HELP! Need paint color to coordinate with brick fireplace

cj13June 3, 2008

I am so glad to have found this forum. I am in a pickle. I have to decide on a paint color for my kitchen, livingroom and long hallway. The rooms all flow together. I have good lighting in my kitchen, not so great lighting in my livingroom and even less lighting in my long hallway. The biggest problem is that I have an old Chicago fireplace in the livingroom that looks taupe from a distance but in the livingroom it looks kind of orangish-gold, gray, brown, maroon and black. There are lots of colors in the bricks. Anyway, I need a wall and trim color to coordinate with the Old Chicago bricks. The painters are due to start this week! I had looked at Fairway Oaks but it might be too dark? Tooooo brown? I don't know if a light and airy look will work with this rich earthy fireplace either. Everything looks either too light or too dark. Help! Thanks to all in advance!


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With no pictures it is hard to give advice but I think with the time you have, you need to go get some small sample cans, paint them near the FP brick and see what you come up with.

Seems lighting would be a problem for a copper or terra cotta and if the FP looks taupe, matching a beige may not be easy.

Seems that SW color Restrained Gold maybe is something everyone seems to use...not sure how it would play with taupe.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:58PM
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Can you post pics? That would really help. :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:00PM
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DO you want a monochromatic look or a contrasting look? What color are your rugs and furniture? Do you want to highlight the fireplace or downplay it? The SW strip with Sand Dollar in it is worth looking at. It's a beige, but is chameleon like. It some lights, it looks rosy, in others it looks more taupe.

Try this link and use the color visualizer to try out some different colors in different rooms:

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 10:45PM
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Trying to find the ONE color that works with the light in 3 rooms, finds the right degree of contrast with a particular room component like your multi-colored fireplace, and still manages to push the right buttons for you in terms of happiness and color satisfaction, can be very hard. I just painted my master bath in Alexandria Beige, and let me tell you........that color came at great cost in terms of paint samples, runs to Sherwin Wm's, Ben Moore, Home Depot, and Lowes......not to mention delaying the re-install of my toilet, which waited on the wall to be painted behind where it needed to sit. I am pretty good with color. I can almost always see the undertones--whether a brown has red undertones or green, whether a green will look more green or muddier, almost like a taupe, and I know what I like. Some people are very surprised by what actually appeals to them in terms of color. I am almost never surprised, since I lean to the same things over and over. But the thing that confused and frustrated me in this small bath paint job, was the lighting and the tile. The tile is mostly taupe/beige, but the tumbled stone liner above the vanity leans into almost a golden tinge on the beige. Painting the bath any shade of gold or golden brown, looks sick. The lighting is also a mess.........fluorescents above the sinks with no other light source, and a window in the shower area that changes the tone of color completely. So, the color that looks awesome in the shower/toilet area looks mucky in the vanity area. The whole thing is offset by oak cabinets that tend to the golden oak tones, with the flooring in a red toned oak. I used maybe 50 chips as possibilities and bought 4 test quarts of SW paint. I had some quarts of paint that look good in other parts of my house that I tried too, but none of them look right under florescent light only.

Why am I going into all this excrutiating and not-helpful-to-you detail??? Hopefully, to let you know that your inability to pick one great color to do all that you need it to do, is completely understandable. I have several good paint brands housed nearby where I can get chips and samples. I even sent for a strip from Farrow & Ball, just to complicate things. Some people live only near a Home Depot or only near a Sherwin Williams. That makes it much, much, harder in a difficult situation.

I think you really need a color that looks good in your kitchen, with your cabinets and flooring, and that also does justice to your living room, setting off your furniture and fireplace. Don't worry overmuch about your dark hallway. Most of us have dark hallways. And people don't really look at the hallway. It's merely the path to the loo. Or to the bedrooms. People/Visitors in the hallway are on their way to something else. So, choose your color for the other rooms and just let it flow down your hall, not worrying about the feel. It will work.

Are you more interested in a shade of brown, a beige or taupe? Or are you willing to consider a neutral green? I've found Ben Moore's Baby Turtle to be a very useful sage green. It can look more brown green in some light, softer sage in others. It does a good job contrasting with cabinet woods as well as most brickwork. I warn you though, when you splotch it, it looks ucky. You almost need to roll on part of a wall to get a feel for the color.

I'm sure there are a number of other shades of green that might work in your space, probably some nice browns, and maybe even a color I haven't thought about. I am eliminating all reds, since most of us don't want red throughout our house, (I have it in entry and kitchen) all yellows, (since I can't see your brick, but it sounds like it wouldn't be pretty with golds or yellow) blues, (like red, blue--unless it's subtle and murky, won't travel well from kitchen through LR, down hallway) and maybe creams & ivories, since they seem like such an absolute. Taupe will probably not work unless you do something with some real color like Restoration Hardware's Flax. It can be dark, but it's dark and cocoon like. See some of it's pictures on the Gallery in the brown thread.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 11:41PM
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Even if the rooms open to each other (and hard to tell what you mean exactly w/out seeing pics), you don't necessarily have to go with the same color throughout. Or, you could use different strengths of the same color. A good neutral-ish pale sage like BM Camouflage might work. Or BM Gray Mirage. Without really seeing the space it's hard to tell, but they're worth looking at. If you want to do the same color maybe you could do one shade lighter for the hall and a shade darker for the living room, or something like that.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 9:06AM
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I need a little clarification here. Do you mean Old Chicago bricks (as in that is the name of the bricks from the manufacturer) OR do you mean old bricks that are a common color in certain neighborhoods in Chicago?

Thanks ;)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 3:14PM
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We used Sand Dollar, and it looks fine w/ our old brick fireplace. Our brick is from a 30s Tudor so you'll have to compare that w/ your Chicago brick colors. I do agree w/ the post from above that Sand Dollar does seem to be a great color that kind of blends itself into the other nearby colors.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 9:55PM
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Thanks to all who responded to my dilema. I'm really worried about it, but I am going to have the painters paint Benjamin Moore Fairway Oaks tomorrow and hope for the best. I'll let you know how it turns out. If I can figure out how to post photos I will post a few. If anyone can tell me how to post a photo I'll really appreciate it. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:34PM
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This thread helped me figure out how to post a picture. The directions are very clear for those of us who don't speak computerese.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to insert a pic?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 5:15PM
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