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Soothing Paint Colors for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain

As a woman with chronic pain, you look for ways to soothe yourself physically and mentally, right? Well color is one of my favorite tools when designing homes for women with arthritis but if it’s used incorrectly it can be as much hindrance as help. There are thousands upon thousands of paint colors which can be both a blessing and a curse. 

Arthritis is a heat generating illness. When choosing paint for your home, you want pale, cool and slightly muted colors. Keep color contrasts to a minimum and remember to consider trims and wood finishes in your overall color schemes.

Use flat finishes in your living room, dining room, entry and bedrooms; velvet or eggshell in the kitchen and bathrooms (these soft, semi washable finishes are appropriate for most surfaces), satin which is washable and stain resistant, is good for high traffic areas like hallways and kids’ rooms, and semi-gloss on doors, trim, molding and cabinetry. Gloss is also good for cabinetry, doors, trim and molding but make sure your surface is in excellent condition because gloss shows every imperfection. Gloss is also highly washable.

Dunn Edwards

I worked with an extraordinary color expert Marie Brown, LEED AP ID + C at my local Dunn Edwards to come up with these beautiful colors. Dunn Edwards paint colors are often preferred by interior designers. They are quality paints with a more affordable price per gallon than Pratt and Lambert.

Winter Morn DET 617, light gray

Silver Setting DE 6359, a versatile, complex, light gray (gorgeous on my new kitchen and bath cabinets!)

Porpoise DE 6373, one of DE’s most popular light grays

Miner’s Dust DEC 786, DE’s most popular medium gray beige (this “greige” is a little darker, and would be lovely in a powder room)

Fine Grain DE 6213, a light gray, that is at once cool and warm.

Clear Vision DE 5875, pale blue

Polar Ice DE 5798, pale blue

Morning Mist DEW 388, pale blue

Mist Spirit DE 6302, pale celadon

Lightning Bolt DE 6295, pale celadon

Windy Sky DE 6288, pale celadon

Cool Frost DE 5931, soft lavender

Whisper DEW 340, one of DE’s most popular whites and with good reason

White Picket Fence DET 648, another of DE’s most popular whites

Cool December DEW 383, white

Foggy Day DE 6226, taupe-gray (Greige)

Pratt and Lambert 

One of my favorite paint companies is a boutique company called Pratt and Lambert. Their colorist Cynthia and I devised these color selections just for you! They are pale, soft and cooling, just what you need to soothe pain and cool your inflammation. 

What I love about Pratt and Lambert is that their pigment content is high, giving their paint much more depth and complexity than the others. I prefer their top of line, Accolades formula. 

Some paint companies change, discontinue and add to their formulas so whatever company you go with, always ask for their current, premium paint formulation. Be willing to pay the extra money for it and it will not only look stunningly beautiful, it also won’t need to be repainted for at least ten years. My Pratt and Lambert paints at last count are eight years old and I still sigh when I walk in my home. High quality paints have depth, character, better coverage, are easier to clean, last longer, have fewer toxins and are easier on the home’s inhabitants and the environment in general. Those represent considerable value, even if you pay $20 more per gallon.

Cynthia at Pratt and Lambert was kind enough to help me choose some beautiful paint colors for you.

Chanteuse 25-27 is a beautiful pale blue green.

Chervil 22-30 is a pale celadon.

Hare 2-31 is a soft lavender.

Summer Sky 22-31 is a soft gray-green.

Phantom 11-31 (my living room, entry, dining room, stairwell and halls are Phantom in Pratt and Lambert’s Accolades flat finish and it’s giving me years of sigh inducing, visual pleasure, every time I come home!)

Smokestain Rose 3-1, a muted rose

Half and Half 7-2, white  

My other favorite is Half and Half, a creamy white with skin flattering undertones, perfect for the master bedroom, bathrooms and dressing room. My master bedroom is painted in the flat Accolades Half and Half and also the doors, crown molding, and base molding. It is quite frankly the most beautiful creamy white I’ve ever come across. How often do you actually notice white? Well this one is impossible to ignore.

How to Test Paint

Buy a small amount and paint it on two 8 x 10 pieces of paperboard. Test the color by holding the papers up or taping them close together, wrapped around a corner, opposite the windows. Test in multiple spots during different times of the day. Look at them against plain white paper, and look at many different, yet similar colors side by side to get an accurate idea about each color. 

Choosing Trims and Ceilings

This next part is a bit more advanced than what we’ve been talking about so far. If you have crown molding, choosing ceiling paint is quite a bit easier. But if you don’t, my choices below are the solution. 

Use the whites for ceilings. Use a flat finish. Also use these whites for cabinets, doors and trim, in a semi-gloss or gloss finish, but only if your surfaces are in excellent condition.

Choosing dark accent walls is problematic. Though painters are willing to “cut in” paint color changes from wall to ceiling it never looks professional when there is a noticeable color contrast without crown molding to divide it. To be honest, I never liked the accent wall look to begin with. It looks great in Starbucks and other commercial applications but not in residences, and particularly not in today’s residences where the open floor plan is so prevalent. With all pale wall and ceiling colors there is little color contrast so you can go with a white ceiling if you like or even match the ceiling to the wall color. As long as they are soft and pale like the colors I’ve chosen for you below (with the exception of Miner’s Dust), the magnifying effect of colors bouncing off one another will be minimal.

Go get a copy of my new book Shiree’s Interior Design and Lifestyle Tips. It’s chock full of lifestyle goodness. It’s up on our beautiful, newly remodeled website now!

Live beautifully, eat beautifully.