Becky, a reader from Alaska, recently emailed YourDecoratingHotline.com for help with selecting colors for her new home.
Becky’s Request“Hello! First off, I’d like to tell you that I love, love, love (yes, that’s triple the love!) your site!! Thanks so much for posting all the great info! Okay, on to my question…. I live in Alaska, and just moved into a new house. This house is a modest type of chalet style home (very small sq ft): A-frame, prow-front, large windows, and has reclaimed cedar paneling on the prow. Its an extremely open floor plan, so pretty much every single room is visible from the main living room area. Currently the entire home is white other than the cedar front (kitchen cabinets, countertops, doors, and even the carpet is slightly off white). The view from the windows is a lush green landscape of trees, sunshine, and wildlife (in the summer). I’d like to carry that nature-ly golden sunshine and leafy grass/tree scheme throughout the house for the dark winters. My idea is to use a green color for the accented wall and then use a golden beige color on the corresponding surrounding walls, perhaps accented with some rich browns or cedar colored accessories (later the carpet and countertops will be changed out)?? I was wondering if you think this combination of colors will work, if so…do you have a recommendation for specific paint colors/brands? I really am the worst at picking greens and golden colors. I tried it on my last house and it looked like my home was trying to advertise for Mt. Dew! So, I scratched it and went with red/beige….but I’d like to try with the green again. I really do like the faux painted looks, and am a fan of using glaze. So if you have any ideas on which colors to combine for a faux finish….that would be great. But, if that is too general of a question–just a basic recommendation on the green and golden/beige color would be so very helpful. Thank you so much in advance!!” Becky Lynn
I lived in Alaska for four years, Becky, so I totally understand why you want to add some color to your currently all white home. You’re already surrounded by white outside about 7 months of the year – it makes no sense having all white inside too!
A friend and I used to love going to the large greenhouse of an Anchorage nursery (I believe it was called Bells Nursery) in the winter just to get our “green fix.” After long months in a snowy white environment there was something about green that we both craved and found nourishing. We’d buy a cup of tea and enjoy just sitting, chatting and absorbing the warmth and freshness of the greenhouse plants surrounding us. It relaxed and recharged us.
You can probably tell from my greenhouse foray that I think your idea of using “golden sunshine and leafy grass/tree” colors is perfect for warming up the Alaskan winter and bringing the outside in during the summer. By picking a golden and a green color with yellow undertones you’ll be adding a sunshiny warmth to your home. Also, did you know that yellow reflects light even more than white? A bonus for those short, dark Alaskan days.
I’m hoping the room pictured above can help you imagine the golden yellow color in your room with its cedar prow and white features. There’s a small amount of green in the photo from the plants – but just imagine the room with more green, including a wall and accessories, added to the mix.
One cautionary note – stay away from clear, pure yellows and greens – the Crayon type versions of these colors – as you will tire of them quickly. My guess is you used pure or saturated versions 0f these colors previously and that is why you felt like your home was a Mountain Dew advertisement.
I suggest you use muted golden and green colors that are warm (yellow undertones) and mid to light tone. The color suggestions below are from the Behr Premium Plus paint line because I know there is a Home Depot in Anchorage (been there often!) and they carry this brand. For the “golden sunshine” color take a look at Honey Tone (360-C-3) and for the green consider Dried Palm (400C-3). Remember: color displays differently from monitor to monitor so be sure to review the actual paint chip.
These colors look good together because they both have yellow undertones so they are warm and they are the same intensity. I think they should both also go well with the cedar siding on the prow of your room. Additionally, your idea of adding some warm wood accessories is a good one as you can balance the color of the cedar by sprinkling wood or the wood color around the room. Also, don’t forget to add some live green plants to your space because they provide additional green color aw well as texture and life to the room.
First – Paint Swatches
As with any paint, I strongly suggest you paint a large swatch of each of these colors on the walls you want them on. Leave the color there for a couple of days so you can see how it changes throughout the day. It will look different at sunrise, mid-day, sunset and in incandescent light at night.
Don’t panic if the swatch looks ”too dark” as you’re painting your swatches of test colors. Watch them for a day and if you like the color, paint an entire wall and look at it. A swatch, especially against a stark white wall, often seems overwhelming – either too dark, or too bright, or “oh, my gosh, what am I thinking” because it is such a high contrast against the white. Wait until you see a fully painted first coat wall. Remember too that these newly colored walls won’t be “naked” in the house. The walls will have artwork on them, the furniture will add color and your accessories will draw the eye around the room too – you won’t just be staring at the walls once you’re done painting.
Your email also asked about colors for glazing as you’re a fan of faux finish. The glaze color depends on how much contrast you want. If you use a clear glaze over your newly painted walls it will add texture by creating a contrast between the glazed and non-glazed areas. If you want a color contrast for the green wall you’ve painted, ask the paint store to tint the glaze with the color for Grass Cloth (400-D5). The same goes for the golden color – clear glaze for a light texture finish and for more color contrast tint the glaze with the color for Golden Chalice (360D-5).
There are different techniques for glazing – some involve rolling the glaze on over the main paint color and them removing some of the glaze with a rag. Other techniques involve applying the glaze over the paint color with a rag or a dry brush in a random fashion. I personally prefer applying glaze randomly with a rag over the paint. My post Friday, February 12, will be about the glazing work I’m currently doing in my master bedroom. Check it out if ragging glaze onto your walls interests you.
More About Yellow and Green
Terrie started a series on color this month and her post this past Monday was about Yellow. Next Monday she is focusing on Green. Reading both of these posts will provide an overview on the color direction you’re heading.
Share Your Results
Please be sure to send me a “before” shot of your white and cedar room and an “after” shot of your golden and green paint efforts. I’d love to see how all your inspiration and hard work pays off.