How to Choose Best Paint Colors & Finishes: 5 Tips from Segreto

How to Choose Best Paint Colors & Finishes: 5 Tips from Segreto revisits a special guest post from Leslie Sinclair of Segreto Finishes. You may recall we explored Segreto’s stunning and most recent book RIGHT HERE. These expert tips from a seasoned professional we have come to admire and trust are sure to give you food for thought.

Romantic bedroom with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry
Leslie Sinclair

Tickled pink to welcome Leslie Sinclair of Segreto Finishes to the blog today. If you are an admirer of European-inspired design or beautiful decorative wall finishes, you may be acquainted with Leslie’s lovely work, books, or her award-winning blog. We have been online pals for years, and she is one of my favorite Texans on the planet! Just the kindest and most gracious class act Let’s get to know Segreto, be inspired, and snag expert advice for choosing paint colors!

How to Choose Best Paint Colors and Finishes

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. French antiques, plaster finishes and Old World style in a showstopping modern functioning kitchen. #kitchendesign #frenchkitchen #antiques #oldworld #plasterwalls
From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair;Designer: MoL Design – Architect: Charles W. Ligon – Builder: Kristal Construction – Photographer: Wade Blissard.

Welcome, Segreto!

Hi Hello Lovely friends. I am so excited today to share a bit of what I do with you today! My name is Leslie Sinclair and I own a decorative painting and plastering company in Houston.  With a staff of over 40, we are so blessed to be a part of so many beautiful homes and collaborate with top designers, architects and builders. Although we provide many finishes on walls, floors ceilings, beams and cabinetry, finding the right color palette is where most finish designs begin.

Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry
Help for How to Choose the Best Paint Colors & Finishes

Choosing the right paint colors and finishes can be an overwhelming decision. There are thousands of colors available, each with different tones and intensities, and the perfect combination of paints is so critical to the overall success of the design. 

Here are five helpful tips on selecting colors for your own home.

Step 1

Look through magazines and books to determine your own personal design style. As you flip through the pages, pay attention to different color combinations of floors, walls, trims and also ceilings. 

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. An 18th-century altar from Touraine in the entry of a newly constructed home with antique and reclaimed design features. #frenchantique #religiousantiques #plasterwalls #oldworldstyle
From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair; Designer (Furnishings): Allyson Tracy Plummer – Designer (Hard Surfaces): Tracy Design Studio – Builder: Montecito Builders – Photographer: Wade Blissard.

Notice whether the pictures you like have bold contrast or a lack thereof. In my Segreto coffee table design books, clients have shared that the images are a wealth of inspiration in picking finishes in their own homes.

Vibrant orange walls in a space with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #orangewalls
How to Choose the Best Paint Colors & Finishes

Notice contrasts

Some rooms may have distinct colors that set apart the walls, trim and ceiling……….

Beautiful traditional dining room with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry
How to Choose the Best Paint Colors & Finishes
From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. An 18th-century altar from Touraine in the entry of a newly constructed home with antique and reclaimed design features. #frenchantique #religiousantiques #plasterwalls #oldworldstyle

…while others may have similar tones and each surface blends effortlessly into the next. Which look do you prefer? Do your favorite rooms have strong colors on the walls or in the fabrics, art and accessories instead?

Elegant Old World kitchen with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry
From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. Magnificent plaster walls and ceilings in the entry of a charming newly constructed Country French home. #staircase oldworld #frenchcountry #plasterwalls #interiordesign
From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair; Design: Lucas/Eilers Design Associates – Architect: Architectural Solutions – Builder: Abercrombie Custom Homes – Photo: Wade Blissard, Julie Soefer.

Step 2

Think about which elements in your home are permanent. Your counters, backsplash, flooring, rugs or fabrics can serve as great starting points to dictate your palette. 

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. French antiques, plaster finishes and Old World style in a showstopping modern functioning kitchen. #kitchendesign #frenchkitchen #antiques #oldworld #plasterwalls

In an existing home, the perfect paint color can highlight tones you love in a countertop or rug and downplay less desirable hues in these elements so that they will work in the new design scheme.

Elegant and luxurious bath with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry

Step 3

Make a list of your home’s best and worst architectural features. The proper paint combinations and finishes will not only enhance the aspects in your home that you love but also disguise your least favorite attributes. 

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. This great room incorporates beams from the homeowner's South Texas ranch as well as 18th-century doors from Avignon. #interiordesign #frenchcountry #plasterwalls #greatroom
From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair; Architectural Consultant & Designer: Sarah West – Building Designer: Robert Dame Designs – Builder: Parker House – Photographer: Wade Blissard.

For instance, by using the same color as the walls on elements like smaller trim pieces, spaces with too many angles, and doors, you can make these unwanted details disappear.

Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry

Emphasize the Positive

To emphasize the elements that enhance the room’s design such as furniture-like built-ins, interesting ceiling details, elaborate crown moldings or paneling, choose a contrasting color, sheen or specialty finish.

Dramatic Old World bathroom with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry

Rather than painting smaller rooms a light color, give them a warm and cozy feel with rich, deep tones and……..

How to Choose the Best Paint Colors & Finishes

……….. let your big rooms expand with lighter hues.

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. A quiet-toned newly constructed kitchen incorporating antiques from France. #frenchkitchen #frenchcountry #frenchantiques #bespokekitchen

Step 4

Look through your closet! One of the best ways to determine which colors and styles make you feel the most comfortable is to study your own wardrobe. 

Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry

In what colors do you think you look the best? What are you wearing when you feel the most beautiful?  Do you tend to incorporate pop colors in jewelry and accessories or do you layer different textures in the same color? 

