Anyone pick paint color FIRST when decorating?

bird_lover6May 13, 2010

I'm so ready for a change downstairs -laundry room, kitchen, dining room, living room, foyer, powder room, master bedroom, and master bath.

And I love, love, love color. :)

Here are the 3 givens: lots of blue ware so colors must look nice with blue ware in kitchen and family room, neutral tan furniture in family room, and all white bedding in master bedroom with mahogany furniture (would like paint to set off the mahogany furniture).

I'm really thinking of just choosing my favorite five or six colors in the Benjamin Moore Affinity collection - they all coordinate beautifully - and start painting!

I really think I would love the outcome of this method most of all. I could then find pillows and fabrics for window treatments that coordinate. Since I like things fairly simple, I don't think I would have trouble.

I keep looking at fabrics, and while I like this or that fabric, I am having trouble making a decision. On the other hand, I walked into Benjamin Moore and immediately grabbed some paint chips that I l love.

Anyone do something like this? Am I crazy?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I truly think I'm going to do this unless you talk me down. I would love to be surrounded by walls of various colors that I love. :)


    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good for you!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 2:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you should go for it! If you love the colors, and think they'll be pretty easy to match, then why not? It sounds like your furnishings are neutral. I'd do it!

Would you mind sharing the colors? I'd love to see them!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sounds like you should go for it!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Talk you out of it? Why on earth shouldn't you paint your surroundings in colors that you love and make you happy? I personally think that's exactly what people should do!

Please post pictures when you're done so we can see the results!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All the time.
The first rule of interior design (well, okay, maybe the tenth...) is, start with the rug. Then the fabric.
I, and every serious designer I know, break this rule all the time.

Here are my unsolicited pieces of advice.
With your blue ware...the Chinese, who have produced some of the most gorgeous of blue and white porcelain and pottery in the world, have understood for eons that clear yellow makes every other color vibrant. This is particularly true of blue and white, and it is also true for white, and for mahogany furniture. It is not so true, however, for beige/tan, which can look dingy against pale yellows, but can work with richer ones, depending on its undertones. And a yellow that is too strong can be anxiety-producing in a space with very little natural light. If that appeals to you, Affinity "safari" #335 could be lovely for this.

For drama, however, a gorgeous coral can be exquisite with blue and white, but you have to be willing to choose a strong one, to reduce the risk of having a pink room against your intentions!

Likewise a luminous apple green. Both should feel light reflective rather than absorbing, and may be tricky with your tan.

For cool, it is possible to use a complex, receding gray (in the Aura/Afinity group, I like "wish" #680 for this), but it is not to everyone's taste.

Finally, a really good terra cotta can be a lovely choice anywhere except with your mahogany bedroom, where it will likely not set off your furniture very well. We used Affinity "firenze" #225 in our library/den, and we love its effect with white woodwork and a neutral camel sofa. I also like "etrusco" #355, which is a little less red, and more golden brown, and would look gorgeous with blue and white.

Here's the "firenze" room.

The color is a bit richer than the first photo, and less red and deep than the second. I am a lousy photographer...the folding tables were temporary, I hasten to add...and now I am shutting up!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We selected colors for almost every room before we did furniture or rugs (admittedly, we moved from a small place to a big place and need to get a LOT of new furniture to fill out some of the rooms). The colors are bold, happy colors and my reasoning was like yours - I get indecisive about fabrics and rugs but I know immediately if a wall color speaks to me. And for me, the walls set the mood for the rest of the room - if the wall color makes me happy, I can let everything else evolve from it.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 4:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did this in my living room, and lived to regret it. I chose a pretty dusty rose color (BM Desert Rose) to set off my vintage mahogany furniture and to coordinate with the wallpaper in the adjoining dining room. I actually thought that it would be an easy color to match, especially in a floral fabric. Then I bought a lovely 1920's mahogany-trimmed sofa that needs to be reupholstered, and I haven't been able to find upholstery fabric that works with this wall color and the sofa. What I didn't realize was that color choices are controlled by the Color Mafia, and woe to anyone who strays from their approved palette. Maybe if I live long enough, Desert Rose will become fashionable, but for the present, I'm stuck.

In your case, though, I wouldn't worry, because the Affinity line is fairly neutral and the colors are designed to coordinate with each other. Also, Benjamin Moore has invested a huge amount in promoting it, even doing a deal with Pottery Barn.

Good luck, and post some pictures when you're done!

P.S. I'm going to start a new topic - maybe someone can help me find some fabric for my sofa.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We chose pallet of colors ahead of time. Glad we did because it has been 5yrs and living room is not done. Has sparse furnishings but at least the walls are the color we want. It has made it a little more challenging to pick furniture though. Room is red and we seem to keep finding sofas we love but they don't come in color that matches the red, or are already red. But I know what I want and will find it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bronwy, that color is stunning.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bronwnsmom, thanks so much for all the advice. Like, jerseygirl, I also think that color is stunning. I'm afraid I'm just terrible when it comes to decorating, although I do have the help of a dear friend who has lovely, lovely taste. Unfortunately, her style is more formal and "old world" than mine, and I tend to let her tastes influence my style too much. :)

Do you think I could use that same color or something very similar along with black and white photography and include some of my blue ware in the room? My style is - for lack of a better description - casual transitional.

Thanks so much for all of your help. I do appreciate it!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks to western, dawn, nik, luk, zeebee and shannon for the encouragement!

Diletttante, I hope your luck changes and you find a sofa to your liking that matches your color scheme.

