27 Colors and Counting

In the way of construction we, at this point, may or may not have walls this week. (Read: no chance in hell we have walls this week.) Which I would like to blame on our heating guy who was supposed to show up tomorrow to fill our geo system with glycol, but probably won’t. Except the last I heard our interior geo pipes are leaking so it might be a good thing that they don’t show up for a few more days. It still pisses me off, but at least my head probably won’t explode into a shower of hate-colored confetti tomorrow when they aren’t here.

However, the fact that we might have walls in the next couple of weeks made me realize that at some point in the near future I will have to do something with them. Like paint, maybe.

And this is where the great interior design portion of my life begins. So far the only room in the entire house I can picture clearly is the mudroom, which we’re using some of this gorgeous old wood and a barn door as design elements in. Things get a little fuzzy after that.

So I decided it was high time I sat down and got at least a rough plan for some of the colors I’d like to use in the house. Because Memorial has a pretty open floor plan (I can see all the way into the master bath from the living room if I’m lined up just right) I wanted all of the colors to have some sense of continuity.

About the only thing I know regarding how we’re going to finish this place off, is that I want it to have natural colors– I think we’ll end up a little bit rustic, a little bit industrial, and all the way comfy, in the end. With that in mind I dug into Benjamin Moore’s* virtual paint swatches to pick out things that appealed to me.

After 27 swatches, I had to stop myself:

That was a bit of a marathon, so I’m not going to lie– I poured myself a big glass of red wine and got down to the business of culling these down to a more reasonable number.

Like seventeen.

Seventeen colors is reasonable, right?

They won’t all be colors on the walls– some may be accents, and some may just stay a twinkle in my little eye– but admittedly, it’s still a bit of a mish-mash. After a big glass of wine you start getting all sorts of good ideas… in this case that meant dropping swatches onto actual rooms in our floorplan.

I think we might go pretty consistenly with Early American stain on the wood floors, windows, and great-room ceiling. We used that color on the Station ceiling and it turned out pretty good. So this alcohol-induced idea was actually pretty good in that I started to see where I might want to run colors from one room to the next, or how I’d like them to compliment each other.

Some things I really started to like on here were:

  • The bathroom colors in the first floorplan
  • The use of the darker blue in the study and entrance of the first floorplan
  • The way the great room, study, bathroom, and bedroom colors go together in the second floorplan
  • The kitchen/mudroom colors in the second floorplan

I’m still not loving the master bedroom in either version, and I definitely haven’t figured out the right combo of things that should be the same color, and things that should be different– and regardless you know this will all change once there is actual paint going on actual walls, but it’s definitely helping me with the planning process now.

Are there any colors you guys are loving lately that might fit into my scheme? Any thoughts on good bedroom colors?  I’m always up for good color advice.

*I’m not particular to Benjamin Moore paints or colors for any reason, but my absolute favorite paint store in town is John’s Color Concepts and they’re a Benjamin Moore shop so I figure starting with them will make my life easier in the long run.

12 Responses

  1. The only suggestion I have is this: Do NOT use the color you have as the main color in the great room and kitchen in the first layer as a main color for any room. It is straight up builders-beige. I like the warm, smokey gray of the second layout much better!

  2. I’m sure you know this, but the actual paint (and even the paper color swatches) are so different from what is online. Etiquette is much whiter than that, for example. Don’t get too married to anything until you sit down with some wine and a fan deck.

    1. A-men. Although I was thinking I could get attached to all the “colors” I want on the computer, just not their names.

      I was hoping I could at least figure out if I wanted some kind of smokey blue in one room vs a bold green or whatever whim strikes when I’m in the paint aisle.

  3. I’m new to your site and I’m truly amazed by what you are capable of! I’m a new homeowner and I had this grand idea that I would do some of the remodeling work myself. If you can put up a whole house, I can put up some dry wall (I hope.) You are so inspiring and I’ll be following your progress.

    I can appreciate the difficulty of narrowing down paint colors. I have a stack of gray swatches just for my powder room, and they all look so similar and yet so different, that I can’t decide. It’ll be interesting to see what you land on.

    1. You can definitely hang some drywall! (A little drywall is much easier to tackle than rooms and rooms full.)

      Also, just checked out your site and LOVE some of your power room suggestions as I’ve been looking for inspiration photos myself! Whatever that look is, that’s what I’m going for in the master bath.