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. This great room incorporates beams from the homeowner's South Texas ranch as well as 18th-century doors from Avignon. #interiordesign #frenchcountry #plasterwalls #greatroom

Are strong colors worn on a daily basis or just occasionally? You can apply these same principles to your paint selections.

Kitchen with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry

Step 5

Pick up a color wheel from two of your favorite paint stores. 

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. Mohair chaise lounges in the dramatic 'vintage glam' living room of designer Sarah West. #livingroom #plasterwalls #interiordesign #vintageglam

Lighting has a powerful effect on color so it is important to always choose the final paints in the space.  Armed with your answers and insights from the steps above, you are now ready to select!

Entry with Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry

Starting with the main parts of the home, pick a color that blends in and uses the tones of all the surfaces. The background color of fabrics, tiles or counters is generally a safe color direction. 

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. Plastered walls and ceilings as well as reclaimed wood flooring sing in a newly constructed, timeless European country inspired home. #interiordesign #plasterwalls #oldworld #staircase

Choosing Ceiling & Trim Colors

Depending on how much contrast you like, the trim and ceiling hues can come from the same color strip, just lighter or darker than the wall color. Special cabinetry, interesting ceilings and adjoining rooms are ideal for coordinating or pop colors.

Magnificent dining room with rustic ceiling beams and wall finish by Segreto
How to Choose the Best Paint Colors & Finishes

By establishing a particular mood, well-chosen paint colors and finishes form a beautiful backdrop for fabrics, art, furniture and accessories.

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. A waterfall island and SegretoStone hood distinguish this warm Spanish revival style kitchen and keeping room. #spanishrevival #segretostone #kitchen #interiordesign

Through these five steps, you can develop a palette that showcases your home’s architecture, flatters your own color tones and gives your surroundings an ambiance that makes a house feel like your home.

How to Choose Best Paint Colors - Expert Help from Segreto Finishes on Hello Lovely!
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Beautiful classic traditional dining room with pale blue color palette in SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. #interiordesign #diningroom #classic #traditionalstyle

Thank you Michele and all you lovely readers!

Segreto Finishes (beautiful wall colors and plaster) in a lovely designed room in Leslie Sinclair's book. #plasterwalls #segretofinishes #frenchcountry #diningroom #handpainting

I hope you will come visit me at Segreto Secrets where you can follow me weekly as I create finishes for warm clients and their beautiful homes!!

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. The unique flooring in this Spanish-style home's master bath is actually antique Parefeuille ceiling tile. #oldworld #interiordesign #spanishstyle #bathroom #plasterwalls

Thank YOU, Leslie for sharing your expert advice and decorating this blog with your lovely work!

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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14 Comments

  1. Cathy
    November 27, 2017 / 8:04 am

    Good morning, I enjoy your site and today was to be an interesting topic. I love Lesley’s work. Sadly not one of the pictures are up on your site (there’s a little box with a ? mark). I hope to see the pictures soon. Cathy

    • michele
      Author
      November 27, 2017 / 12:46 pm

      Hi Cathy! Sorry about the technical snafu which seems inevitable with guest posts since blogging formats vary so much! I believe we’re all set this morning and I hope you’ll tune in to see the images of Leslie’s gorgeous work! xox

      • November 28, 2017 / 12:02 pm

        I was able to view all the photos on my monitor without any technical glitches. Sometimes, on other posts on the internet (not any bloggers), this little box including a question mark has occurred, but not here. Thank you, Leslie, for your tutorial. Through the years, I’ve become quite adept as choosing wall colors and finishes, so your comments confirmed what I’ve learned in the past.

        • michele
          Author
          November 28, 2017 / 1:05 pm

          Thanks for taking the time to let me know, Jo. 🙂

  2. November 28, 2017 / 6:52 am

    I am so honored to be on your incredible blog!! It is beautiful just like you sweet friend!! I hope the readers will enjoy!

    • michele
      Author
      November 28, 2017 / 10:19 am

      You and your team do such inspiring transformations, Leslie! Thank you for sharing your talents and advice with us today, friend. xox

  3. Joanna
    November 28, 2017 / 10:44 am

    If you want advice on paint color and it’s undertones, follow Maria Killam’s blog.

    Leslie’s home is spectacular. A new build that looks old. I love every inch of it. I’m sure she is one of the best in her trade. A true artist!

    • michele
      Author
      November 28, 2017 / 1:05 pm

      Thanks, Joanna! xox

  4. November 29, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    She is a fabulous designer, love her works.
    I am catching up on all past blog postings I’ve missed.
    See you and all the beauty you inspire soon.

    Xx
    Dore

    • michele
      Author
      November 29, 2017 / 11:08 pm

      There’s always more inspiration to catch up on since I’m a busy blogger! 🙂

  5. Susan
    November 30, 2017 / 8:01 am

    I love the finishes in Leslie’s pictures. I have a question. I am currently living in a home with true Venetian plaster walls, the color is a medium oatmeal. I would love to lighten some of the walls. Is there a way to paint Venetian plaster without losing the texture or movement. I want something more chalky, no sheen. Any suggestions?

    • michele
      Author
      November 30, 2017 / 4:58 pm

      Great question for Leslie! Thanks for reading, Susan.

  6. pedrochapman
    December 20, 2020 / 5:45 am

    Resourceful article. We are from Romania, who are giving services for a long time. We especially worked for household contraction, painting, repair services in Romania. If anybody wants to take any service or advice from us we will be happy to share our knowledge.

    • Michele
      Author
      December 20, 2020 / 11:17 am

      Thank you for visiting. Best to you and your business.

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Wicker Trunk Storage
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
French Country Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing