ColorTherapy: The Worst Colors For Interiors

I walked past a storefront dentist office in Brooklyn last week, which was painted bright pink. Not coral, not dusty rose, not salmon; but bright, bubble gum, Peptol Bismol pink. Ugh…

I think we all have a set of colors that not only strike a wrong chord personally, but would never look good anywhere. Some colors look pretty in a scarf or Impressionist painting but simply don’t belong on the wall. I hate to start a big dust-up, but at the same time I’m curious—is there a consensus as to what genuinely bad color is? I have my list and I’ll go first—the colors I hate most in interior painting (in no particular order):

  • Pancake batter yellow
  • Bubble gum pink
  • Crayola purple
  • Kelly green
  • Tenement hall beige
  • Super white

That said, I always come clean—if you have a picture of the most beautiful, specific and unusual use of pale yellow imaginable, then please post. I say often that color is contextual, and colors that thrill me in Mexico don’t necessarily look right at home. I’ll note this too—between rough draft and posting, I saw a picture in a coffee-table book of a well-appointed room in bright pink. It still doesn’t ring my bells.

And now to you: what color makes your teeth hurt? What color for domestic interior makes you run for the door? No toggles to pull, I want specifics! And play nice, you can post your favorites too.

Benjamin Moore Aura

I finally used the new miracle paint from Benjamin Moore on two different jobs in the last week, and I’d say that at this price point ($50/gallon) it comes highly recommended. The satin finish looks like oil paint, there really is no odor, and my deep reds really do cover in two coats. Well done.

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- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

(ReEdited from 2008-03-18 - MGR)

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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