So if you’re like me you love changing rooms and the best way to give a room a whole new look is paint. But if you’re like my husband you hate doing it! It’s been a theme in our house lately when we have people over to our new home that people keep saying ‘I want to do a color like that but I’m afraid we’ll hate it… or that it will make our room look smaller’ etc etc. First off, I don’t always subscribe to the belief that a dark color makes a small room smaller. If the room is 8×10 or smaller it’s just a small room. Tough darts. However, if the room is beautifully designed and well appointed I guarantee no one will complain about the size. I think of it as ‘charm and disarm.’ If you want a potential buyer or even just guests not to focus on a downside give them another focus!
Having said that there’s a time and place for everything and for everything there is a season blah blah blah. What I mean by that is- bold color is fabulous. But if you think you’re staying in a home 3-5 years then painting the predominant amount of the home a bold color and going to that expense maybe isn’t the wisest choice. If you think you’re staying 10-15 yrs then as they say ‘paint the town red!’ Or insert other cliche.
Since I am a constant mover at the moment and love re-doing houses I am skewing this blog a bit towards those in the 3-5 year category. As such, I recommend keeping your main rooms with the most sq footage, hallways, and more common areas a neutral color. That doesn’t mean you have to hate it if you are a color person. When choosing a neutral go with the type of tones you like. Cool or Warm. If you are a warm toned person you probably like tans, camels, warm yellows, browns, creams. If you are a cool toned person you like the current trend of greys, brighter whites, light yellows, greens, blues. Light soft blues or greys are a great way to incorporate some more color but still stay neutral.
Here’s a living room in the warm category. A soft creamy tan color that is used in this home in the living room, family room, and hallways. So approximately 1600 of the total 2100 sq ft.
Here’s an example of a cool toned living area. Click the photo courtesy of Houzz for a great article on choosing the right ‘Grey’.
Now that we are past the best rooms to keep neutral let’s talk color! When re-doing my husband’s home office last year I went with pottery barn ‘naval’. Breaking the cardinal rule of ‘don’t paint a small room dark’. Here was the result :
A dark blue, green, or even a red sets off white trim and in this case white french doors not pictured, in a great way. Oddly, the room actually felt brighter and bigger with the sharp contrast. We sold the home six months ago and thankfully no one said how small they thought the room was, just how much they liked the color! Charm and disarm….
Guest rooms or kids rooms are another place where you can easily use color and not offend.
This is one of my favs I’ve seen recently courtesy of This old house. I’m planning to do a modified version next year in one of our alcoved bedrooms with a bit softer grey along the sides and orange in the interior. Guest and kids rooms are the perfect place for something fun and experimental like this. It’s not too much work for a buyer to paint over if they don’t like it, but it offers a great way for you to express your individual design and style.
I’m also into pattern and last year did a bright bold turquoise with a white trellis pattern for our guest room.
Shabby chic furniture gave it that guest cottage retreat that I was going for. This would work nice for a teen room too with a bit different furniture decor and some other pops of color in the pillows- mustard yellow maybe??? Someone do that please so I can show it!
The moral of the story is- in the right environments don’t be afraid of color. Worst case is it’s just paint and can be changed later if you hate it. Recommend ALWAYS live with it for a few days even if it’s a shock to the system at first. I’ve had my mind change wildly sometimes after a few days. Also, my current favorite paint to use that should always be just one coat is the Benjamin Moore ‘Ben’, ‘Aura’ or “Natura’ lines. (Listed in order of $). I covered a dark red dining room recently to a soft light blue in just one coat with the lesser expensive ‘Ben’ line- so be careful not to over buy!