Paint color for windowless guest room

susanjnJanuary 23, 2014

I have a guest room/kitchenette/bath with no windows. What were they they thinking? I don't know.

The room needs to be painted, so I'm agonizing over color. I suspect it should be something fairly light and neutral, but I love color, hence the agonizing.

Currently there are some lightish wood cabinets, white trim, and a futon with a medium green cover. We could certainly get a new cover. When there are guests, it is covered with bedding anyway. We are about to put in a medium reddish brown wood look floor. We currently have incandescent bulbs in an overhead light fixture which could be changed.

I brought home 3 chips from SW:
Au Naturale LRV 61
Ginger Root LRV 51
Softened Green LRV 49

I also have some big sheets I painted for a recent project in Contented, Liveable Green, Rainwashed and Believable Buff. I chose the Believable Buff for my living room and am not particularly happy with it. Too yellow for my taste I think.

My head is telling me the Au Naturale is the way to go, but my heart says boring. I'm going to stop by SW today and pick up a sample pint of it. Maybe my heart will soften.

My question is: Are there any special considerations with a windowless room? I know the color will probably read darker.


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Personally, I would try to pick a cheery color--a sunny yellow, light apple green, pale aqua, even an apricot or pale peach.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Can you add a window to this room?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Is there a way to get out of this room, other than the door? My son had to put an egress window in his basement guest room, which was necessary to pass code for a bedroom.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:31PM
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I wondered about the code, too. But since that has already been asked...

Even if you cannot add a real window to the room, have you considered faking it? The eye will likely know it is not real, but the mind will still be tricked into giving off the feeling of openness that windows can evoke. Frame out a blank window, complete with drapes even, if you use them.. But where you would look out the glass, insert a full landscape painting of a scene you could see through a window.

While the fake window won't provide any real light, but your room
I have done this quite a few time in different houses, especially in small, windowless locations such as landings and interior bathrooms. Sometimes I try to make them as realistic as possible, and other times I just have fun with it.

Even though no light will be coming in, you may be able to get way with something closer to the colors you prefer. After all, many real windows don't provide any room brightening after sunset. Providing a lot of room light, and/or a variety of lighting options to the area, would help too.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:47PM
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The only outside wall is in the bathroom. We could add a window there, I suppose.

Our house has an odd layout. This particular room is between the garage and what used to be a breezeway. The breezeway was enclosed long ago by the previous owner. My guess is that there was a window onto the breezeway at that time. The door to the guest room is a six panel exterior door, but now goes into a hallway (which has 3 windows and plenty of light). I'd like to replace the upper two panels of the door with glass if that's possible. That doesn't address the code issue, but it would help the light issue. We could also do a SolaTube type thing since this part of the house is one story.

joanie, I picked up some cheery color paint chips at SW. Thanks for the suggestion.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:53PM
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There's no remodeling going on that I can tell, just redecorating, so code isn't really an issue.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 3:30PM
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That's right. Code will not matter for this project.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 3:52PM
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gyr_falcon, I like your idea. My office is also windowless, but I have a big picture of trees. I joke that I have the best "view" in the building.

I suppose I could also use a decorative mirror which might open things up a bit.

But I still have to decide on paint color.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:04PM
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You can make a faux window covered with window dressing and pretense with great lighting in your room. Make this room grand with color and design, which you cannot do due to size and a lackluster color but with color and design, you can make it a little jewel box.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:47PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Even though code is not an issue, I would want to be sure there are two possible exits from the room in case of a fire. It is unlikely, I know, but not worth risking a life. I would definitely add a window in the bathroom.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 5:17PM
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A window 'mirror' is a great way to bring in light as well as give the illusion of a window being in the room~you could even do two side by side if you wanted a larger 'window'.

Here's an idea, but there are others available. Hobby Lobby, Garden Ridge, Tuesday Morning, Homegoods, and other stores have similar mirrors.

Here is a link that might be useful: mirror window

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:43PM
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I'm with cyn. Code may not be an issue but I would never want to have guests in a bedroom without 2 exits.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:10PM
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I like the idea of a window mirror. As for color, I would not do a cream, beige, etc. I would do a rich lively color.
Pretend it's a tiny powder room that is windowless, would you want to,paint it beige? Or something that pops?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:09AM
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I would go very light on the walls. Green without natural light is risky. Choose a very neutral (as you say, "boring") wall color, and get your color in carpet(s), bedding, decorative accents, lamps, pictures, etc.

Color is very dependent on natural light. Anything remotely "dark" will make the room look and feel like a cave and airless.

There are gorgeous neutrals out there.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:03AM
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I made this fake window for my breakfast room, dh made the frame, even a narrow sill, for my fake birds and tiny nest. we used mirror tiles, and under the valance is a light, and the reason for the cord going down the left side beneath the sill. This way you can make your window a big as you like, if you DIY.

Here is a link that might be useful: tinypic

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Here's a picture of the beautiful bluish silver I have on the walls of both of my windowless bathrooms. I think it would look great on the guest room walls.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Definitely install a Solatube if it works for your room. We put one in each of our two windowless bathrooms and it's amazing how much light it brings in. When we first installed them I kept trying to switch the light off since I wasn't used to the rooms being so bright and my brain said "the kids left the light on, again".

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:52PM
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You will add depth by adding deep colors. Pale color in small rooms can make for paltry rooms. Go big or go home. Take a cue from the Orient, do bold color in small areas and create a jewel box.

From BHG decorator "One of the greatest worries inhibiting people decorating small spaces is the use of colors. The urban legend of color making a small room look smaller...has been blown way out of proportion. Color is one of the best ways to anchor a room, and to define it. Look at ways to use color wisely in small spaces."

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:13PM
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We had a windowless basement "guest room" in a precious home. This was not the only guest room, but we didn't have a need for it to be any other type of room, so made it an extra bedroom.

When we had the house appraised, or listed for sale, we were not allowed to call it a bedroom. Bedrooms in TN have to have a window AND a closet to be considered a bedroom. No code that you cannot use a windowless room as a bedroom.

We debated on putting in a second door in the room that would go into our daughters bedroom behind the back wall. Her bedroom was above ground level with 2 large windows. Both bedrooms opened up to 2 expansive living areas (one for pool/billiards and the other lounging/dining) with multiple windows. Then we figured that if there was a fire, the wall could be easy broken through (with a few kicks) if there was a fire. Also, just outside the guest bedroom door, was a bathroom door. That bathroom went through to the daughters bedroom. We felt pretty safe if anyone were to stay in the room.

Here is the room which we had painted a light blue from BM. Our daughters room was yellow with the same blue ceiling. Very pretty and tranquil.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Thank you very much, everyone. Lots of good ideas. I've got the walls prepped, the frog tape up. (I love Frog Tape Green. That would be bright.) I hope to prime tomorrow.

Both sjhockeyfan's silver blue and newhomebuilder's light blue would look good with the existing wallpaper in the bathroom. I hadn't been thinking in that direction, but will reconsider.

And thank you for showing me your mirrors. I work very near a Tuesday Morning. I'll pop in there tomorrow and see what they have.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:26PM
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Another vote for fire safety above all else.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:39PM
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