Abigail Ahern's controversial paint advice may change the way you decorate – for good

The esteemed designer has just made her most daring statement yet. Will you follow her bold advice?

Abigail Ahern controversial paint tip
(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Maximalist expert Abigail Ahern is not afraid of making fearless waves in the interior world  – with her extravagant use of indulgent textiles, embellishments, and sumptuous rich color palette; her style is certainly not for the faint-hearted. However, the queen of courageous home decor may have just made her most controversial statement yet. 

Speaking to her Instagram followers during a live-streamed question and answer session, Abigail announced that we should 'forget the orientation of your house when choosing a paint color' and should, instead, focus on the color of the accessories. 

'I'm going to tell you something now, and a lot of people are going to disagree with me, but I'm going to say it because this is what I do,' Abigail opened before making her statement.

Abigail Ahern controversial paint tip, living room with dark painted wall

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

'Forget the orientation of your house when you're choosing a paint color. I know a million people and experts in the industry will tell you otherwise, but, I say, it doesn't matter what color you're putting on your walls.'

'Whether it's east, west, north, or south, choose a color that you love. If it's north-facing, accessorize with some warmer tones, but don't get too caught up on the east-west mumbo-jumbo,' Abigail adds.

Before we change our decorating habits entirely, we caught up with experts at the top of the paint industry to see if they would follow Abigail's advice. 

Abigail Ahern controversial paint tip, green painted walls and accessories

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Team Agree

David Harris, Design Director at Andrew Martin, reiterates Abigail's suggestion that, above all, we should paint our walls a color that makes us happy. If the shade sparks joy, then David, like Abigail, suggests we should take the plunge. 

'The colors we choose are one of the most subjective and personal parts of our interiors, and having spent an increased amount of time within the same four walls this year, there will be many of us who are re-thinking the shades we wish to surround themselves with,' David suggests. 

He continues, 'Clever use of color can emulate distant places and heritage features. If you want to create an intimate and cozy space, emerald green packs a full, but at the same time, an understated punch of color. Don't be scared to select shades that are a true representation of you and your personality; these are the pieces that say something about you and your house.' 

See: Painted wall ideas – have some fun with your walls with these creative paint ideas

Abigail Ahern controversial paint tip

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Team Disagree 

We warned you Abigail's advice would come with its opponents, and they include Tash Bradley, the Lead Colour Specialist at Lick

'To enjoy color at its full potential, acknowledgment of, and working with, the lighting conditions is a must. Light is what determines what color you see, so north-facing light will produce a different color vision to south-facing,' Tash warns. 

'As your walls are the biggest canvas for color in any space, we should be mindful of these proportions when thinking about a room's full scheme and palette – ultimately, your wall color will be the most dominant shade due to the literal amount of surface area it covers,' she adds. 

Abigail Ahern controversial paint tip, living room with plants

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

However, Tash supports Abigail's suggestion that accessories also play an important contribution to the overall tone of a room, as she suggests:

'It's important to think about color harmony and the importance of playing with undertones for all the colours in a space, from walls to accessories to soft furnishings. It's the combination of all the shades together in a space that creates the overall feeling and behavior – they need to work as one, not fight against each other.'

See: Interior Designer Abigail Ahern shares her three rules for creating the perfect garden

'So, take a north-facing room which you're looking to make light and airy. Painting the walls with a white that has a grey undertone, no matter how many bright and bold accessories it's paired with, will always be fighting against the dullness from the north-facing colder light. Instead, paint with a white which has yellow or pink undertones would work brilliantly when combined with warmer toned accessories,' Tash adds. 

Whether you agree or disagree, we'll certainly struggle to forget Abigail's advice any time soon.

Megan Slack

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, well-being stories, and celebrity-focused pieces.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.