Should I hire a paint color consultant? (pic)

cluelessApril 17, 2012

I'm am still dithering about how to completely redecorate my living room. Everything is going to be replaced.

I have spent hours on Houzz and other places, and most rooms that have dark woodwork and dark floors and a stone fireplace are painted some shade of white, have white or very light colored rugs, and white furniture.

The sofa I purchase will be leather - until I have a paint color all I know is it will not be red, brown, or black. The other upholstered furniture will be fabric-covered, and I have no problem finding fabrics I love.

I love white rugs, but I have a dog and 4 teenagers, no foyer, and live in the country, so I'm leery about buying a white rug especially during mud season.

I like color, and am especially fond of green (except for dark greens), pale yellow, and medium blue.

The ugliest toad in the room is the fireplace. I think I should pick a paint color for the walls before I do anything else. I can buy furniture and area rugs that will look good with the paint color. I am leaning toward apple green. The paint in this inspiration picture looks like Glidden's Granny Smith Apple. The yellow I would use in the color scheme would be similar to Martha Stewart's Yellow Gerbera.

This is the fireplace, the dark woodwork, and the Brazilian cherry floors. According to my daughter, the woodwork is a warm brown and the floor has a cool tone. Since the landlord will likely never live here again, I'm going to ask him if I can remove the sconces.

There is no point in my purchasing a rug first. I have seen thousands of rugs online and in person, and since I don't absolutely love any of them, I'm fine with whatever will go with the walls -- even a plain neutral. Actually, I found one multicolored rug I absolutely adore on Houzz, but I can't find it online - it would go with practically any wall color I chose.

So my question is whether you think I should hire a color consultant to help me decide on a wall color? I was thinking about consulting with Ellen Kennon. Question is whether full spectrum paint would be beneficial in such a dark room. The 13.5' x 20' room faces north, and the one window on that side is useless because we have a front porch. The other two windows are on the east side of the house.

Thank you for your help.

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I plan to cover most of the floor with area rugs.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I can't help much with paint colors, but if you post a pic of the rug you found on Houzz, maybe someone here will be familiar with it, or can help you find it.

Would you consider a bolder (not pale) yellow? It would look wonderful with the wood.

The wood in this pic is a bit lighter, but this is a great green:

traditional dining room design by los angeles design-build HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

I know you're not painting the wood, I'm just showing this green with the wood tones you have. I'm not sure an apple will be right, but the color experts will know.

This isn't a great color, but shows a different tone green with wood:

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I'm lost when it comes to decorating and colors (as evidenced by my posting about decorator language), but 2 houses back, I did paint the stone fireplace because it had similar soot staining and it made a huge difference in the room.
From Lane

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:28AM
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Olychick, I will use any paint color that makes that fireplace and wood look their best, including yellow or gold. I love yellows and golds. I was hoping that green would look good because my family is sick of yellow and gold ... I used it on the walls in our former house. That is the one color everyone (except me) has requested I not use on the walls, if possible.

The fireplace is important because it is the focal point of the room and there is no way around that. Even if it is like putting lipstick on a pig, I want this room to look its best.

Here is a link to the rug (I can't figure out how to post an embedded link or the actual photo):

Library girl, if I paint the stone fireplace, my landlord will have a heart attack. This 100 year old house was built using stone from the land surrounding it, and he loves it. If there had been a big enough house to rent available when we moved here, we would not have rented this one -- it isn't my style of house in any way.

Thank you both for your advice.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Here is your post from Houzz, just right click on the photo and copy the code that appears. Paste it in your message. Nothing else has to be done and it will appear here.

contemporary entry design by atlanta interior designer Global Living

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I had a consultation with someone from Benjamin Moore. She was here for two hours, picked colours for the entire house, it only cost me $100 plus I get a discount on paint. I'll be doing it again when it's time to paint the outside.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:04PM
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I used BM Wasabi in my last house in my living room. Alone, it is a scary color, but when paired with other colors it was beautiful. I'm trying to decide where it will make an appearance in the new house.

Here it is in my last house

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:40PM
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Well I can see that your furnishings are contemporary so the fireplace really is a problem. Can you show us any more of the furniture so we can see the colors and sizes? That would help. You certainly have good taste from that lovely photo above.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:11PM
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If you want to explore a color other than yellow or gold and you don't want a dark green... I would look at a sage green or a lighter olive green, I think they might compliment the wood tones better.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Have you thought about painting the wood? If you want a brighter livelier room- painting the wood may make a huge difference. Get some cream poster boards and just tape them up where the wood wainscoating is and see if it helps.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:11AM
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I have thought of painting the wood, jeannie01. The landlord gave me permission to paint the paneling, but not the woodwork. It took him awhile to decide this, and I hope he doesn't back out.

Tergar, I am going to test several shades of green and yellow before I make a final decision.

Beekeeperswife, I will get a sample of the Wasabi if there is a Benjamin Moore dealer near here. I live out in the middle of nowhere.

Yayagal, that is Beekeeperswife's beautiful photo of her furniture. I don't have any furniture to consider because I haven't bought it yet. I know what I want, but I haven't chosen the leather or fabric covers yet ... and won't until I decide on a paint color.

