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Top Trending Furniture Paint Colors- The Wise Owl’s Guide to Finishes


Choosing a color is the hardest part of painting with Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint!  This blog will focus on the top selling and most adored colors and finishes. My goal is to guide you through choosing the best complimentary shades and finishes.  If you seek color inspiration, this favorite finishes post is your guide!

The one question I get asked more than any is “What is your favorite color?” The truth is, I do have a top favorite and it has never changed… it is JOYFUL!  I’m a turquoise fanatic (in case you haven’t guessed from our color chart).

JoyfulFor me Joyful is the perfect turquoise. It is the pop of color that can compliment many color schemes and finds a way to fit in despite its bold presence. Now that I think of it, being the oddball in the room is something I am familiar with lol. That may explain my love for all things JOYFUL! In my opinion, Joyful is best complimented by Black Walnut Glaze. I love that the glaze adds richness to the finish as well as creates an authentic time worn patina.  It tones down this fierce shade of happiness while still preserving its beauty. Joyful is a vintage shade that plays well with colors such as Gray Linen, Grecian Clay, Peppercorn, Weathervane, and more. Try it with our black hemp oil wax for an aged patina finish that mimics what only time can generally do. Here is the description listed on our website for Joyful: The Perfect turquoise! Just enough green to showcase shades of blue with a slight gray cast to make this an accessible pop of color without being over the top. Black Walnut Glaze and Joyful were meant for each other where vintage patina is desired. It is no secret that this is my personal favorite and it remains our best selling color next to Vintage Duck Egg. It is a versatile color that can be paired with every one of our finishes

Projects: top right and bottom left, Shades of Chic

Vintage Duck Egg


My second favorite color is almost neck and neck with Joyful, it is a natural beauty called Vintage Duck Egg.  This dusty shade of green-blue-gray is a color that is so accessible, it almost deserves a place on the neutral scale.  It provides a pop of color that is just dramatic enough to standout, while remaining serene and not overpowering.  It plays well with Creme, Gray Linen, River Rock, Limestone, and Smokey Quartz among others.  I like to finish it with Driftwood Glaze for a gray washed look, or Black Walnut Glaze where a more dramatic dimension drawing finish is desired.  Also perfect finished with Black Hemp oil wax, this shade never disappoints.  It remains our best selling non-neutral color since its release in the Spring of 2015.  Initially released as a seasonal selection along with Sea Salt, Weathervane, and 1950’s Green, these players all became part of our lineup due to their popularity.  Our website describes Vintage Duck Egg as: Green blue and gray meet, creating a shade reminiscent of lichen growing on a tree. A beautiful pop of color that is almost on the neutral scale because of the natural shade. An elemental soft green gray often found in nature that is pure perfection paired with all neutrals.vde

Projects: Top left Brumley Gap Designs, Top right Painted LLC, Bottom left Almond Road Designs


AntiqueVillaAntique Villa, this shade is a given… its described on our website as: The perfect off-white, not too stark, not too creamy. This shade has just enough warmth to feel inviting while still remaining bright.  Antique villa is the color that compliments all colors.  I adore it paired with Sea salt, Gray Linen, Peppercorn, and Bowie.  Antique Villa has been our #1 selling shade of all time.  It plays well with all colors from subtle to bold and everywhere in between.  If white is not a choice but a lifestyle for you, then here is your selection!  It is complimented beautifully by Mortar Glaze, an oyster gray/beige glaze with just enough richness to highlight details and create a multifaceted finish.  Try our Driftwood Natural Wax for a subtle gray washed finish.  This is the most popular neutral selected for painting cabinets as well.


Projects: Top left The Salvaged Boutique, Top right Painted LLC, Bottom Left Lindsey Atwell




The contender for best selling shade after Antique Villa is Black.  Described as: True and deep, this jet black is perfectly complimented by pearl wax for a luminous washed black, or white wax for a dramatic vintage chalkboard feel. Black or clear wax can also be used to preserved this pigment drenched black.  Black is a dramatic choice for statement pieces and finished simply with our Clear or Hemp Oil Wax, but also can be complimented with white wash for a vintage chalkboard finish, or Driftwood Glaze for a weathered gray wash.  It may also be finished simply using our Hemp Seed Oil.  If Hemp oil is new to you, check out our blog post about all things Hemp oil here.



Projects: top left Maebelle’s Treasures, top right The Salvaged Boutique, bottom left Brumley Gap Designs


Creme-alt2 (1)


Shabby chic and eclectic style lovers agree, Creme is a shade that blends in and makes itself at home.  The quintessential french creme, a succulent heavy cream shade with warmth that is not perceived as yellow but a rich shabby white.  It stays far from the yellow scale while possessing warmth and richness.  Creme plays well with all colors and is a common selection for an accent inside hutches, on 2-tones dresser drawer fronts, and more.  Mortar glaze will add a dramatic richness while our Hemp Oil Umber Wax will add an espresso infused faceted finish.  Creme is versatile and knows no boundaries, so experiment with selections here with ease.



