Saving Etta: Paint Colors + Home Tour Guide

Now that all the rooms have been revealed in the Saving Etta house, I thought you’d like one post to refer to all the paint colors used inside and outside the home. This will also be a great starting place to navigate all the Saving Etta room reveals.

Before we begin, a little note to let you know that Magnolia Home Paint was a sponsor of the Saving Etta project. I was thrilled to be able to showcase some of their many beautiful paint colors. Unless specifically noted, all colors are from the Magnolia Home Paint collection.

We actually had the honor of trying out the Magnolia Home Exterior Paint line before it hit the market. I can honestly say my painters loved the paint quality and the painter at the property next door came over to ask about it (he explained he was admiring the great coverage and how beautiful the finish was.) The interior paint had already won me over with its low VOCs and creamy thick texture. The paint goes on great and levels out as it dries. I’m looking forward to using their paint on many future projects!

If you want to get your hands on the paint, Magnolia Home Paint is available online and at a variety of paint retailers you can search for here.

Saving Etta Home Tour + Paint Colors:

I hope you enjoy the Saving Etta room tours. If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments.

When you pull up to the front of the Saving Etta house, you’re greeted by a cheery front porch and a beautiful green door. I had agonized over the door color in this blog post. But, ultimately decided on this color palette for the home’s exterior.

Tour Links:

Front Yard Transformation Tour

The Amazing Backyard Transformation


Tour Link:

Upstairs Rooms + an Alternative to Railings

Tour Link:

Upstairs Vintage Inspired Bathroom Tour


Tour Link:

Downstairs Bedrooms + How I Saved the Original Doors


Tour Link:

Downstairs Shared Bathroom


Tour Link:

Master Bedroom + My Bold Paint Choice


Tour Link:

Master Bathroom Reveal


Tour Link:

Mudroom Reveal + Saving the 1900 Chimney


Tour Links:

Kitchen Reveal

Living Room Reveal


Tour Link:

Laundry Room + No Hands Light Switch


I hope you found this paint colors reference helpful when picking out paint colors for your home. Did you enjoy the Saving Etta Home Tour? Please tell me which is your favorite room.

Disclosure: Magnolia Home Paint by KILZ is a Saving Etta material sponsor. I’m honored to work with them on this project. All words and opinions are my own. I have not been told what to say. As always I am very particular about the sponsors I work with and you will be told if you are reading a post that has been sponsored or in which materials were provided. 

Artists Color Wheel | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Choose Color Harmonies | Pretty Handy Girl
Color Harmony in Decorating

One of the most frequent complaints from homeowners is struggling to choose colors for their home. When you walk into the paint store, the color selection can seem overwhelming. Choosing a rug or furniture can be equally daunting. Today I’ll give you some tips and tricks for creating color harmony in home decorating. You’ll learn a little knowledge about color theory, complements and harmonies that make choosing colors much easier. Plus, you can use the same theories in almost any visual field. From  graphic design and web design to choosing your outfit for a big event. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to put together pleasing color palettes with ease.

I’m sure you’ve stumbled across art, paintings or photos that use visually stunning color palettes. Chances are that the artist or designer put thought into each color and how they work together. Let me introduce you to color relationships and harmonies!

You’ve heard the term complementary colors, but do you know what defines a complement? Here are the definitions of the various color relationships or harmonies and some great sample palettes you can use in your home!

Complementary Colors:

One of my favorite color combinations are the gorgeous pinks in a bouquet of peonies paired with an aquamarine ball jar.  Something about this palette stops me in my tracks every time! The reason this pair grabs my attention is that those two colors are complementary.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Two Twenty One

Red/orange and blue/green are directly across from each other on the color wheel which makes them complementary or a perfect pair. (Kind of like wine and chocolate…right?!)

Complementary Color Palettes

Here is another example of a complementary color palette. Blue and orange are stunning together. All the blues are balanced by a few pieces of fiery orange that demand attention in Sarah Richardson’s nursery below.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Sarah Richardson via

Complementary Color Palettes

 Split Complementary Colors:

Elise from Grow Creative is my newest favorite eye candy blog. She is a watercolor artist and photographer. You should definitely subscribe to her blog for a visual pick me up every time she posts! Her watercolor painting of a cactus contains a great example of the split complementary relationship.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Grow Creative

Although, she only used a little of the bright red-orange color at the tips of the cactus, the bright color holds its own opposite the blue and green split. Without the orange, this painting would still be beautiful with an analogous palette (see the explanation of an analogous palette here.)

