A reader in Washington faces a dilemma that I’m sure is shared by many homeowners. What to do with a 2 story entry wall. Here’s her specific problem:
“I can’t figure out what color to paint the large stairwell wall in my open floor plan family room/kitchen. My cabinets are maple, light oak flooring, chocolate brown sofa and the fireplace wall is a deep faux finish red. The kitchen granite is light & dark gray with a pretty patina copper backsplash. I want to be able to look at that big wall from the kitchen and think “Wow, I love that wall”. I’ve tried shades of orange, painted it green and am out of ideas. I’m open to changing out the artwork and/or accessories but want to keep the sofa. What do you think?”
SOLUTIONS FOR A LARGE WALL
Sandy’s instincts are right to want to make that wall a feature wall. Although she mentioned she’s okay with painting over the red wall, it looks so beautifully done, it would seem a shame to paint it (unless she’s really just sick of it). So, working with the deep red, the chocolate brown of the sofa (I’m only guessing at the actual color of it) and the light woodwork, I’ve come up with a couple of color options.
Before I share color ideas, here are a few other suggestions. You’ll notice I played with the art arrangement in the following pictures. If art, rather than a wall treatment, is going to be the focal point, I think you need something larger or a combination of art making a bigger statement. I also recommend painting the white railing. It feels too bright and almost country in what is a more transitional room. Paint the railing the darkest tone of the accent wall color. I wouldn’t introduce another color, just take the wall color really dark. I didn’t address changing the rug, but it would likely need to change based on whatever new color is selected.
Gray is an excellent neutral and since it’s present in the kitchen granite, it would be a good color to carry to the other side of the room. Choose a warm gray with a yellow/orange undertone rather than a blue undertone so it blends with the sofa. The top picture shows the current art as is and a plain gray wall. The 2nd, more appealing, option is to double the size of the art and play up the height of the wall with a 2 tone vertical stripe. Keep the scale nice and big with wide stripes so it doesn’t get busy. Then introduce organic shapes in the accent pieces to balance all those straight lines. And with the red wall – yummy!
Keep the color palette cool, but add a little green to the blue for this fresh aqua. Try this brighter, lighter version of the blue family but don’t tip the scale to turquoise. Still pretty with the reds & coppers. I’ve also shown another potential art arrangement. See how a more horizontal arrangment fills the wall better? The pillows & rug again will be the glue that holds this scheme together.
A current trend is to use these huge, overscale patterns in interiors – on walls, furnishings, draperies, etc. Damask patterns have been updated, simplified and applied to walls to create dramatic statements. If you don’t want the permanence of wallpaper, look for a stencil or a faux painter who can do something organic.
A totally “outside the box” idea would be to paint the wall a deep color of your choice. Then hang a VERY sheer fabric over the whole wall in very soft, gentle folds so the dark color shows through the sheers. Rather than a standard curtain rod, use something like a drawer pull or doorknob and hang the fabric in swoops between the “hooks”. Place the hooks 18-24″ apart (depending on the width of the wall).