Ask Apartment Apothecary – what colour should I paint my home?

Even though I dream of owning a house and decorating it from scratch, the decisions that come along with that are quite a responsibility and very different from improving your home gradually over time, which doesn’t phase me at all.

Recently, one of my friends bought her first house and her question to me was what colour should she paint the interior. She wants a blank canvas, she wants to unify the ‘look’ of the house as every room is a different colour, each door is a different style, even the light switches and door handles are all mis-matched, and not in a good way.

I really like the look that my friend, Katie, created in her London home (see the full home tour here) because she cleverly used the wood work throughout the house to tie together each room and this also served as a design feature in its own right, so it wasn’t just white wall after white wall. I also did something similar in the first flat I lived in after university. I wanted to bring a bit of interest to the room, but keep the light, bright walls so I painted the window frames dark green and it looked great. I have found other images of homes where the owners have done the same, painted the walls white and highlighted all the woodwork with a subtle colour, and I really love the look.

So, if you want to maintain a blank canvas but bring a sense of cohesion and an element of design to the look of your home this could be the answer…

Katie Shillingford home tour photographed by | Apartment Apothecary

Photographed by Katharine Peachey. See the full home tour here.

Painted woodwork | Apartment Apothecary

Image: Ledansla

Painted woodwork | Apartment Apothecary

Image: Ledansla on Instagram

What do you think? My friend has followed my advice and has chosen Farrow and Ball’s Purbeck Stone for the wood work in her home, including the skirting boards, picture rail, dado rail, doors, window frames. I’m going over there next weekend so I’ll let you know how it looks.

Katy x

P.S. If you have an interiors related question or problem drop me an email (katy@ or post it on my Facebook page and I will try to answer it here.




  1. 9th February 2015 / 7:58 am

    I’m a huge fan of this! And have it in my living room (with pale grey skirting, and fire places in a very dark grey). And in my work room where woodwork is painted in pale mint. It’s fresh and interesting.

    Em xx

    • katy
      9th February 2015 / 10:37 am

      Love the pale mint idea x

  2. 9th February 2015 / 9:58 am

    I think this is really clever, as it ties the overall scheme together without making every room look too ‘samey’. It also means you can add a bit of personality to each individual space. Putting a bit of colour on woodwork as well as (or instead of) walls adds a touch of creativity too – I’m trying the same with soft grey in my house x

    • katy
      9th February 2015 / 10:38 am

      Pale grey sounds good, Abi. You’ll have to share some pics once it’s done x

  3. Henrietta
    9th February 2015 / 10:30 am

    We moved into a very big very old edwardian home where the previous owners had stipped every single piece of wood in the house. skirting, doors, picture rails, window frame, stair runners. Now don’t get me wrong it’s beautiful old oak wood, but it just makes everything so heavy. But who wants to repaint a whole house worth of wood and have to upkeep it! haven’t taken the plunge yet, but love this idea if i choose to do it. h

    • katy
      9th February 2015 / 10:36 am

      I have to say, painting wood work is a complete nightmare, in my opinion, especially a whole house’s worth!! Luckily for my friend, she is having the whole house painted by a decorator before they have even unpacked their moving boxes. Maybe you could do it one room at a time over a long period of time (or wait until your win the lottery and get it all done for you!) – I bet it would lift the the whole house xx

  4. Han
    9th February 2015 / 2:35 pm

    We used f&b ‘blackened’ in the end, as our poor woodwork is not in good shape and the darker colour really made that stand out. Very happy with the end result though and can’t wait for you to see it x

    • katy
      9th February 2015 / 2:46 pm

      Yay! Can’t wait x

      • Han
        9th February 2015 / 2:54 pm

        However, it has now made me impossibly impatient for buying ALL the furniture and having EVERYTHING perfect immediately..

        But at least we no longer have a purple bedroom.

        • katy
          9th February 2015 / 2:55 pm

          Welcome to my life x

  5. 9th February 2015 / 7:44 pm

    I am looking forward to playing with colour in our new house more. We kept everything white – woodwork and walls in our old house, but you are right, it is a bit daunting to have a whole house to choose colour for. xx

    • katy
      9th February 2015 / 7:51 pm

      I think the best thing is to live there for a while and take it slowly, if you’re not too sure. It’s difficult to know what vibe you want in each room until you’ve experienced living in it and the way you use it. Excited to see more of your new home, Melanie! X

  6. 9th February 2015 / 10:50 pm

    UH OH I love this! …One of the things I liked about the house when I first saw it was the unification of the skirtings & doors, but once we were in, I dislike the dark staining & have been slowly painting it all white, but I’m really loving the idea of a grey or soft pastel. Great gathered inspo as ever x

    • katy
      10th February 2015 / 10:36 am

      I really love it too and think about doing it in my home often. The only problem is I am far too slap dash with a paintbrush to be trusted to paint woodwork – would definitely need to call in the professionals 🙂 xx

  7. Beth Pierce
    16th April 2015 / 11:20 pm

    Hey, y’all ~ just wanted to say that painting is the first thing you DO, but the last thing you CHOOSE. Sounds like some of you may be choosing paint colors before considering fabrics or anything else.

    As a former interior decorator (had a business for 15 yrs in No. VA), I’d advise you to take your wall colors from a color used in the fabrics (or coordinating w/) in the room. If you pick the paint first, THEN try to go out and find fabrics to match that paint, you’ll have a much harder time of it. You can make the paint match anything….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.