The Most Expensive Design Lesson I've Learned from interior designer Lesley Myrick

The most expensive design lesson I’ve ever learned (and the most important lesson too!) is to trust my gut. Because when I don’t trust my gut, bad things happen. Like an abandoned toilet left behind in the middle of a bathroom full of…well, full of pee. A full toilet that I had to carry outside and shove in the trunk of my car.

Yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds.

“Trust your gut” isn’t just a cute, trite little quotable. This was a lesson that cost me real money, real time, and real embarrassment in front of a real client. (#facepalm) Here’s the story.

The Most Expensive Design Lesson I’ve Learned

For a bathroom remodel project a couple of years ago, I needed to hire a contractor for some last-minute help. I was trying to schedule this while I was out of town and my favorite go-to contractor wasn’t available.

Our policy at Lesley Myrick Art + Design has always been to meet with people before we hire them to get to know them and make sure they’re a good fit. It’s important to me that I trust anyone I hire on for a project and that they have integrity.

In this case, I was desperate and I broke my own rule of meeting contractors before we start working together (big mistake!). Since I was in a pinch, I was referred to a contractor by someone I knew and went ahead and hired him after just a brief phone call. I was skeptical – there were a few red flags on our call – but felt relieved that he was able to come through in a pinch. After all, how bad could it be?

Transitional bathroom with white cabinets and grey marble

What I didn’t know…

…was that this contractor was not even really a contractor. He was just a “handy” friend of a professional acquaintance who was struggling, and she wanted to give him a chance.

Had I taken the time to meet him and listen to the gut feeling I had about him, I could’ve saved myself a lot of time, money, and embarrassment.

So what happened?

This “contractor” did some demolition, electrical work, and plumbing – and all three of those were done wrong. Nothing was up to code, nothing looked right, and nothing worked.

I paid out of my own pocket to hire three new qualified tradespeople – a plumber, an electrician, and a painter – to fix all the problems that he had created. I felt like I had failed my client, and I was absolutely mortified!

When I met the contractor the first day at the client’s home, my gut told me that he wasn’t the right person for this job – but I knew the job had to get done and I was so focused on keeping the project on track that I didn’t tune in to what I was really feeling. I let my logical brain stomp all over my intuition.

And so, not only was the work done poorly and not up to my standards, it was done so badly that I had to eat the cost of redoing the whole project. For a brand-new business owner, the financial hit was painful – but it was the right thing to do. It’s the most expensive design lesson I’ve learned, and I will never make the same mistake again.

Bathroom vanity with teal accessories and marble countertop

Okay fine, but what about the toilet?

Before we wrapped the project up, there was the toilet.

One of the tasks the contractor handled was removing the client’s existing toilet and installing the new one we had specified. I’m sure you’ve already guessed, but of course the new toilet wasn’t installed properly and I brought in a licensed plumber to fix things.

But before the plumber arrived, the contractor removed the old toilet, left it in the middle of the client’s bathroom floor…

…and then peed in it.

That is what I walked into on a routine site visit. A used, disconnected toilet sitting in the middle of the room, full of urine.

I mean, can you even believe that?

My sweet husband (I owe him one!) and I carried that toilet out, and put it in the trunk of our car, and drove it away.

If I had trusted my gut,

I would have saved myself weeks of headache, lost time, and lost income. I also would’ve saved myself the experience of hauling a full toilet out of a client’s house, which is something I can’t say I ever want to do again.

Dreamy soaking tub by Lake Hill Builders and Lesley Myrick Art + Design

Trust your gut.

There’s going to be a little feeling, a little nudge – and it’s so easy to tune it out. It’s so easy to discount that feeling and not think that it’s important.

But that little gut feeling is what’s standing between you and an expensive design mistake. Trust your gut when choosing a designer, architect, or contractor to work with. Trust your gut when choosing paint colors (because your gut rarely wants you to have beige walls – you know it’s whispering for navy!).

Don’t let your design mistake be settling for a boring beige rug. Listen to the whisper and spring for the hot pink Aztek-inspired rug that makes your heart beat just a little faster.

Listen to that little tiny nudge, that little feeling, even if you can’t explain it and even if it feels kind of scary. You’ll never regret going with your gut.