Thanks for telling me how to post a pic from Houzz, Olychick. I did right click on the photos but I thought I had to put it on my website for it work, and I don't have a website. I'm glad you set me straight!

Now, do you all think full-spectrum paint does anything for a room that is quite dark in daylight? Is it worth consulting Ellen Kennon? The consultation is free if I use her paint, and I've certainly read a lot of good things about it on here over the years. The closest place that I can buy her paint from is an hour drive away, but it would be worth it if the paint would be better than Behr, which I can get at Home Depot in town. I've only used Behr paint before, and that is no hardship because I do like it.

If full-spectrum paint would be wasted on this room, then I'll hire someone else.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:49AM
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You can buy paint samples online and they will mail them to you. I just did that with a bunch for my son's room.

Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams both have Historical Colors palettes and I am guessing you would want to be looking at the Arts and Crafts lines.

I hired a paint consultant and ended up not going with any of her choices. They just weren't "me". I ended up buying a bunch of samples and testing them out in big swatches in different areas.

I am not a paint expert, but I learned the trick to pay attention to the LRV of the paint samples you have. That will make a difference as to how bright the room will be more than what color you use.

Here is a link that might be useful: LRV Explanation

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:03AM
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That's a great link discussing LRV, geokid. I'm another non-expert, but I believe it is incorrect to say that the LRV of the paint affects how bright the room will be. As that article states, LRV is "a relative point of reference in predicting how light or dark a color will look and feel once up on the walls."

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:24AM
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You are right, graywings. I didn't say that correctly. Thanks for the correction!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:32AM
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I was just thinking that you might consider having an"over mantel" made that would slip over the stone one. It might detract some from the massive stone of the fireplace. Also I have a color from Lowe's called lemon grass that it a greenish yellowy color similar to the Benjamin Moore color that might look good. Keep in mind that Home Depot can color match paint colors from other companies if travel to a paint store is a problem.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Geokid, thanks for the link about LRV. I've read about it, and researched color a lot, to no avail. I just don't get it -- somehow the ability to grok color and how it works in different spaces and light is beyond me.

So I hired a color consultant today.

Limogique, I looked into the fireplace covers, and decided that because of the size of this one, I would be trading a squatty, hulking stone toad for a squatty, hulking something else. Plus, I don't want to spend the money on it since we rent the house. Plus, other than paint, I want everything I buy to be portable so I can take it with me and use it in our next house.

Now that I've looked at tons of photos here, at Houzz and other internet sites, and in magazines, I am starting to think that half the battle is having a room that starts out looking great. I mean usually the bare room is beautiful to begin with, and has lots of natural light and a gorgeous view.

My living room is just plain ugly. I can't visualize it as being transformed into anything but an ugly room with nice furniture in it. It will probably be easier once I get rid of the red rug, curtains, and furniture in it. All that red and brown shuts my brain down.

I very much appreciate all of your help and suggestions. I am going to make sure the color consultant knows about them. After talking with her today, I think this will be a positive experience. Unlike color consultants I've hired in the past, she is not wedded to particular colors that I've already said I despise. She seems to be the real deal -- someone who can actually help me!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 2:02AM
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Play up the FP instead of seeing it as an eyesore. Flank each side of the FP with largish accessories and then it won't stick out so much.

I think it could be a beautiful focal point!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 7:14AM
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Clueless I remember your room from a few months ago and I know you are struggling to create a lighter, cozy home for your family. You are fortunate that your landlord will let you paint the paneling - that is going to help a lot. Do not paint it a different color - use the same as your wall color.

Have you considered playing up the craftsman look, embracing the pretty staircase and woodwork. We usually think of deep dark colors with craftsman and lot of wood furniture, but it doesn't have to be.

Green is one of the prettiest colors IMHO to tone down lots of reddish/orangish woods so you are on the right track - keep it soft and light. You say most of the rooms you have looked at with lots of woodwork are white - don't rule that out - but look at a white with some color in it - Take a look at Loribee's Standish White. Now, I know she doesn't have stained woodwork, but it could look good with your woodwork - her rooms seem to take on a glow! Using a white with some yellow in it would play well with the woodwork - others may disagree - while creating a lighter background for the entire room.

Again, since you can't paint the trim - play it up! If it is showing some wear and tear, I bet your landlord would be HAPPY for you to add a coat of two of new satin poly to enhance the wood tones - make it best it can be.

Use lighter rugs on the floor. I suggest with your family that you check out wool flat weaves - even if the background is neutral, most pattersn in the Soumak style flat weaves will not show dirt. I have one and it wears like iron. Take a look at Overstok - they have some awesome deals on wool rugs.

Keep your drapes light, casual, breezy. Look at cottons or cotton/linen blends. Hang with rings, nothing too stuffy.

My final vision for your room would be light paint (green or very light golden hues, perhaps a caramel colored sofa, nice wool rugs with golden beiges, greens, a little terra cotta/red, and a little bit of blue. Nice colorful pillows picking up these colors, light casual curtains, lots of accent lamps for lighting.

