Let’s Talk Color

After the painters finished outside, we had them give us a bid for inside. It’s time to get rid of the Miami Vice look in the great room with wall to wall white.

My color lady, Sweet Paige, gave us a book to look through with color schemes. We settled on golds and greens and grays and picked up some samples. They were all wrong; I guess that’s why you buy samples. We went back for more and this time ended up closer to the target.

The Mr painted every room in the old house at least twice, but this is different. That outer wall of windows is going to require hours of prep work. And the ceiling is 20 years old; it needs a refresher.

We want to make good choices and not have to go through all this again in just a few years. So I’ve been painting boards, and then painting more boards, and then repainting boards.

The joys of being indecisive.

Along with the sample boards, I’ve returned to my computer drawings. I remembered how “painting” the fireplace photo gave me a feel for what I liked and didn’t like in Fireplace Sizzle.

I started with the kitchen, since with the white cabinets and white counters any color would simply be an accent. So here’s what we have.

As you can see, there’s a whole lot of white going on. My first inclination was to try out the yellow we were leaning towards.

If the yellow has a touch of green, it starts looking really awful–especially at night when the the light fades. So while the yellow was a bust, I decided I liked the medium gray trim and light gray ceiling. Moving on, I decided to try a light gray since we’re having trouble embracing color.

Frankly, I find this rather awful. It looks so washed out and anemic. Instead of admitting failure, I decided to pump up the gray.

This is so much nicer. The cabinets are clearly outlined, and the gray matches the gleam of the appliances. But is it too cold or industrial? Maybe I should try something way out of our comfort zone. I could go with a purpley-blue to match the mountains in the distance.

That’s way too feminine. It’s a pretty color–just not us. I decided to go back and try something warm reminiscent of our old house.

This I like. It adds color and warmth without looking crazy bright. I could even wrap it around the rest of the kitchen area.

While all this swapping colors on the computer hasn’t brought us to a decision, it has narrowed down the search. I was quite surprised to see how much wall space there is in the kitchen after all. To be honest, the photo I was working from was taken from behind the bar, so you lose the impact of the lower cabinets. This whole space would look different grounded with another four feet of white, but there’s still a lot more wall area than I realized. Paint color is going to make a bigger impact even in this room filled with white cabinets.

My color lady was over yesterday to give hints and direction. She had some fabulous advice. Just paint the fireplace and live with the colors for awhile. It’s a small manageable area and won’t cost a lot in paint or effort to redo. Then if we hate what we’ve chosen, we can change our minds before committing to colors for vast ceilings and huge walls of windows.

Since my post about the fireplace, adding color, changing it up resulted in a plain, white fireplace three months later, we have a blank canvas to work from now.

I’m crossing my fingers that we can take that plunge. Our fireplace might end up something like this.

Have you had trouble committing to color? Do you embrace color or run from it? How do you make those hard decisions?

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7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Color

  1. I like color, and I like emphasizing spaces like fireplaces, bookcases, or nooks in colors as well. Our Silver Lake house had 3 a story living room/dining room/kitchen with a balcony going from the back of the house to the master bedroom. The walls behind the balcony could be seen from all the main floor rooms. We were working with a carpet called “Desert Rose”, which we all liked as it was a warm and cozy color when looking out at the green evergreens, and in the spring all the Rhododendrons we had planted everywhere. We ended up painting all the walls and the ceiling the same light rose color except for the kitchen which was a dark green with natural oak cupboards, and floors.. It was so beautiful with the shades the natural light gave the same color in different places and from standing in different places. The accents were white baseboards and white shutters.We didn’t even really notice the color, just the soft warmth it gave.
    Remember the blue bathroom at your last house near the garage? I could have sworn the ceiling was a different blue, but nope, it wasn’t. It was a great bathroom. I think a yellowish beige would be lovely color, much like you had in the last house.

  2. I think I have shared this before, but we are definately a color house and I embrace it. While I like neutrals for living spaces the whole family uses, I am not afraid to allow some different colors in, too. I love our yellow kitchen for instance. But our warm deep tan/brown family room makes me feel cozy.

    Are you thinking the tannish color for the fireplace now and throughout or just the kitchen? I like that color scheme from your kitchen pic!

    • I like the tan for the kitchen, but haven’t convinced the Mr. I think we’ll go with a lightish gray on the window wall, so it doesn’t compete with the view. So many decisions. I need some of your fearlessness. 🙂

  3. We painted everything when we moved into our house. We used some colors from a model home as our design – made it easy, because we’d seen it and knew what we liked (and didn’t like). However, the master bedroom became an issue. It was the last room we painted. The light in that room is weird, there is a high ceiling and a fireplace with a wood mantel and brick surround. We (the husband) painted the room 8 times. We still aren’t happy with it, and it is once again high on the list. I’m looking at some blues, as well as warm neutrals. Be careful with the undertones of your greys. We tried a grey in the bedroom; in certain lights it looks blue, but in most, it just is flat and boring, way too battleship grey with no light reflecting at all. Yuck.

    • We have more than a dozen samples and painted boards. Finding the right color is such a hard process, and with 32 windows and 2 pairs of French doors to edge around, we’re hoping to get it right on the first time. Good luck with your bedroom. Sometimes that perfect color is so elusive.

  4. Pingback: The History of a Fireplace Big, White House Style | big white house on the hill

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