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Looking for a bold color for my two story living room

Meredith K
last month

I posted this in Dec and got GREAT feedback and incorporated a lot of the suggestions. But I never quite figured out the color…

Based on the feedback, I upgraded the lighting, rearranged the furniture, and swapped out a pic on the mantle. It all made a huge difference!!!

I want a bold color for the walls. The fireplace is staying, I am not painting it or doing anything to it. I’m also keeping the couch and loveseat. I am open to changing the rug and mantle decor.

The back wall is horrible as is. I will be putting built in cabinets and bookshelves from ikea.

From my last post, I was leaning towards BM Ocean Floor. I can’t quite commit yet. Fresco Urbane, a burgundy color, was also suggested. The ceiling and trim will be painted.

The room is west facing and there are trees in the back. It only gets direct sunlight for about 30 min a day.

Most of my house is fairly neutral. I wanted to go big in this room b/c of the size and windows.

Thank you!

Comments (59)

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    Photos are deceiving.

    Can you tell us what color is the current wall color and can you tell us the dimensions of the room? What other paint colors do you have in the rest of the house? What is the color of the rooms that are adjacent to this room.


    I personally think the two colors are both too dark and the current color looks too yellow.


    Many of the photos of rooms with these dark colors are either photo shopped or in rooms with great natural daylight and photographer lighting.





  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    The room is 17x14

    There is a sunken in part at the back wall. That’s where I want to put a built in bookcase thing. I’m hoping I can figure out a way to obscure the keyboard a bit in that. No one actually plays it, my kids like to use it for fun. It gets used almost daily, so I can’t get rid of it.

    I started to look for inspirational photos, but I’m really at a loss. I just want dark.

    I will definitely change out the rug, I know it doesn’t go. This room is kind of a collection of random things. I have a very hard time decorating and if I have to search for rugs, wall art, etc, first, I’ll probably never get this done. I also don’t have the money for painting plus a lot of other things.

    The walks are currently yellow, painted by the previous owner. I was told by the realtor that the stone used brownstone, like the brownstones in Brooklyn, I guess.

    The rest of this floor is painted in mascarpone and York gray. I’ve lived here 10 years. Over the last two, I’ve redone every room except this one. You pass through a mascarpone kitchen and desk area before coming in here.

    I’m posting some pics of stuff I like plus a painting that I bought at a yard sale that I really like. It probably doesn’t go with anything, but I like it for some reason.

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  • tozmo1
    last month

    Your painting is a nice piece of folk art. It should go with anything IMO. I googled the artist. If it's a painting and not a print you probably got a good deal at a yard sale, or even if it's a print.

    Jan gives the best advice but if the budget is a concern and you really want dark walls without changing everything, what about a green? Still not ideal with with the sofas but you mentioned kids, so probably best to not invest in your ideal furniture quite yet. I also see a cat toy. Nothing is more painful than cat scratches on new furniture.

    Not saying this is the ideal green but here's another option just to confuse you more.




  • lucky998877
    last month

    It's lacking interest. I would paint the beams dark and add a dramatic large chandelier.



  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    I do appreciate the consistency of the comments. I do really like the dark beams. That’s really cool…

    Would it make the fireplace stand out too much? I’d have to paint the walls white I guess.

    To the poster who showed the F&B paint. That looks similar to the BM fresco urbane that I’m considering! think I like the blue better though. It seems less risky…

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Okay, I’ve been thinking more… I really really like the painted beams. And I can paint the built ins the same color as the beams.

    I think a soft black, not ocean floor anymore.

    I think this might be the winner!

  • Kendrah
    last month

    You are going to end up with a room with some serious personality, which is wonderful and not often seen on Houzz discussion boards. Can you post a pic of your two swatches next to the fireplace stone?


    Go for dark on the ceilings and beams as well - the fireplace and windows provide enough contrast to the dark walls, it will be too visually cluttered with different colored beams too. I'm usually a flat fan but glossy could help bounce a bit of reflected light around in a nice way. Love your yard sale painting.


