I’m in the middle of a living remodel for my home and it’s reached a point that I wanted to share a sneak peek of the progress and also walk you through how I create a color palette for a space. My living room remodel is the perfect example to show you the steps that I take with my clients and in my own home when I begin a room refresh/remodel that I hope can help you better choose colors for your projects in your own home.
Today’s Moody Monday design/mood board is actually the plan for my living room remodel project. This is my color palette along with the furniture, accessories and accents that I originally planned to incorporate in the space. You can find the source links directly below the board (affiliate links):
I create a color palette for every project that I do for myself and my clients because the palette will serve as my guide as I make selections for everything. It makes a huge difference when you can see all the colors together in a palette format in order to make adjustments and better visualize the direction of a space and cohesiveness. I’m going to walk you through each step of how I select each color in a palette and hopefully, something you will see here today will be helpful to you and your next home project.
Below is my color palette for our living room remodel project and while I share each step with you of choosing colors, I’m also sharing the progress shots of our living room project that is almost finished! (Yay!!)
Choose a Wall Color First
Because the wall of a room is the area that will have the most amount of color in a space, it’s the most important color to choose and it is also the foundation of a building a color palette.
For my living room, my primary goal was to lighten up the space as much as I could because it was way too dark and warm. Below is what my living room looked like before the remodel (sorry, all I have are images from Christmas about 9 years ago):
I had too much dark wood in our living room with the floors, dark cabinetry and dark furniture that mixed together, made the space feel dark, too warm and outdated.
I decided that the walls were going to be white in the space to significantly lighten up. So the first color in my color palette was white for my wall color. Keep in mind as you create your own color palette for a space, while you may not know what the exact wall color will be, it will help to first decide in general if you want a white, light colored, mid-tone or dark wall color before choosing any other colors. You can always come back after you get the rest of the colors in your palette to make an exact color decision.
For my living room, I knew I wanted to use Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White for my wall color.
Here’s a peek at how the my wall color in the living room turned out.
Choose a Grounding Color
I always like to select a grounding neutral color to carry through a space to balance all of the other colors, patterns and textures. If I select a neutral wall color like a mid-tone warm gray, I will make white my grounding color in the space to make sure that I balance in some light.
Because I selected white for my walls in our living room, I wanted to find a beautiful neutral color that was mid-toned to ground and carry through the space and balance all of the white. Choosing a rug before any other selections is a great way to find the perfect grounding color for the rest of the room because chances are there will be a neutral color in the rug that I can add to my palette that I could also use throughout the space.
A grounding color will also help to guide me as I decorate and choose colors for the rest of the room that will bring cohesiveness to a space. On a side note, even if the rug just has a little of the grounding color that you want to use, that’s all you need.
For my living room, I needed a large 10 x 13 rug for the space and I knew that I wanted an antelope patterned rug (I was also open to animal print). Below are the rugs that I was considering on the front end of my project:
via One Kings Lane
via Burke Decor
While I really wanted to go with the first darker antelope rug that’s in today’s design board because I loved it so much but in the end, I opted to do the antelope floor squares from Flor (image above) because it was much lighter in color. My goal in this space was to lighten up everything and with dark floors and a dark rug, I felt it would be too heavy and dark.
** I am doing a separate post on Flor carpet squares and why I love them so much but just to give you a little peek, the rug was exactly what the space needed and so gorgeous!
So long story short, the grounding neutral/undertone for my living room color palette that I matched to one of the colors in my rug is close to BEHR Whitewash Oak. So I added Whitewash Oak color to my palette as a grounding color that I could potentially use to paint furniture, cabinetry, art or decor.
Choose an Accent Color(s)
Choosing an accent color is really about what color(s) are inspiring me or my client that we would want to sprinkle in and have stand out in a space. Accent colors are those little magic pops of color that can either add a new color to a space or add light via pillows, a spot of color in art or a color present in a rug for the space. If I’ve selected a bold color for the wall color, I may decide to go white or light as my accent color to balance to ensure that the space isn’t too dark.
Usually once I start looking at possible art and fabric for a space, I will find myself gravitating to a certain colors and I will usually pull out an accent color(s) from these sources. If I’m stuck on what exact hue I want for an accent color, I will use my grounding neutral color to help me select the right undertone in an accent color. In other words, if I’m looking at having green as an accent color, I will find a green that’s undertone is my grounding color.
For my living room remodel project, I already had a large blue/green glass jug in my bookshelves that that particular color just really inspired me. I decided to carry more of this color that is very close to Benjamin Moore Beach Glass into the rest of my new space. Beach Glass is a blue/green that has a slight warm gray undertone as my grounding color.
You can see below on my design board how I will carry my “Beach Glass” accent color through the space via pillows, a throw blanket, art and accessories for the bookshelves:
Because I tend to design more neutral spaces to keep a room transitional, if I add a second or third accent color, I usually stick with lighter/darker shades of my accent color. For my living room, I am also incorporating lighter and darker shades of Beach Glass.
For my living room, I will be using one shade lighter and one shade darker than Beach Glass as accents colors which are:
Choose a Dark Contrasting Color
After choosing a wall color (general color), grounding color and a accent color(s), I will choose a dark contrasting color next for my color palette. This color would be the darkest color that I would use in the space in my furnishings, furniture, and fabric colors. I may use just a hint of this color or a lot depending on how the space comes together.
Choosing a dark color for my palette was an easy decision for me for my living room space because my other goal for this space was to update it and incorporate some modern touches. Adding pops of black is a really easy way to update a space because black mixed with white or lighter colors gives that contrast that’s popular in design right now. Not that I want to be “on trend” in any way but rather I want to space to feel current and fresh.
