On a transatlantic flight back to the US once, a very nice flight attendant asked me if I worked in NYC and I answered that yes, I did, I was a designer; quite out of the blue she asked if I could help her with a question she had about her living room: 
-what color should I paint it? 
-ummm, I would  have to see it... 
-what can I do about my big ugly fireplace? 
-ummm, I would  have to see it... 
I was not trying to avoid the subject, it was simply impossible to answer without knowing more.
This is not a rare occurrence and as flattering as it is to be asked, giving advice for a space you usually have not seen is not exactly like driving blindfolded but it does feel a little like driving without a rear view mirror; not really impossible, but pas très comfortable. 

Hence my new regular column: 
au secours! -
I will post  general advice in answer to non site-specific questions I have been asked. You may participate, of course. That would be so much fun. Just keep it relatively general, if you could. 
Because, ummm, I would have to see it....
Here we go:
Anne:  Can I paint my interior doors a color other than the trim color? in that case which one?
Mais oui, bien sur.

Des portes grises
We REALLY should not be afraid of a little gray. There is nothing softer if you stay light or medium and nothing more striking if you go dark. One fabulous way to add contrast to a home is to paint the doors a color and I really advise you to go with gray. Why gray? because it is a neutral just like an off-white or ivory. Trust me. And once you have painted your doors gray (it IS neutral, just try it) then all the doors look fine on both sides in all the rooms whether the walls are all the same throughout or each room is a different tone; 
BUT: when choosing colors for each room make sure they all will look fine with the particular shade of gray you are thinking of going with. And, no, the walls do NOT have to be gray but a hue with a hint of gray or beige in it, does work best.

grayish blues and greens
muddy pastel yellows

beigy pinks, mauves and nudes

A lesson in color depth, from light to dark. This is an exterior door, but there is no reason why it could not be applied to interior ones.

Lighter shades
 Tone on tone or almost
Medium shades
With pale pink 

With a brighter hue

Next to brilliant color

With pale taupe

Very dark shades
 Striking with deeper jewel tones.

images house beautiful, oursuburbancottage, patricia gray, cotedutexas, elledecoration, cote sud

If you wish to ask a question, please post it at un petit commentaire below and I'll be very happy to try to come to the rescue on the next AU SECOURS!.
au revoir.


  1. I love it, all of it! One of your best posts! The variation of the gray colors is what makes it so appealing to me...Maryanne xo

  2. Very lovely post with good food for thought, and color to contemplate! I love these greys..