Wall color to complement taupe couch?

CantamewSeptember 23, 2012

Good day, everyone! This is my first post here at Garden Web and I'm hopeful that you will be able to help me.

I'm having a lot of trouble choosing a wall color for my living room. We've recently purchased a new couch and chair and the color is really throwing me off. All of the colors that I have tested on my walls, thus far, end up making my furniture look dull or dirty.

What I'd like to do is have a light, warm neutral color on my walls to help brighten things up. My living room is quite dark for most of the day because it only receives sunlight in the early morning. The goal is to create a warm, cozy space that my family and I can enjoy. Oh, and my reason for sticking with a neutral color is to allow me a lot of flexibility when it comes to adding pops of bright color in my future decorating.

I've attached a picture of my couch. The wall is currently a sage green color and the couch is a Briarwood Microfiber Sofa in Light Taupe.

Thank you, in advance, for any and all help you can offer!

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You're going about this backwards --

Imagine that your walls were your absolute favorite color in the whole wide world -- but that was a color you could never expect to match in furnishings. So what color sofa would you buy? Yep - a neutral quiet taupe like the one you bought.

If you paint your walls some 'close to beige' shade (really, almost anything light and neutral), unless you have a bold carpet, you're VERY likely to have a bland, dull, beige room.

Also, don't forget the best color-rule for low-light rooms: DON'T go for light or white walls, because there's not enough light to make the walls lively. Near-white walls in low-light rooms almost always end up looking dingy and boring.

So go for a deeper, richer color, to add warmth and drama and add electric lighting to give you the light you need and end up with the 'warm and cozy' feeling you say you're going for. Not sure? Search Houzz for rooms with dark walls and you'll see how cozy they are.

So what's your favorite color? I'd suggest finding a middle-shade in that hue, one that's complex with taupe or grey undertones that works with your ambient light and the brighter accent pieces you love. If you're dead-set on a neutral tone, maybe a cocoa or complex plum.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Hm, I suppose that's my problem. My favorite color is purple, but I definitely don't like purple hues on my walls. I like muted or neutral tones so that I can swap out accent colors.

For example, I'd like to be able to do something bright like orange accents (pillows, curtains, etc.) during the fall. But I would also like to do blues or greens during the spring and maybe red or yellow during summer and winter.

I have tried putting some sample paint on one wall and darker colors just end up making the room feel like a cave. I'll take another look through my paint chips, though, and see if I can come up with something a bit more rich.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:20PM
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A fairly deep burgundy color...perhaps more ofa merlot. It will warm up your room and you can treat it as a neutral. Add a yellow ocher and butternut squash accents in the fall....go with soft sage and silver and gold at Christmas...white white in the dead of winter and change out some stuff for wicker in the spring.

A pale wishy washy colored room, is just dull....add "pops of color" and instead of looking exciting it looks startling. Get some depth to the color on your walls....you said the room is dark, so a warm color would be best....

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:38PM
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If your favorite color is purple, don't rule out every shade just because 'purple' is too much. Some colors read brown or gray at on the surface, but really have quite a fair amount of purple in them. Those might really surprise you -- in a great way.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:57PM
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this room is a perfect example. It has both a light and darker color. Look at how much better/richer/warmer the chair and dark wall look compared to the light one. Notice also the ceiling. This is still very neutral and all the colors you mentioned, plus more, would look great with it.

Traditional Living Room design by Detroit General Contractor Marhofer / Campbell Building Companies

Another, even darker color, but still neutral:

Contemporary Living Room design by Raleigh Interior Designer Heather Garrett Design

something more bold, but fabulous. The couch really is the focal point and not the paint color; just the opposite of what you'd imagine.

Eclectic Living Room design by littlebluedeer.com

You could also be really bold - look at how inviting this is and all the accent colors that work with it here.

Eclectic Living Room design by Other Metros Interior Designer Anna Baskin Lattimore Design

go to houzz and search for dark paint or dark walls.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:13PM
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What about a color like the color of the piping? It looks like a warm brown on my screen. I think a darker hue will actually serve to make the room more lively and in so doing also lighten the atmosphere of the room.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Oh wow, I really love that dark grey/neutral, olychick. I'm going to order a sample of that color and see how it goes.

@roarah - it is sort of brown (the company lists it as "khaki welt") but has too much yellow to it for my taste, if that makes any sense.

I'm beginning to think I'm just far too picky. My husband just wants me to pick a color (any color) and be done with it. This is much harder than I had hoped it would be, even though it's my first time decorating.

Anyway, I'll be getting some more paint samples soon and hopefully will be painting within the next week or two, if all goes well. I still welcome any and all suggestions! This has been very helpful!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:25PM
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How about picking out the color of the piping on the sofa? It appears to have a slightly darker piping trim.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:40PM
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I did a google search for Briarwood Microfiber Sofa and there was a hit for a polyvore design board. The designer used a picture from Sherwin Williams Versatile Grey. See what you think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Taupe Couch and Grey Walls

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:23PM
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My living/dining room combo is called BM Caramel Apple. It is a warm colour that looks great with my taupe couch. I have used a dark purple pillow, burgandy/merlot, sage, and they all look great!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:29PM
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My couch and loveseat are pretty much that taupe, and I ended up with a warm aqua glaze that works really well. The base is a very pale blue which is actually thalo green and lamp black in a white base; the glaze is deeper, thalo green, lamp black and yellow ochre.

