4.20.2013

color matters: a good grey makes a space come together

As I reflected here, color is a tricky business.  It took me eight wall paint test colors, but I finally found the right shade for our main level which encompasses the living, dining and kitchen areas.  Behold the new color: Benjamin Moore River Reflections 1552 and the first photos of the living area posted since we moved in last fall.

Benjamin Moore River Reflections 1552
All of the colors I tested before this one became way too blue once they were up in larger swatches.  The rug in the living area has grey, but browner taupe shades of grey and not quite blue.  I don't know why I had such a hard time realizing it, but the brown-toned grey was clearly the solution.


River Reflections instantly updated the style of the house by about 20 years, providing a much better compliment to the exposed rafter ceilings and the dark parquet floors.


To add color, I replaced the back cushions of the sofa with a variety of throw pillows, as inspired by my mother who did the same in her house.  The smattering of color and texture distracts the eye from an otherwise unstylish drab sofa and adds personality and comfort, too.


The white kitchen cabinets, along with the red dining chairs, pop against the new color.


When I rehung our art and prints after repainting, I removed a lot of the pieces altogether and rearranged the rest.  The papier-mâché zebra head made in Haiti relocated to the adjacent wall and the photograph of my grandfather as a boy on horseback and the portrait of my great uncle and aunt as children now make a composition with the vintage oak chair.


On the north wall of the living room, I've been wanting all along to have something large and reflective.  I mulled a wall of antique mirrors, but figured it would be too big an expense and also I didn't really want to be looking at a reflection of myself all the time when I was in the room.  So I quickly threw together a nine-panel art piece with grey Pantone markers on sheets newsprint I had left over from eons ago.  I got the gold frames at AC Moore at 50% off and while I planned for the raindrops to only to be temporary filler, I actually was surprised by how much I like the result and will probably keep the scene up long term.


The new color is infinitely better than the Agave that came before.  So much easier to decorate around.  Fabric colors and wood tones and metallics all play well off the River Reflections.


While I had been in a state of decorating paralysis prior to repainting, I now have quickly been able to bring the room towards a filled-out and cohesive whole.  River Reflections feels calming, but also dynamic.  It has a certain drama to it in that it is fairly saturated and dark, but the color doesn't call out.  Much much improved.

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