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Refreshing the Paint Downstairs

Amy William
May 15, 2019
It’s been four years since I’ve painted my downstairs and it’s overtime started to look washed out. I’m thinking of changing the color, but can’t quite decide which direction to lean. I have bought a couple swatches and the ones I’ve picked out hasn’t been giving the warmth that I was hoping for.

Walls currently are:

SW Dorian Gray: Entire Kitchen and back wall that connects the kitchen to the dining room, half wall partition, side wall stairwells

SW Tinsmith: West and North wall of Living Room that extends to the stairwell, entryway wall, hall way up to kitchen

How do I begin this entire process of reconfiguring my color scheme?

Comments (17)

  • Amy William
    See the picture with the hutch and the dining room table already looks mid afternoon like the L shaped walls are the same color when they’re two different colors. They blend too much together.
  • Jennifer Hogan

    I am not sure what you want and you have only shown a little bit of the space. My guess is you are drowning in a sea of neutral. Not much color anywhere besides the wood floors.

    Curtains, flowers, a throw over the sofa, pillows, art needs to be added to bring some color into the rooms.

    If you don't add color, changing the neutral paint to another neutral paint won't save you.

  • Amy William
    Yeah that’s exactly how I feel. I’m trapped in a sea of neutral but then I have neutral furniture as well. My husband is soo vanilla, so I have to slowly introduce things to him over time. We plan on redoing the flooring later this year to a warmer brown. I haven’t found a piece of artwork that speaks to me. Not much left to show besides what you see. We literally have no artwork besides what you see in the entry way which got cluttered up when we did away with our wall unit entertainment center and replaced it with a low console. That’s really all that’s in my spaces. I just wanted to show how my house is really a giant square which leaves you only with the chance to do two/three colors because of how it’s laid out.
  • calidesign

    Wait until you have changed the flooring before you decide on paint. It will make a big difference in the feel of your rooms. In the meantime, keep looking for art that you like. Summer is a great time with lots of local art fairs.

  • pennydesign

    To me, your floors ARE a warm brown...and really will go with any color. Maybe my monitor is messing with the color, but I don't think that the floor is an issue...Does it have to be done for cosmetic reasons? Plus it looks like engineered distressed hardwood...I'm not sure you can refinish that distressed finish.

    Do you have pics of rooms you love (even if you don't know why you love them)...It will help solidify what you're going for.

    Favorite color?

  • Jennifer Hogan

    "My husband is soo vanilla"

    Of course he is! Walk through the men's department at Macy's then walk through the women's department. Better yet - look up jockey underware for men and then look at victoria secret underware for women. Just guessing that he prefers you wearing VS to Jockey.

    Now I am going to be the 1960s rebel. Why do you have to live with his color pallet? My mom's generation of women didn't have the right to vote when they were born. They didn't have much education, they had half a dozen kids and their options were pretty limited. Men ruled the home because they earned the money.

    100 years later more women graduate from college then men and most women work full time jobs and help support the household. Studies show that women still do more housework, laundry and child care than their husbands. We also earn far less than our male counterparts.


    You want color, he wants neutral, so the compromise is that you have all neutral? What message is that sending? Women are taught to be nice, be polite, be ladylike, compromise, don't make a fuss. BS - It is time for you to Kick Like A Girl.

  • groveraxle

    You don't need to paint. You just need to get some color in the room and replace the boob light with a proper chandelier.

  • bellburgmaggie
    I’m laughing, I went through the same thing and we had husband/wife rooms. In other words he got to pick the neutral color and I got to pick the punch of color. When I saw your room I thought of flow blue plates etc. And you need to tell hubby, “happy wife, happy life”
  • Amy William
    I’m laughing too because you’re absolutely right. My mom describes my husband as reminding her of hanging out with my grandparents. He’s a total old soul, with TV trays and bedroom slippers. I can’t leave all the decisions to him, but can’t collaborate with him either because he’s so black and white. He wanted all ivories and beiges, like what you would expect from a renter.

    Bright colors scare him because when we bought the house it was all painted in semi-gloss and like bright neon colors. I tried creating a color palette for a house that has walls that literally connect to other rooms with no separation in them. Like in this photo with the staircase, that back wall leads up to our loft with no break, so my loft is also Dorian Gray. Only places we’ve been able to do different colors is the bedrooms and bathrooms. Bummer.

    I have an obsession with Benjamin Moore’s colors. Our bedroom is Woodlawn Blue and the bathroom is an Oyster Shell, which I like because it changes perfectly with the time of day. So far everything I’ve picked out for inspiration on here and Pinterest looks great in theory, but only if I had 10 foot ceilings and not 8.

    The flooring we have now is click lock engineered hardwood, and it’s all scratched up from dogs and furniture. Can’t be sanded and restained. I picked out Happy Feet Mt Everest Weathered Teak for the floor I want to replace this with, and we have plans to install it at the end of the year along with finally expanding our kitchen to eliminate the eat in because my kitchen sucks. It’s just been a slow process.

    Where did you find that light fixture? Can you link it? Love that. Yes. Boob light has to go but I was trying to find one to put over the table. I had gestimated it would have to be at least 34” tall and between 21-25” wide. Couldn’t find one with that criteria. That looks gorgeous though.
  • Amy William
    That entire hutch is China I inherited from his grandmother’s estate. It’s gorgeous china (minus the hideous brown pattern) that I think should be displayed instead of hidden.
  • PRO
    LB Interiors

    You have a lot of neutrals. I would add color in your room with new drapes, a table centerpiece, color on chair cushions, and a rug under the table. Adds more life. Paint later if you still want to freshen. Paint is the easiest decision to make after your accents go in the room.

  • Amy William
    When you pick out curtains, do you try and pick a color that you like or ones that go with the walls? The curtains I have currently are ivory with specks of green, blue, and brown in them since that was the colors of the walls.
  • groveraxle

    Amy, generally I like curtains that echo the color of the walls. That way they don't become a focal point because they are mostly utilitarian objects, after all. You could improve the space by raising your curtains, though.

  • groveraxle

    Raising the curtains makes the room look taller and visually expands the space.

    If you get new curtains, don't hang them from the rod pockets. Hang them with rings and clips for a nicer drape.

    1" Rings With Clips, Set of 10, Satin Nickel · More Info

  • pennydesign

    I've done both with drapes...I do like a very very close match, but I've also chosen something that goes with an accent color. It really depends on the mood I'm in at the time :)

  • PRO
    LB Interiors

    I like to use drapes as a visual follow through and coordination with an accent color to carry the eye around the room. They will help unify the colors used in the space. Good balance of color throughout.

    If they match the wall, they tend to disappear and become functional only. But, is also nice if you like subtlety for the space. It's a 'feeling' you like.

    If they have contrast color or pattern, they add interest, continuity and help balance colors, by visually bringing accent colors 'up' in a room. Helps to balance an entire space, while adding a little spark. The eye encompasses the entire room as a nice package. Accent drapery is used for more than function only. It all depends on 'the feeling' you want for the room.

  • Amy William
    I’ve made some great progress but I would like to revisit the paint topic as this was my initial plan. If later down the road I do decide to go with repainting downstairs after we put in flooring, would you just stick with one color for the kitchen and dining/living room combo and then do an accent in the hallway/half wall partition? I was thinking maybe if I did that next round, maybe it wouldn’t be so overwhelming with trying to decorate and coordinating colors. I mean after everything I’ve read, SW Repose Gray seems like just the go to color that reflects differently in lighting.

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