These are the paint colours design experts are crushing on right now

Don’t worry, we got them to do storyboards, too.

Don’t worry, we got them to do storyboards, too

Summer's over, gang. Time to turn your 'running-through-the-sprinkler' dreams into dreams of reading under a fuzzy blanket, eating chicken pot pie and watching the snow fall over a hot cup of something. Before you get too comfy though, consider that you're going to be spending a lot of time at home over the next few months — does your cocoon need a zhuzh? A fresh coat of paint and a few accessories can make spending winter afternoons at home a more inspiring experience, so we asked some of our favourite Canadian design experts what paint colours they're crushing on right now and how to use them as inspiration for a complete room design.

Steven Sabados, Designer/Artist

Paint colour: Farrow & Ball, Hay
Trim colour: Farrow & Ball, All White

SS: There should be three elements in a well-decorated room.  First, it needs a mood. The mood or feeling you want to create is usually generated by the wall colour. So, do you want the room to feel energetic and active, or calm, cozy  and encapsulating? The starting point for this space is Hay, from Farrow & Ball, which is a beautiful and on-trend neutral yellow tone. Designers are shying  away from the world of beige and bringing in hues of warmer tones to create more inviting living spaces . The beauty of  this warm colour is that it has a green undertone so your walls won't look overly yellow and "buttery", but instead, very earthy.

So, you've decided on the wall colour and the mood, the next required element is something unexpected — something that trips your senses. This could be an unusual conversation piece, an accessory, or mismatched side lamps at either end of a sofa. I created this oversized artwork for my new studio line and its generous proportions definitely make a statement.

The faceted and linear nature of the painting has influenced the geometric lighting choices  and decorative accessories.

Finally, there should be somewhere for your eyes and mind to rest so I chose a monochromatic sofa, void of contrasting decorative cushions. The overall feeling of this room is elegant, trendy and energetic.

Source guide

  • Geo artwork by Steven Sabados Studio 
  • Twig brushed gold Chandelier by Steven Sabados, S&C
  • Monrovia area rug, Renwil
  • White ceramic accessories, Lee / Martins, Renwil
  • Lewis armless swivel chair,  Elte
  • Flooring - Sombra - Organic Hard Maple - by Lauzon
  • 1930's French trolley bar cart, Restoration Hardware
  • Beacon floor lLamp, Powell and Bonnell, Southhill Home
  • Black iron circular sculpture (round accessory), Elte
  • Lozi mortar stools, Snob
  • Celine sofa by Steven Sabados, S&C
  • Hudson Shagreen tray rectangular coffee sable, Restoration Hardware

Lisa Worth

Paint colour: Farrow & Ball, Strong White

LW: No matter what your style, your living room should be a curated space that reflects your personality and life. The client I designed this space for recently moved back to North America after a brief work stint in London.  She wanted a chic space with playful touches rooted in traditional elements. Loving the bones of her former London loft, with ornate crown mouldings, vintage doors and rod iron windows, my goal was to create a space with a Euro chic vibe.
As a high profile attorney, her living room provides an oasis to escape her demanding work schedule and sip rosé  with girlfriends.

I searched and searched for the perfect white. The white I chose has a slight gray undertone giving it complete flexibility for all schematics, providing the perfect backdrop for the artwork and furnishings to shine.

Textural sisal rugs and ornate gold Trumeau mirrors lend an Old World elegance and contrast with the sleek lines of the slab black and white marble fireplace. Lucite drapery rods with square brass rings top white linen drapery that break on the floor,  setting the tone for a relaxed vibe. Chic animal print cushions adorn white sofas upholstered in mohair velvet and Italian modern occasional tables deliver an unexpected pop of colour and provide the perfect spot to rest a wine glass.

Source guide

  • Living room image – Design, Emma Donnersberg – Photography, Stephan Julliard
  • Blue bar cabinet, Décor Pad, Chango and Co.
  • Wall sconce, EQ3
  • Animal cushions, Etsy
  • Mirror, Restoration Hardware
  • Occasional tables, Holly Hunt Design
  • Drapery hardware, Etsy
  • Accessories (vase and brass sculpture), Kelly Wearsler
  • White oak flooring, Northern Wide Plank

Olivia Botrie, Principal Designer, Dart Studio

Paint colour: Farrow & Ball, De Nimes
Trim colour: Farrow & Ball, De Nimes

OB: I was drawn to this colour because of its cozy, moody quality that creates a relaxed family setting. A matte finish on the walls, and a satin version of the same colour on the trim gives the room a warm, enveloping feeling and I chose limestone for the fireplace that I imagine this space having, to enhance that cozy feeling.

My goal was to layer colour and pattern for a room that encourages relaxation and conversation — anything to make those teens talk! To avoid an overly-sophisticated feeling, I chose a mix of warm bohemian prints in heavy duty fabrics that will be comfortable and stand the test of time in a busy family space.

