The walls and ceiling in this room are painted Timothy Straw, the rafters are the 2014 Color of the Year Guilford Green, and the plant shelf is Split Pea. (Benjamin Moore)

Carl Minchew, vice president of color innovation and design for Benjamin Moore, brought his expertise in paints and stains to our Home Front online chat last week. Here are some of our favorite suggestions.

1. Nervous about using a bold color? Go monochromatic: “This means focusing on one color but using different depths and intensities to create interest.” This kind of color scheme has been around for a long time but has been getting more popular recently. Minchew suggested using it with the 2015 Color of the Year, Guilford Green.

The walls in this room are Timothy Straw, while the door is Jack Pine. (Benajmin Moore)

2. The ceiling doesn’t have to be white: “Depending on the room, you can use the ceiling to create some drama. . . . It’s a great place to be creative!” The exception: In a small, dark room, it’s best to keep the ceiling white to enhance the light.

The ceiling in this kitchen is painted Seahorse, a pale green. (Benjamin Moore)

3. Want to protect wood but still get a natural look? Try varnish: A low-luster varnish “will protect the wood from stains and sun but leave it looking natural. You can also choose a very light stain that enhances the look of the wood. This can be helpful if there is any discoloration you want to mask.”

4. Brighten a dark, paneled basement with paint: “Wood paneling is actually easy to paint. The key is to make sure there is no wax or dirt on the surface. You probably don’t need a primer, but if there is a lot of contrast between the panel and the seams, you might want to use a primer.” He suggests a light color such as Pink Damask. (“Don’t panic, it’s not that pink!”)

The walls in this room are Pink Damask. (Benjamin Moore)

5. Painting brick? Do your prep work first: The brick needs to be in good condition. “Check the mortar and make sure the brick itself is sound. Priming will seal the brick if it is porous.” Then he suggests a latex exterior paint.

Read the rest of this transcript and submit questions to the next chat, Thursday at 11 a.m.