    Have you gotten a painting quote? You mentioned being on a budget and I imagine this would be a very expensive room to paint.


    I find this window trim really distracting and would think about what you will do with yours.

    Clarksville Renovation · More Info



    Other dark sunroom inspiration pics




    Windows, walls, ceiling same color



    Glossy paint


  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    I love all of these!

    I do have a quote and painter lined up. That’s taking all my budget. I figure I can do the rug and built ins over the next few months.

    I’m still in the paint the beams a soft black mode. What would I do for drapes?

  • tozmo1
    last month

    Can you consider a dark color for the beams that will work with the brownstone? Lots of great rich deep browns available. There might even be some red in the stone, hard to tell from pictures. When you stand back and look at the room as shown in your pictures, the beams and the stone should all work together.Not match as in the same color, but work together. IMO, since there is no black in the room at all, it will look disjointed if the beams are black, even a soft black.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Here is the fresco urbane

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @ Meredith K - If this were my home and I had fairly neutral rooms throughout with mostly white/off white walls, I would want to add some come color to this room, make it special, but I don't know that I would go too dramatic, too dark or too white. It may feel disjointed from the rest of the house, like it belongs in a different house.


    Whites are never going to be pretty in a room with little natural daylight. White needs light to shine. I would not do white.


    Dramatically dark walls with every other room being light neutrals is too stark of a change.


    Mid tone greens and blues will complement the beautiful view (Mother natures favorite colors), give the room some life without being overwhelming.


    I would be going for something like this.









  • la_la Girl
    last month

    ^ totally agree with Jennifer - love that mockup


    I think side tables, lamps and some additional (purposeful) furniture will go further than dramatic paint - some simple linen panels on those first level windows would add a lot of needed softness to the room (FWIW I’d be wondering if after the dark paint goes up, there would be an inevitable ”now what?” moment)

  • tozmo1
    last month

    @Meredith K have we driven you crazy yet? I think that fresco urbane looks great with the stone. IMO too dark for the walls but good for the beams. @Jennifer Hogan Love the second one. Can you mock it up with fresco urbane on the beams instead of keeping them white?

  • beeboo22
    last month

    I hate to discourage anyone from doing something brave and interesting. I love dark walls! My only hesitation is that this room is so big, it will be such an effort to repaint if you get tired of it. (I get tired of things quickly, but I know others aren’t like that.) Is there a smaller room that would benefit from cozy drama? A den or dining room? Otherwise, I think your plan for doing dark beams and built-ins is perfect!

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    I’m in meetings all day but I drew this not to scale drawing of my first floor. It’s the family room that I’m looking at painting. You can see that the room is kind of at a dead end of the house.

    I love the mock-ups with the ceiling painted as well! I just don’t love the color choices. I’m kind of sick of gray in general.

  • tozmo1
    last month

    The mock-ups look blue and green on my screen. And I agree, definitely no to gray.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    It is so hard to know what people are actually seeing vs what you are seeing on your screen. My mockups were blue and green, but my family room is painted with BM Frosted Toffee and when I share a picture from my phone to Houzz it looks completely different than the dollop which is pretty accurate.




  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here is the last mockup with SW Bitter Chocolate - Using the SW app so not able to pull fresco urban - closest match I could come up with, but it is darker.




  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    I greatly appreciate all of this. These mock ups look so bland to me though. Maybe it’s how they’re displaying on my phone.

    I downloaded the SW app and put in their color equivalent to BM Ocean Floor. It was Web Gray. I had a hard time getting the app to work but this is what it came up with. These were live shots, not uploaded photos.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    This room is an addition and there was a window on the second floor. They installed a cupboard door where the window was so I’m taking the pic from the window.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month
    last modified: last month

    One of the greens I used was Evergreen Fog. I think the blue I picked was Jubilee. I went up a shade and 2 shades from Evergreen Fog to create the 3rd mockup.


