Redecorating the living room – Part 2: selecting the paint colors

This is Part 2 of my living room redecorating project. For part 1, click here.

As I mentioned in part 1, I want to warm up the room visually, and if possible, avoid painting the ceiling. I love the look of warm browns, combined with soft blue and bright turquoise, as seen here:

Or here:

And my favorite example:

I really debated about whether to paint my walls blue or a light taupe color. It is really, really difficult for me to pick taupe over a color, but I like how it is used in this image as a blank canvas for all the other colors. This photo also has the perfect lamps and a fun combination of patterns and textures.

This is a more casual example–I especially love the turquoise table:

For all of these images that were the perfect combination of browns, neutrals and blues, the photo that inspired me the most is this one:

This photo doesn’t even use the same colors, but I love how bright and cheery the room is. Plus, it uses a mixture of vintage and vintage-like furniture and patterns.

In the end, I realized that since the room has North facing-windows, the room will always veer to the blue spectrum and painting the walls blue or grey would exacerbate the problem. So, taupe it is, with blue-green accents.

I spent WAY too much time playing  with ColorSmart by Behr on the iPad, only to realize that most of the colors are vastly different on the paint swatch. I knew I wanted to use Pecan Sandie by Behr, because it is already in my guest room and hallway and it works really well with my other colors. However, there was still the very important accent color for the back of the built-in bookcase next to the fireplace. I finally just went to Home Depot and rolled the dice on my accent color based on the paint chip.

This is the final Behr color scheme, which includes the green ceiling color:

As I was painting, I realized quickly that I would not have enough for the entire room with just 1 gallon of paint. My frugal (cheap) nature kicked in, and I decided to have an accent wall–using the remaining paint from my bathroom, Scotland Road. In the end, I can justify this as a carefully choreographed design decision, but it was mostly because I didn’t want to go all the way back to the store to buy 1 more gallon of paint! However, you can see the bathroom from the living room, so it does look nice together.

Here is a sneak peak of the final result:


Redecorating the living room – Part 1: creating a moodboard

One of the main items on my summer to do list was to redecorate the living room.

The main problem in my living room is since it is a Northern facing room, the light that comes in the two large windows is a bluish or cooler temperature hue than a Southern facing room. Also, since I acquired my leather sofa, the dark green walls, the dark red fireplace and bookcase, and the black leather club chair are all too dark. If possible, I also want to avoid painting the ceiling which is currently a soft green.

This is the (poorly taken panoramic) before photo of the living room:

I envisage a number of projects for this room makeover, so I will break them up into separate posts, so the entire project won’t be too unwieldy.

I have been drooling over colors, pinning ideas to Pinterest,  and asking everyone from family, coworkers and Facebook friends to weigh in on their opinion. So to help consolidate all of these ideas into one package, I created a moodboard for inspiration.

Olioboards allows you to use their sample furniture, drapery and accessory photos, but I found it works best if you visit your favorite websites, like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, Ballard Designs, etc, to find furniture you already own, or stuff you would like to own. Download the image onto your computer and then upload it to your moodboard. For my living room moodboard, I even sampled the paint color and made an image of just the color in Photoshop, which allowed me to have the paint color in the background of the image. I am such a visual person I need to see the “walls” painted and the furniture and fabric painted as well.

I also uploaded photos of my curtains, rug and fireplace to match colors and accessories. Here is the final draft:

living room 2
The furniture, isn’t an exact match, but as an inspirational tool, creating a moodboard on Olioboard is really helpful. You can save it on their website, download the image, or share it on pages like Facebook and Pinterest.

For the next post, selecting the paint colors.

Colorful chairs for outdoor dining

Inspired by the last scene in the film, Chocolat, I decided that my back porch needed a long rustic farmhouse table with colorful chairs. I can just picture fun meals spent with family and friends around the table, lit by candlelight all summer long.

So, for the first step, I scouted out the local thrift stores for kitchen chairs. My friend and my mother both independently saw these chairs and they were right. They are comfortable and sturdy, even though there were only three, they were a steal at $9 each.


I was so excited to start the project, I forgot to get a before photo, but all three were the ugly orange wood. I cleaned them and lightly sanded down any rough spots before painting them with spray paint. This one is my favorite because of the gorgeous peacock-blue color.


For the next chairs, I visited 20 different yard sales, before I found the perfect set of chairs. These had been stripped and redone by the previous owner. She was apologetic that she hadn’t finished covering all of the seats, but she was nice enough to give me the fabric so I could cover the last chair.

These were also a great deal at $40 for the set.


This is my color palette for the chairs:


The first chairs took 1 1/2 cans each, but the cushioned chairs only took 3/4 a can each.

The finished set of four without their chair pads.


The next step is to paint all of these with an additional coat of exterior water-based Polyurethane. The spray paint alone might work fine since they will be under a covered patio, but since they will also be around food and beverage, better to be safe than sorry.


This photo shows the fabulous fabric the upholstered seats came with. I didn’t try to match the paint to the fabric, but it looks fantastic with all of the different colors.

The turquoise chair didn’t take spray paint well, so I sanded off the bubbly bits so I could repaint it, but I think I like it distressed. Since none of the other chairs are Shabby-Chic, I am not sure it I will keep it distressed or not.

Here is the complete set:


The next project will be the rustic farmhouse table. The table in the photograph is one of those ugly particleboard folding tables with a multitude of craftroom scars…hence the tablecloth.