What color for these built in shelves? And do they need trim?

karenschaeweNovember 12, 2012

I want to de-emphasize the pinky-orangey tones. Would a dark gray do that or no? Should the shelves and wall behind be painted the same color? We are painting the walls gray-with a hint of green. The floor will be a dark wood look. Kitchen is open to this space and will have off white shaker type cabs with soapstone and butcher block countertops.

There was scalloped trim on the front edges that I removed cause I am not a scalloped type person but I am wondering if I should put some other type of trim on them to dress it up a bit? Here's what they looked like with the trim:


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No suggestion on color, but I would put a plain molding on the shelves to chunk them up a bit.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Ditto what writersblock said.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Find out what color neutralizes pink and paint that on the back wall of the shelving. It is almost like neutralizing pickled wood- what colors would folks use for that?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:42PM
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It depends on your style. I would put a chunky piece of trim made out of a rustic wood (in a dark stain similar to your flooring.)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Unanimous votes for adding trim. Check. The dark rustic trim idea appeals to me, not super banged up but more weathered. Would the same type wood work for a mantle? I despise the bright brass fire screen thingy (do those have a name?).

Now for what color. Do I am for lighter than the wood or a darker shade (of brown, presumably) to more closely match/blend with the rustic trim? For the walls I am thinking SW Austere Gray:

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:17PM
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First, change out th edging for a nice crown molding. As for color on the backside of the shelves, I would use black, but a charcoal black, and paint the shelves, also. IMO, a painted back and painted shelves, but different colors, would look strange.

I've used RL Bone Black, and it *is* a charcoal black, semi-gloss or eggshell.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bone Black

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Actually I think that black and grey may emphasize the pinky orangey tones. A dark brown would probably deemphasize it IF it had it's own orange undertone that was stronger and would make the brick look more neutral relatively.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:59PM
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If you do add a rustic wood as the trim, I would paint the shelves to match as closely as possible.

As for the color on the walls of the shelves, I like the lightness of what you have currently. Is the grey-green you are painting the walls complementary to the brick or does it clash? I would fear a dark color would make those two shelf areas too dark for that room... but it's hard to tell over the internet. :)

RE: a matching mantle, .... yes! I think it would look beautiful.

RE: the fireplace screen... if you aren't replacing it, can you spray paint the brass part? I bet that would make it less offensive to you.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Pal, since black is the 'absence of color', I don't understand how it can emphasize any tone, of any color. Maybe a brown-black, but definitely a darker color than the current light color. Notice how the black fireplace tools and screen stand out against the brick.

Why don't you just use the same gray/green you'll be using on the walls? IMO, it would tie the bookshelves in with the rest of the room adding continuity to the completed space.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Most black Paint, just like white Paint has undertones. Many blacks that people read as a more "true" black are cool blacks that have distinct purplish or bluish undertones that would heighten the pink or orange undertones in the brick. Black as a pure hue is the absence of color but paint is made of pigment. Look at how many "Whites" there are.

To me, and some of this is because of the photometrics of the lighting I am sure, the bricks look more neutral surrounding the upper part of the arch with its lighter paint, whereas it looks more orangey near the black fireplace screen and TV.

In any case, the color of the brick doesn't bother me that much, but I think the best way to reduce its overall impact is with a closely correlated color rather than a color that provides high contrast.

If you put hot pink or bright orange on the wall the brick wouldn't appear pink or orange at all, it would appear beige, so to me something with an undertone of orange without being distinctly orange would act similarly.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:36PM
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LOL LOL...pal, now you really have me confused!

IRL, are you scientific, logical, analytical or all the above? My guess is scientific, with a little analytical thrown in.

I still think the wall color would be the best decision. ;o)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Do you want to paint the brick? Since you've described it as pinky-orangey tones, does that mean you don't like it?

The fireplace insets can be changed out. I found one on CL and replaced the one in our old house before we sold it. You'd have to measure yours to see if it was a standard size, but if it is, you might be able to do away with the brass "roof" thing.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Pal is right, as a trained artist I can tell you that a dark brown definitely diminishes pink to the point where you don't see the pink tone. So a dark brown on the mantle too would really work well.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:13AM
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Definitely dark brown. Add a thicker edge (not scalloped) and I would paint the back walls behind the shelves dark brown as well.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:40AM
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Beth - I have considered painting the brick but have decided it will be a last resort.

Interestingly, the shelves were once orange as I discovered when I took the trim off the front.

Here's a mood board I put together to repress some rustic wood and dark brown paint:

Completely off? Somewhat improved?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:02AM
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That was supposed to say represent rustic wood...

