What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg? Choosing Paint and Fabrics for Your Home

kichen hutch and bue foyer doors

What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg? In Other Words, Do You Choose Your Paint Colors or Fabrics First?

Well, new research says we have an answer to this age-old question.  Sit tight and we’ll get to that in a few minutes.  First let’s talk about fabric and paint.

Do You Choose Your Paint Colors or Fabrics First?

Some people swear that you MUST choose fabrics first, and we might agree, except that we’ve done it both ways, with good results each time.  So, what’s the answer to this question?  The answer is…it depends.  It depends on several factors, each of which we will discuss. You have to identify the scope, purpose, and budget of your project.  


Let’s address scope first.  Is this a new build, and therefore, a clean slate?  Do you have the bucks to start over with all-new everything?  If you’re like most people, you certainly do not.  Are you painting and decorating a whole house or one room?  How will that room affect the rest of your home?  Do you want it to flow seamlessly, or are you updating things as you’re able?  Are you considering that a really fresh new room might make the rest of the house look dated?  Mm-hmm…exactly why we believe you’re better off avoiding the trends.  As color expert Maria Killam advises, “A fresh and versatile canvas, that is, a home with simple timeless wood floors and lots of fresh white and cream finishes, is the perfect CLASSIC and TIMELESS backdrop for COLOUR.  ANY colour you like!”  We couldn’t agree more.


What are you trying to achieve?  Do you simply want to freshen up your room with a new wall color, or are you going for a whole new style or look?  If you have the means to switch to an entirely new style, that will affect the scope of your project.  Make a list of what you wish to accomplish.


Are you operating on a shoestring with lots of DIY projects?  Do you have the means to hire a designer or decorator (which, by the way, we highly recommend)?  In the long run, hiring a designer can help to save you money by choosing the correct colors and finishes the first time, helping you to avoid pitfalls, and by simply alleviating the stress that inevitably comes from having too many choices.

Order to do Things When Decorating a Home

Now that you have considered the scope, purpose, and budget for your project, let’s address the question itself.  In what order do you do things when decorating or redoing a space?  As  mentioned, we have chosen fabrics and furniture first and we have chosen paint colors first, and both have been successful.  If you’re going with a soft neutral wall color, or a white or off-white shade, you can safely choose your paint first.  Here’s the key:  make sure you know whether you’re going for a fresh color palette or an earthy color palette.  I will again refer to Maria Killam in a post from 2014, but that still resonates today (and we’re paraphrasing here): white goes with gray (fresh) and cream goes with beige (earthy).  We recommend that you select a neutral color for your large living spaces, so that you can easily add color with fabrics and accessories.  If this is your plan, you can safely choose paint first.  When adding fabrics and accessories make sure they compliment your fresh or earthy palette.  On the other hand, if you are painting your walls a color, it is wise to choose your fabrics first, and then your paint.  This way you can choose a wall color that closely relates to a color in your fabric. 

How to Choose Paint Colors: Fresh or Warm Colors

Choosing paint colors is not easy.  It takes an experienced eye to determine which tones work well together, and if you ask 10 people, you’ll likely get 10 different opinions.  In the next section we will list our favorite fresh whites and off-white paint colors.  Since we prefer using Benjamin Moore paints , we’ll stick to those to keep it simple.

Our Favorite Fresh Neutral Benjamin Moore Colors

Our favorite fresh neutral Benjamin Moore colors for your main living spaces:

  • OC-55 Paper White (off-white; reads a soft very pale gray)
  • OC-62 Baby’s Breath (off white; reads super-soft pale gray, similar to Paper White, but even lighter)
  • HC-173 Edgecomb Gray (a true greige [gray-beige], this soft color has more depth and looks fabulous with white and fresh colors)
  • OC-23 Classic Gray (a soft off-white that reads warm, very light gray)
  • OC- 117 Simply White (off-white that reads white, but is soft and warm)
  • OC-65 Chantilly Lace (a fresh and clean bright white that is perfect for trim and cabinets; also works well on walls in room with lots of natural sunlight)

Our Favorite Warm Neutral Benjamin Moore Colors

Our favorite warm neutral paint colors for your main living spaces:

  • OC-15 Baby Fawn 
  • OC -45 Swiss Coffee (a warm off-white, this color really is neutral.  It leans warm, but is versatile enough to use with grays and truer white shades)
  • OC- 17 White Dove (a true off-white, White Dove is another extremely versatile color that works with earthy and cooler colors)
  • OC-20 Pale Oak
  • OC-27 Balboa Mist
  • OC-131 White Down

What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg?

So then, what came first, the chicken or the egg?  Ha.  Just like our answer to the paint/fabric dilemma, the answer is a little muddy.  According to Time Magazine’s research, the egg came first, as evidenced by dinosaur embryo and egg fossils, dating back 190 million years.  It is theorized that chickens evolved from a hybrid bird-like creature, finally giving way to a domesticated chicken about 7000 years ago.  Time then went on to report that Greek philosopher Aristotle settled the question this way, “both went infinitely backward and always existed.”  Go figure!

From the HartLand with love,

Monica, Brittany & Cheyenne

One thought on “What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg? Choosing Paint and Fabrics for Your Home

  1. In a southeast facing room painting cabinets and trim soft chamois, what are some slightly deeper whites that would look beautiful on my walls?

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