Before & After: {Paint!} Choosing a new wall color

Design Board Main Level

When it comes to decorating, choosing a new wall color can be overwhelming, scary and exciting at the same time. On the main level of our home, we have an office, mudroom and powder room, and then one main area for our kitchen, dining and living space. I’ve had the same wall color, Sherwin William’s (SW) Mannered Gold, since 2002, and I was ready for a change. I love the grays that are popular in design right now, but I have a lot of chocolate brown throughout my house: in our granite, couch, dining chairs and accessories. Plus, with the shade from the large trees in our backyard, our house can often feel dark. I wanted something to brighten it up. I took some inspiration from the things that make me happy: summer, ocean, sand, sunshine.

purseThis spring, I bought an inexpensive purse from Target, and no kidding, I’ve never received so many compliments on a purse in my life. You know why people like it? The color is a happy, beautiful turquoise blue. I started looking around my space. The patterned chairs in our living room are quite busy, but there is a subtle color playing around in the background that I love: a light blue/turquoise. I searched on Pinterest and Houzz for room colors, and the common denominator of every room I liked was blue. So, I went to my local Sherwin Williams and grabbed a bunch of paint swatches. I also played around on a few color selection paint apps, which I wrote about here. Two weeks ago, when our family went to Chicago for a five-day weekend, my walls magically transformed from Mannered Gold (SW) and Plum Raisin (Benjamin Moore) to SW’s Copen Blue. It is bright, airy and reminds me of a beach house {minus the beach, in my case.}

Take a look at some of the before and afters:


One of the other big things we did was paint the mantle, and cove where the TV is housed, white. I’ve wanted to do that for awhile and it seemed like the perfect time!

Here’s a view from my office. The deep burgundy wall was rich but dark. Having all one color throughout the space really makes it feel more cohesive and larger.

entry burgundy wall BEFORE entry AFTER


Look how the blue just brightens up the kitchen:


copen blue kitchen1

full view BEFORE copen blue main level view

When it comes to design, I like to follow the color principal commonly referred to as the “60-30-10 rule.” For example, 60 percent of a bathroom or kitchen, typically the walls, should be one color of a color scheme. The color of the cabinetry and/or furniture accounts for 30 percent, and accents and accessories such as artwork, plants and pillows make up the remaining 10 percent. Going back to my design board, my 30-10 colors are white, chocolate brown and gold.

Crosby on rug

Our dog, Crosby, had to put his stamp of approval on the new rug in the entry. I bought this rug online, so wasn’t 100% sure of the colors, but it’s perfect!

Beyond all the “rules,” my best advice is go with what YOU love, rather than with what everyone else is doing. What are the colors that continually draw you in and make you happy? I am always amazed how dramatically color changes a space. I’ve had a few visitors since the transformation, and some of the comments have ranged from “It feels so much bigger” to “It reminds me of the ocean.” Yes and yes! What do you think?

I have a few fun projects in the works to finish it off: window valances for both the kitchen and living area; and a few blank walls that need some love, like above the antique buffet pictured below. I ended up scoring a deal on the large almost 4-foot clock over the fireplace. Isn’t it awesome? I also have a really cool project in store for behind that clock, so stay tuned.

copen blue dining

Next up, I’ll reveal the wall collage I designed over the couch. For a hint of my inspiration, look back on the large metal art on my design board. You’ll see what I did with it soon!

Julee sig 2014_pink_xoxo-1_edited-1

8 Comments on Before & After: {Paint!} Choosing a new wall color

  1. Meredith @ The Palette Muse
    October 1, 2015 at 8:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Love the new color! It can be so hard to pick colors, but you nailed it. And the rug is perfect. Last time I bought a rug, it took me 6 tries!

    • Julee
      October 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for visiting, Meredith! I appreciate the kind words. And you’re right about the rug…I was afraid that was going to be me!

  2. Tracie
    September 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks terrific! You have such an amazing eye!

    • Julee
      September 21, 2015 at 2:52 pm (2 years ago)

      Awe, thanks Tracie! I didn’t have an inspiration piece like the “pig,” but I like how it turned out!

    • Jill
      September 22, 2015 at 11:14 am (2 years ago)

      Love it!

      • Julee
        September 22, 2015 at 4:33 pm (2 years ago)

        Thanks, Jill!

  3. Kelly
    September 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks beautiful Julee!

    • Julee
      September 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, Kelly!


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