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:10AM
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That looks wonderful, now paint the recessed walls and shelves the dark brown and the brick will then look wonderful. Keep in mind that your embellishments on those shelves will really showcase them in the dark tones. Once it's done you'll realize how well it works.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:34AM
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Is the mantle too low to be safe? Mantles tend to be a bit higher (with some brick in between the fireplace and the mantle.)

RE: the brown. It looks nice. Can you do a mock up with a lighter brown, though? I think it might be good to have some contrast between the background paint and the rustic wood. Do you want the shelving area, overall, to be dark/stand out from the brick or do you want it to recede? If dark, consider the effect it will have on darkening the room.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:31AM
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I haven't read all the responses, but - I agree with pal's suggestion on a brown that has orange tones to it. I am struggling with a situation somewhat similar to the OP's in a bathroom that has pinkish-beige tumbled marble tiles. I tried many colors, but everything seemed to accentuate the pink in the tiles. I then decided on a dark brown with what I guess were orange (reddish?) undertones to it, not unlike the room's floorboards and very like the stain on a rustic, twig plantstand. This plantstand was in fact the inspiration, as it's sited next to the tiles and not only do the colors look good, but I noticed that the pink-beige seemed much less pink. The paint sample was perfect, too: the pink tones receded to innocuousness. Unfortunately, the stained wood ceiling and ceiling beams are very similar to the color of the floor and, due to the beams, there is no ceiling molding: the result was that the room would have looked like a dark brown box. Sorry for long-winded story; the point is, the dark brown with orange-y/reddish undertones would have successfully dealt with the pink in the tiles.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:09PM
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I, too, haven't read all the responses (and only have a minute or so before my LOs demand my attention again)... but thought I'd share what I just did to my fireplace/wall in our Family Room. If you're open to painting your bricks (I know you said it was a last resort... it was for me, too!) A lot of what we have is similar to yours: open to kitchen which has white shaker cabinets; we have soapstone on wine bar; kitchen wall color is BM Revere Pewter; rest of 1st floor walls are BM Shaker Beige; floors are dark wood; we also have brick fireplace with built-in shelves on both sides.

Personally, I couldn't stand the look of our entire wall. Shelves are low quality and uneven, cabinets below are also shoddily built and pieced together, the red/orange-ness of the bricks drive me nuts, the mantle is a piece of reclaimed beam with holes on top and altogether installed too high, etc. It will be years until we can completely redo this wall. In the mean time, the shelving got repainted when we renovated kitchen (replacing a horrible seagrean wall, including back of shelves) and shelves and mantle got BM Chantilly Lace to match my kitchen cabinets.

I came across this tutorial online (link below) to give my fireplace bricks and mantle a make-over. Anything was better than the red bricks! I picked a brown that matched my floors for the mantle. For someone with zero paint experience and not particularly crafty, it was super easy! I still haven't figured out what to do with those ugly 4 metal vent covers, but I can definitely live with this for a few more years. Here are the results...

This is the only before/after I have, which includes my kids flat on their backs watching tv:

view from kitchen:

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY whitewashed brick fireplace

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:55PM
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My sister's new house has bathrooms and a powder room with "stone" porcelain in what I see as a decidedly pink hue, and the only paint color that is currently on the wall that does not make it look pink or purple (which is what it looks like in most of the bathrooms) is a dark brown that must be the same basic hue as the tile itself without white in it.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Posting back to,this thread to say that I found an awesome piece for the mantel. We went to a local wood working store today to get Waterlox for the countertops in the kitchen. Right by the front door were these gorgeous reclaimed wood mantels. Price tag: $800 and up. That's not happening. We got the Waterlox and on the way out dh saw a sign: 50% off lumber. He asked if I wanted to go take a look. At first I didn't want to as we didn't have much time to spare right then. But I said what the heck, let's take a quick look. I appreciate all types of woods and this place is known for having some exotic types. Long story longer, tucked in the corner of the Lumber Room was a small section of reclaimed wood and sitting right in the front was this piece. I fell in love, if that's possible, for a piece of poplar!

It has just enough rustic-ness for me, I don't like the bark on, totally hacked up look. And the price: $35

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 5:43PM
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What a buy!!! I can't wait to see the finished product.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Love your painted fireplace Dragonfly! I rarely vote to paint a fireplace and I wouldn't paint the one of the OP either. However, yours is gorgeous!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 3:18PM
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Just a little more food for thought as far as contrast.

I painted the back of my built-ins burgundy and the shelves white.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Please don't pay any attention to the decor.
We are in search of an antique Victorian parlor set (within our budget)...just using this in the meantime.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 4:25PM
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