Projects: Top left and right The Salvaged Boutique, bottom left Darling and Distressed Boutique




Limestone is a new player in the neutral game.  A whisper of cool Gray that is on just barely on the white spectrum. Vintage Duck Egg is my personal favorite to pair with Limestone. Driftwood wax is a beautiful finish that adds subtle dimension to this shade.  Limestone has quickly become a favorite due to its agreeable disposition when paired with almost any color.  Grays are a traditional favorite, and this pale mix of alabaster and crushed limestone have been a top seller and personal favorite of mine.  Try it with Mortar, Charcoal, or Driftwood glaze or dry brushed with Antique Villa.



Projects: Top left Dreamin’ Big Designs, top right Dearly Distressed, bottom left The Furniture Art Studio



Mermaid KissNow for some excitement!  Mermaid Kiss is a turquoise lovers dream.  It has is a bold happy selection that can still be toned down with Charcoal or Black Walnut Glaze, Black Hemp Oil, Umber wax, or White Wash Glaze.  Pair it with any neutral or Coral Reef or Begonia for a tropically drenched pairing.  Layer it with Deep Turquoise and Joyful for a Caribbean inspired trio.  Here is what we said about Mermaid Kiss on our color description: Paint is therapy and this gorgeous turquoise is your happy place! Bright, fun, electric, and versatile. Tone down with black walnut glaze for a vintage patina or use white wash glaze to soften this shade. Umber wax can be used to create a union of opposites attract. Peppercorn and Coral Reef are two personal favorites to pair with Mermaid Kiss. This is a bright, energetic pop of color this is simple stunning paired with so many colors. Try it with antique Red for a surprising harmony.mermaid

Projects: Top Left-bottom left Wendy Wilshek’s Handpainted Furnishings, top right Junque with a Purpose,



Smokey QuartzSmokey Quartz i is my go-to shade on many projects both as an accent color, and a stage stealing neutral.  Described as: Perfectly balanced true gray. Just enough cool and warmth to be situated in the middle of the gray spectrum. Accent with peppercorn for a 2 toned beauty but also coordinates with any shade because of its versatility. Try Black Hemp oil wax paired with it for added dimension.  My favorite combos include pairing it with Limestone or Peppercorn although, it plays well with many others.  Charcoal Glaze is a great finish where dimension and rustic appeal are desired.





Projects: Top Left Kenosha Retro & Chic, Top Right Alexa Kamrad, Bottom Left A Shade of Teal


PeppercornSince Peppercorn and Smokey Quartz are pretty much besties, they deserve to share the spotlight.  Peppercorn is: Almost a graphite, this rich gray is a beautiful yet dramatic choice for cabinets and more. Deep cool gray that is a favorite paired with Higgins Lake, Limestone, Joyful, and complimented perfectly by our Black Walnut Glaze.  This deep shade of gray is another fave of cabinet painters.






Projects: Top left Pickin’ and Paintin‘, top right Darling and Distressed Boutique, bottom left Chalk It Like Its Hot


Sea SaltIf you want a show stopping unique beachy shade, Sea salt is a great selection!  Beachy salty air inspired this shade of lovely. Gray, Blue, Green, and White all combine to produce a color that seems to change throughout the day depending on the suns influence. Pair with Smokey Quartz, Peppercorn, Limestone, Gray Linen, or Snow owl. Pearl wax or Pearl glaze can be used to add luminescence without being over the top.  This alternative to white has plenty of ocean inspired tones that is truly the most multifaceted color in our lineup.



Projects: Top Left Bergshire Manor, top right The Salvaged Boutique, bottom left Darling and Distressed Boutique


Gray Linen


Gray Linen is arguably the most versatile of all the neutrals.  This shade of greige (gray/beige) has enough gray to balance well with blacks and grays and enough warmth to pair with Espresso and browns.  It is a french inspired soft shade that compliments both modern, traditional, and vintage decor.  My favorite pairing is with Grecian Clay.  Mortar Glaze, Black Walnut Glaze, and Black hemp oil wax are a few suggested finishes to use with this warm unbiased neutral.  The most versatile of all shades, a greige with equal parts gray and beige to create a tone that lends itself to cool and warm accents equally. 