Here are some peeks at the black that I have incorporated into the space:
Choose a Cabinetry Color
If I’m remodeling/designing a space with a lot of cabinetry like a kitchen, bathroom or a living room with built-in media cabinets (like my living room project), choosing a paint color for cabinetry is just as important as the wall color because cabinets are a significant focal point of a space. Once I have my wall color, grounding color, accent color and dark contrasting color, I have everything I need to make a decision on the cabinetry color.
In my living room, one of the trouble spots for me was my brick fireplace. I have always hated the brick and I knew that if I enclosed it with MDF and painted the enclosure and cabinets white, it would significantly brighten the space. So we finally completed the project and below is our progress so far.
Whenever I choose a cabinetry color, I consider if we need to lighten up a space and paint the cabinetry white or if we have plenty of light, I will consider other colors like using my grounding color or my dark contrasting color that I selected for a space.
Ultimately, we painted all the cabinetry and fireplace Benjamin Moore Simply White, which was the perfect shade of white for this space.
After (I took this picture in the fall so please ignore the pumpkins):
It can be a challenge to choose the perfect cabinetry color for a space but it sure is helpful if I have selected all the other colors for the space first and as the room comes together, I have these other colors to guide me.
So as you can see, once I choose all of the above key colors, I pull them all together in a palette. You can create a palette yourself simply by cutting and taping paint color cards to a piece of paper using this layout below:
It’s so helpful to be able to see all your colors together as you make selections for fabrics, furniture colors, finishes, accents, etc.. I can’t imagine redesigning a space for myself or my clients without a palette.
On a side note, you may have noticed that beautiful white cane console in today’s design board below:
Stay tuned because I actually revamped the dark wood console that you can see in my living room “before” picture to look just like the white console with cane that turned out so pretty! I’ll be sharing that project next week on the blog!
I hope there is something here today that can help you on your next home design project and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave your question in the comment section and I’ll get you an answer as soon as I can.
Thanks for stopping by today and if you want to see more of my past Moody Mondays, you can look through them all here.
Nancy Kinkead says
I love your designs just the right amount of color .
It’s going to be beautiful !!!.
Thanks Nancy! It’s almost done and I can’t wait for you guys to see it! It’s so nice to finally have a light and bright living room and get rid of all that brick and darkness! 🙂
Tammy Barnes says
I’m building a new home & would like to see the selection for Cyndy….. please!
Carolyn Agnew says
What a wealth of information! I have been eyeing Ballard’s antelope rug to use as a runner in my (very long) hallway. The Ballard rug is way too short – so I’ve looked at a nearby carpet store and they could create one for me. I am very thrilled to check out the carpet squares you mentioned. I always thought designers just had “an eye” for their design. I have used a designer for my house b/c I get so easily overwhelmed with all the choices. You have actually made some sense out of all the decisions to help narrow the choices down. Thank You!!!
Thank you so much Carolyn for such kind words! I sure hope my post helps in some way! 🙂 Even I get overwhelmed by all the beautiful color choices and doing a palette really helps me stay focus and intentional with every selection. My clients love it as well because they can better envision what we’re doing. Thanks for your note and kind words! 🙂
It’s gorgeous Cyndy! I love everything you do and especially how well you explain color theory! I could really use your help with my Beachouse remodel so keep the great ideas and resources coming!
All the Best,
Pam McCurdy says
You’re so talented girlfriend! You just do amazing work. Come to MN and help me lol! 💜 I can’t wait to see all of this finished!
Love what you have done! I could easily live there because what you have chosen are all of my favorite colors. My question is why did you choose a different white for the bookshelves? Why not use the same white as the walls? Were you intentional looking to create a more white-on-white effect?
Thank you Cindy! I needed the Decorator’s White on the walls to brighten up as much as possible and we did the sheen in a flat. However, I wanted the cabinetry and fireplace just a little softer and of course, the cabinetry was painted with an enamel in matte satin in Simply White. I knew that when all was said and done, it would look like the same color because of the differences in the two different finishes. Decorator’s White is the most neutral white out there, so mixing it with Simply White on the Cabinetry (and trim) with the different sheens just looks like it’s the exact same color but different sheens. I have very natural light in the space because of a patio overhang that shades the windows. However, if I did have a lot of natural light, I couldn’t have gotten away with this little trick because the differences would be more noticeable. I hope this makes sense. 🙂
So we are trying to paint our house and I’ve not the foggiest where to begin. I’ve read through so many of your paint posts (and others) and keep coming upon one issue. When I find colors I love on paint palettes and such, they are always VERY bright and intense colors. I’ve heard that when that happens you should try to find the more “muted” or “grayed-out” version of that same color. However, all the colors I see on walls that actually look like beautiful colors (Sea Salt, Rainwater, etc) are actually no where near my picks on a color wall. I love them in homes and such, but it doesn’t translate remotely when choosing. We love “Downpour Blue” and “Ocean Tropic” from Benjamin Moore, but as you can tell, those are very intense colors. So I guess I’m trying to figure out how to accomplish the same feel as these colors without being so intense and am also trying to figure out how to create a whole home color palette. Thanks for any possible suggestions!
I want to paint my guest bathroom cabinet a shade of black. I would like to change out all hardware, faucets, mirrors to gold. I have white subway tile around tub enclosure.
The floor In this bathroom is travertine. I would like to know what shade of black do you think would go well with the travertine floor. All other floors throughout the house are wide plank white oak. The cabinet is 42 “ long by 22” deep. The ceiling in this bathroom is 9 feet tall. The floor space, not counting the tub area is 6.5” by 7”. Thanks for any suggestions.