Split Complementary Color Palettes

In the photo below of the Thistle from Grow Creative, the opposing colors have a wonderful split complementary relationship.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Grow Creative

The purples and green steal the show for sure, but the small hint of yellow gives this photo more complexity.

Split Complementary Color Palettes

Analogous Colors:

While attending the La-Z-Boy event, I fell in love with Beth from Home Stories A to Z’s room design. The dark and light contrast of the navy with the crisp white doors stole my heart for sure. But, the decor colors really complete this stunning palette.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Home Stories A to Z

The key colors in her room are navy, light green and yellow. The white and grays are neutral therefore, they work with any color. Together you have a great example of an analogous palette.

Analogous color harmony | Pretty Handy Girl

Another example of an analogous palette is seen in this photo of a paper floral table runner by Fiskars:

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Fiskars

Choose colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel for a gorgeous analogous palette. These colors together are sunny, warm, energetic, but most of all harmonious.

Analogous Color Harmony | Pretty Handy Girl

Tetrad and Triad Palettes: 

Now we’re getting into a few of the more complex palettes. They aren’t hard to use, but do require a little more thought in terms of amounts and value. The bold palette in this dining room works well because they are presented against a neutral black and white backdrop.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of John David Edison Interior Design in Toronto, ON

The blue, yellow and pink colors form a perfect triangle on the color wheel making them a great example of a triad relationship.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl

This bouquet my husband gave me for my birthday is a wonderful example of a Tetrad palette at work.

Tetrad Color Hamonies Split Compliment Color Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

The four colors (red/yellow/blue-violet/green) are equally spaced on the color wheel. Using all these colors in a room design can be gorgeous, but you should choose one main color and a secondary color that will dominate and let the other two colors take up less visual space. As an alternative, you could balance the bold colors with a large amount of a neutral color(s) as shown in the dining room above.

Tetrad Color Hamonies Split Compliment Color Palette | Pretty Handy Girl


After explaining some complex color relationships, I wanted to leave you with a very simple palette. The monochromatic palette is comprised of one color used throughout a room with differing values (shades of that one color achieved by adding white or black.)

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl

My screen porch has a monochromatic palette. Using a variety of shades of blue with white creates a calming palette that’s easy on the eyes (and invites one to sit for a while and relax.)

Monochromatic Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

For a little more punch, you can pair one color with black and white.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo Courtesy of MintSix Boutique Homewares and Styling in New Zealand

Mint Six Boutique creates a beautiful example of a monochromatic palette with several shades of red and coral in this bedroom.

Monochromatic Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

The coral color steals the show, but is highlighted by the contrasting black and white in the room. Using strong contrasts in your home are sure to create visual impact.

Where to Get a Color Wheel:

Creating new color palettes is easy if you use a color wheel. You can purchase a color wheel on Amazon for less than $10! Once you have one, you can use it to choose colors for a room palette, coordinate your outfit for a big event, tablescapes, logo design and much more.

Artists Color Wheel | Pretty Handy Girl

Before you have one of these great color tools on hand, you can visit ColourLovers. It is a website that allows you to browse color palettes: | Pretty Handy Girl

(Feel free to follow me on COLOURlovers, as I upload my new favorite color palettes.)

Or you can create your own palettes. One of the best tools on their site is Copaso (found under tools). You can use it to upload pictures and/or create color palettes from scratch. To see suggested complements and harmonies, select one of the buttons below the color wheel.

Copaso color palette | Pretty Handy Girl

Find photos that have color palettes you love (Houzz and Pinterest are two great places to start). Then upload the photo in the Copaso program. The program lets you pixelate the photo so you can select exact colors (you can also fine tune the hue and value until you reach your desired color.)

Copaso Pixelate Picture | Pretty Handy Girl

I uploaded this beautiful seaside home from Houzz to create a new palette of seaside colors that appeal to me:

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo Courtesy of Donna Elle Seaside Living in Nantucket, MA

Next time you are thinking about shopping for home decor, paint colors or furniture, have a plan before you go. Use color harmonies and complements to help you solidify your color palette. Planning ahead will help avoid that overwhelmed feeling.