Projects: Top left Urban Farmhouse Finishes, top right Darling and Distressed Boutique, bottom left Junque With A Purpose

Grecian Clay



Grecian ClayThe more dramatic counterpart to Gray Linen, a richer shade of greige that is reminiscent of homemade hot cocoa with enough gray to reserve its place as a versatile neutral. Glazed in Black walnut glaze or waxed in black hemp oil wax, this neutral will reveal unexpected richness.  This color has been a best seller from the beginning because of its versatility.  Pair it with Gray Linen, Creme, Tourmaline, or any neutral.




Projects: Top left and right Ms Peddler’s Boutique, bottom left Dreamin’ Big Designs


Higgins Lake


Higgins lakeOne of the most loved and best selling blues in the Wise Owl Palette. A truly versatile blue that has a slight turquoise cast while remaining an approachable and very complimentary color to most every shade. Pairs with all neutrals and Driftwood Glaze has quickly become a favorite finish. Its safe to say that Higgins Lake Plays nicely with all colors. Inspired by its namesake, a clear and almost Caribbean looking lake in Michigan.  This continues to be the favorite blue in the Wise Owl collection, try it with Creme, Peppercorn, or Grecian Clay among others.  This is a very versatile vintage inspired blue.  I love it finished with Black Hemp Oil wax!



Projects: top left Farmhouse Lane, top right Reimagined Restorations, bottom left Homespun Market




Bowie: A true show stopping peacock blue. Navy with a slight emerald cast create an unforgettable and one of a kind color. Dramatic and attention demanding, it is a gorgeous accent to whites, Gray Linen, Smokey Quartz, and more.  Released Spring 2016 as a tribute to its namesake David Bowie (a personal lifetime favorite artist), Bowie possesses a unique, androgynous, unusual, and  exciting beauty. With these attributes, we found it necessary to name it after a legend that possessed these same traits. Since its release, it has risen as a favorite dramatic and jaw dropping selection.  It is a distinct alternative to navy due to its emerald green undertone paired with a rich nautical navy.  It is perfect paired with whites, Smokey Quartz, River Rock, Joyful, and reds.  For a surprising but inspiring pairing, try complimenting it with Neptune.  You can add dimension with Black Walnut or Charcoal Glaze or Black Hemp Oil Wax.  Checkout our blog featuring Bowie here.bowie

Projects: top left New Life Creations by Al, top right Rehab To Fab, bottom left The Salvaged Boutique.




Tourmaline: A medium vintage natural shabby chic green that is simply sweet. A muted green compared to our brighter 1950’s green. Black Walnut or Black Glaze is a beautiful compliment but Tourmaline remains a receptive color to all of our finishing products. Creme and tourmaline pair together to create nostalgia and paired with petal you may be reminded of spring peonies.  This green has become a new favorite in the last year.  Pairs well with Petal, Creme, Limestone, Smokey Quartz, Grecian Clay and more.  It is a vintage shabby chic green with modern appeal.



Projects: top left Ms. Peddlers Boutique, top right Urban Farmhouse Finishes, bottom left Maebelle’s Treasures LLC.




Weathervane is a deep bronzed gray/brown that is almost black.  It has much more warmth than the cool gray tone of Peppercorn and adds masculine drama to pieces.  This shade is a luxurious combo of coffee beans and vintage black chalkboard.  It is great paired with neutrals, Greens, turquoise, Anchor and Bowie among others.  Despite its unique shade, it pairs so well with gray, beige or rich brown decors.  Add more drama with Black or Charcoal Glaze or tone down with White Wash Glaze.  Black Hemp Oil Wax and White Wax are 2 more recommended finishes as well.



Projects: top left Brumley Gap Designs, top right Painted LLC. bottom left Urban Farmhouse Finishes.







In addition to favorite colors and finishes, I thought it would be helpful to showcase a few of my favorite paint brushes.  My #1 favorite go-to brush for all projects is the Cling On O40, this medium oval brush makes painting enjoyable offering a brush stroke free finish, easy cleanup, and this workhorse of a brush is just the right size for most projects.  Check out our blog post here to find out what makes these brushes so special and why they are the go-to brush of professional furniture painters.  O40


For cutting in and smaller projects, I recommend the Cling On R12.  This dainty round brush is the smallest round brush in our lineup and one I find myself using often.  R12




If you are creating a more distressed, shabby chic finish try our HQ 45mm  paint and wax brush, the large round natural bristle brush is essential for creating texture and dimension as well as applying wax.  This is my favorite size brush for waxing and it really helps speed up application of wax, and you will find you use less wax than application with a cloth.  The HQ brushes are incredible brushes for getting into detailed areas and painting spindles.



It was hard to just pick a few colors to feature but these colors of Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint are my personal and customer favorites alike.  Don’t stop here, explore all of our colors here.  Discover your own favorite colors and finishes, choosing a color is the hardest part!




Happy Painting!

Karen Chouinard







Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint

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