I am not saying this is the absolute direction you should go in - just saying that there are lots of directions you can go in to create a pretty room. I know you can't change the space, but you have lots of choices to re-invent the look of that room. Hope this helps in some small way.

I am attaching a link to a rug on O - I know it doesn't look like your inspiration - but just giving you of an example of what is available at great prices and how you could pick so many colors from this rug. It is not a flat weave, but it has GREAT reviews. Read them some of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Overstock rug for inspiration

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Clueless, what is the update on your living room?! What color did you choose? Do you have any of your new furniture? Would love to hear an update on how it's going!!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Yes, I am also interested in hearing how the consultant worked out in helping you with your color choices.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Oh, wow, I came to update, and was surprised any of you were interested.

I'm still in a dither, this time afraid I should have gotten a white sofa, and not able to decide on fabrics for the rest of the upholstered furniture.

The Ellen Kennon paint colors are:

Living Room: Tulip Leaves, Peridot or Spring Green. Kitchen and Dining Room: Citrine, Sunshine, Buttercup, or Buttercream.

I ordered a Bradington-Young Yorba sofa in a light tan (Surreal Masson). I was going to switch to an off-white leather this morning, but they finished cutting the leather right before I called. My leather is a shade or two lighter than this, but the color of what I bought is nothing like the swatch I have:

The loveseat, chair, and ottoman I ordered are these (Jessica Charles):

I chose the chair because it is big enough to fit my husband. He wanted the H&M Austin High Back Tilt Back w/ottoman -- but it looked like a huge squatting toad.

I haven't selected fabric for the Jessica Charles furniture yet. There are two I like, but I think they'd look better with a white sofa *and* I don't think they'd look good with the green wall colors the consultant advised me to try. If I painted the living room Citrine, it might work. OTOH, maybe the fabric would look awful with the sofa.

I am going this weekend to visit my mother for 10 days, so I had a couple dozen more fabric samples sent to her house. I'm bringing my set of Ellen Kennon paint chips and all the fabric samples I have, plus my leather swatch.

My biggest problem, besides fearing I made a big mistake in not getting an off-white sofa, is that I like two color schemes equally well and cannot decide what to do:

#1 is spring green and soft yellow, with blue accents
#2 is a medium mossy green and off-white, with soft yellow accents.

I think I made a big mistake when I chose the sofa color. Now I have to figure out what to do about it. It looks fine with the Ellen Kennon paint colors the consultant suggested, though.

Hopefully, I'll make a fabric decision very soon, because I've already spent 4 months dithering about this. Green (except for dark green) is my favorite color, so it has to stay in the mix. ...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:42PM
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Re sofa leather: The color of my swatch is what I purchased. It does not look like the same color on my computer monitor, which is why I posted a different color that is a couple of shades darker -- that, believe it or not, is more realistic.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:44PM
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I was looking through the Pendleton catalog earlier today and this skirt and jacket sort of has the colors you're working with. At least it shows a color similar to your sofa with greens, brown, blue and white. Zoom in on the skirt for a better look. I like the green color of the blouse with the skirt. I think looking for a print with the sofa color in it too would tie everything together.

Here is a link that might be useful: color combo

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 7:46PM
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I think its going to look amazing. What a transformation! I think chickadee's suggestion for a direction for choosing fabric is the right one. Don't stress out too much about paint until you have your sofa in the room and have your other fabrics picked. Then paint big swatches of the greens on your walls and see which one you like the best. That's just my advice.

I really love the direction you are going and I wouldn't second guess not getting the white sofa. White would be too harsh on such a large piece in the room.

Good luck and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:46PM
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I think the color of the picture mattes and the wall color in this photo play nicely together. If the sofa goes with that green, I can see that yellow/gold in your dining room. I forget which one of the Kennon colors was close to that.

Here is a link that might be useful: color ideas

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Chickadee2, thanks for the link to the jacket and the photo. Citron is a Kennon color that is close to that yellow/gold, depending on the light in the room.

Geokid, I'm glad you said white would be too harsh for my sofa. I have been second-guessing myself since yesterday morning. Mind you, I would have been second-guessing myself if I'd gotten a white sofa, too. I live in the Land of Second Guessing.

I don't know how people decorate and have fun doing it. I have the self-confidence of a gnat in this area. If it weren't for the knowledgeable people here, I'd be frozen in indecision. It's quite a feat that I made it as far as selecting furniture, and I'm second-guessing that, too. Maybe Taylor King would have had a better choice for a chair. Maybe I should have gotten a skirted chair and ottoman. The next big hump is to select the fabrics. Then the rug. The lamps, tables and window coverings will be easy.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Did you get your sofa yet? I'd love to see how it looks in your space.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 5:27PM
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beachlily z9a

I wanted a sofa in that bold red you posted, but couldn't fine a Hancock & Moore color that bright. We got a red, a darker red that is beautiful!

Hope you enjoy your new environment as much as we enjoy ours.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 8:53PM
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The sofa arrived a week ago. I am still waiting for the loveseat and chair/ottoman. I've been busy working and haven't had time to paint the living room yet, including the paneling, but not the woodwork. I plan to select and buy an area rug and tables next week.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:04AM
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