ISSUE 9  |  The Velvet Underground

Palettes & Paints: Modern Masters Metallic Wall Paint

March 06, 2014 4:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

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Wanting to experiment with metallic paints, we asked members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory for their recommendations. They pointed us to Modern Masters, a widely available, latex-based line that comes in a huge range of shades. 

Since most metallic paints contain real metal, they can be pricey. Modern Masters is no different—its prices are comparable with other metallic paint lines. But Modern Masters is the only brand we came across that offers affordable testers: its six-ounce sample pots are $10 each. Before blinging out your walls, we recommending doing some testing.

Not ready to go fully metallic? Here’s a tip we plan to try: architect Jonathan Teng of Heliotrope Architects in Seattle mixes Modern Masters metallics with regular latex paints to add just a little glow to walls. And when using metallics, several painters told us to stretch our dollars by first priming with a comparably colored latex paint and then adding the metallic on top.

We tried Modern Masters in six colors and varying degrees of opacity; here are our results: 

Photography by Meredith Swinehart

Above: Top row, left to right: Modern Masters Warm Silver; English Brown; and Ivy. Bottom row: Silver; Black Pearl; and Flash Copper

Above: Modern Masters sells six-ounce Sample Pots for about $16 each on their website. (We bought ours for about $10 each at local paint stores.)

Above: Though the name is a bit misleading, we think opaque Warm Silver is the perfect gold. It’s not too bright or too yellow, and has a subdued shiny hue. 

Above: English Brown is an opaque, grown-up color that would make a nice addition to another dark latex paint.

Above: Semi-opaque Ivy is my personal favorite. It’s too green to replicate any natural metallic color, so it looks like a very intentional pick. 

Above: Silver is an opaque, metallic silver that would work just as well on architectural details (or objects, such as terra-cotta pots) as on a whole wall. 

Above: Semi-opaque Black Pearl means business. This was the only shade that had so much metal it looked sparkly, so I’d recommend mixing iy with another latex paint if you don’t want a glittery look.

Above: Sheer Flash Copper, one of several colors in Modern Masters sheer line, is meant to be applied over a wall of regular latex paint or over another metallic hue. It adds just a touch of pearlescence to a wall finish. Viewed at an angle, all of the shades except Flash Copper were very obviously metallic. 

Above: Another view of English Brown.

Above: I painted a single swipe of Ivy on a garden pot I’d previously painted in Farrow & Ball’s Mole’s Breath. I love the subtle two-tone effect.

Find the perfect color to mix with metallics in our Palette & Paints series, which includes expert advice on Pink, Jade Green, Copenhagen Blue, Moody Hues, and Happiness-Inducing Colors. And on Gardenista, have a look at Architects’ White Exterior Paint Picks.