Pin this post to refer to next time you are trying to figure out good color harmonies!

How to Choose Color Harmonies | Pretty Handy Girl

Enjoy picking fabulous color palettes from now on!

Off white farmhouse exterior house color, green door

I’m so excited to show off the colors I chose for Etta’s exterior! However, I’m equally excited to share with you a new paint line from Magnolia Paint by KILZ(This post is a sponsored post for Magnolia Home Paint by KILZ.) 

When KILZ agreed to be a Saving Etta sponsor, I was incredibly excited because I have fallen in love with their paint. In fact, I had been testing the paints on interior and exterior surfaces for a while now. When the Magnolia Paint lines were first introduced, I had the honor of flying to Waco, TX to learn more about them. (I also happened to get the chance to rub elbows with these two famous house rehabbers. I can honestly say, Chip and Joanna Gaines are as down to earth as they are on TV.)

Chip and Joanna Gaines

During the trip I spent a fair amount of time talking to one of the scientists who worked on developing the paints. She assured me I’d love the coverage, durability, and low odor of the Magnolia Home interior paint. I was skeptical, but after trying the paint I was a convert. And I wasn’t the only convert: my painters loved the paint. They raved about it on multiple occasions, saying “This is really good paint. It has great coverage and doesn’t show overlap marks.” After the painting was finished, a neighbor came over to ask me about the paint I was using. He told me he used to be a painter and apparently my painters had struck up a conversation with him telling him this “new” paint was really good quality. The neighbor asked me what my painters were using and where he could get some.

Magnolia Home Paint Products:

  • Chalk Style Paint – This paint was a dream to work with. It’s much smoother than some of the competitors. After it dries, you can get rid of the chalky feel by lightly sanding with fine sandpaper and finish off with furniture wax. The pre-mixed color palette is beautiful and offers 44 beautiful hues. This is my new go to paint for furniture, home decor, and anything I would use a chalk style paint on.
  • Magnolia Home Interior Paint – I’ve been using another brand for years and swore I’d never use anything else, but the Magnolia Home Interior Paint is smooth, not too thick, and has great coverage on pre-primed walls. What I love most about this paint line are the multitude of colors to choose from. And, they all work well together. This made choosing colors for the interior of the house super easy (thank you Joanna for curating a cohesive color palette anyone will love.)
  • Peel & Stick Color Samples – If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw all the re-useable peel & stick paint color samples I put up on the walls. This was the easiest (no mess, no fuss) way to choose colors. I will definitely order more to keep on hand for client consultations and my own person use.

Now, the secret I’ve been holding onto for months:

Magnolia Paint has an Exterior Paint Line!

  • Exterior Paint – KILZ  let me try out their new exterior paint before it was released to the public. Hopefully it will be available on store shelves soon. I know you’ll be as excited as I was to choose Magnolia Home paint for a home exterior. The latest update is it will be a few months before you can purchase Magnolia Home Exterior Paint from select local hardware stores or other suppliers. Be on the lookout! I can’t wait for you to try it. Maybe start by painting your front door a new color.

Speaking of front doors…

The front door color choice at Saving Etta was a carefully thought out decision. The colors had to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. In an area with multiple rival colleges (NC State, Duke, UNC, East Carolina University and a few more), I needed a color that didn’t pledge loyalty to any school. As a reminder, these are the color choices I was contemplating:

I love this color combination and would have chosen it for Etta except, she is a mere few miles from NC State. And NC State alumni would never paint their door Carolina Blue (or any color similar to it.) Unfortunately, I had to nix this idea immediately to risk turning off potential buyers.

After a brief time contemplating navy as a siding color, a navy blue front door felt like a good compromise. But, I worried it was too close to Duke University blue. Do you see why I was struggling with front door colors?

Next, I contemplated a pretty burnt orange color for the front door. The color looked beautiful in the fall. But, when I looked across the street and saw a neighboring house had an orange front door, I changed my mind.

This was the last color combo I contemplated. No local schools could lay claim to the green. And, I loved the freshness and timelessness of Magnolia Green. I think we have a winner!

