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hasmoody13

Need help choosing paint for split level

7 years ago

I have a 1970s split level that was painted SW kilum beige before we moved in. I'm ready to add some color and brighten the space up. We do not get much natural light in the house.

All the trim in the house is a dark stain. I want to paint it all white because that will definitely brighten things. I am replacing all of the original dark stained plain flat doors with white panel doors.

The main living room faces north so no direct sunlight, however there is a large bow window that allows for diffused natural light from the north. The kitchen, dining and family room are on the south side and do get natural light, however in the summer there are about 10 mature trees in the backyard which filters out a lot of light.

The dining room has one window which faces north, but again, a tree blocks most of that light.

The family room. *sigh*. Old 70s paneling, brick fireplace, DARK paneling above fireplace. I do not want to remove the paneling because I'll have to drywall, so painting is my only option.

The kitxhen has new cherry cabinets and the current paint looks fine with them, but I would like to brighten it up since the paint job was done so bad it needs redone anyway. The kitchen and family room are connected (split level) can I paint the kitchen a different color than the family room? There is a 'break' in the walls between the two rooms as you can see in the photos but I'm worried it'll look strange.

The entryway i would like to add more color than the rest. I want to stick with neutral/earth tones, but want some color and not the typical beige. I'm not opposed to accent walls and think the wall in the entry as an accent may look nice


excuse the mess!


this is is the entry way

Bow window in main living roo (off of entry way)


'Break' between kitchen and family room

Dining room (bad pic) maybe an accent wall for wall with window?

Family room

Main living room(nevermind the name banner,recent birthday party)


I was going to paint the main living room cool tones, gray, light blue, white etc. but after reading, I'm worried the room will look washed out because of the bow window that allows for so much indirect daylight. So I am leaning more towards warm tones on that side of the home and cool tones in the family and kitchen area. After thinking about it I might even be ok with leaving the current paint in the main living room

My question is what would you do with this space? I'm in the beginning stages and open to any ideas. Thanks!

Comments (11)

  • 7 years ago

    I like neutrals but with some color if that makes sense. I want to do the bedroom in a light blue coastal color, so I wa t to steer away from blue in other parts of the house

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  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i think-first do the changes you've planned already. you'll get a better idea of what the space "wants'..unless for logistical reasons it all needs to be done simultaneously..but even then you can start with it.

    With house that is naturally darker i'd look into deeper shades..they don't have to be dark per se, but usually mid range tones, rich, lots of pigment, have the ability to give more life to darker spaces-light colors need more light in order to come alive if you know what i mean..deeper colors handle the lack of light better.

    that's a very nice beige by the way..you know best where it works as you want it to, and where it's too bland due to lack of light

    i wouldn't do dining very different from the kitchen..this break doesn't seem enough. unless we're talking a shade of the same color you pick for the kitchen. but i wouldn't paint them very differently.

    as for the accent wall in the dining..i think getting bold(or less bold) patterned curtains, for example, would give you the same if not better effect. while i'm not totally against accent walls i don't see this wall as being a wonderful candidate. but you're living there while i'm not, so if in the process of painting you really want to go for it-go. taking risks more often pays off than not.

    so. to summarize-i'd start with what you know for sure and move to picking the colors from there..sample them beforehand, and-very important-take time to put them one next to the other, the samples i mean, and just look at them together. they can be very different but they should spell harmony for you when together. so take a couple hours on that too, when deciding. warm, cool, light, dark-is probably less important for them working together, as having them in approximately same..you know how the colors can be more muted or more clean? muted have a hint of gray of them. look for similar level of cleanliness vs muteness, whatever colors you choose and however different they are.

  • 7 years ago

    Curtains in the dining room is a great alternative! That's what I will do.


    As far far as the family room with paneling- I a, struggling with if I should paint the wall and the paneling the same color or paint the paneling a shade darker?


    I have a large large blue sectional that would like very nice with some vibrant accent pieces like pinks greens and yellows.


    I keep gracitaimg towards neutral paints because I am notorious for changing thing so up pretty often and don't want to paint each time. I don't know why I am so afraid of color....I'm worried it'll make the space feel small and narrow. I think getting rid of that horrible dark paneling above the fireplace is going to make a world of difference

  • 7 years ago

    well..neutrals can be deeper too. neutral doesn't mean "light"..it just means a color that will most likely be a background that most people would find natural to be a background color. Even though a lot of colors can be easily considered neutrals, since they're so prevalent in nature...say some blues or greens..If it's something you see a lot outside, and I mean a lot-don't worry you'll perceive it as neutral.