The Most Expensive Design Lesson I've Learned
10 Inspiring Quotes About Design (Plus FREE Printable Art) from interior designer Lesley Myrick

There is so much going on in our world right now (understatement of the year, right?). Sometimes you’ve just gotta take a little breath and feed yourself emotionally. What I wanted to share with you today are 10 inspiring quotes about design and style that have been guiding me throughout the years and inspiring me when it comes to interior design and busting out of boring.

10 Inspiring Quotes About Design + Style

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

Click for 10 beautiful FREE printable quotes about interior design.

The first one is by British textile designer William Morris who said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

I love this idea of only having around what’s useful and or beautiful. As a minimalist, useful and beautiful has always been a filter for me to decide what to include in a client’s design, and what to put in my own home. If it’s not useful, or I don’t love it, then it doesn’t have a place in my home or my life. Byeeeee.

"Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style."  - Billy Baldwin

Click for 10 beautiful FREE printable quotes about interior design.

The second quote that has been so foundational to me is by design legend Billy Baldwin. “Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.”

This is a really articulate way of saying “bust out of boring!” It’s all about embracing what you love. It doesn’t matter if it’s trendy or popular or cool – if you love it, it belongs in your home.

So be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style. You know what you like and you know what you want in your home – so embrace it, love it, and don’t be afraid of it.

"Life is too short to settle for beige walls." - Lesley Myrick

Click for 10 beautiful FREE printable quotes about interior design.

And finally, a quote that I live out every day: “Life is too short to settle for beige walls.” If you’ve ever read my bio, you’ll know I’ve experienced firsthand how short and precious life is. So screw beige. Screw safe! If you love teal, embrace it with an incredible teal sofa you love to curl up on with your kids. If you love pattern and color, let’s make your home a mix of patterns, colors, and styles that feel uniquely, beautifully, authentically you. Your home won’t look like every other one on the block, and that’s okay! In fact, I think it’s totally awesome.

I work with so many clients who have fallen into safety when it comes to design. They are afraid to paint a wall a dark color. They’re afraid to push past the safety of neutrals.

Your home is an opportunity to express yourself to bust out of boring; to showcase your style and your ideas and opinions and all the eclectic cool things that you and your family are made of. When you get scared to paint a wall blue, and you settle for beige, that’s just an outward expression of you not embracing who you are on the inside. Don’t settle for anything less than your badass self.

10 Inspiring Quotes About Design (Plus FREE Printable Art)

If you’re feeling jazzed up by these three quotes and you want an awesome printable version of each of them (plus 7 more!) to hang up in your office or to complete a gallery wall in your home, you can download 10 inspiring quotes about design and style right here.

Print them up to 18×24″ and hang ’em up where they’re going to help you be inspired, where they’re going to give you the courage to bust out of boring and be your authentic self at home.

I bet you haven't even thought about designing the staircase in your home - it's one of those spaces that we tend to forget about completely when it comes to design. We go literally go up and down every day and we're in there all the time. And yet we don't pay much attention to this space, and we don't consider how we can create a magic design moment. If your staircase is a dark dungeon of despair, here's how to bust out of a boring staircase.

I bet you haven’t even thought about designing the staircase in your home – it’s one of those spaces that we tend to forget about completely when it comes to design. We go literally go up and down every day and we’re in there all the time. And yet we don’t pay much attention to this space, and we don’t consider how we can create a magic design moment. If your staircase is a dark dungeon of despair, here’s how to bust out of a boring staircase.

5 Ways to Bust Out of a Boring Staircase

1. A Statement-Making Wallpaper

A narrow, tall staircase is a phenomenal place to add a wallpaper with pattern and color that wouldn’t really fit anywhere else in your home. It’s an unexpected surprise when you walk around the corner! This amazing floral wallpaper made this dull dark staircase something that was actually worthy of being featured in the home, even though it was a secondary staircase only used by the family.

A narrow, tall staircase is a phenomenal place to add a wallpaper with pattern and color that wouldn't really fit anywhere else in your home. It's an unexpected surprise when you walk around the corner!

2. Sexy Lighting

When builders build homes, they set budgets aside for fixtures and finishes – and I would argue that usually, it’s not nearly enough, especially when it comes to lighting. If you have a home with some sort of builder-grade wall sconce in your staircase, I’m sure it sucks! If you’ve got sconces or light fixtures with only one bulb, find sexy new fixtures that have two (or even three) light sources to make that space so much lighter, brighter, and more interesting.

