Mary Kay P. asks: My daughter has just bought a ground-floor walk-out condo. The living room, dining room and kitchen, are in the same space. She is confused about which colors to use on the walls. She did buy the brown Dash & Albert Cat’s Paw rug to start her decorating with. Since the condo came furnished, she has a brown sofa, brown dining table and chairs. And a very large TV hanging in the middle. What color choices to you recommend?
Annie replies: The biggest trick with an open space is finding a logical start and stopping point for adding color. Fortunately, the Cat’s Paw rug is a wonderful jumping-off point for choosing colors. I can envision two possible directions.
In the first, you’d choose wall-paint color based on one of the midtones found in the rug—there are some great greens, warm yellow/golds, and reds, and some interesting shades of blue.
Take a picture of the rug and go to the paint store and grab a mess of chips that look like they might work. Then go to the condo and narrow down your choices to your three favorites. Then go back to paint store and get as small an amount of paint as possible—I like the sample-size containers that many companies sell nowadays. Then either apply the paint to foam core or directly to the wall, and compare them at different times of day, to see how the light hits the paint and makes it appear. (I usually apply the paint directly to the wall, but the foam core approach is better if you are not ready to commit.)
In the second, find a lighter wall shade, closer to ivory, perhaps tinted with a favorite color, and use accessories—in both hard and soft goods, like the throw, pillows, and window panels below—in colors found in the Cat’s Paw rug throughout the space. This is a great approach if you’re not really sure whether you can live with a bolder wall hue. You’ll still have lots of great color pops throughout the space, which will give it a sophisticated vibe, and you can switch them out more easily than painting the walls.