Source guide (clockwise from chair leather)

  • Chair leather, Robin Bruce 
  • Sofa fabric, pattern CF103-19, color code W, Robin Bruce
  • Pillow fabric, Caravan in terracotta, Brook Perdition Textiles
  • Pillow fabric, Tobermory Felt in Flannel, Tonic Living 
  • Floor, Nadurra wood, Pure Neue Chamonix
  • Hardware, Upper Canada 
  • Ottoman fabric, Valentina velvet in paprika, Tonic Living
  • Pillow fabric, Dandaloo in deepest indigo, Rapture and Wright 
  • Vintage rug
  • Variegated Indiana Limestone in Sawn Bed, Mason's Masonry
  • Hardware, Upper Canada 
  • Drapery fabric, windowpane linen in Stone, Tonic living

Deb Nelson

Paint colour: Benjamin Moore, Hale Navy 
Trim colour: Benjamin Moore, Cloud White 

DN: I chose a dark navy paint colour which adds drama to any space — navy, dark charcoal or even black can be an instant game changer in a living room — suddenly your artwork, furnishings and light fixtures pop!

A cream slipcovered sofa and a pair of caramel leather chairs are grounded by the texture of a sisal rug and, to add more interest, an antique rug is layered on top. Be sure to include lots of bright cushions on the sofa to add some additional colour and choose a gorgeous, textured linen fabric for drapery.  A coffee table with a chunky leg and a touch of gold ( gold and aged brass accents are ideal with navy) adds visual interest and an antique console to house stacks of books and stylish accessories  will contrast nicely against the navy wall.  The artwork hung above the console can be placed gallery style, using a few unique pieces in a variety of frame colours that contrast with the navy walls. A caramel-coloured leather-wrapped floor lamp with a cream shade finishes off the room and completes the luxurious, sophisticated look. 

Source guide

  • Sisal rug 
  • Vintage rug, Elte
  • Linen drapery
  • Sofa, Cisco Brothers
  • Green pillow, Shoppe by Amber Interiors
  • Toss cushions, Anthropologie
  • Chair, CB2
  • Coffee table, Anthropologie
  • Floor lamp, Ralph Lauren Furniture
  • Artwork and accessories, Serena & Lily

Lindsay Agnew, Lead Designer, Si & Oui

Paint colour:  Benjamin Moore, Goldsmith
Trim colour: Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace

LA: There is no question that gold has been back in a big way for a while now, but the trend hasn't really moved up the wall into paint. I think it's time to change that. This pallet is inspired by the beauty of yellow onyx and the natural golden tones in its banding. Goldsmith by Benjamin Moore has the earthiness I was after and is the starting point for this living room plan.

The warmth of golden yellow makes it perfect for a gathering space. Goldsmith is the proverbial warm hug of this room, but because the colour is so bold it can easily overwhelm it. In order to combat that, I balanced it with cool greys, crisp whites and subdued golden yellow accents. Natural light and ambient light will affect the way you see this colour and it will appear to change throughout the day. With that in mind, I keep this room monochromatic so the gold would not compete with any other colours as the light changes.

This room is meant to be used, and all the finishes cater to someone who does not want to think twice before using their space. The moodboard was assembled with longevity and durability in mind; this room can withstand everything from house guests drinking wine on the sofa to the family dog running through the room covered in dirt.

Source guide

  • Flooring, Greek Villa, Twelve Oaks Vinyl Floor
  • Hardware, Merlot Suite Pewter, Lee Valley 
  • Wallpaper,  Brunschwig & Fils Les Touches - Canary, Kravet
  • Area rug, Mickey Grey/Yellow 100% Viscose, Elte Mkt
  • Grey fabric, Quercus and Co. Cloudburst Mouse Grey, Memo Showroom
  • Gold embroidered fabric, Liberty Acacia by Foundation,Memo Showroom

Michelle Mawby, Registered Interior Designer

Paint colour: Farrow & Ball, Hague Blue
Trim colour: Farrow & Ball, Old White

MM: Maybe it's because we're moving into fall and winter but I'm crushing on Hague Blue from Farrow & Ball for a beautiful dark and moody navy room.  And no, you don't need to be scared of painting your room a dark colour. As long as there's sufficient ambient (all-over) lighting, thoughtful accent lighting and effective task lighting, dark paint like Hague Blue is sophisticated, comfortable and welcoming. I would pair it with a deep bone trim like Farrow & Balls Old White. Although not white, against the Hague Blue it will appear almost white without a stark contrast.

Books, collectibles and textures are set off by this deep navy hue. It's all about maximum comfort without sacrificing absolute sophistication. To set off the dark navy walls, I would use light ivory or bone upholstered pieces mixing velvets, boucles and leathers. Ivory wool drapery falls elegantly and keeps the room from being too shadowy. I would inject blue's complementary colour, orange (and a hint of pink,) in the rug and artwork. Darkened brass accents gleam against the dark walls, white accessories harmonize the colour story and a lucite mirror with pearl-like accents bounces light around this stylish and elegant space.

Source guide
Heathered wool drapery, Restoration Hardware
Art, Wild Peaches / Mark Lijftogt
Koi's Mo's chair, Athens
Lounge chair, Baker
Indentation vases, Global Views
Shield drink table, Baker
Tourmaline mirror, Baker
Stardust rug, W Studio
Pompeii cocktail table, Baker
Max sofa, Baker

These interviews have been edited and condensed. 

Portia Corman is the executive producer of CBC Life.