Even if you do nothing else to your boring stairwell, lighting will make a huge difference in how you feel in the space.

3. Space-Expanding Mirrors

Mirrors bounce light around and to make spaces look larger, which is often needed in a tight narrow staircase. A mirror affords an opportunity to showcase your style and visually expand a tight space.

A narrow, tall staircase is a phenomenal place to add a wallpaper with pattern and color that wouldn't really fit anywhere else in your home. It's an unexpected surprise when you walk around the corner! This amazing floral wallpaper made this dull dark staircase something that was actually worthy of being featured in the home, even though it was a secondary staircase only used by the family.

4. An Eclectic Salon-Style Wall

There is a lot – yes, a lot – of wall space in a stairwell. And because of this, it’s the perfect place to create a gallery wall. Use these awesome verticals to hang a family photo gallery, a collection of art, or a mix of both for an eclectic “Parisian salon” vibe.

There’s no pressure for perfection here because this isn’t a space that’s visible all the time. It’s a special little moment that you pass through. Have fun sharing your family’s story through things you’ve collected over the years and really express yourself on these walls.

5. A Pop of Color on the Ceiling

Sometimes, leaving the walls simple allows for a fabulous focal point on the ceiling. Why not do something wild like paint it black, navy, or even hot pink? It’s so freaking chic to just have this surprise peek of color across the top.

Staircases, like powder rooms, are spaces that you can really play with when it comes to interior design. There are no rules, and there’s not the same kind of pressure as designing a living room or a dining room. A stairway is a safe place to go a little crazy, express yourself, and bust out of boring.

5 ways to bust out of a boring staircase
What if your living room doesn't have enough seating? Try this...

What if your living room doesn’t have enough seating?

This is a really common problem. Our living rooms might suit our immediate families – there’s enough for four butts comfortably – but when you’re hosting a party, have out-of-town family visiting, or just have friends over, there’s nowhere to sit. Short of buying a bigger house or using folding chairs (ick!) there actually are things you can do to increase the number of seats in your living room pretty easily.

And yes, it does mean buying new furniture, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as completely redesigning your living room.

When a living room doesn't have enough seating I recommend adding benches or ottomans - or heck, both if you've got the space for 'em! In front of the fireplace is a great opportunity to add a bench and have your guests, perch there when they're over for a party. This space is often underused in a living room, and there might be more room there than you think.

What if your living room doesn’t have enough seating?

Introduce a bench or ottomans.

When a living room doesn’t have enough seating I recommend adding benches or ottomans – or heck, both if you’ve got the space for ’em! In front of the fireplace is a great opportunity to add a bench and have your guests, perch there when they’re over for a party. This space is often underused in a living room, and there might be more room there than you think.

Swap your hard coffee table for a soft surface.

When seating is short in a living room, consider replacing a hard metal or wood coffee table with an upholstered ottoman. For daily use, a large tray on the ottoman will give you that tabletop surface you’re looking for. But when you’re entertaining that tray can come off and you have another place for people to sit and chat in your space.

If you happen to have enough space behind your sofa, a sofa table or a console table behind it with a couple of benches or stools tucked underneath is a really chic vignette.  And then - spoiler alert! - those little stools come out and you can put them wherever you need when you're having a party.

Rock a console table with stools underneath.

If you happen to have enough space behind your sofa, a sofa table or a console table behind it with a couple of benches or stools tucked underneath is a really chic vignette. And then – spoiler alert! – those little stools come out and you can put them wherever you need when you’re having a party.

There are creative ways to get more seating incorporated in your living room, with small scale furniture – which I don’t always recommend, but in this case if everything else in your space is the right proportion and scale it can be a really nice mix.

Although we’re still somewhat sheltering-in-place, life is starting to open up and entertaining at home is becoming a doable again. (Woohoo!) If your living room doesn’t have enough seating, these tips can help you make space in your home for your favorite peeps.

What if your living room doesn't have enough seating? Here are 3 ideas from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Don't get stuck with crappy seating! Here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.