    If beige is neutral-then brown is a neutral too..technically it's a much darker beige, as far as i understand..or should I say-beige is much much lighter brown lol

    they all are colors. and some neutrals are very capricious actually. take white for example-it is a perfect background but it needs light to become perfect background..and it will accentuate a lot of things. which you sometimes want to accentuate, if you have great architecture for example..and sometimes you don't. if you have a dark bland small room-white won't do it any favors. of course one should remember there are many whites..)

    in short, no, deeper colors won't necessarily make a place small. they won't make it big either lol. they can make it livelier though..cozier.

    you usually don't want to go really dark in a big space, not because it will make it smaller, but because it might change your feel..too much dark might feel oppressing. but just a tad deeper color and real dark color are two different things.

    you know what you're ready to commit to..took me some years to go more colorful, and I do prefer muted colors so it still reads pretty soft. neutrals can be as deep and amazing as anything else..when you'll start getting samples, trying them in your unique space and light- you'll see what you are comfortable with. and what makes the given room lovelier to you. just don't believe the names paint companies give-these are very deceiving..:) if you're looking for a color, especially a neutral one-just look everywhere. looking for gray? great. check the whites too:) etcetera

    blue sectional sounds very cool. colorful furniture usually works well with neutrals allover the range. and colors too lol. put it in a gray room-it will work. or in a beige room-and it will work. or in a white room-still will work. or take a "real" color-still will work, in most of cases.

    i don't find your paneling that horrible btw-but maybe it's because i don't see it up close. quality of wood matters a lot of course.

    sorry for the ramblings..i get like that sometimes lol

  • 7 years ago

    (when you gonna pick the colors for kitchen and family-take the "permanent" elements into account. your brick, granite, cabinets..decide whether you go for contrast or for blending. cool tones in the kitchen will contrast it a lot. it might be something that you desire, and it might still work-but just be aware you like the effect)

  • 7 years ago

    I would paint the woodwork, get your new white paneled doors, and replace the wrought iron raining with a white wood railing. THEN I would decide on wall colors ( I love Kilim Beige because it does not have undertones). Remove the current curtains and look at everything with fresh eyes. Your changes will be great!

  • 7 years ago

    I like the kilum beige- the paint job that was done is just SO bad that it needs to be done again. (a rehab company painted when the house was bank owned and didn't take their time, lots of bits and junk on the walls that they just painted over).

    As far as the brick fireplace- I will be changing that- just not sure when or how. Ideally I want stacked stone, but ill also need to purchase a new fireplace door. The fireplace opening is actually an arch, but a previous owner put in a standard rectangle door and sealed the top of the arch with some sort of god awful putty that looks impossible to remove. I may end up just faux finishing the brick until I figure out a long term solution

    One of the issues im having with color is that the cabinets are pretty red, and because its a split level, the kitchen and family room is basically one big room. The kitchen also gets more light than the family room.

    What about the beams? Should I remove them? (I posted another thread about this). Id like more lighting in the family room because there currently is none and I am relying on lamps.

    I like the idea about replacing the railing. I looked into it when we bought the house but had some other major projects to complete first. We have three of those railings and Id like to replace them with something less 70's lol.

  • 7 years ago

    well i don't see why the railing is bad. but it's probably because i wasn't here in 70 s lol. and where i was i loved everything since i was in this age of constant wonder you know

    it's always interesting to compare why people do/don't like this or that

    i for example wouldn't go for stacked stone unless you live in a place where stone makes a lot of sense (which very well may be). here everybody does stacked stone-I don't get the appeal, not in coastal Southern California.

    pity the previous owner sealed the arch..I'd dig that arch back out lol.

    beams-depends, again, on quality of wood. on the pics, they look good. but you see things that we can't see, since you're there. if they bother you more than bring you joy, then why not.

    when you try paints for kitchen and family-it's totally possible to find a color that you like in both places regardless the light these places get. after all, even within one room you'll always have darker corners, brighter corners..paint looks a bit different that's true. yet it still works well.

  • 7 years ago

    aprilneverends- the beams are plastic! they look surprisingly pretty real up close. The railing in the kitchen doesn't bother me so much because I paintied it with a copper and gold glaze and it blends pretty well, however I have two more of those railings in main living room and the stairwell and they just look dated.

    We have a large treed lot that is right outside of this room, so a light stone would look nice I think. lots of deer and birds. I have thought about tile but I think itd get sick of it VERY quick.

    I WISH I could dig that door out, I have no clue what they used but its rock hard! Its need to use a grinder or something to remove it, it ridiculous. it looks like someone used a ton of chewing gum to seal the top. awful.

    I went to SW last night to look at paint and nothing really blew my mind. I feel like they don't have a lot of color options. I have always used behr paint but wanted something with a better quality this time around. If I cant find something with SW, I will go find some Benjamin moore.

  • 7 years ago

    they're plastic?!? oh my. i never even heard about such a thing. i'm in shock. kill them if you want to..spare them if you're too kind:)

    if your surroundings make sense with the stone-then of course go with stone. it's the mismatch between the house and where it stands and the materials used i'm against..not stone as stone by itself.

    deer and birds and trees sound magical. we had a lot of deer when we lived in CT

    here though, we have mountain lions..luckily not right in the city..:)

    if you go to BM-check their Affinity line. I'm a fan. very nice rich pigment, and they developed the line so all the colors within it will work one with another..or so i heard.

    i used two of those in my previous home-i couldn't go with BM this time, since general remodel and the GC had account with some other store-but I loved them so I tried to recreate the colors again, with this other brand. not very literally, just so it will give same feel but in totally different space and light.