping, so that you don’t get distracted by things that aren’t within your vision. Always begin with the end in mind — that’s very important. And you can make as many changes on this as you want to until you’re ready.

AS: I think that’s a great idea. Now as far as the actual painting process goes, do you have any suggestions for people who are beginners at painting?

PD: Make sure that you have all your supplies in place. The same as a mood board or dream board would go in terms of your vision…you want to do just as much planning when it comes to the actual execution.

If you don’t know what you need in order to paint, ask. I’m sure on there’s a lot of information about that. Certainly on there’s a lot of information. And you can ask in your home improvement store or at the Sherwin-Williams paint store when you’re buying your paint. They know if you need tape, if you need to sand, if you have to get sparkle — all these different things. You’ve got to think ahead. Ask yourself, am I going to be taking paintings down? Do I need to fill holes before I paint? Are my walls in good shape?

Are they smooth or do they need to be sanded? And then when it comes time to actually choosing a color of paint, it could get tricky if you’re looking a small paint chip in a store with fluorescent lighting. Much better to choose a couple of different colors in your color range and buy those sample cans of paint. Take them home, paint pieces of foam board, hang them up around your room, and see how the different paints behave in the light of your house: morning, afternoon, night. And choose based on what it looks like in your home. And if you make a mistake, you can always paint it again.

AS: What kinds of other home improvement projects are popular in the spring that people can accomplish in a weekend?

PD: Certainly in terms of paint, you don’t have to think about just painting the walls and ceilings in your house. You can paint a piece of furniture. We just did an episode of “Home Made Simple,” a show I host for the Oprah Winfrey Network, where the designer kept the room very neutral, but with a painted thrift store buffet. We took it out to the driveway, sanded it down, and she painted it this bright lacquered red.

And even though the room was pretty neutral, it was elevated because of this one incredible focal piece that was so exciting. And it could be blue, or teal, or orange or whatever color you like, but it was such a little financial investment. And it was so cool. So you can do that or you can paint other unexpected areas in your home. You can just paint the trim or only the banister. I mean, how cool is that—you have someone walk into your home and there’s a teal banister!

AS: That would be a great statement. I’m curious, what kind of colors do you have in your own home?

PD: I have orange — that’s my favorite color. I have blues and pinks and a peachy color, they just kind of all work.

AS: Well, I’m so glad we got to speak about National Painting Week. Thank you so much for giving us your time, Paige.

PD: Thank you so much and good luck with your projects. Be brave!