Confession time: I’ve made some major interior design mistakes before. Instead of letting them bum me out, I’m choosing to learn from them and share them with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did! I’ve purchased a lot of furniture for myself and my clients over the years, and here’s what I wish I’d known about buying accent chairs.

Confession time: I've made some major interior design mistakes before. Instead of letting them bum me out, I'm choosing to learn from them and share them with you so that you don't make the same mistakes I did! I've purchased a lot of furniture for myself and my clients over the years, and here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.

What I Wish I’d Known About Buying Accent Chairs

See these beautiful cognac leather wing chairs? I LOVE THEM. The leather is buttery soft and perfectly distressed, the nailheads are antiqued just enough to look legit, and the high back and wings are beautifully proportioned.

All of those things I was able to discover with material samples, online images, and detailed dimensions.

But what I didn’t do before buying these chairs was butt test them.

No Butt Test = No Bueno

While I thought I did my due diligence by ordering samples and confirming measurements, what I didn’t do was get my body into a showroom or store to actually sit in these chairs.

What I would have discovered is that while beautiful, they’re very upright – and I was hoping for a chair that was a bit more relaxed and slouchy. The nailheads down the wings and arms look great, but they hurt a bit when you rest your arms on them! While these chairs would be amazing for a more formal living room, I like to curl up and read and these chairs don’t quite do it for me.

How to buy the perfect accent chair for your living room!

I always recommend trying out seating in person before purchasing.

If you’re buying accent chairs, or a sofa, or another piece of upholstery, it’s worth the time and effort to see if a local store or showroom has one on the floor that you can test before purchasing. Everyone likes different things about their seating – firm or soft seat cushions, loose or tight back cushions, a square or scooped arm. The best way to tell if a piece of furniture is right for you, your lifestyle, and your needs is to sit in it and see how you feel. You’ll know right away if it’s the right piece for you.

But what if a Butt Test Isn’t Possible?

I’ve purchased most of my furniture (and so have most of my clients) without getting to sit in it first. It’s not always possible to get your booty into a furniture sample, especially if you don’t live near the vendor you’re ordering from, or the piece is being custom-made for you. Here’s what I recommend instead.

3 Tips for Buying Accent Chairs Online:

  1. Carefully read reviews. Look for comments that talk about fit, comfort, and durability of the piece. Take outlying complainers with a grain of salt – but if you see several comments about one particular aspect of the chair, pay attention.
  2. Measure an existing piece of furniture that you have and love, and compare measurements. If your current accent chair has a seat depth of 22″ but the one you’re planning to order is only 20″ deep, it might be too shallow to be comfortable for you.
  3. Pay attention to how the chair is constructed. Quality construction often means a more comfortable piece of furniture (although not always, as some of that is just personal preference about measurements and proportions). Here’s a quick guide to common terms you’ll hear when it comes to upholstered furniture construction.
Don't make the same mistake I did! Here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.
Grab this FREE area rug size guide from interior designer Lesley Myrick

I’m a HUGE fan of decorating with color and pattern, and area rugs are an awesome way to introduce both into your home. But how do you choose the right-sized rug? It’s tricky when you’re in a store and a rug looks huge – but then you get it home, and it’s about the size of a postage stamp. (Whomp whomp.) That’s why I’ve created a free area rug size guide that you can download right here.

In general, bigger is better.

The most common mistake I see with area rugs is choosing ones that are too small. I know it can feel scary to pull the trigger on a large rug, but trust me, it’s worth it for the visual impact it has on a space! Here’s a room-by-room look at the best rug sizes.

In a bedroom with a queen-size bed,

6×9 is about the smallest size that. works. An 8×10 is even better and will ensure that the bed and nightstands will be happily situated on the rug. For a room with a king-size bed, go bigger if you can. 8×10 works, but a 9×12 feels large and luxurious.

Wondering what size rug to put in your bedroom? Check out this free rug size guide.

In the living room,

beware of the dreaded POSTAGE STAMP RUG! You know – when a rug is so small that it just sits in front of all of the furniture looking like a teeny tiny postage stamp? A 4×6 or even 5×7 rug won’t cut it. 6×9 is about the smallest rug that’ll look right in your room, and again, bigger is going to be better.

Is a larger rug more expensive? Of course. But is it going to make the difference between your room looking piecemeal or perfectly polished? Absolutely. Save your money on the accent chairs no one will use, and invest in the perfect rug instead.

