As beautiful as the more “traditional” paint colors can be, sometimes, you just need something out of the box. That’s especially true in 2022, when more people than ever are feeling a pull to express themselves through the home. However, unexpected and bold paint colors can be scary, no matter how badly you want to try something new. Fortunately, though, interior designers have a few tried and true hues to recommend that take the uncertainty out of adding unusual paint colors to your space. Even better, they’ve shared their top choices with TZR.
But first, a few words of wisdom. Even if you’ve found your hue and feel that it’s perfect for the room you’re decorating, that doesn’t mean you need to go all in. Especially if it’s your first time using it (or just unusual shades in general), it’s a good idea to practice restraint. “I recommend that people a little afraid to take the plunge dip a toe in color by doing a smaller space,” says Joy Williams of Joyful Designs Studio. “Perhaps an accent wall, but I think the best option is a small anteroom that you can return to to see how much you might love or hate a full move to color.”
Most importantly, though? Don’t sweat it if you realize the color you chose isn’t quite right. “It's only paint,” says Elle Cole of Elle Cole Interiors. “If you don’t like it, paint over it. Your investment and commitment to trying more unusual paint colors is low — which makes it easy for you to take the plunge.”
Now that you know how to start your journey with uncommon and atypical paint colors, the designer-favorite hues, ahead, will let you put those tips into practice and add some surprising pizazz to your home with confidence. Keep reading for their expert shade recommendations.
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Fresh Fennel by Magnolia Paint Co, Benjamin Moore
Lauren Clement of Lauren Nicole Designs says her favorite color is green because it “evokes nature, brings the outside in, and brings life to any space.” Thus, one of her go-to bold colors in projects is Fresh Fennel from Benjamin Moore, a shade she actually created. “I have used this color in several bathroom vanities and it is just so fun!” Clement explains. “It has paired well with other colors such as gray and navy and a touch of gold hardware looks amazing with it.”
While the designer notes that Fresh Fennel may be a bit too much for walls, it can look great on a door (such as the barn door in an office/craft room she once added it to). For her, it’s often a surefire way to guarantee clients will smile every time they walk in.
Brinjal by Farrow & Ball
“A sophisticated aubergine” isn’t the first choice of paint color for most people — but for Williams, it just makes sense. The interior designer tells TZR she initially discovered the shade — called Brinjal by Farrow & Ball — from a paint deck, and was drawn to it immediately. “I was actually searching for a bit of a muted red color but the depth of the Brinjal color kept calling me back,” she says.
Williams particularly loves the hue in a high-gloss finish, and shares that she recently used it in that exact sheen on a ceiling. “It adds an instant mood to the space at night and drama in the day time.” That said, she’s also used (and loved) Brinjal in a flat or modern emulsion finish covering the inside of a closet, floor, ceiling, and trim. “It allowed me to use a darker closet system which paired well with the total saturation of color.”
If you’re looking for something to pair it with, Williams recommends another Farrow & Ball shade, Peignoir, “which has a touch of earthen pinkish tones,” she says. “Love the two together because Peignoir is a perfect ‘neutral’ to the Brinjal.”
Aiken Park by Magnolia Paint Co, Benjamin Moore
Navy isn’t exactly an “unusual” color, but Aiken Park, a brightened navy by Benjamin Moore that Clement also created, is definitely not something you see in homes every day. “It is actually the reason that one of my clients hired me!” Clement shares. “She adored this color as it reminded her of Florida, where she spent most of her life before moving to North Carolina.” The designer says she used it on the client’s kitchen island, as well as on their coffee bar/beverage center. “It pairs beautifully with a light gray wall paint ([like] my Southern Cross color) and gold hardware.”
She also says that it’s “stunning” in powder rooms, a master bathroom vanity setting, or in an office. “It is a bright spin on a classic color that I just adore!” Clement continues. “A fun way to bring life and personality to your space.”
Morristown Cream & Teacup Rose by Benjamin Moore
Sara Barney from BANDD/DESIGN has been loving pinks lately — specifically, the Morristown Cream and Teacup Rose shades from Benjamin Moore. “I happened upon these colors when I was trying to find a shade of pink that would give a beautiful pop to a space without it being too loud or overbearing,” she tells TZR. “Pink is not a typical color you find in a home, but I had to use them when painting the living room cabinet, as it gave a soft, yet striking touch to the room,” she says of a project in which she used this particular type of pink. “The other colors in the room are cream and light blues as well, which all work beautifully together.”
Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore
The popular Aegean Teal color from Benjamin Moore actually has quite a fanbase despite its uniqueness — including Emily Ruff of Cohesively Curated Interiors. The designer has only used it once so far, and discovered it while she was looking for blue/green cabinet colors for a vanity. “The powder room it went in had navy blue zellige tile covering the back wall — lots of color!” It was clearly a hit, though, because she already has plans to use it again. “One of my current clients chose Aegean Teal for her vanity as well,” continues Ruff. “Paired with this wallpaper and this mirror it is going to be gorgeous!”