My Favorite Tried-and-True Paint Colors feat. Thistlewood Farms

KariAnne’s projects come with a colorful charm that has put a sparkle in our eye for years. We caught up with the author and Thistlewood Farms creator to talk about her favorite Sherwin-Williams paint colors and how she’s brought them to life at home.

KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms.
KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farms 
Photo Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms

Q: For years, our followers have been dazzled by your traditional-with-a-twist projects. Can you tell our Tinted readers a bit about how you got started?

A: I think it all started with my first dollhouse. I would spend hours picking out wallpaper, paint and making little food for the kitchen out of salt dough. I even made furniture out of cardboard boxes and dowel rods.   

I couldn’t wait to have my own home, so I could create a space I loved that was all mine. Along the way, I discovered how much fun it was to decorate and make a space that felt creative and unique. 

Kitchen island cabinets painted in Peppercorn SW 7674.
Photo Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms 
Featured Color: Peppercorn SW 7674 (Kitchen Island Cabinets)

Q: You believe that DIYs should be fun and simple. How did that philosophy become your cornerstone for projects?

A: I love, love, LOVE thinking outside the box by creating home decor that makes a statement without spending a lot of money. Fun and simple is my motto! I think it started when we bought our first home and we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on decorating.   

I shopped yard sales and got creative with paint – it was so much fun that I never stopped. I think the key to DIY is having fun with it and not taking decorating too seriously. I think that’s why I loved painting my spaces in creative ways, like the fun project I recently did with our kitchen island.   

Just a simple DIY and an afternoon, and we created an entirely different look for the space on a budget. 

Bright home office with paneled wall painted in Coral Reef SW 6606.
Photo Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms 
Featured Colors: Alabaster SW 7008 (Left Wall), Coral Reef SW 6606 (Panel Wall)

Q: Your projects are often motivated by a story; how do you use color to help capture the spirit of these DIYs? 

A: Color and paint are my happy place, so I think most of my projects start with a story because I’m always trying to make our home a haven. It’s so easy to change up a space or a piece of furniture with an unexpected color.  

I needed a fun place to write stories for my books, so I redid my office with a brilliant pop of color using Coral Reef. All that color made me so happy and inspired me to write even more stories. 

Exterior of a traditional-style house with painted brick steps and front porch.
Photo Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms 
Featured Colors: Rushing River SW 7746 (Siding), Cityscape SW 7067 (Front Porch)

Q: Since you and your family have moved back into your childhood home, what has it been like re-imagining those spaces? How has color played a role in making them feel like your own (again!)?

A: They say that you can’t really go home again. But we DID. It’s been so much fun reimagining everything and changing it up to make it our own. One of my favorite budget projects that we’ve finished on the house is to paint the brick on the front porch and steps. It’s such a simple DIY, but it made such a big difference.

Eclectic dining room painted in Naval SW 6244.
Photo Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms 
Featured Colors: Naval SW 6244Extra White SW 7006 (Ceiling, Trim)

Q: What is one of your go-to color combinations when you’re refreshing a space?

A: Anyone who reads my blog could answer this for me. 🙂 

My favorite color combination is blue and white. It’s refreshing, classic and makes a space feel current without being too trendy. My favorite shade of blue to use is Naval, and I love pairing it with Extra White

Close-up of kitchen cabinets painted in Peppercorn SW 7674.
Photo Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms 
Featured Color: Peppercorn SW 7674

Q: Do you have a favorite Sherwin-Williams color (or two)? What makes that one stand out?

A: I could fill a page with my favorite Sherwin-Williams colors. Some of my top favorites are AlabasterIntellectual GrayRepose Gray and Urbane Bronze. But my current favorite? That would be Peppercorn. It’s such a pretty color with beautiful undertones that are perfect for fall and winter. 

Feeling inspired? Check out more projects by Thistlewood Farms on our influencer page, and drop a comment below to share some of your own tried-and-true paint colors you love using.  


  1. Terrific advice. Love her creativity and positive attitude!!

    Michael Eye
  2. Agreeable Grey Gibraltar

    Becky Accashian
  3. We did our bedroom in Naval last winter and love it! It feels so cozy. Another favorite Sherwin Williams color of mine is sea salt. It is gorgeous.

    • Sherwin-Williams logo

      Your bedroom does sound cozy, Kim!

    • I just painted my dining room and living room Sea Salt. What color would you suggest for the trim? My trim is dark, looks dingy and I’d like to brighten it up.

      Jessica White
      • Sherwin-Williams logo

        Hello Jessica, Sea Salt SW 6204 is a beautiful soft gray-green and looks best with a clean white like Pure White SW 7005 or Extra White SW 7006 on the trim.

  4. Beautiful combination of colors to complete the room with inspiration too bad I don’t have that t r a i t; it would save me so much anxiety if I was blessed with that Talent

    Margaret Chitwood
  5. Reading your daily excerpts of imagined dreams come true for you and your family delights me. I just wanted you to know that classic blue and white are my favorites as well. We painted the exterior doors of our little cottage in Edinboro Lake “Sherwin Williams Naval”, and it is so pretty. We have lots of projects are planned for that little cottage. Picking up w’w carpeting and putting down new waterproof flooring is next. Edinboro Lake is in Edinboro, PA and the home of Edinboro University of PA, 20 mins from Lake Erie, PA. Thank you for your cheerful approach to keeping up with home making.

  6. I believe this was one of the best advertisement I have ever seen.

    Bill Armstrong
  7. This is simply gorgeous! This blue and white palette stole my heart last year when we updated our RV. Naval is so versatile and pairs so well with so much. We used it on our lower kitchen cabinets (top cabinets painted a bright white) and paired it with butcherblock counter tops (in white Maple), gold hardware and Faucet and black stainless steel appliances. It really is the feature color of the entire project. Great job, this room is stunning! I can see this color being a favorite for many years to come.

    Karrie Underwood
  8. What curtins did you use in the dining room photo? My living room/library is Naval and i have been looking for the right curtins.

    Sarah Deschler
  9. We’ve used Repose Grey on our walls at work for a couple of years. Yes, It’s the Emerald paint – my boss always wanted to just cover our 25,000 sq feet if he thought it looked dirty – I save them money by buying good paint that we can actually wash. It pairs well with soft peaches, darker greys, and spiced pumpkin shades.

  10. Good Morning!
    I LOVE the navy blue and white room. We painted our floors and ceiling in a Porter Paint color Dried Basil (but had it copied to use SW paint…my favorite). We trimmed the rooms out in Extra White. My upstairs is lighter khaki in the main rooms that I now want to change to a white or other neutral. The Dried Basil meets the Khaki at the 2 story stairs…..what are your suggestions for a white or other neutral?

    Thanks so much for your help! Happy Day! zoe

    • Sherwin-Williams logo

      Hello Zoe, glad to hear you like our paint so much – it is appreciated. Look at these options for your white/neutral:
      Cream and Sugar SW 9507
      Cotton SW 9581
      White Sesame SW 9586

  11. Thanks so much for your help!
    Can’t wait to get paint chips and move them around to decide.

    Happy Day! zoe

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