In the dining room,

there’s one key thing to remember when choosing your area rug size – and that is that you’ll want to leave around 2′ of space between the edge of your dining table and the edge of the rug. That leaves enough space for your chairs to be pulled in and out comfortably without falling off the edge of the rug (which is the literal worst).

Wondering what size rug to put in your living room or dining room? Download this free rug size guide.

What if your rug is too small – but you love it?

If you already have an area rug you love but it’s just too darn small, there is a solution – and that’s to layer it over a larger rug. In the colorful living room below, we layered a plush (but small) sheepskin over a large round leopard-print rug. Layered rugs add depth, dimension, and interest to a room and are most successful when one rug is patterned and exciting, and the other is simpler and more subdued.

What if your rug is too small - but you love it? If you already have an area rug you love but it's just too darn small, there is a solution - and that's to layer it over a larger rug.

Grab your FREE area rug size guide.

You can download your free area rug size guide right here. The visual guides and design tips included will help you choose an ideally sized rug for your living room, dining room, and bedroom. I’ve also shared some examples of area rugs that are the wrong size, and why. I hope this is a useful tool for you as you start rug shopping!

Download this FREE area rug size guide from interior designer Lesley Myrick

All month we’ve been talking about color, so today I’m re-posting the 6 best paint colors for walls, trim, cabinets, and more. This is one of our most popular blog posts so if you missed it before, I hope it’s a useful resource for you now!


Now, don’t die of shock: 4 of the 6 best paint colors for walls, trim, and cabinets I’ve chosen are neutrals.

That’s right.

Your color-loving designer pal has chosen white, greys, and even BEIGE as her favorites!

There is a method to my madness, I promise. While a dramatic blue wall color can be awesome in certain rooms (like my Dark Night bedroom below), most of the time your walls are best treated as the backdrop and not the center of attention. Paint is cheap, and is meant to highlight the other amazing parts of a room design. No one wants to invest thousands in gorgeous living room furnishings and decor only for their friends to comment on how much they loooooove that $30 wall color!

So, what are my favorite paint colors? I’m glad you asked.

The best deep, dark, super sexy paint color for walls: Sherwin-Williams Dark Night

Best navy paint color: Sherwin-Williams Dark Night

Let’s hear it for MY FAVORITE PAINT COLOR EVER, Dark Night. I’m obsessed with this inky peacock blue with just a hint of teal in it. It’s navy with a badass twist. My master bedroom is this color, as are my front door and exterior shutters – what can I say, I really do love it! I’ve also convinced clients to paint with this color too. *insert evil laughter here*

Dark Night is the artsty cool girl in highschool who wears killer eye makeup and oozes confidence, and you just want to be around her and hope some of her cool-factor rubs off on you.

The best livable neutral with a little green in it: Sherwin-Williams Relaxed Khaki

Best neutral paint color: Sherwin-Williams Relaxed Khaki

I’ve loved my living room in Relaxed Khaki. Crazy how different it looks in the space than on this color swatch, right? It’s not beige (despite kind of looking like it…shhh!) but is an easy, livable, earthy neutral. In my home it really reads as green, but in other spaces it looks more like a true khaki.

Relaxed Khaki is like that hot dad at the playground – he’s not what you’d usually go for and is more boring and stable than you are, but somehow that’s really attractive.

The best medium-ish gray for cabinetry: Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray

Best gray paint color: Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray

Anyone else start singing “Aaaamazing graaay, how sweet the sound”…? Amazing Gray is a great medium gray that I’ve used on cabinetry before and loved the results. It’s not too purple or blue, and it pairs really nicely with marble and metallics.

Amazing Gray is kind of cocky (I mean really, that name!) but you can’t argue with the fact that he really is pretty amazing.

The best light grey for walls: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray

Best gray paint color: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray

Just like 7Up is the “agreeable soda” – meaning that pretty much everyone will drink it even if it’s not their absolute fave – Agreeable Gray is a pretty safe bet for your walls. It’s light, soft grey that runs just a little on the greige side with a touch of brown in it. I like to design with a LOT of color (hello, have we met?) and Agreeable Gray creates the perfect neutral canvas so that the art, lighting, furnishings, and rugs can take all the attention.

