Decorating : Formal Living Room Paint

November 9, 2011 06:56 by ehouston

Sometimes I really envy those folks who move into a brand new home with simple builder’s beige walls.  Picking paint colors is not my forte.  I know what I want, but never seem to be able to find that just right shade.  The previous owner’s of our home did their best to correct some really big wall horrors, like the over the top, extra large vine patterned wall paper lining the master bedroom all the way up to the vaulted ceiling.  I remember literally feeling dizzy as I stepped into that space.  They were smart enough to get that removed after feedback from the realtor.  We can tell they also tried to pick some more up to date colors for a couple of the rooms too, like the light aqua blue for one bedroom, simple white for  another and a citrus green for the family room.  I say you can tell they tried to make some things better because the paint jobs look like as though they were done in a hurry, and include things like dry roller marks and picture hooks painted to the walls.  If I could have had one wish before moving in, it would have been to see all the wallpaper throughout the house come down.  But, I don’t know anyone crazy enough to take that on while selling a house, if they don’t have to. 

So, here we are a little over two years later and I am finally getting around to painting the formal living room.  If you have stopped by before, you have probably seen pictures of it and the dark taupe walls courtesy of the previous owners. 



We left the walls alone until now because out of every room in the house they were in the category of least offensive.  They only real issue with the wall color in there is that it tends toward the purpley-taupe range rather than just brown taupe.  Do you know what I mean?  Sometimes you would walk by and the lighting in there would cast a purple glow, which is definitely not the look we are going for…any where in our home.  Speaking of lighting, that is the second issue with the space.  While it does have two large windows to the front yard, it really only gets filtered light throughout the day.  One of the nice things about living in a very wooded lot is the privacy and shade provided by all the big trees, but it all but eliminates “bright and airy” as a descriptor for parts of our interior.  Thus the need for a change in wall color.

I would also like to mention the only other obstacle with this paint job, the large openings into the room on either end.  While these large doorways make for nice flow from the front door to the formal spaces, they leave us no choice but to do some serious color coordinating.  I have had it in my mind from the beginning that the color for this room would be a shade of very pale blue gray.  I mean, so pale it almost looks white.  My fear has been that it will feel awkwardly bright next to the dark colors of the dining room and the foyer, which is now a shade of deep green-gray.  So, I opted for a little more color with my first paint choice and went with Rising Tide from Valspar, available through Lowe’s.  The little swatch looked perfect next to the dining room and foyer colors, but once on the wall it was a whole different story.  This morning I awoke to baby blue walls.  Sickening baby blue walls.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like pale blue, but this is so wrong for the space it just makes me queasy. 

Before heading out for errands this morning I convinced myself that one of the other swatches, Azure Snow from Valspar at Lowe’s, would do the trick.  Then I started looking at more swatches in the store and got all confused again.  I ended up bringing home Azure Snow and another Valspar color, Bayside, in the small tester paint pots to actually try on the walls first.  It’s hard to see with the lack of lighting in the space, but here are the two swatches in contrast with the baby blue walls:


(The view toward the dining room)


(The main wall, across from the windows)


(The window wall)

After staring at these for a while I decided it was time to do what I did in the dining room, mix my own.  So, using the Valspar, French Gray tester pot and some leftover white wall paint I was able to add more confusion in the decision making process with a couple more shades.


(The last two squares are the new shades)


Even with the swatch squares painted out on three walls of the room, I still wasn’t really feeling the love for any one of the colors.  Each area I painted has a different look due to the lighting and I’m starting to think I need a different shade for each wall.??  As you can see from the pictures it’s so dark in the space that I have to be really careful to get this right so it doesn’t end up feeling like a cave in there.  However, I will say that just bringing the color from dark taupe to light blue has made such a difference in the feeling of the room.  Who knows?  If I can get this color choice right I might be able to add “light and airy” to the description of our formal living room after all. 

At this point, I am leaning toward the lightest of the four squares, which is one of the self-mixed colors.  It is nearly the same shade as the original color I chose for the space, but with more gray instead of bright blue.  What do you guys think?  Opinions, anyone?  How do you guys pick paint colors?  If there is a formula out there I could really use it right about now!

Kitsch Krafts

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Decorating : The Formal Living Room Paint Color

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