Choosing the RIGHT paint color…

Our home is our haven, our nest, our fortress, our foxhole… And though paint colors and decor may not matter much in the long run, I believe that they can contribute to bringing peace into your home.

And who wouldn’t want that?

choosing the right color: a soft, warm gray brings light and comfort to a paneled office

That’s why I did an entire series last summer on DIY painting. A wall color sets the mood for a space, and I know I want to be in a good mood. Don’t you?

choosing the right color: a soft, warm gray brings light and comfort to a paneled office

So I’m pleased to say that after over a year and a half in our current home, I’ve found a color I LOVE in my office. The office poses a few tricky features:

  • it’s really a former parlor, and acts as a pass through from the entry to the kitchen (translation: LOTS of traffic and visible from many rooms)
  • it’s paneled
  • it has two good windows and lots of white molding (bookshelves, doors, and a fireplace), but it doesn’t actually receive much direct sunlight because it’s on the north side of the house
  • I’ve filled my bookcases with gorgeous, old books, complete with rich, warm, tattered leather covers and gold filagree… but I’m really drawn to cool colors instinctively

Those features caused me to choose a warm, dark, golden color when we first moved in. Did it complement the greige we have on the rest of the main floor? Yes. Did it contrast enough to set off the paneling in that room? Yes. Did it bring out the beautiful warm tones of the old, leather-bound books and the antique brass chandelier? Absolutely.

Did I love it? No.

gray office before

(If you have a good eye, you’ll see that we’ve also done some work on the bookshelves… more on that to come next week.)

It was fine. just fine. NOT great. When I chose the color, I knew, “I don’t really like this color. I would never pick it out of a line up as a color that makes me happy… I just think it coordinates well with everything else in the room.” Not a winner. But this…

choosing the right color: a soft, warm gray brings light and comfort to a paneled office

I love the juxtaposition of the cool, crisp walls and the rustic red box. It’s pretty gorgeous with my new cowhide (my Christmas present from Mr. Pax!) and my vintage file cabinet, too, isn’t it? I even like how it balances with the antique chandelier…

choosing the right color: a soft, warm gray brings light and comfort to a paneled office

And the old books.

gray office music corner

In my choosing color post of my DIY painting series, I suggested looking to your closet for colors you love. I wish I’d done that originally. Best part, though? It only took one afternoon and a $25 can of paint. Yay for transformation.

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  1. Rachel, what color is it and from what paint line? I love it so much better than the warm taupe color originally on the walls. It surprised me how well the warm reds, etc played off of the cool grey. My walls are taupe and I’ve been toying around with the idea of switching it up to grey but I have a lot of warm colors (my favorite being red). Hmmm, you just might have inspired me to think more seriously about this!

    1. Thank you, Marie! The color is SW Dorian Gray. I’m thinking about using Colonnade Gray on the adjacent rooms in my house (which happens to be the color I helped my parents choose for their home… and they have a ton of red, too); it’s a little lighter, if you need a lighter option. Hope you find something you love!

  2. I love the makeover and agree this color is so much better! Ironically when I purchased my home the living room was a warm mustard yellow color, nothing I would ever pick. But it worked okay with that I had and there were too many other things that needed attention more. Last summer I finally painted, the accept wall is a teal color (Behr Caribe) and the rest are light grey (Behr Antique Silver). I adore it and wish I had done it sooner, it transformed the feeling of the space! Now I need to paint the adjoining rooms (all neutral puttish colors) to bring it all together.

    What is the color grey you used, I really do like it and think it would be a good option for the adjacent space?

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I completely understand, Beth! My kids’ playroom is a crazy bright coral color (which is was when we moved in)… I still haven’t gotten around to painting it. It’s next on the list! πŸ™‚ The color is SW Dorian Gray. Hope this helps!!

  3. I love the gray you used! I made a couple of not so great paint choices in our house. They weren’t bad, I just didn’t LOVE them. Unfortunately, my husband is color-blind and can’t see why I’d want to repaint. So I just do it when he’s out of town. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh my, Bonnie, you just made my day! My father is color blind, too, and my mother and I used to get away with so much because of that… πŸ˜‰ The last two times my husband traveled I painted furniture, but maybe he needs to schedule another trip so I can paint the dining room!

  4. I know what you mean about having a colour that you love! It can make such a difference. Love the grey on your walls.

  5. Pingback: The Best of Maison de Pax 2014 - Maison de Pax

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