Agreeable Gray is like your boring neighbor that you like just fine, but he’s not the most charismatic guy. But you just like him, you know? Even if you can’t always remember his name.

The best crispy fresh white for alllll the walls and trim: Sherwin-Williams Extra White

Best white paint color: Sherwin-Williams Extra White

I’ve had my fair share of battles with white paint, and I’ve found a hands-down winner – Extra White. It’s not too yellow, not too blue, and really pops against bright and rich colors. All of my interior doors and trim and ceilings are in Extra White. So fresh and so clean.

Extra White is totally the over-achiever (you know: class president, valedictorian, straight-A student) of whites, and no other white even comes close. But he deserves all the accolades, even if you’re a little jealous of his success.

The best chartreuse  for a killer pop of color: Benjamin Moore Citron

Best bold paint color: Benjamin Moore Citron

Citron is like, THE BEST yellow-green ever. Benjamin Moore says that, “a generous dose of green gives this earthy, organic yellow a mellow, somewhat mysterious quality.” Mysterious? I don’t know about that. But I DO know that this electric chartreuse is my fave for adding a burst of color to a baby change table (which we did in Ford’s nursery), an interior door, or an accent table.

Citron is like biting into a lemon and making a killer sour face, but secretly you really like it and will probably do it again.

Want to know more of my favorite paint colors? I’ve got a FREE blue and teal paint color guide for you. Download it right here. 

5 Reasons You Need Both Color and Neutrals - design tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

It’s no secret I love color – hello, my obsession with teal is loud and proud. But while I’m always your cheerleader for adding color and pattern to truly express yourself at home, there are 5 reasons you need both color and neutrals in interior design.

1. To Create Contrast.

Because too much of one thing is boring! Contrast is one of the principles of design that makes things interesting. Too much of the same is boring, but too many competing elements is distracting. I like to use neutrals as the foundation and allow color to be the contrasting element that gets your attention.

2. To Create a Focal Point.

Neutrals become the backdrop to bring color center stage. If you use neutrals to create contrast, you’ll be drawing the eye to the colored items – the fun stuff! In the photo below, the colorful trio of pillows and teal area rug are definitely where my eye lands first, and are the clear focal point in the room.

It’s only after you’ve checked out the pop of color that you start to notice the other beautiful neutrals elements, like the custom light-grey curved sofa and copper and iron nesting coffee tables.

Neutrals set the foundation to create a colorful focal point.

5 Reasons You Need Both Color and Neutrals - design tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

3. To Create Balance.

Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing! Too many safe neutral colors can mean a room becomes a total snooze, but on the flip side, an extreme room bursting with color can make your eyeballs want to pop out. A mix of color and neutrals feels balanced and harmonious.

4. To Keep the Crazy Under Control.

You might not believe this as I’m always encouraging people to “bust out of boring”, but I actually think too much color isn’t a good thing! I’ve seen plenty of designer rooms with color and pattern everywhere, and while they may look incredible in a magazine or a showhouse, they just don’t feel all that livable. (And honestly, they’re probably not. Many homes like that were designed totally for show and for the shock factor.)

I want to live in a home that’s livable, delightful, and unexpected – not a total assault on the eyes. Mixing neutrals and colors keeps the crazy under control.

Before and After: A Fresh + Cozy Waco Living Room designed by Lesley Myrick with a custom curved sectional and colorful pillows in teal, chartreuse, and red.

5. Because they’re both awesome!

Neutrals can be boring (hello, builder’s beige walls) but they sure don’t have to be. Neutrals can be rich, livable, and exciting when you introduce a variety of textures and finishes. A beige microfiber couch and matching loveseat is a total snooze; but a cream performance fabric sofa, inlaid wood coffee table, hammered metal accent table, and white faux-fur pillow combo is super chic, sexy, and touchable. And then – add some colorful pillows, a gorgeous area rug and a few well-chosen accessories. BOOM. Nailed it.

Whether you love neutrals, color, or both,

it’s essential to know your style so that you can create a room that truly feels like you. Here’s a fun, free quiz to discover your true design style – and you’ll also get a shoppable style board with furniture and decor I’ve curated just for you.

The best blue and teal paint colors - free download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

If you’re like me, you LOVE blue and teal paint colors! But you’ve probably tried to choose a color before, only to find out that it was too bright, or too blue, or too…something.

