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7 color questions with designer tish mills

Stairwell with artwork/Photography: Chris Little/A stairwell designed by Tish Mills shows that a neutral wall can make for bold impact.

Every designer has their favorites! In our new Color Questions series, we ask professional interior designers for their takes on the colors they return to time and time again. This week, we chatted with Tish Mills, a designer based in Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, about her go-to hues. 

What are your favorite, most reliable paints? 

I love this question. My all-time favorite color is Benjamin Moore's Iron Mountain. It's like a chameleon of paint colors, with a great dark charcoal with a hint of bronze undertone. Depending on how and where I use it, it can pull in either direction. I’ve even painted whole house exteriors that color. It looks great on interior railings or even as a wall color. It is even the floor color in my office—it somehow winds up in every project, including my own. 

For lighter paints, I love Sherwin Williams's Shoji White, which has a great versatile range of undertones of gray or taupe, depending on what it is near. It is warm and cool, all at the same time.  

Dark sitting area with wall art/Photography: Chris Little/A moody seating area designed by Tish keeps the room's focus on the art.

What are some color complaints you hear as an interior designer? 

It is always interesting to me when I walk in a house and a client says, "This paint looked great in my last house. Why not here?" There are so many factors that go into how a paint looks in a space and how it reflects off of everything around it. No matter how many times you have used a paint, always, always test it in a new location before breaking out the roller.

A white sitting area/Photography: Chris Little/A cool, white living space designed by Tish communicates a chic, but calm, mood.

What are some of your favorite color schemes? 

Oh, that’s a hard one. Every project and space gets their own attention from me. But I do almost always paint the walls, trim, and ceiling the same color to create a great backdrop for the interiors.

A nook with yellow console/Photography: Chris Little/A nook with colorful console and artwork is enhanced by neutral paint colors.

What are some of your fail-safe white paints for different rooms in the home?

For more transitional spaces, I tend to use Sherwin Williams's Shoji White as a base. For more classic to traditional homes, I tend to use Benjamin Moore White Dove, which is a bit warmer. For more contemporary spaces, I tend to use Sherwin Williams's Intense White

Dining space/Photography: Chris Little/A dining space features neutral toned walls that allow the room's accents and artwork to stand out.

Are you a fan of wallpaper? And what about accent walls—why or why not? 

Love wallpaper, don’t really love accent walls—although I would never say "never!" I use wallpaper on both walls and ceiling. I love how it can set the narrative for the interiors, or add the perfect drama to a small space.

How do you determine whether to use cool or warm colors?

[I consider] the design style—contemporary vs traditional—as well as the location and how it relates to nature, or lack thereof, around it.  

start sampling!

Shop some of Tish Mills's favorite paint colors, in sample form, and see how they look on your walls. 

Shoji WhiteSherwin-Williams

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