Living Well

An Insider’s Insight: Benjamin Moore’s Andrea Magno

There are few people who know color better than today’s Insider, Benjamin Moore’s Director of Color Marketing & Development, Andrea Magno.

Magno leads a team that is focused on the myriad aspects of color, and we’ve asked her to share her thoughts on everything from color trends to selecting the right finish.

Tell Us more about Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year. 

Each year, we bring together influencers from a wide array of industries and experiences to see where there are commonalities.

We share thousands of images to see which colors stand out from the rest. After lots of editing and finessing, we establish a palette that captures the color sensibility for the coming year. The one stand-out color becomes our Color of the Year.

For 2021, the Color of the Year is Aegean Teal 2136-40, a soothing blend of blue and green with a nice touch of gray.

2021 Color of the Year, Agean Teal

What colors are people gravitating to right now? 

With neutrals dominating color palettes for several years, people are now craving color. It can be a small ‘color moment’ or the main event in a room. Warmer colors that are comforting and welcoming have seen an uptick in interest.

People are using color as a means to find happiness in the home. We always encourage people to think about the colors that resonate with them to create their ideal spaces.

Which palettes are most exciting To you at the moment? 

Because the colors that stood out to the team for 2021 have a rooted, organic quality, they are warmer than we’ve seen the past several years. There is a wonderful, sunbaked quality to the colors in our Color Trends 2021 palette.

For me, I was really intrigued by natural dyes and materials. There is an authenticity in appearance that is not perfect, yet we can celebrate the beauty of this imperfection. Overall, there is a lived-in softness about these colors that feels right for 2021.

What practical advice can you share with our readers when it comes to paint colors? 

The most important step to build into a color selection process is sampling the color to better understand how it will look in the space.

Understanding the role of light and other elements in the room is crucial to selecting the perfect color.

The color that looks great in a friend’s home may not look the same in your own, so taking a bit of extra time for sampling is super important to make a confident color selection.

Any tips on making the right color choices? 

We suggest using a piece of foam core so that a large sample can be painted out and moved around the room, as color is apt to look different in areas with bright natural light versus shadowed areas.

By painting a separate material, the sampled color won’t compete with the existing color on the wall which can alter color perceptions. The other option is to consider our 4×8” paper swatches that are available on

In either case, it’s best to look at a color at different times of the day since color can look different in morning and evening light. If possible, seeing a color on a sunny versus a cloudy day can be helpful when painting exteriors.

Tell us about finish options. What should consumers think about when choosing a finish? 

Generally speaking, eggshell finishes are a great choice for rooms that have a lot of use and traffic. There is a very low level of sheen and the finish is easy to clean.

Matte finishes are also very pretty for their depth of color and velvety look. This finish is formulated to withstand cleaning, and we even offer a matte finish with Aura Bath & Spa, which is designed for bathrooms and areas where humidity and moisture are a concern.

As for trim, doors and millwork/cabinetry, a higher sheen is preferable as it will wipe away fingerprints with ease. Go-to finishes for these applications are satin and semi-gloss. 

Can you talk a bit about lacquered walls? When are they practical?

Walls finished with higher gloss levels such as a high-gloss can be dramatic and quite beautiful, but it is important to remember that a higher gloss will be less forgiving of imperfections so careful prep-work is paramount.  

Let’s discuss white paints. What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a shade of white?

It’s funny, some people think of white as a default or unimaginative color, but the reality is that selecting the right white paint is trickier than one might assume.

Benjamin Moore’s

We have a vast array of white paint colors that vary in undertone. It is always helpful to consider the other fabrics or materials being used in a room when selecting the perfect white color.

If the general tone of the room is warmer, typically a warmer white will be a good route to take. The sample applies for a space with cooler elements. Again, sampling is a great step ensure the color meets design goals and expectations.

I hope you have enjoyed these color and paint tips from Magno. I loved that she mentions how colors can vary depending on the light so be sure to sample them in your space.

It’s important to add that how a paint color looks in a photo is not necessarily how it will look on a paint chip or in person. Many times paint colors in a photograph are altered from their original form.

Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your expertise and knowledge with all of us.