Frustrating, right?

There are 8 blue and teal paint colors that are tried and true favorites of mine that I’ve used for myself and for clients with smashing success, and you can get them all right here in the Best Blue and Teal Paint Color Guide.

Here are a few of the best blue and teal paint colors, in action:

The best blue and teal paint colors - free download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Sherwin-Williams Dark Night

If you’re a client of mine, I’ve probably tried to push Dark Night on you. #sorrynotsorry

I’m totally obsessed with this navy-meets-peacock shade. I love that it leans juuuuuust a little green instead of a true navy. I’ve used it in my former master bedroom and current dining room, plus you can check it out in this Design Kit Before and After.

The best blue and teal paint colors - free download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Sherwin-Williams Cascades

Is it teal? Is it hunter green? I don’t know and I don’t care. But Cascades is a color I’ve used twice now and loved it both times, in my Texas kitchen (above) and in my Atlanta office.

The best blue and teal paint colors - free download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Sherwin-Williams Rainwashed

Betcha never even noticed that my former office ceiling wasn’t white, did you? While the paneled walls looked crisp and fresh in Extra White, I painted the ceiling in Rainwashed, a soft green-blue. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was definitely an unexpected surprise to have color on the ceiling.

The best blue and teal paint colors - free download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Sherwin-Williams Deep Sea Dive

Deep Sea Dive is so much more of a bright, true teal than I’m usually drawn to, but I love how it looked in this funky farmhouse kitchen. It was just the pop of color that this island needed to create a focal point in the space.

Grab the complete “Best Blue and Teal Paint Colors Guide” right here, totally free. It has a bunch more of my most-loved Sherwin-Williams and Farrow & Ball paint colors – along with a super valuable tip about choosing paint colors.

What I discovered at age 12 turned out to be the worst paint color I've ever used...

I’ve been obsessed with interior design my entire life. As a kid, I’d rearrange my bedroom furniture every weekend to experiment with new layouts and combinations. The first time I painted my own bedroom I was 12 years old, and after a little convincing my parents gave me free rein to choose the color AND do the painting myself. I’m so grateful for these kinds of experiences because I’ve learned so much about color and design by trying things out. And what I discovered at age 12 turned out to be the worst paint color I’ve ever used.

Picture this:

Interior designer Lesley Myrick, age 4 (awww!)

I’m 12 years old. I’ve had years of experience coloring in coloring books (as evidenced above) so clearly I’m an expert at choosing colors. My room was painted peach six years ago by my parents and I’m dying to express my pre-teen self with a more “edgy” space. I thought that the most awesome room would have sky blue walls, with a lighter blue ceiling and sponge-painted clouds. And green carpet that looked like grass.

OMG YOU GUYS, I’m cringing even writing this at the terrible design I created. This was the 90s when sponge painting was “cool”, and I can remember climbing up on that ladder to dab cloud after cloud on my ceiling thinking that I was creating a design masterpiece. (Thank goodness my parents refused to spring for the green carpet I wanted!)

And then, it happened.

The shine of a new room wore off. The excitement of having clouds on my ceiling quickly faded (and felt kinda juvenile, actually, which pissed off hardworking 12 year-old me!).

And I realized I had chosen the worst paint color ever: sky blue.

What I discovered at age 12 turned out to be the worst paint color I've ever used...sky bue!

I thought sky blue walls would feel open, expansive, and free.

You know, like being outside! Duh.

But what really happened with my sky blue walls and ceilings was that the entire room felt cold. Icy. Unwelcoming. And I quickly learned the power of paint colors, and why not every color translates well from one application to another.

Even now, I’m leery of icy blue paint colors. (And sponge painting.)

There are so many shades of light grey

with strong blue undertones that are popular right now (here’s a bit more about color and undertone, if you’re curious), and I usually caution clients against them. While they might look grey on a color swatch, that icy undertone is going to be front and center when painted on a wall. And 12 year-old me can vouch for how cold and sterile it feels!

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Learn from me and the worst paint color I’ve ever used – sky blue. Thankfully I’ve had decades of training and experience since then to learn how to correctly choose colors, and if this is something you’re struggling with at home, I’d love to help you bust out of boring and pick paint colors you totally love. Here’s how.