The walls had been a neutral off-white, the room looked dingy and dirty. Then I got some throw pillows I loved, and the aqua was out of the pillows.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Well, I should have 3 new paint samples tomorrow and hopefully one of them will work for me. :) I've also finally found something that should take the horrible paint, which the previous owners applied, off of my brick fireplace. I'm getting really excited about this room re-do, now!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:51PM
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I love dusty aqua and taupe together too. Had it in one of my previous homes and never tired of it. It looked good with lots of accent colors, including purple, raspberry, dark brown, yellow gold and red oranges.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:11AM
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i agree that a deeper neutral is the way to go! hope one of your new samples looks good to your eye!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:41AM
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My sofa is a taupe beige and we used SW Khaki shade and the contrast is really nice. Doesn't match just looks nice together.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Wow, that's quite lovely, rtwilliams! I'll have to look through my paint chips and see if I can find a similar color and hold it against my couch.

Our paint samples arrived and I put some up onto the walls and they were only so-so. My husband ended up liking the two colors I disliked the most, haha! I think I've reached the point where I'm just going to have to choose something that I'm okay with and let it grow on me.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Cantamew, choosing paint colors can be very challenging, Trust me, I know; I painted two rooms and master bathroom cabinets this past summer and each one was a challenge, the bathroom in particular. I swear we had 15 sample pots before it was all over (but at approx. $2/pot, worth the $$). Having said that, it is worth it once you find THE color. I would suggest you take whatever time you need to find the right color because when it's right you will love your room each and every time you enter it. Just my .02:)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:07PM
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That IS a lovely room rtwilliams --

But do notice, Cantamew, that the couch is not photographed against a painted wall, but rather against an open kitchen and light-filled windows. That matters...

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:33PM
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Rtwilliams....stunning home!!

We used deeper neutrals- LA Gold #3 & 5. If you are a gold person, either may work really well for you.
Imagine gold paint with pretty purple accents?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:35AM
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I think I've almost got a color narrowed down. I found a really nice grey that is almost right, so I'm going to try to get a darker sample and see if it will be as fantastic as I'm hoping it will be.

However, I've hit another problem. As I look at my fireplace (which I hope to strip back down to its natural brick), I've realized that the proportions are really throwing me off. The mantle seems too small considering the size of the fireplace. Am I crazy in thinking so?

Something has to be done with the mantle anyway, since it's not even attached to the fireplace. We can pull it right off, which seems a bit dangerous since there's also an outlet built into it.

I like the look of this sort of fireplace, with the pretty white wood against the dark brick.

They even have dark walls, which helps me to visualize what mine could look like. But given the shape of mine, I can't really see a way to achieve that look. Any ideas on how I might? The bits of brick that stick out at the top, as well as the fact that my brick doesn't extend to the ceiling, has me thinking I won't be able to just attach boards. Maybe I should just make the mantle a bit thicker?

From the floor to the top of the brick is 52 3/4" and the width is 55 1/2", if that helps.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Cantamew- Sweeby is correct that a low light room will make the paint look darker. Another color I love is a shade lighter on the same SW paint strip called Urban Putty. It is gorgeous, we have it in a couple rooms and it is a neutral that looks great with everything.

Loribee, thanks : ) Yours is room is beautiful, so cozy and charming. Are those drapes the ones from target? They look like the ones I just put in my dinette.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:17AM
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You might consider leaving the brick and doing a mantle over the whole thing and adding a stone veneer. It looks like it is in a corner, maybe something like this picture to make the corner work for the design. I look forward to seeing your paint selection. When I was picking my paint I learned not to ask my DH his opinion. He only made me second guess every color I tried. good luck, your getting there.Your room will be beautiful when your done.

Eclectic Living Room design by Other Metros Design-build Farinelli Construction Inc

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Wow, that's definitely something I hadn't though of! Of course, that would also mean putting up crown moulding around my living room (currently there is nothing there.) It's certainly something I do eventually plan on doing, though, so maybe we can squeeze that into the budget sooner rather than later.

It's definitely something to think about. Thank you, rtwilliams!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I don't think you would need crown at all, I basically did the same with my fireplace.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:00PM
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If you haven't decided on paint color you might try Sherwin Williams Sanderling SW7513. I have it in my LR and it's not too light or too dark. Very neutral and it looks to be the same color as the piping on the sofa.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:38PM
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No, I haven't decided on a color 100%. We'll be heading out sometime this weekend to find a dark grey to try on the wall. I'll take a look at that SW paint while I'm out to see if it looks like it will be a good fit. Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Well after two more samples that we are unsure about, I've decided to just go ahead and paint one of the walls entirely. I'm starting to think that seeing too many colors at once is throwing me off and I need to see one wall completely covered.

The sample cans that I've received are each adequate enough to get my smaller wall covered, so I'll be digging into it this weekend. :) Thank you, everyone, and I'll be sure to update with pictures as soon as I get things finished!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:58AM
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