Monday, March 28, 2011

We need some color in this place

Painting the front two rooms is definitely not a necessary project. The current paint is in great shape. When we moved in, the plan was to keep it for quite awhile. But the more I live with the eggnog colored semi-gloss in every room of the house the more I dislike it. And I definitely want to show off our new curtains against some darker wall color.

Don't these look so much nicer ironed?

We also have a lot--a lot--of orangey wood in this house. We are definitely fans of wood and two of our rental houses over the years have had gorgeous dark wood trim that we wouldn't dream of touching with a paint brush. But in this house we have thin, orangey wood trim that is not pretty. It is not even installed very well. It doesn't even match throughout the house. We are planning to replace all the trim and add some crown molding at some point down the road and in the meantime I plan to feel not the least bit guilty painting all the trim. Also the last person to paint did a really sloppy job and a lot of the trim is splattered in eggnog semi-gloss anyway. We'll still have plenty of natural wood in our floors, the pocket doors and much of our furniture.

Since we don't plan to hire someone to paint for us and we have limited time for projects that require emptying whole rooms, I'm also planning to be okay with adding paint color in stages so I wanted to spend some time coming up with a color scheme we liked. One of the things requiring paint is a large piece of furniture which is fairly easy to haul out to the back patio some weekend:

This was the last thing I built last fall before a series of unfortunate events put a halt to all furniture work. I had to assemble it in our kitchen, in fact, and didn't want to paint or stain it indoors while pregnant so it has remained unfinished for months. This was built for a very specific spot in our old apartment and I'm so glad it fit nicely somewhere here. I loved building this. Every step came together just beautifully until I got to the drawers. Plans came from my favorite Alaska mom and it turns out that 1 x 12 stock is a different size in Alaska than the Lower 48. But I think if I paint it I can fix the drawers with plywood and the whole thing will look nicer.

Anyway, here's our current thinking on paint color:

The red is for the side table in the dining room. And I might give our red bookcase a new paint job as well. It's a color pretty close to this now but is very beat up. The greens are for the walls. We're thinking that the darkest green will go behind the bay windows, the next darkest in the dining room/library, and the lightest on the other living room walls. Then I'm thinking about white trim throughout. I like these greens--they come across as more gray depending on the light but since they're actually green it should feel warmer than gray would (gray is quickly becoming my favorite color. Is that depressing?).

I feel pretty settled on those painting choices but I'm not sure about the ceilings. Ceiling white? Or one of the greens? Something else? And I'm also not sure what to do with these louvered closet doors (there's another set behind the other end of the sofa). Paint them the same as the trim? Or one of the greens? We want to get rid of these closets someday but that's a big project and we have to live with them in the meantime. I would be hesitant to add a third color to the room because we have a good amount of color going on already. But I'm certainly no design expert.

Feel free to weigh in. My rule for giving advice, solicited or otherwise, is that you are free to give it and I'm free to ignore it :)


Heidi said...

My dining room is the green color and my kitchen is the barn red. I love them. Just know that the red takes like 5 coats to cover evenly!! I used a creamy yellow as an accent color as well.

Susan said...

The five-coat thing is why I'm using that color for a piece of furniture rather than a whole room or wall. Though we had a room that color in our last place. It was pretty much the only thing we liked about that apartment.

I did consider painting the sideboard yellow and doing the whole dining room in red. That's still an option. We want it something bold and dark since it's pretty much an eat-in library.

Lindsay said...

Susan, I think you would love the book Living With Color from Farrow and Ball. They have a few online color brochures, but the book is splendid eye candy with goreous paints and moldings. I got their paint chips brochure and have color matched. I have no doubt that the real paint is superior in how it works with light and such, but I can't afford it. However, I love their restrained pallet for choosing our color scheme, and having never seen the real thing in real life, I've been pleased with the color matching results. Lots of nice warm grays, and their color description and website are really great for helping you coordinate colors. I'm planning to paint our bedroom vert de terre, and I think that you would really like it or maybe their French gray as your greyish green.

Susan said...

Thanks for the tip, Lindsay. I will definitely check that out. Since we won't be painting for a couple months, at least, I have plenty of time to tweak this initial idea.

Lindsay said...

I've heard that a painter's tip for ceilings is to buy the ceiling white paint and then add a few dollops of the wall color to make a white that works with it. I've never done that, but I'm considering it.

Also, you probably know this, but we've had good luck buying tinted primer for dark reds. It allows you to get away with fewer coats. We've done both primer tinted the paint color as well as primer tinted gray (which is supposed to be a much better undercoat for red than white). I've done some furniture with primer and two coats in some very dark reds.

Susan said...

I'm open to all the tips you've got at this point! I did know about tinted primer but, in general, we're pretty new to all this. A friend who knows a thing or two about color was here today and thought our paint cards were too dark in the room. But we might have different taste. I love the Farrow and Ball stuff I've browsed so far. (But you were right about the price--yikes!)