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Meet Niki Milanovic, Founder of Hound Paint

We had the opportunity to chat with Niki about her love for color and what every beginner should know about paint before diving into their design project.

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Niki is a Color Scientist, Paint Chemist, Home Renovator, and one of the founders of Hound Paint (plus, she's a Spoak member). She has always had a love for interior design and architecture. Originally when she entered university, she was supposed to be in the art foundations program to study interior design and architecture, but she accidentally took a chemistry class and fell in love with it. In her career, she has always been into materials science, paint, and coatings. With the opening of Hound Paint, her two loves finally combined, and it all came full circle.

Niki wants buying paint to be seamless. Keep reading to learn how to choose the perfect color, why the right sample can make a big difference, and why you shouldn't be afraid to experiment with paint.

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How did Hound Paint come to fruition?

After about 12 years in the paint industry. I worked for many large paint brands and helped them bring new products to the market. One thing that always perplexed me was how different the experience was from choosing colors for your home (which is very fun and inspiring) and actually buying paint (which is traditionally pretty annoying).

We decided to start Hound Paint because we wanted to start a paint company that made paint buying fun and inspiring, had friendly service, and was more connected to our hearts. We always believe that if you get the right samples and the right customer service, then that takes half the hassle out of your paint purchase. If you have someone who listens to your questions and leads you in the right direction, that cuts down on the time you spend going back and forth to the store.

Hound Paint interior design Nik Milanovic
A furry visitor in front of some of Hound Paint’s painted stick-on swatches.

What influence does color play in your life? Do you like to decorate with color in your own space?

Color has played a huge role in my life since I was little. My family and I are refugees, and my parents have always kind of struggled. Every year my parents would take my sister and I to the store to buy paint for our room. They let us choose the color, theme, and decor. We had full creative freedom. I remember one year, I was obsessed with the movie A Bugs Life, and my parents and I painted my room lime green. My mom painted a grassy mural; I had a green comforter and a big leaf canopy that my mom made me. It was awesome. I was so proud that that was my room. I may not have had the biggest house of all my friends, but I certainly had the most creative room.

I have taken that feeling with me my whole life. A place never feels like home to me until it is painted, and I get to put my creative spin on it. I love incorporating color on my walls and textiles because I can always change or repaint them. My decor is usually fairly neutral, though, so it can go with any color, really. But I love color, and I love how a certain color can make you feel or completely transform a room or home.

So, let’s help the beginners out here! What’s the first thing you want to look for when buying paint?

The first things I always look for are coverage and VOC (volatile organic compounds). High coverage means you usually do not have to do a lot of coats to get your desired color. Even though these paints usually cost more, it saves a bunch of time and money in the end. You want to avoid having to go back to the store (more time) and having to buy another gallon to finish the paint job (spending more money!). I always look for zero or low VOC formulas as well because, usually, they don't add many solvents to them. I have chronic migraines, so I cannot handle the smell of traditional paints. Buying higher VOC formulas means these toxins can stay in your walls for years.

Hound Paint mood board interior design paint color
(Left) One of Hound Paint’s newest colors, Pumpkin Spice. (Right) A dreamy green bedroom.

What type of paint finish would you recommend to someone who is painting the inside of their home?

I always recommend eggshell. It is the most well-rounded sheen. The gloss is usually not very high, so it can hide imperfections. At the same time, it has just enough gloss to make it easier to clean and resists scratches and scuffs.

Do you have any tips for someone having difficulty choosing paint colors for their home?

Always sample colors! You have to remember that the biggest player in color is light. True color is just how an object emits light. This is why it is always important to sample paint colors. The way a color looks on your screen, in the store, and in your home are all going to be different. Sampling ensures that you are making the right choice of color.

Do you have a favorite Hound Paint color?

There are a lot of colors I love right now! Shadow & Stone is a black color with a hint of emerald green. I love that it has this surprise factor and is so moody. Birch White is one of my favorite white colors because it has the tiniest hint of yellow and brown. It goes so well in homes with very cool lighting. You really can't go wrong with this white color. Homebody is probably my favorite green color, and it’s definitely a fan favorite too. It is so vibrant and makes me feel like I am in a botanical garden.

Paint chip samples interior design
Some of Hound Paint’s color swatches via @houndpaint.

Can you tell us more about your color-matching process at Hound Paint? How does that even work?!

I am not good at sports, but I consider color-matching my sport! We recently had a custom color software made specifically for us. It can do everything under the sun, but one of my favorite features is how it uses AI to predict color formulas. This is very different than going to Lowes or Home Depot to get your colors matched because they usually scan and pick the color that matches the closest. When we scan color, it creates a brand new formula every time that is custom-made for you. It takes about a minute, and we can match almost anything. I used to do this by hand and eye, which would take me 24-48 hours.

Where do you find your inspiration for creating and naming new paint colors?

We find a lot of inspiration in traveling. You might notice that many of our colors have Italian names because my partner and I recently went on our honeymoon in Italy. 😇 A lot of my inspiration comes from our customers too! I recently did a match for a nursery, and the baby ended up having the same birthday as me! So I named that color Gemini Season. 🥰

When you’re not busy with Hound Paint, what do you do on your time off to recharge creatively?

I love to bake and sketch or paint. I have to make something for just pure fun and enjoyment! I also have been writing a murder mystery novel for the last year that probably my mom will only ever read. It is likely terrible, but it is so fun to create another world on paper.

Any last words of wisdom for any first-time painters out there?

Try and make it as fun as possible! If you are painting alone, curate the perfect playlist or find a great audiobook. That's usually how I get through painting alone. If I paint with someone like my partner, we always try to play a game like 20 questions or something. Making it fun will make the time pass by!

To learn more about Hound Paint, visit their website. Plus, Spoak members get 30% off on all paint orders.

Date Posted
October 14, 2022



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