Choosing colors that go together for a unified look

Old 07-25-08, 12:09 PM
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Question Choosing colors that go together for a unified look

Hi, I am a new homeowner and a new decorator, too! I have a lot of trouble visualizing things and I could really use some help. I am going for a very clean, contemporary look in all of the rooms. First, the layout: You walk in the front door and the living room is directly to the left and the kitchen is down the hall (which is already painted a peachy beige) straight ahead. To the right of the kitchen (and behind the living room) is the dining room. To the left of the kitchen and down a hallway is the family room.

Ok, my questions:
1) Dining room: I have dark wood, contemporary, simple furniture. There is a chair rail (no wainscotting) 1/3 up, and the wall adjoining the living room and dining room is open between the two. I was thinking of painting above the chair rail in gobi desert (behr) and below the chair rail in harvest brown (also behr). Would that look good? If so, what color should the living room (no chair rail) be? One of those 2? Something lighter and more neutral? Should the wall that they share be painted in of those colors or should the living room be it's own thing, although I also want it neutral. I do not have living room furniture yet.

2) The master bedroom: I also have dark wood, contemporary furniture. It is a large rectangualr room. The door is on one end of the long wall and the room extends to the right. To the left is one of the shorter walls and it has the master bath door and a closet door. Across from the door is the other long wall, and our bed will probably go against that wall. Our bedding is acacia by Calvin Klein. It is muted shades of grey and chocolate brown with some hints of plum. I was thinking a medium gray for the walls. Opinions? Should I have a light plum accent wall that coordinates with the gray or is that too much? (The accent wall was my husband's idea, but truthfully it scares me b/c it could be a disaster.) Do you think instead of gray the walls should be a chocolate brown, or would that be too much brown, since a lot of the bedding is brown?

I appreciate any help and ideas you could offer me!!! Thank you in advance.

Old 07-29-08, 07:45 AM
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i take it you're not even moved in to this house yet, right? what's the rush to decorate then? i'm sure you'd like to paint while it's empty, but being as uncertain about everything as you are, wait. move in, get your furniture situated, see the rooms in morning, afternoon & evening light, and spend some time thinking about all this and plan ahead. start with the one room you're absolutely sure about & then work out to the other rooms from there. don't paint your living room until you have furniture for it. and don't paint a focal wall in the bedroom for no reason.
Old 08-22-08, 09:44 AM
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Oh, it makes things easier when one can paint before moving in, but choosing paint color is not as simple as looking at a paint chip at the paint store and then applying to walls. This is easy to do if everything is going to be painted white or off white like in rentals.
Today's color options are many. Colors tend to vary from paint chips and computer screens. Colors tend to vary throughout the day under natural and artificial light. Rooms on warm side of house often call for cooler colors, and rooms on cool side of house often call for warmer colors. As indicated, it's best to move in and study the light and the spaces and get the feel of the home. Once intimate with the home, visions of color and color schemes tend to come easier.
A general rule of thumb when painting where there is chair rail is to paint the darker color below the rail. Too, in open floor plans, shared walls are painted the same color to unify the two areas, while other walls can be painted different colors to provide the desired identity and separation of the two areas.
While the Behr Harvest Brown is slightly darker than the Gobi Desert, the contrast is not great enough to pull off the drama that you desire. You also do not indicate floor covering or area rug or other fabrics and how wall color would complement these. There is no mention of natural light. As most dining is done in the evening under artificial light, a study of the lighting and its effect on paint is important.
Bedrooms are best in relaxing colors. Color scheme can be easily chosen by pulling colors out of comforter. Lighter color on walls with a darker accent wall color is a popular trend. Painting walls too dark can make for the illusion of smaller space and make the room cave like.
The Acacia bedding by Calvin Klein is predominately pewter. The description describes the fern in a subtle plum color. The pillows appear to be chocolate brown. Gray is the current popular neutral and would make for a great wall color that would work well with a plum accent wall. If fearful of a plum accent wall, then chocolate brown is a popular accent wall color. While the plum may work well confined to a minimal amount in the fern pattern, a whole wall of it may not be your cup of tea. A brown accent wall would pull the brown of the decorative pillows up on the walls without overwhelming the room.

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