This is my #1 question of all time. Read below for the email thread between Kelli and myself.:
My problem is this: I have a very open floor plan. I 'm talking shared wall in the living room and dining room, shared wall with dining room and kitchen, shared wall with kitchen, foyer, and hallway. Basically, when you walk in my front door, you are looking at one big room in the shape of a square. On the right is a half wall that separates the kitchen from the foyer (which is not even a real foyer but an area to put shoes, etc. that we made with tile; it works because a little bit of the wall on the left when you first walk in juts out about 3 feet, creating a little nook). From the "foyer" you walk right into the living room. If you go left, then you will begin to walk down the hall. If looking directly in front of you as you walk in, there is a large wall that has a sliding glass door going from the area designated as the living room to the back porch. In this huge space, I only have four walls, plus the half wall with a column that goes up to the ceiling, which are cathedral style and come to a point in the very middle. Standing just inside the front door, the highest points are to your left and right, one being in the kitchen (right) and the other in the living room (left). The front wall, the one that the front door is on, goes all the way down a hall to the left.
I know that this description is probably confusing, so if you are willing to help, I will be happy to take and send pictures. It sounds complicated, but if you keep in mind that the "foyer"/nook, living room, dining room, and kitchen are all enclosed by basically four walls (save for the nook created by the wall jutting out to your left just inside the front door) , that might make it a bit easier to understand. I just don't know how I'm going to get away with anything but painting every wall the same color, although i would like to do an accent wall (preferably the dining room/kitchen shared wall, which comes to a point due to the cathedral ceiling and also houses most of my kitchen cabinets, which are a honey-colored oak). I want to do a warm golden-wheat yellow, and maybe a brick red or terra cotta/orange. Another idea I have is taupe and red, taupe being the main color, and red being the accent. The nook created when you first walk in is a little bit of a challenge as well. Although the room is basically one big square, it does get tricky by the front door. The foyer/nook is created by the wall jutting out to the left, and a half wall to the right, which only turns into a half wall after about 3 feet (matching the jutting wall to the left, thus creating the nook). However, the tall part of the half wall does not go all the way to the ceiling, but stops about 3 feet from the ceiling, creating a ledge at the top, finished with molding. Since there is this space at the top, the wall that my front door is on shares a wall with the kitchen, thus making it impossible to paint even the foyer a totally separate color. In short, every area in the room shares a wall. Basically, there is not one wall that does not go into another area!
Again, if you have any ideas, I would greatly appreciate them. I thank you for your time, and for your sharing of ideas and story on your website!
Here's my initial response:
Here's my favorite way to tackle this:
Paint all the walls the same. Then use complementary accent colors in the rooms so that each room shares at least one color of your palette and your drapes/curtains, furniture, rugs, accents reinforce that. For example, use taupe paint (my favorite, by the way, of all neutrals). Then use the red you mentioned in a rich pattern/floral in your dining room drapes. Have one color from those drapes - perhaps it's a moss green from the floral or gold or rich brown - for your furniture in the living room then make throw pillows from the same fabric in the dining room drapes. Have a flower arrangement on a small table in your foyer nook using these colors and also in throw rug on the floor. Continue the idea in the kitchen - perhaps the red but solid. You could also paint a wall that's only in the kitchen - or perhaps shared between the kitchen and family room - in the red that matches from the dining room. Then use the red in your accents - towels, curtains, etc.
Kelli replies back:
You're suggestions make PERFECT sense, and your descriptive instructions are crystal clear. Tying the space together has been a huge problem for me. I'm the kind of decorator who buys things she likes then hopes they go together in some way. Fortunately, I have been pretty lucky so far, but to prevent my style from looking too crazy-eclectic, I've stuck with safe colors/patterns/design choices. However, I'm ready for the space to have a more cohesive feel that also makes a statements and I have a great feeling that your ideas are going to do just that. I especially like the idea of connecting boldly patterned/colored drapes to the throw pillows on my couch. GENIUS!
May I ask what brand and color of taupe paint you use? Do you have any brand/color suggestions for a red as well? I have been bringing home swatches for the past few weeks and just cannot seem to find the right colors or combination of colors. I normally use Behr brand paints but am open to anything at this point.
I plan to take before and after pics, so I will be sure to send you some so that you can see your ideas come to life. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to respond to my question and for giving me such great advice. I'm feeling SO MUCH better about this; I was almost to the point of giving up. Thanks again!
And here's what I offer as paint ideas:
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad it made sense.
My favorite brand of paint is Benjamin Moore. And all of the painters I've worked with will use nothing else. But note, that if you find a color you like in a different brand, a paint store can match it. Just be sure to keep the formula.
My color was actually a Pratt and Lambert called Toasted Wheat that I had formulated in Benjamin Moore. Other Benjamin Moore colors to look at are:
Beach House Beige
Go to Benjamin Moore's paint color fandeck
For reds, I used a Ralph Lauren in my dining room (surprisingly the painter was ok with that). It was . Reds are tricky - it depends if you want a deep wine red (with blue undertones) or a barn red (a more true red, and very popular in kitchens and dining rooms - notice the food element, the warmth encourages eating) or an orangy red. Some copper/bronze colors are popular now too. So for reds, I'll need the direction you're leaning.
Let me know how it goes. Thanks again.