Decorating living room- white walls

ky978152June 26, 2013


I am moving mid-July and am trying to figure out how I want to decorate my living room. I have a vision, but am having troubles pulling some ideas together.

The living room is not very big, and is a rectangle shape. The front door is at one end, and the way it is laid out, the tv will also be at that same end.

I have a red coach which is what I am trying to work around. I would was planning to paint 3 of the walls white, and then have the far end wall (the short wall, opposite of front door) a dark gray color with the red coach against it and some white shelves on the wall above the coach.

Does anyone have thoughts on this?

From here I have a few things I am trying to decide. Should my rug and curtains also be white? There is a full wall of windows so the curtains will be wall to wall against the long wall. I currently have an off-white shag area rug but am trying to decide if it will work with the all white room?

I also have a gray arm chair which I will have against one of the white walls which would match the gray end wall I am hoping, and plan to have some other splashes of red in the room.

Hopefully this all makes sense and someone can help me pull some ideas together! I am running out of time and am getting worried- it is my first time really trying to make a room fully come together.


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Is there a reason why you want to paint only one wall with a color? Most rooms these days seem to have better flow if they are all one color, or all white in this instance. SInce there is a full wall of windows, would you consider painting the grey on all the walls, and have splashes of red accessories to tie in with the red couch, like a red pillow on the grey chair, for example.

A photo of the room would really help us to visualize easier.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Does the room need to be painted? What color is it now? I would first decorate the room then pick the paint color. So first decide on rug, and window treatments.

If it does need to be painted, I would probably do all 4 walls in a creamy white.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:00PM
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I like your idea, but maybe instead of white walls against the dark gray....go to the lightest gray on the same strip as the dark gray....unless you really want high contrast...but I think both could work.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:52PM
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I think painting one of the short walls much darker than the others is going to empathize the shortness of the wall, and not in a good way.

The color scheme of white, gray and red does sound good. And I love a red couch.

Consider leaving the walls white, using the red couch and gray chair, with a gray or gray-and-white patterned rug, and white and red patterned curtains. Or white and red and gray. And some touches of black in there to ground things--an end table, say, or a plant stand (because I think some large green plants would look lovely in there) or pictures frames or a throw.

Or all gray walls in a pale gray, with the red couch and grey chair and an off-white/red/gray patterned curtain and use your off-white shag rug.

I think even three white walls with white curtains and a white rug would be a bit much white, especially if you have kids or pets who track in dirt/spill/shed.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:46PM
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I don't need to have just one wall painted a color, I just like accent walls but I am certainly flexible on ideas! I saw a picture online of a room that I am kind of basing this off of, although I have to make modifications.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of where I am moving because I am not in yet (and silly me I didn't take pictures of the room beforehand), but it is a green color right now which will not work at all with my red sofa (and I don't like that color either hah) so it does have to be painted.

I have attached the picture of the room I like and am kind of basing it off of to help visualize (the picture has red chairs which I wouldn't have, and my space is much smaller). I like your idea of going with a lighter grey though. The 4 walls in all cream could also work, but I have seen a lot of all white rooms in magazines lately and I am loving the look- so crisp!

Camlan I do like your ideas- I agree that I think the white rug and white curtains is too much. Thanks for the ideas everyone!

Can't wait to see what your ideas are when you see the picture of what I am working from :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 2:27PM
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Your inspiration pic is great, but keep in mind that it is a nook that is painted a deeper gray (I think the walls are light gray). The darker gray is being used to accent an albeit simple architectural feature , but it isn't just a typical wall.

What I do like about the darker gray is the softened contrast between wall and sofa, but that is a personal preference.

What about all white or light gray with dark gray and red accents in window treatments and pillows? I would bring in a hint of one more color (maybe a blue?) here and there. Just a hint. If possible, perhaps you could paint the door a deeper gray, depending in the door and its placement.

This post was edited by anele on Sat, Jun 29, 13 at 17:51

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 5:49PM
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Anele- I agree that the gray helps soften the contrast of the sofa, I think the red sofa on white would be too much. I do like the idea of the accent curtains instead but then the sofa would be on white.

I found the attached rug which I like. If I did the accent wall in a lighter gray like in this rug, with the 3 white walls, what would you use for curtains? I am planning on having red accents throughout in places as well but I am worried about having too much red in curtains and having the colors clash?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 8:21PM
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One quick question-- will the sofa be against the window? That would solve the issue of the contrast. Then we can figure out the rest!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 9:01PM
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No, with the way the room is laid out the best option is to have it against the far end short wall (the one that may be gray).

My wheels have been turning with all of the help from you guys and maybe now I am turning away from my white idea. I loved that picture I found and got focused on it but maybe I need to rethink! Now I am thinking maybe all walls very light gray, with my off white shag carpet and off white shag curtains, and then the red sofa and lots of red accents? Still very open to suggestions, as you can tell I am now very uncertain!! I need to pick paint colors in the next 1-2 weeks max so am very appreciative of the help :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 12:25PM
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I love your idea--sounds both bright yet sophisticated!

Think of ways to bring in pattern and/or texture (I prefer both) with your accessories. Just keep both in mind. The shag rug is a great item for texture.

What knd of curtains do you have, material-wise?

And--maybe start off with all walls the same. Live with it. See how artwork over the sofa helps tie in the wallcolor and sofa (not necessarily matching--just something to break up the expanse of a light color with a dark sofa). If you still don't like it, go for your accent wall. Does not have to be a super dark gray.

This post was edited by anele on Sun, Jun 30, 13 at 13:26

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 1:22PM
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I just realized I said shag curtains- didn't mean to say that, just meant off white curtains :)

I don't actually have curtains yet- that is part of the reason I am trying to figure out the rest of the room, so I can start the hunt for the right curtains or fabric to make some. Open to curtain suggestions! Sounds like the rest of the room is finally coming together. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Are you on Pinterest? Start pinning combinations of fabrics and accessories you find online. It helps!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Would you suggest white or black frames with the gray walls and white rug? I am leaning towards black?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 5:47PM
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