This is how my husband described the color going up in our living room. He’s a real life rocket scientist, and a man of very distinguished tastes. For every bit that I am kitschy, vintage, bright, cheery, and comforting, he is modern, clean, bold and cold. I prefer ALL THE COLORS. He prefers monochromatic. So when I called him in to savor the delicious golden hue going up in our living room, his response to my question, “So…you like it?”, was, “Hm. It looks like golden rod someone pooped in.”
Ladies and gent’s, my husband.
But, despite his disapproval, I felt pretty confident in my choice of color.
This is how it all started.
Much like, ya know, everything in the house, the walls were a discolored off white, and filled with nail holes and nails. (We didn’t put nails up to hang those pictures.) Once we figured out the layout, which wasn’t difficult thanks to there being only a few outlets in this room and only one cable hookup, it was all a matter of picking a color. I love our entertainment center and our sectional, so I knew I’d want to try to build around those colors. Initially I had in mind a teal color on the walls, with teal accents (throw pillows, picture frames, ect) lying about, but it occurred to me that if I wanted to go with teal, I’d have to buy a lot more stuff to make the teal work. And I had a few items I loved that absolutely wouldn’t work in teal room. So, teal was out. I fiddled with red (ICK), plain ol’ beige (DOUBLE ICK), and found myself fumbling around in Lowe’s, hands full of samples, feeling lost.
And then it hit me.
So, this isn’t exactly a solid gold, but more of a goldenrod. (This picture washes it out quite a bit.) As soon as it went up, I could see all my antique furniture, my frames filled with jewel tones, my sectional, my curtains, my EVERYTHING coming to life because of it.
This is a BIG room. When it was built, the front part of the house was a large porch (much like a traditional craftsman bungalow), but at some point in its life, the porch was enclosed, extending the living room about 10 feet, and adding a second bathroom to the house (attached to the master bedroom). This room measures out to be 22×15. BIG room. It fits our sectional (which is not tiny) just fine, plus our entertainment center, an antique chest of drawers, a coffee table, a chalkboard table and chair for my daughter, and a fireplace, with plenty of room to walk around without bumping into something.
I focused on finishing one wall completely, before moving onto the other walls, which is not usually how I approach painting. With the last few rooms we’ve painted, I worked all the way around the entire room painting with a roller, and then went around the entire room doing the trim. This is okay and all, but after you’re 3 rooms in to repainting an entire house, you start getting really tired of painting for several days straight before seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t do that again.
So, I finished an entire wall, waited until it dried, and made busy hanging pictures and setting up furniture.
This is my daughter’s chalkboard table. The top is all chalkboard, and the legs are a marvelous, muted crimson called “Dusty Rose”. We had an extra spot next to the fireplace, and while initially I entertained the thought of putting a really comfy chair here and using it as a reading corner, her table fit PERFECTLY in the spot, and it gives her a place to draw and read without having to be away from the family.
The other side of this particular wall is now home to an amazing, antique lectern my parents picked up in England when we lived there in my childhood. I’ve been dying to really give this thing its own space and its own deserved attention, and now I can. And while I know the expected accessory on top of the lectern is a Bible, but we’re not really the kind of people to have open Bibles lying around. Seems…pretentious. So, instead? A book about Degas. Very fitting.
But then a weird thing happened. I finished this entire wall, these two corners, and started working around to the fireplace wall. It was all going so well, until the sun went down, and we were left with this VERY gold room and our VERY yellow light bulbs.
And it was…unpleasant-ish.
Not horribly so. And the truth is, every time I turned around and looked at the first wall we did and those pretty, little corners, all fixed up, I loved the color. But looking at it behind our entertainment center and above our fireplace felt suffocating. Suddenly, I was hating this color. I assumed maybe it was because two of the bulbs in our light fixture were out on the side facing the entertainment center, so it must just be because it’s so dark over that’a'way.
So we put new bulbs in. It’s definitely brighter. And it’s still very yellow.
But, we were already traveling down this road and I’d already done so much (and spent so much) on this paint, so there was no going back. I went to bed that night heavy hearted and frustrated with my living room plight. I was experiencing…
That evening I went to bed terribly distraught. “How could I have been so wrong about a color??” I tormented myself into the wee hours of the morning.
By morning, the blessed sun had returned, and with it the color became delightful again. Thankfully, I have a wonderful circle of friends who assured me that the problem may not be the colors, so much as the bulbs. And my husband made a wonderfully good point: we need some cool colors to ground this space. The entire pallet was running on solid warm tones, and while warm tones are very cozy and inviting, sometimes they can be too much. He recommended grey curtains and a lot of black and white photos.
And he was right.
First, I painted our coffee table black. Next, I switched the grey swirly rug out of the dining room and moved it into here. Next the blue pillows. Originally I was going to replace these with grey pillows, and I still may, but for now I love the pop of color from the navy blue against all the other colors.
The grey rug really changes so much in his room. It didn’t seem obvious to me to do that, but I think that’s why I love it. It’s interesting and unexpected. Also, the cream colored area inside the fireplace isn’t staying that color. I’m going to pick up a quart of a delicious slate grey to paint just that cream section (and maybe the bit on the floor). It’ll ground the fireplace and make it more of a focal point.
I wanted to carry the red over as much as possible without crossing the line. These red plates I haven’t used in ages worked great here.
I really can’t believe how well this whole room came together. You can’t get a full appreciation for the scale, but this is a BIG room. Plus, I don’t have any proper pictures from the view at the back of the room. But I think you get the idea.
I still need to decide on some curtains, and it really is going to be a tough decision. Maybe grey? Maybe a steel blue? I’m not sure at ALL what to do, but *hopefully* I’m picking out curtains this weekend so maybe I’ll have some answers soon! Until then, here’s our 99% completed living room! I’ll update pictures as updates arrive.