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Downstairs Redo: Please Help Me Pick Paint Colors

You know how you start a small home improvement project and it morphs into redoing half your house? This is not that project! I am stating that in black and white. All we’re doing is painting. However, the paint project has already grown. Our downstairs has been a mixture of brown and tans/creams for years and it’s starting to feel as though we’re living inside a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And although that is my favorite candy, I don’t want to live in Hershey’s world any longer.

So, we started talking about just getting rid of the brown. That grew into, “Well, we would have to repaint the tan also and get rid of the whole two-toned color scheme in the foyer and the kitchen.”

foyer

And that grew into, “Well, we’d also have to paint the office and get rid of the brown accent wall. And the half bath which is also brown. But not the dining room. Or the living room.”

And that grew into, “Well, we should probably just go ahead and paint the dining room also because it’s going to stand out too much against the new colors. But the living room should be fine.”

And of course, you know how that went. 

So, dear readers. We are painting the whole downstairs.

I want to go with something white, light, airy, that will bounce natural white in the kitchen. I thought I wanted Revere Pewter because I have it in my upstairs bathroom and love it, but it’s darker than I want and it doesn’t look good next to the trim which is Navajo White. So I’m leaning toward some other Benjamin Moore colors: Ivory White, Decorators White,  Chantilly Lace, Cotton Balls, and White Dove are a few. And I think I want every room to be the same color: consistency throughout the entire downstairs.

I’m going to share a few photos and I would love some input from you. The one above is from the front door and is the foyer, from which you can see the living room straight ahead. The dining room is to the right and the office is to the left. Before you get into the living room there’s a powder room down the hall to the left and the butler’s pantry to the right.

Here’s the dining room. It is painted in a creamy color, with a satin or semi-gloss stripe of the same color. I still like it but I think it’s time to go.

dining room

Here’s the office, which is to the left of the front door and directly across from the dining room:

office

Here’s the living room from the angle of the foyer and from the other doorway which leads into the kitchen:

living room

The paint on the living room walls has the sponge effect which probably went out of date 10 years ago. So it’s time for that to go as well. However, the drapes are not going anywhere so that’s a consideration. They are a deep gold color.

Here’s the kitchen. Our kitchen is open with a 20 ft. ceiling and a keeping room on the side, and a breakfast area/bay window. There is also a cutout area over the stairs, so you see the walls above the stairs from in the kitchen.

kitchen

kitchen

Kitchen from the other side. You also can see the walls upstairs, which is probably the next place this painting project will expand to. Please ignore the stripe of Revere Pewter that was painted next to the ovens. And those ovens. Those are what stopped this project from REALLY expanding. I got all excited after researching that you could paint over the tile backsplash and paint the cabinets and turn everything white. Then I remembered that half my appliances are still bisque-colored. We’ve been replacing appliances as they die, so when our refrigerator died a couple of years ago we replaced it with an LG French Door that I just love. Then the microwave died and we replaced it with an LG also. But those ovens. We built this house in 2001, and those are the ovens that came with the house: GE Profile. Fourteen years. And they will not die. Nor will the stove. Having said that, I’m knocking on wood right now, because as much as I want new stainless steel ovens and stove, I don’t really want to go out and spend the money to buy them, so I’m actually glad that these are hanging on. So there you have it folks—if you want ovens that will last a long, long time, look to GE.

kitchen

And here’s a view of the keeping room from each side:

keeping room

Now you have all the pertinent information. No furniture changes, no new appliances, nothing major. Just paint. And the trim, which will not be repainted at this time, is Navajo White, which does have a slight yellow undertone—but I don’t want the wall color to have any yellow.

Any suggestions? What are your favorite neutral paint colors? Favorite whites? What would you do?

Please share in the comments!

Editor’s Note: We ultimately selected Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray, a lovely greige color that flowed throughout the house. 

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Jennifer @ Brave New Home

Tuesday 7th of April 2015

I was nodding to myself throughout this post. I am totally with you on choosing a bright, airy white to bounce light around and using the same color to create cohesion throughout multiple spaces. I assume you are going to prime the walls first since they're on the darker side? Maybe then you could live with it for a bit just to see how you feel about stark white and go from there?

Joan Page

Thursday 26th of March 2015

I see why you would like for all the rooms on this level to be consistent, and while I am not good at picking paint colors, my two cents is I really like your stripes in the dining room, so can we keep those? Love, Joan

Lucy

Monday 30th of March 2015

Joanie,

David, Rita, and Janice all said the same thing so I guess I'm outnumbered!

Love you!

Catherine

Thursday 26th of March 2015

Your house is really beautiful, I love your house ! I too, love the Chantilly Lace, I guess three of us are on the same wave length ! Keep us posted please as to what color you choose.

Ginger Schneider

Wednesday 25th of March 2015

I love your house!! It's beautiful just as it is but I really, really like the Chantilly Lace. I pulled up both swatches and looked back and forth and I think it would be so pretty with the Navajo White! Everything is going to look so clean and fresh!! I can't wait to see it finished!! Happy Painting!

Lucy

Wednesday 25th of March 2015

Ginger! The Chantilly Lace is my favorite too! But I have to go get some actual samples and see. Paint never looks the same from the little cards and especially not from the computer. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. I am so bad at color selection. I can never make a paint decision without a LOT of help!