Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Decorating Dilemma

Alas, I don't have any talent when it comes to choosing a paint color.  I've been wanting to change the color of our living room and dining room for many years (I won't tell you how many lest you realize just how indecisive I am).  I've lived with the wrong color in the living room for years.  The Baker, hereafter in this post referred to as The Painter, misunderstood my comments about using the living room/dining room color combination and painted both rooms as a surprise me while I was vacationing with my sisters a few (too many, actually) years ago.  It was a surprise for sure when I walked in on PEACH-colored living room walls.  Kind-hearted friends have commented positively on the jewel-toned colors.  Acquaintances have been seen scratching their heads!  The time has come for a change.  I need your help/suggestions/support--please!

Let's focus on the dining room.  I actually like the dark bluish-green color (sea grass, I think).  However, the room is dark.  Two of it's windows face north (and the house next door).  The larger window looks out on the front porch (east) which keeps it in shade most of the day.  

Dining room as viewed from the living room.

Dining room as viewed from the kitchen.

Window facing the front porch.  Photo taken at high noon.

I think I'd like the living room painted the color that I like my coffee-light and creamy.  If I go with this, I'm thinking of using the same green/blue in the dining room but going very light--perhaps just a hint of color.  One thing to keep in mind is the wide and dark woodwork in both rooms.  

All ideas will be appreciated and considered.  If any of you want to suggest painting a portion of the wall(s) and deciding, it won't work.  The Painter always says he'd rather repaint an entire room than test out a wall.  


  1. I love colors that blend into each other from room to room so close:)

    Believe me.. in 37 yrs..It's not always been like that:)

    But this last home..10 yrs.. adjacent rooms are of the same colors..just different hues? Do you know what I mean? If you love that cafe latte color..light..perhaps a tad warmer in the other room?
    You won't tire of that..

    Great rooms by the way..Hope you get great suggestions..

  2. Bonnie,
    You have the same problem I have in my living room. The windows face onto the porch so the room always seems too dark to me. I would go very very light--cream or egg shell. With all that gorgeous woodwork, you don't need much color. Then get your pops of color from accessories--the rug in your dining room for example. If you must have color, try just the very lightest of whatever you like. I love the "coffee au lait" color, but am afraid it might not do your woodwork justice. That's my two cents worth!

  3. I, too, have rooms that face North....and I, too, like color on a wall....the rooms sort of embrace you and give you a hug. Anyway..I sort of agree with Nana.....different tints or hues of the same color family. Really doesn't matter which you choose either the seagrass or the latte. Please show us the finished product if you wouldn't mind. those hardwood floors.



  4. Well, first, I love the dining room wall color, don't change it, but do maybe just make it a bit lighter, not too much, though. This is the color all my living room furniture is, and my rugs in two bedrooms. I call it seafoam. And our living room walls are also a very light coffee color. Please don't kill me, but I will suggest painting the dining room woodwork. We had the same kind when we moved into our house, and though the original wood is lovely, we painted it all and it just looked so much better and you wouldn't believe the difference it made, lightening up the place, it looks great. Let us all know what you decide and I hope we get updates and pictures!

  5. Oh mercy, such decisions! It is much easier to decide what to fix for dinner isn't it! I, personally am drawn to the soft shades of browns these days. Taupes, and tans, and the color I have now in most of the main living areas is parchment, I believe. My kitchen is a gorgeous shade of Tuscan gold, and I have not tired of it in 5 years. I just do little touch ups here and there. Good luck!!!!

  6. a decorator i am not, so no advice from me, but i like both the colors, it looks great to me.

  7. I'm only here for moral support... best of luck with your decision and project:@)

  8. I'm definitely not a decorator but I have seen dark dining rooms with dark woodwork and walls that are gorgeous. Colors of deep jewel tones that are very dramatic in the dining room, especially with candle light. Go with colors you love, that is why my kitchen is red and white!

  9. I actually am about to redo my dining room. Right now it is a salmon/coral color and I am going towards a light gray. I like things light and airy.

  10. Hello Bonnie!

    I AM a decorator and I have had many North/porch-shaded rooms. In one house, the front parlor was painted a deep crimson red while the dining across the foyer was upholstered in red and beige toile fabric. (It was the first house we owned that wasn't up for sale the next day so I didn't have to be neutral. I had a heyday!!! My current den faces North with one window and one french door. I painted it deep navy blue. So as you can philosophy is to take the room's "mood" and run with it. HOWEVER......I certainly relate to the need for change and usually that means doing the complete opposite of what you had. May I suggest the following paint colors;

    Dining - Sherwin Williams 6164 Svelte Sage

    Living - Sherwin Williams 6122 Camelback

    Good luck and can't wait to see the new rooms whatever you decide to do!

  11. cafe latte is quite good and even cream..... but in few months i'm going to be in confusion because we are going to restyling our house in town...but I'm sure about painting ..totally white!!

    Hugs, Flavia

  12. First I want to say I love the dark trim. Is you home a craftsman? If so why not research craftsman homes for colors. I like the idea of a milky coffee (don't you love the name?) All my rooms downstairs are paint "seashore"...kind of a mid range bluish green. My husband thinks like yours. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

  13. I love deep rich colors, but I've a lot of light coming into my house except the family room and it has rich walnut paneling. Booo

    My dining room is Merlot with an off white painted below the chair rail.