Off white farmhouse exterior house color, green door

For weeks after the house was painted, many local neighbors would stop and tell me how great the house looked. It honestly felt like Etta had finally gotten her beauty back.

Exterior house colors for a 1900 farmhouse look

Siding Colors:

As I mentioned previously, the siding colors I toyed with were either a dark navy or light off white. Ultimately the white siding won. I wanted to choose a neutral off white color. But, I didn’t want it to be a yellowy cream color. I tested three Magnolia Paint colors: One Horn White, Locally Sown, and Blanched by painting samples on big pieces of foam board. For a few days I  moved them around the house. Ultimately, I liked Locally Sown the best. One Horn White had a slight green undertone and Blanched had a yellowy undertone. Locally Sown from Magnolia Paint was the perfect light greige white color.

Locally Sown exterior paint with True White trimMagnolia Home paint Locally Sown and True White

The trim color I chose was True White in semi-gloss. The photo below shows how it has some contrast with the siding color.

Off white house color, white trim

I must admit, I really love how it makes Etta’s attic vent louvers stand out as opposed to a traditional all white farmhouse color palette.

Magnolia Home Locally Sown paint with True White trim color

What do you think about the exterior paint choice? Do you like it? Will you try any of the Magnolia Home Paint lines soon? If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Triple A Construction house white and off white siding

Disclosure: Magnolia Home Paint by KILZ is a Saving Etta material sponsor. I’m honored to work with them on this project. All words and opinions are my own. I have not been told what to say. As always I am very particular about the sponsors I work with and you will be told if you are reading a post that has been sponsored or in which materials were provided. 

Have you ever wished you had a chalkboard wall in your home? But, those bumpy textured walls or damaged drywall are not smooth enough? Well, today I’m about to rock your world by showing you How to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall For Imperfect Walls!

SMOOTH Chalkboard WallHow to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall {For Imperfect Walls}

I feel your pain! We have a little wall between the kitchen and the dining room that was the perfect spot for a chalkboard wall. But the drywall was ripped from the removal of the beadboard. Sure, I could have ripped out the drywall and added new, but honestly I was beyond drywall in our kitchen renovation process and I didn’t want to back track.

I’m cringing at the photo below because the pantry looked like that long after we finished the kitchen. Luckily, I finished the pantry last year. You would not recognize it as the same space!

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

But enough about the kitchen renovation. I came up with a new solution for making the wall smooth enough for a chalkboard! You could also use this technique if you wanted to remove the chalkboard in the future if you live in a rental and aren’t allowed to paint walls.

Ready? Alright, let’s get this chalkboard party started now!

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional (if you have an outlet or switch to work around):

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall Instructions:

Cut Your Pieces:

Cut your masonite to size. (Or bring your measurements and ask the store to cut it to size for you.)

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Use a jigsaw, circular saw, table saw, or other power saw to cut each panel. Dry fit the panels on the wall and make any adjustments as necessary.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Plan your sections:

Use one large sheet to cover as much wall as possible. The fewer the seams the better.  Plan to hang a small piece for over any doors. (Note: The skinny little section on the left side of the door was left blank, no one has noticed after it was painted black.)

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

If you have an outlet or light switch, you need to cut a hole in the masonite to accommodate them.  To cut the hole, smear lipstick around the edges of the box (or you can smear it on an outlet as shown in this post.) Hold the masonite panel in place and push against the outlet box. When removed you should  see the lipstick impressions. (I used an extra outlet box to trace around for lines that were easier to see.)


Drill holes in the corner of the outlined shape. Use a jigsaw to cut from hole to hole. Test fit your panel.


Install Panels:

Time to hang the masonite panels. For a permanent hold, use construction glue and then secure with finish nails. If you want to be able to remove the panels later, skip the adhesive and use only finish nails.


Fill nail holes and seams with wood putty. Lightly sand smooth after the putty has dried.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Prime and Paint:

Using a foam roller, prime the chalkboard with tinted primer (ask your paint department to add as much black as they can to a small can of primer. This will reduce the number of coats of chalkboard paint needed.) My Lowe’s store was able to produce a 50% gray color.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

After the primer dries, lightly sand, and wipe clean. It’s important to sand between coats because this will give you the smoothest results and it gives a little tooth for the next layer to adhere to. You’ll need at least two coats of chalkboard paint.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Seasoning the Chalkboard:

After the paint has dried thoroughly, enlist the help of your son or daughter to help season the chalkboard (rub chalk on its side over the entire surface.)

