Decorating help... what color to paint... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-01-2008, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay all decorating mamas... I need some serious help!!!

DH and I are closing on our first home in March and we finally get to decorate our space how WE want to. We finally get to PAINT!!! But picking colors is NOT my strength. DH and I are VERY conservative when it comes to choosing paint colors. I WANT to have fantabulous colored walls, and I'm not afraid of color, I just don't know which ones to pick And since we've been in apartments with beige walls for so long, we've been sticking to more neutral palettes for our decor. So now's the time to branch out.

The living room/ dining area is where I'd like to start. Our new house is a split foyer and the upstairs living room/ dining area share a LARGE wall. The carpet in the living room is your basic beige color and it stops at the dining area. The dining area has parkay flooring in a light wood.

Our couch is navy microfiber and we have a black leather rocking recliner. The wood colors of our furniture are on the light side. (Right now our "wood" furniture is the cheapo mdf/ laminate stuff from Target). The end tables are white maple and the entertainment center is a honey oak color. We don't have a coffee table

Our dining room furniture is hand me down, but I do so love it It has a bit of an oriental flair to it. The table is 2 toned with a not quite as dark as chestnut color table top, and deep brown, almost black legs. There's inlay work on the side skirt of the table top where the deeper color is in the grooves. The china cabinet is mostly the lighter of the 2 woods, with the bottom base piece being the deep brown and inlay work along the top. The chairs are currently covered with burgundy damask chair covers b/c the seats and backs are in bad shape. I was thinking of replacing the covers w/ these in indigo: The legs of the chairs are the deeper brown color.

So with that info, what color should I paint?? Like I said, there's a large wall that they share and then the living room has 2 other walls, 1 w/ a large picture window, and the other is a half wall that looks over into the stairwell. The dining room also shares its second wall with the kitchen and the sliding door to the screened porch.

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#2 of 6 Old 02-01-2008, 01:27 PM
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Just my thoughts...

I've lived in and decorated several homes that had the shared wall issue. I've dealt with it in two ways.

1) paint all communal walls a neutral suburban beige and all room-dedicated walls a bold color.

2)built a wall build-out thing at the point where I wanted the room separated and painted both rooms individually.

Our last house was a split entry type of thing where our dining room and living room shared a long common wall. Hubby built out a wall, about 10 inches, at the point where the two rooms met. This made somewhat of a very large doorway into the dining room and allowed me to paint the two rooms completely different colors without it looking odd.

Our current house, all but the bedrooms, have all but two of the walls sharing with some other room, AND the entire floor plan is visible from every other point. I painted the entire house in a boring suburban beige and then painted one long wall in the dining room a dark brown, two walls of the living room a sageish green, and the box over the kitchen cabinets orange. The colors are all drastically different, but combine in that '70 avocado green, harvest gold, brown sort of way. (Link to the declutter thread where I've posted pics.)

Because you have dark furniture in the DR, I wouldn't make the same mistake I did with using a super dark color on the walls unless you have massive amounts of sunlight to combat the darkness. You seem to have a denim blue kind of thing going on, and yellows will really compliment that. Yellow can lead to using an orange in an adjacent room.

Just remember that paint is never permanent, you can always paint over it if you don't like it. Be bold with your color, you can always tone it down later. Also, when choosing a dark color, complete the entire wall with all coats before you freak and decide that you hate it. I LOVE my bedroom paint color, but almost nixed it after the first coat on half a wall.

Without knowing you, your style, or having seen the home; it's really difficult to offer up more than what I have. You may not be dark and bold paint color people, or you may have a formal feel to your homes, or a very relaxed feel. You may enjoy light breezy type decorations, ....hrm, which would look good with the blues.... Sorry, sidetracked. LOL

I'm rambling, but I just love paint! LOL
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#3 of 6 Old 02-01-2008, 07:23 PM
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Here's a good tip to picking colors you will love:

Think about the room and how you want you and your guests to feel in that room. Then think about a place that makes you feel that way. Think about how that place looks, smells, feels. Then replicate it in your home... kwim? Don't think so much about what you have. Think about what you want. Then work around what you have. You can put an inexpensive (but nice) slipcover on the couch... or paint the Target tables. Think about how you WANT it, not about how to accommodate what you have. Then come back here and ask how to work around what you have if it doesn't gel with your vision!

I thought I wanted to paint a sunny yellow in my living room until we did the exercise above and I wound up with Benjamin Moore's "Misted Green"... FAR from sunny yellow. But it looks and feels exactly the way I wanted to feel in my living room.

Also, MAKE SURE you paint a 1'x1' or 2'x2' test swatch ON the wall before painting the whole room. My family always asks "what color is this?" and they mean what number, not the actual color. My kitchen is 4 years old and on color 4 (but that's the final thanks to the swatches! YAY!). It simply doesn't look the same as you think it will... and while it's not permanent, it's a PITA and can get costly to repaint again and again until it's right. I know this only too well!

Heather - Wife 
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#4 of 6 Old 02-01-2008, 07:45 PM
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do you have something you really love to look at? a photograph, a painting, a swatch of fabric, a piece of jewelry? take your color inspiration from that!
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#5 of 6 Old 02-01-2008, 09:48 PM
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Yes yes yes yes yes. Use color. We finally got to use color. It's so cool.

We did, however, find that you can only get a first idea of the color from the swatch. After our recent remodel, our final choices included eight different colors (including trim), and we had to change our mind and either remix or re-select on five of them. So even if you're sure that the color is perfect when you look at the swatch, I'd have a small can mixed up and paint a _big_ swatch on the wall of every room where you're going to use the color. And don't be discouraged if you have to reselect a couple of times.

We were lucky enough to have a very patient painter who let us get away with saying, "Could you stir in a little white, and another batch with a little blue, and another batch with a little black, so we can see what it does to it, and then can you match the one we like?" and didn't kill us - though I'm sure he billed us for the hours.

Even then, we were nervous about the colors we chose (We've got some red rooms now! Red! Ha! And we love it!), but we kept telling ourselves over and over that (1) paint is the cheapest thing to change, and (2) if we start too garish, we'll be driven to change it, but if we start too bland, we'll just stay bland forever and the opportunity will be lost. So we pushed ourselves to be more daring than we were inclined.

I realize that none of that is actual advice on colors. I just wanted to urge you to, yes yes yes, use color.

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#6 of 6 Old 02-01-2008, 11:38 PM
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I was thinking maybe something like a nice med. tan on most of the walls with a pretty eggplant for the wall that is shared with the living and dining. You could paint one of the other walls in the living room with the eggplant too. Do you have any pics of the place?

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