I have grown children coming this weekend, so I will have to set this aside for the time being, but being a little obsessive, I'm sure I'll make it to a paint store sometime during the weekend. haha


    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 8:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm really thinking of just choosing my favorite five or six colors in the Benjamin Moore Affinity collection

you say that as if its so simple... OMG... I don't think I could limit to five or six faves! I would need more to hang my hat on...

On the BM website, I think they have a section of "themed" color groupings. That might be a good way to get started.

Here's how I did it. My first downstairs paintover room was my powder room and I was into red at the time, but I needed to work in the terra cotta bits in the brown countertop (Silestone Mahogany I think), so I invented my own orangey-red color (spanish red and mayflower red). Then when I did my kitchen, I wanted something warm-brownish-orangey and I picked Copper Mountain. At the last minute, I chickened out that it was too dark. So I ended up with Potters Clay a bit lighter. But then I had a gallon of Copper Mountain so I used that in my laundry/mudroom. Then I needed a color for living room/dining/hall to coordinate with the rest of everything, so I picked a warm gold (BM Honeymoon) that worked nicely. So I ended up with my own "color theme" of 4 related colors.

moral of the story is it has to start with something and then flow to the finish line.

my $.02

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Like your moral of the story! :)

Well, I'm going to choose the first two colors based on my blue ware and kitchen cabinetry. We are planning a kitchen remodel in a couple of years, but I have to do something NOW! My kitchen will be in the green family, and my family room and foyer will be in the creamy light gold or coral. My bedroom will be in a very soothing blue or green, which will dictate the bathroom color, and my laundry room color will coordinate with my kitchen. Paint is so much easier than choosing fabrics!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Letting a beautiful rug form the basis for a room's color scheme works fine, as long as you A) already happen to own a beautiful rug or B) you have somewhere else to live while you wait to find a beautiful rug that you C) fall in love with and D) can afford, and then, gradually, build the rest of your room around it. For a long time, that's been the 'ideal' decorating scenario. But for those people who can't wait for the planets to align--which group includes myself-- picking your wall color first works out OK.

Of course, as Dilettante discovered, you may find that the perfectly lovely color you choose for your walls doesn't come in anything but paint. And, if you're into the perfectly co-ordinated look, that can be a problem, but it it doesn't have to be. You don't hear people critiquing the blue of the sky because it doesn't match the blue of the pool, or the lake, or the iris, or your kid's eyes. That's all irrelevant. The blue is a background, so it doesn't need to match, and I generally take that low-stapproach when I'm working on a room for a client. Life's hard enough already without worrying about stuff like that. And at home, I never use my wall color anywhere else in a room, certainly not that exact color. It's lots more interesting if there's some contrast, or even a little dissonance between foreground & background. It makes the room look less stagy & contrived, and, basically, less decoratorish--and I say that as a decorator. So if I were determined to have a yellow room, I would get one, and I wouldn't worry about not finding yellow fabrics to go with it, but would just slap the color on the wall. Then, if it takes me a year or two to put the rest of the place together, I at least have a nice color in the meantime. That ought to count for something. By the last inning, when I've got most of my furnishings, I can always change to a different yellow if I think it might better complement the rest of the stuff, but then, maybe it's that dissonance thet gives the room its life.

All I can say is that my furniture is a hodgepdge of different woods, fabrics, patterns & textures and that it's all worked equally well in rooms of a bunch of different colors: cornemal yellow, duck egg blue, spruce green,, paper bag brown, oyster gray, olive green & the newest one, Farrow & Ball's Churlish Green, the first time I've ever used an off-the-shelf paint color. So don't get all hung up on the rules about sequence. You can either follow the rules or the you can make up your own rules. That's what I do.

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows an older chef talking to his assitant who's adding some herbs to a pot: "Look, who CARES how much oregano you use!" It's like that. Don't make yourself crazy. It's only decorating.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Of course I agree with Magnaverde (I usually do!) about not using the wall color anywhere else. I will sometimes use a paler tint or deeper tone of the color somewhere, often in upholstery in a place like a library, where the books provide a lot of visual liveliness and I want a soothing moment.

Dilettante, I think you might like to think about that, and with your rose color, choose a fabric palette of fresh green, pale yellow, and perhaps a little blue violet, with a lot of pale creamy white as background. You can often find a nice loose natural floral in those colors, and they are fresh and vibrant with a rose background.

And back to your question, birdlover...yes, I think you could easily use "Firenze" with your blue and white. I have only camel, black, and white in the room, because I wanted to let the pictures and books provide the rest...but I think blue and white would look great with it, if there is plenty of white to rest your eye on.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

bronwynsmom - - I love your lamps! And what great use of a bold color - love it!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 2:34PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Exterior lighting question
We're replacing all of our exterior lights. There's...
Do all decorative vases need flowers?
Just moved and trying to decorate new home. I bought...
Laundry room paint & would you remove the door?
Decided to askā€¦ What color would you pull from the...
Have you used BM Etiquette?
I need to repaint my master bath. I'm considering...
Budget kitchen remodel
We relocated to a new state, and bought this home last...
Sponsored Products
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Accent Rug: Surya Rugs Candice Olson Pigeon Gray 2
Home Depot
Wilton Aluminum First and Ten Football Cake Pan - 2105-6504
$12.99 | Hayneedle
Area Rug: Candice Olson Taupe 9' x 13'
Home Depot
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Surya Rugs Candice Olson Ivory 8 ft. x 11
Home Depot
Worth Digging Spade with Plastic-Steel Handle - W2200
$32.99 | Hayneedle
MyCube Personal Safe
$399.00 | FRONTGATE
Marc Friedland Treasures of the Season Keepsake Box
$90.00 | FRONTGATE
Modern Classics Charcoal Gray and Flint Gray Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$876.60 | Bellacor
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™