    IF/WHEN I repaint, I think I may go the opposite extreme with soft neutrals and use pops of color in chair seats....

    I hope you post a picture of the AFTER!

    Best of painting karma sent your way! Sandi

  14. I like your ideas. I love the DR color but would lighten it because of your woodwork (which is gorgeous). But the same family of color for sure, And yes, coffee with a lot of cream would be good for the living room. We just used accessible beige (Sherwin Williams) for our den and halls, my son used it on two houses and it was a most popular color in 2010 I think. It's pretty but can look gray in some light and beige in others. Beige is a really hard color to choose the right one. So I guess I really haven't given much advice here!

  15. Oh, Bonnie, how well I know the dilemma of dark wood and little light (in spite of HUGE windows all around). I'm going to pass this along for what it's worth: I tried going to lighter colors last year. To be honest, they pale next to the wood and they never really look light and bright like I wanted because there is LIMITED light. I have dark paint chips strewn about the walls right now considering going dark (darker) again (one of my top choices is a blue-green). My current theory is that I have been trying to put make-up for a blonde on a dark complected Old Girl. That's my story; I only share it with you because... well, you know our Girls are very similar. ;) I do think a medium value coffee shade might work well. I'll sure be interested in seeing what you come up with. Mulling this over myself... t.

  16. I'm not real good in choosing color so I consult my children. My daughter picked out the colors for our dining/family room (the last room we have painted). I really like it. Would love to see what you go with!

  17. I like the idea of researching your home's history and go from there.
    I also like the idea of going lighter--it will hlep make thing brighter.
    How about no window treatments? Unless they are used for privacy.
    Having the outdoor light coming in would brighten the rooms too.

    Good luck!


  18. Considering you must have the beautiful sunrise and that your dining room is well lit in the's a blessing.
    As for the rest of the day, a little darkness is not a bad thing either, however, it somehow is probably not as inviting.
    I would highly suggest going very light on the walls...a rich cream color to highlight the key features in the room. The incredible amount of woodwork can only be enhanced by lightening the room up a little more.
    Well, there you have a few cents worth as a designer by profession ;o)

    Have a great weekend Bonnie.
    Ciao for now,

  19. Choosing paint colors is always a challenge. With all that gorgeous dark woodwork I think I would go with much lighter colors, warm tones that go well with the wood and don't absorb a lot of light. Your dining room is wonderful, Bonnie.

  20. ooh Bonnie I think your home look so nice!! gloria

  21. I have fought for four years to lighten up our house. I painted our living room pale blue- "Alaska Sky Blue," my daughter, the lawyer, wrinkled her nose and suggested I paint it a shade that I consider to be "baby poop brown." My walls are still Alaska Sky Blue. I use white for trim. Other parts of the house has cream trim. I paint what I want/where. My dining room will be melon. (pale peach?) and my kitchen is celery green. My fireplace (keeping) room is "toast" and HE calls it "pink." whatever. Thanks for stopping by...I've decided to follow you. What part of Indiana did you live in? I am from New Castle but live in Bloomington. Both children did their undergrad at IU, I am a Ball State Grad.
    xo, Cheryl

  22. Your house looks beautiful Bonnie! I think the creamy coffee color your are thinking of would look very nice and go well with your woodwork.

  23. Restoration Hardware has a beautiful color . . . called latte. It is the creamy coffee you describe. My daughter had it in her bedroom. Beautiful.

    My favorite paint color is Benjamin Moore - STRAW. I have had it in two living rooms. When people come in they often would say, "I love this color. It is the yellow I always wanted and could never find." Soft but cheery.

    I think choosing paint is hard.


  24. I am not a decorator, so I probably should be ignored. Take a good look at the furniture in both rooms. Then pick a complimentary color that YOU like and go for it. We've lived in dark Tudor houses and I've learned a light colored paint will not always make a room appear lighter and what you end up with is a dark room with light walls. If your rooms flow together stay in the same color family and alter the shade just slightly in one of the rooms. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  25. I like the idea of an eggshell cream, light coffee or maybe even a light light gold. Your dining room looks great but I always love re-painting rooms after a few years. it does so much to a room without having to spend alot of money redecorating.

  26. I like the idea of an eggshell cream, light coffee or maybe even a light light gold. Your dining room looks great but I always love re-painting rooms after a few years. it does so much to a room without having to spend alot of money redecorating.

  27. I'm totally clueless myself when it comes to decorating so I'll refrain from jumping in other than to say it does need something to brighten it up so a lighter color is def a safe bet :)

  28. Bonnie, I like to look at decorating magazines and use them as inspiration. I tend to like tones that blend and coordinate from room to room. An accent wall on one end painted a shade darker is also nice and makes the room look bigger, or so says my decorator.

    I was told to buy some tiny samples of paint and paint them on a spot on the walls and look at them during different times of the day to see what they looked like in different lighting conditions.

    When it comes down to the decision, choose something that you love and it will be right, just like choosing a favorite handbag or dress. Good luck and have fun. Decorating should be fun.

  29. I was going to suggest a beautiful taupe color. Friends of our have this color and I've always admired it:

  30. Bonnie, you are way ahead of me when it comes to putting colors together. We recently had some areas of our house painted and I knew to leave the color selection to my wife! Everything you did looks great.



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