  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    Phones auto correct color and sometimes do it very poorly. The displays are also often quite inaccurate. You may just have to imagine what it would look like in a blue or a green or pick a more saturated blue or green to view on your phone until you get one that looks like a subdued blue or green.


  • ffpalms
    last month

    Here are ten rugs from rugs-direct.com that I thought complemented the art you like. I thought they might help gererate more ideas for your wall color.













  • Heather Brookes
    last month

    Wow, I really like the third rug. I think pulling a dark green from that rug for the walls would look amazing

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Aww, you put my picture up there!

    I love rugs from Rifle Paper Co (actually I love everything they sell). I will probably buy a rug from there. I'm on my computer now and I can see the colors more clearly...

    I'm still at a loss. What mock up software are ppl using? Something professional or something I could also try to figure out?

  • ffpalms
    last month

    This is a Benjamin Moore color that matches the darkest green in the rug.



  • ffpalms
    last month

    I found this beauty at riflepaperco.com. They don’t have the ”see it in your room” feature. I use an app called Adobe Fresco to layer images.




  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you! Originally I wanted to go with BM October Mist for the walls. It’s what I have on my kitchen island (looks awesome). It seemed too light when I painted a sample. It looks like a shade lighter than what others found.

    I went on the desktop version of SW’s site and uploaded a pic of my room. It recommended Quest Gray. I kind of love it- at least on the screen.

  • ffpalms
    last month

    I think it’s a beautiful, soft color. Here it is with another rug from Rifle Paper Co. that goes well with the art and wall color.




  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    I love that!

    I’m going to get a paint sample tomorrow. I hope it works with the furniture and fireplace.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It would really help if you would link the other post you did w/all of those comments and all of the help you got in regards to color, so people aren't suggesting the same thing.

    maybe you could edit the top caption in your post to include this?

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/6419478/help-me-pick-a-wall-color-for-my-great-room

    You're basically asking the same question that I thought had been addressed in the other post.

    I know these were mine, but I still them. (although they do require diff rug and sofa on two of them. Sorry, but that rug just doesn't work w/the sofas. I think you can do way better. Many of us posted alternate rug choices on your other post) )






    Are you just looking for more suggestions?


    Sorry, but this would be a hard NO from me. it's too washed out. I don't care for this wall color, or the others at all. that rug?? nope. Not w/that yellow toned wood floor.


  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you! I felt like the other post was extremely helpful, but I was getting a lot of suggestions for changing or adding things that I can’t do. Like, I’m not redoing the fireplace, or changing furniture. I started a new post b/c i just wanted to focus on paint color. I changed the lighting and the layout per the last post.

    I totally get that maybe I need to consider changing those things, but I just need to work with what I have.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It's mainly the rug. You're trying to tie in the rug and sofa (which already fight a bit) with a wall color and fireplace and wood floor that really don't work w/all of the above.

    If the rug stays, do a slip cover on the furniture and go w/a warm palette. If you want a cooler palette, I'm sorry, that rug needs to go.

    This London Clay is interesting. (mentioned above)


    What do you think of doing the beams in the darker color (it will work w/the firieplace) and painting the walls one of the other, bringing in accessories w/the complimenting tones?

    I think this Loloi rug would be a perfect match w/that color palette.






    this is really on the same path as this one. same tones.


    The fireplace color is really driving the bus in this room. You're going to have to coordinate w/that first, then the floors. (because those are the two items that you CANT change)

    Get your base colors that compliment the fireplace stone. (any of these taupes/mauves/berry/mahogany/browns/purples, will all go with it. Then you find a complemtary color to THAT.

    What do you want to do? Is that current rug something you really want to keep? if so, what do you like about it?

    or is the slate gray sofa what you really like?

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    If you love October Mist in your kitchen but felt that it was too light for this room why not just drop down a shade and try Raintree Green or even Rolling Hills.





    Did you actually test October Mist in the room? If your kitchen has a lot more light the color will appear lighter than in a dark room with lots of shadows.



