Imaginary friends: Foolproof paint colors for a bachelor pad

I mean, why not? I can’t work with every single person who contacts bossy color, tragically. But if I had some imaginary friends with fairly universal paint color challenges and I helped them

(You know there’s a big caveat here, right? I can spare you the blah blah blah  of “there’s really no such thing as a foolproof  color palette when you don’t know what the space looks like, how much light it gets and from what direction, what the client’s tastes are…?” You’ll grant me a little leeway here, right? Thanks, man.) So…

THE IMAGINARY FRIEND: a youngish bachelor.

THE IMAGINARY HOME: a one-bedroom apartment in the city.

Living room (because there’s no foyer): Benjamin Moore’s HC-172 Revere Pewter. Grays are still huge – finally gaining traction in all parts of the country, as we know from the last Color Outlook podcast :) .

Bossy color’s imaginary bachelor is so cutting-edge.

Revere Pewter in Hallway

HC-172 Revere Pewter in the blog AM Dolce Vita

Revere Pewter wall with photographs

Benjamin Moore's HC-172 Revere Pewter, in DecorPad via Hirschfeld's Color Club

Light warm gray, Revere Pewter

Benjamin Moore's HC-172 Revere Pewter. Isn't it crazy how tan it looks on your screen? It isn't in real life.

Kitchen walls: Ellen Kennon’s Silk Road Plum. That’s right, Gentle Readers. PLUM. I don’t know whether our guy is gay or straight (he’s private that way), but he’s going to get all kinds of points for this one.

First, because he knows about full-spectrum paint, and second, because he isn’t afraid to use it. In purple. In his kitchen. Even if there’s only one wall, painting it a warm, rich aubergine is a bold move. And deep purple isn’t limiting, color-wise; it’s liberating. Pair it with gray, orange, red, green…

Lovely picture in a random blog. The purple is similar to Ellen Kennon's Silk Road Plum

Then paint those sticky oak cabinets from the 80s Benjamin Moore’s  HC-173 Edgecomb Gray or a glossy black.

Purple foyer with black built-in shelving

This isn't Ellen Kennon's purple, but how fantastic does it look with black? Designed by David Kaihoi in House Beautiful

Holy cow: this is the only picture I could find of Ellen Kennon's Silk Road Plum! It's fourth from left. This group of colors is her "Designer Color Palette"

Silk Road Plum, third from left

Bedroom: Benjamin Moore’s HC-67 Clinton Brown. You thought I was going to suggest a green, didn’t you? But no! Our bachelor is more sophisticated than that. He’s going for the drama. (You CAN use a crisp white trim color with Clinton Brown, but I prefer something creamier. For what it’s worth.)

Kiwi green headboard in dry dark brown bedroom

Benjamin Moore's HC-67 Clinton Brown, in the seemingly defunct blog windula - now 4 men, 1 lady? - via decorpad

Brown, white and red living room

Benjamin Moore's HC-67 Clinton Brown, design by Cristina Azario, Elle Decor

Deep dry brown

Benjamin Moore's HC-67 Clinton Brown

Bathroom: If our bachelor were lucky enough to have decent white ceramic tile in his bathroom, then Benjamin Moore’s HC-6 Windham Cream would have been a nice surprise. But, alas, his apartment came with natural stone – very masculine, if somewhat uninspired. In this context, a deep blue-gray, such as Benjamin Moore’s HC-146 Wedgewood Gray, TRULY is foolproof. Heck, I even have it in my own bathroom.

Light blue-gray foyer with photographs

Benjamin Moore's HC-146 Wedgewood Gray, via the blog The Lettered Cottage

Benjamin Moore's HC-146 Wedgewood Gray

Benjamin Moore's HC-146 Wedgewood Gray

There you go, imaginary friend! The best part about being imaginary, of course, is that painting your apartment is going to be SUPER easy.

Annie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. She’s considered an expert on color, residential space planning, and telling people what to do in the nicest way possible. She’s also a proud member of the Color Outlook team:  6 experts from across the country who podcast quarterly about color trends and forecasts.


  1. says

    Totally surprised by the purple and I love it. I think I’ll recommend Wedgewood to my parents for their upcoming bathroom remodel. Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Mary says

    Hi Annie,
    Can you fix up that bachelor with my daughter? HA!

    I have some questions about paint colors & their undertones. If I ask the guy at the paint store what color the tints are making up my color, will that tell me what the undertones are? Say he’s putting a lot of gold into the base color, can I assume gold is one of the undertones? And then does that mean gold colored fabrics or accesories will look good with my paint color?

  3. says

    Thanks for including Silk Road Plum in your post! What a great surprise to encounter this color here. I enjoyed creating it for Ellen Kennon – the inspiration was actually from my line of Tibetan rugs, Silk Road Weaves.

    ! I hope you will also take a look at EcoHues Full Spectrum Paints, which I designed and which are made in the same fine products as Ellen Kennon’s paint palette. Samples available from me directly but order your paints through Ellen.

  4. Kathy says

    Dear Bossy,
    Welcome back!!!
    I love your blog! Love this post! . Finally I found someone who uses color with grays, not just white! After reading lots of your posts I decided grays were the answers to update the look of my old persian rugs. So I painted my walls gray, but the color isnt singing. I chose gray owl BM… somedays I like it other days I dont at all. . I’m thinking I should have gone with Revere Pewter or Wedgewood gray. Is there a gray that really sings with the reds and blues that are so prevalent in old persian rugs?

  5. says

    Hi, Kathy! Thanks so much for the kind words – still getting back into the blog groove, but I’m glad to be doing it again! Is the gray owl looking too light? That was my first thought – that it might be too light and possibly too green? ( I don’t have my fan deck in front of me)…i might suggest going a little richer. Either of the colors you mention would be slam dunks. Wedgwood gray is excellent with Persian rugs if the room gets a considerable amount of light, and you know that ReverePewter is a favorite of mine. Think slightly darker and richer, and let me know what you come up with. Great to hear from you!

  6. says

    That’s the idea, Niki! A chicken in every pot, a fresh coat of paint on every wall – we think big here at bossy color! Seriously, though, thanks very much for the comment.

  7. kathy says

    You hit the nail on the head about the gray owl being to light and to green of a gray. Please tell
    me you do bossy basics on line, I need you!!!

  8. says

    I was a little surprised by the purple as well. Not something I would have thought of. Some really nice inspiration here.

  9. millicent macchione says

    I have a question regarding Wedgewood Gray…..I have tried it on my wall in a medium-sized square. it just looks gray and not nearly as rich and hue-filled as it does on the sample poster I made with it. I don’t know if it just doesn’t love my light? Any hints? It looks very …..flat and non-dimensional if that makes any sense. And I really, really love it on poster and in web pictures!


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