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Then wipe off the chalk using a completely dry rag.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

There is beauty in the gray movement on a chalkboard wall, wouldn’t you agree?

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Don’t forget to add  your outlet covers. You can paint them with chalkboard paint to match the wall.  (Important: Do not paint the actual outlet, this violates electrical codes.)


Christen your chalkboard with drawings or your to do list.


Within two hours I had to erase the list because I was feeling a little stressed by all the things I needed to complete in our kitchen renovation.

This fun quote was a lot less stressful!

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

We added a chalkboard calendar a few years ago and this has been the best way for our family to stay organized (also the kids love seeing what’s coming up each week.)

2014 chalkboard calendar wall

What would you use a chalkboard wall for? I’d love to hear your ideas.


Painted laminate table

How to Paint Laminate Table Top to Withstand WearHow to Paint a Laminate Table Top

Do you have a laminate top dining table that you want to paint, but are not sure how to paint it so it will withstand the wear and abuse a table usually receives? I can help by showing you how I painted my table. It was easy to do but takes some patience.

Hello awesome readers, I am Julie from Love My Simple Home, and I’m so excited about today’s post!  Over the summer I purchased this laminate dining table at a yard sale to use in my dining room.  After storing the table for several months,  I finally decided to pull it out of storage and give it a beautiful new finish with bright white paint.Laminate Table Top

Laminate Table Top Material List:

Palm Sander

Paint with Primer

Foam Roller

Paint Pan

Synthetic Paint Brush

Polycrylic Clear Satin

Paint a Laminate Table Top Step 1: Clean

The very first thing you need to do is wash the table off.  Use a soapy sponge with water to clean all the dirt, oil, or grime off the table top and base.  Use a clean dry towel to dry it completely.

Paint a Laminate Table Top Step 2: Sand

The purpose of sanding is to give the paint/primer something to grab onto.  Use a palm sander with 220 grit sandpaper and sand the top in the direction of the grain. You don’t need to sand too much, just enough to add some “tooth” for the paint to stick to. After sanding, clean the surface again with a soft clean cloth.  If the base of your table is in poor condition, go ahead and sand it too. (You might find it easier to hand sand the base of the table.)

Laminate Table Top


Paint a Laminate Table Top Step 3: Paint

A table that will be used daily needs a paint that is durable and can withstand spills.  I recommend BEHR Premium Plus Ultra in an Eggshell enamel finish. (You don’t need an entire gallon, one quart is plenty.) This paint is stain-blocking and is paint & primer in one.  For a super bright white, use Ultra Pure White.

Laminate Table Top


Apply 4 thin coats of paint with a foam roller.  Wait 2 hours between coats.  Don’t let the first few coats discourage you. They will show the laminate underneath. Be patient, the end result will be a beautiful smooth finish.

This is what the table looks like after one coat:

Laminate Table Top

Here is the same table after 4 coats:

Laminate Table Top

If you are painting your base, use a paintbrush to paint the legs and other parts of the table that are not easily accessible with the roller.

Paint a Laminate Table Top Step 4: Seal

The final step to keep your table beautiful and help it stand up to wear is to seal it!  Use at least 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic clear satin to seal the top of the table.  Using a synthetic paintbrush apply one thin coat and let it dry overnight (patience).  Then lightly hand sand with a 320 grit sandpaper.  Clean off the surface and add another coat, wait 2 hours and apply the final coat (or more coats if desired).

Laminate Table Top


Allow the sealer to harden for at least 48 hours. Then start eating at your beautiful new table.

Laminate Table Top

Would you believe this table was an ugly laminate tabletop if you had not seen the before pictures?

Laminate Table Top

That’s it, I hope this tutorial was helpful!

Laminate Table Top

If you liked this post, I think you’ll also love these posts because they will help you transform more furniture in your house!

Laminate Table Top

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Table Top Tutorial


Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Paint a Knotty Pine Dresser