  4. OK I’ve studied both floorplans and here is my take of course in list form:

    – Floorplan 1 is my favorite by far of the two
    – Love the master bed and bath colors, you should go with these no matter what! The colors have so much more depth and dare I say sophistication than the colors in Floorplan 2 which looks like a beginner designer who picked out their two favorite colors. #1 has a good mix of warm and cool yet all very subtle and neutral.
    – Definitely stick with a cream/white/beige color in the great room. It is a big space and a darker color like #2 would be too overpowering. Remember you’ll be stuck decorating around that color for forever or until you decide to repaint it. I’d use the same color in the kitchen, dining room, and great room on the walls.
    – I like the dark blue foyer in #1 but I don’t think you should paint the study that color also. Instead use dark blue accents like curtains in the study. The foyer is small so you can pull it off (plus fun pops of color in unexpected spaces are fun) but if the study was dark blue it would be the center of attention whenever anyone walks in the door. You want the great room and high ceilings to be the first thing you see instead. For the record I also like the aqua color of the foyer in #2. It just depends how dramatic you want to get with it.
    – The main bath is hard because we don’t know what tiles you are going to use. I’d try to stick with white/neutral tile and either blue accents (shower curtain, towels, etc.) or paint the walls light blue because that can always be changed later. I might go with something even lighter though. But I might be biased because I have a blue bathroom that looks like a smurf exploded inside.
    – The gray in the mudroom is nice because it breaks up the warm colors you have going on in adjoining rooms.
    – I say go with some fun funky color in the laundry room not beige.
    – Is there anything going in the bedrooms right away? Or are they more storage/spare space? I’d just go with the same white/cream color in both and call it a day. The blue makes me think baby boy nursery…you don’t have something to tell us do you? ; )

    1. I have nothing to tell!!! My mother has started referring to those as the “kids rooms”–you’d think the fact that I’m happily unmarried would keep the baby-talk at bay, but not a chance.

      One will be a spare bedroom and I’m hoping for exercise equipment in the other one. (Those will be painted last, for sure.)

      I agree with the funky laundry room color- good call on that. I’d like a wine/purple but if it’s too “girly” I’ll never get MysteryMan in there to do my laundry, which of course is my ultimate plan.

      1. LOL I knew you’d like that!

        Yeah I’d just stick with a whitish color or even the gray from the mudroom. Heck just us whatever color paint you have leftover from the other rooms. Keep it light so that when you need to change the function of the room *cough*kids*cough* you can easily paint over it.

        Oh I like the wine color idea! That would work well with the gray mudroom. Plus you won’t see much of the walls with cabinets and a big white (I’m assuming) washer and dryer.

  5. Oh and like the previous comments mentioned you really can’t make any final paint decisions until you have the swatches in hand. I’d see if your paint place has large paint swatches (5-6″) and tape them up to the walls (when you have walls) for a while. The colors can look very different in different spaces depending on lighting so give it some time. You wouldn’t want to have to repaint it right away because it didn’t turn out as expected.

  6. I guess your blog doesn’t like html comments, so sorry this is going to look really messy. I tried to hide the links but no such luck.


    I straight up jack colors from other blogs instead of pouring over the fan decks and agonizing between 4 shades that ALL LOOK THE SAME (been there, done that. toooooo many times).

    For our bedroom, we went with BM Quiet Moments (http://brickcitylove.com/2010/03/02/the-master-bedroom/). Sometimes it looks blue, sometimes green, sometimes gray. Suprisingly neutral, almost any color I try in there seems to work. This we actually DID find on our own but then, after a quick google search, realized that Brooklyn Limestone (http://www.brooklynlimestone.com/2010/02/master-of-my-bathroom-domain.html) and Small & Chic in Cville (http://www.smallchichome.com/p/house-tour.html) both used it in their master baths.

    For the guest room I just finished (but haven’t blogged about), I went with SW Creme. Saw that in Jeremey & Kathleen’s living & guest room (http://jeremyandkathleen.blogspot.com/p/house-tour.html). It’s warm and cheery but not annoying. Kathleen describes it as “glow” and I would have to agree.

    I want the living room to be light, bright and neutral because we don’t get a lot of light in there. Currently contemplating BM Sea Pearl, as seen in Rambling Renovaters master bedroom (http://ramblingrenovators.blogspot.com/2010/10/master-bedroom-reveal.html). Or maybe BM Moonlight White as see in nearly every white room of Door Sixteen (http://www.doorsixteen.com/2010/06/21/sometimes-good-enough-is-good-enough).

    I just discovered BM Raccoon – which Manhattan Nest used in his bathroom (http://manhattan-nest.com/2010/10/10/scrubadub). Love the dark black/charcoal/navy combo-y-ness off it. Now that I think of it, I think Manhattan Nest used Moonlight White as well (maybe in the living room?).

    Good luck!!

  7. My advice is to get the small jars of paint samples and try ALL the ones you love and want on each wall or room. Just be sure you do this in nice large 4 x4 size and live with them for few days, weeks, etc.

    This might sound like huge pain in the ass and a waste of money but trust me when I say that Benjamin Moore paint at $35-55 and up a gallon is costly when you realize you hate the color you just painted an entire wall with and the best you can say a bout it is…..

    Bleh 🙁

    Lesson learned hard way and now I never paint without doing samples and living with it for a month. In all kinds of lighting too!

  8. Intellectually, I’m a big fan of the little sample jars, painted on the walls in the rooms to test the light – but I hardly ever bother. I’m a big fan of mix your own – sponging or rubbing one color over another (or several). But I’m pretty much of a purist on ceilings (flat white) and trim (semi-gloss white). And the pure white is a good contrast to a mix on the walls. How fun to be at the color stage!

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