  • deegw
    last month

    If you have a bare room and paint the walls dark, you're still going to have a bare room. The paint is not going to accomplish what I think you are thinking it will accomplish.

    I would use your paint budget for lamps, a coffee table, side tables, plants, bigger art, etc. Those are the things that make a room look cozy and finished.

    Paint is great and can be transformative but a room still needs to have the basics.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you Beth for all the work. The rug can go. This room is now a hodge podge of furniture. The rug was purchased 14 years ago in a house I no longer live in for a couch I no longer have. The couches are staying.

    I think all your combos would work and would be more dramatic. I just don’t love the colors.

    To be a Jennifer, I did test Oct Mist in the room. I didn’t really like it. I’m posting a pic.

    Can I do greens? The rest of my downstairs is full of green accent. I suppose that would help with the overall flow, I’m just looking for something different. And this room is really separated from the rest of the house. Most guest never come in here or know this room is here.

    Out of all the colors mentioned here, I really like the Ocean Floor. I’ll look for a lighter shade though.

  • Kendrah
    last month

    The firs pic you posted of web grey on your phone app is a great vote for going with a really dark blue instead of a light color or instead of a purple or green. It looks fantastic. I would nail a dark blue color then find a rug I like. Sure, I know you are supposed to do it the other way around, but I don't think you have to get too literal or matchy here. A great dark blue that looks right with the fireplace and that you feel is perfect for the room is the first order of business. I think you can then find a rug that compliments. Remember it doesn't have to match - just compliment.

  • tozmo1
    last month

    I vote for a green. It will look great with that fireplace stone. One of the ones @Jennifer Hogan posted perhaps.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Okay, I’m back at it.

    I started looking up blue grays with green undertones (to go with the couch) and found these that I like.

    The top left is Mount Saint Anne and top middle is Gibraltar Cliffs. I also like Black Pepper (top right). Black Pepper is my favorite color, but I think Mount Saint Anne goes best with the room.

  • ffpalms
    last month

    I like Mount Saint Anne a lot.



  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    I am planning on using Mt Saint Anne in my home. Have used Quiet Moments and Beach Glass, so I may be a bit partial to that shade. I like Gibraltar Cliffs, but not as much. Not a fan of Black Pepper with your stone and sofa.


  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month


    the st anne color is pretty, but I don't think it's the best choice w/the fireplace.



    Black pepper is lavender undertone. it's going to look quite purple on the walls.

    looks a lot diff on this paint chip. You are going to have to paint an actual sample on the wall to see how it behaves in your room

    I like the other two at the bottom. are you set on going w/a blue/green/gray?


    this Black Pepper looks stunning w/ a light leather and black/charcoal


    Behrs Cracked Pepper has less blue




    why don't you just get some samples and paint your walls w/them?? all this guessing here and there with multiple posts, is useless until you actually put something on the walls. get some sample paints! (those sampleize squares are useless, IMO (unless it's for a small bathroom or something) You need to actually paint a large swath on the walls.

  • Paul F.
    last month

    I have deja vu all over again.

  • Lyn Nielson
    last month

    Love the BM Ocean Floor!!! looks like it will look great with your upholstery.

    I didn't read any other the other suggestions, just had to comment on the thought of dark.

    Love it, especially with the natural light. read up on Color Drenching.

    I just painted a room SW Virtual Taupe and love it. Everything, including the trim.

    My rug looks like a million bucks in the room. It's only paint.

  • ffpalms
    last month

    I like the idea of color drenching to simplify the window walls.



  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    I have toms of samples of paint (and those sticky things that I painted on)

    Can I/ should I just paint directly on the walls? Even a dark color? I thought that was a no no.

  • ffpalms
    last month

    kylieinteriors.ca posted this step as the best way to sample paint.





  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    samplize.com is the easiest way to get paint samples.

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    Love the poster board idea!
    These are still drying, but I think I’ll have this figured out soon!

  • Meredith K
    Original Author
    last month

    New rug!