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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Paint colors for the interior of our house

YHF asked about the name of the color of the walls in our living room. I thought I'd do one better, and show you the walls throughout most of the downstairs of our house.

living room walls -- Oyster White  trim/doors -- Swiss Coffee (Behr)

When we began the downstairs repainting, 7 years ago, I did what we all do, and went to Home Depot and thumbed through all of the paint chip cards. I was initially looking for colors for the family room and dining room. I found a paint card, which had several shades of browns and tans, that had a wall colors that I liked.

This is the wall color of the family room. It's called Cookie Crumb. Maybe I was hungry that morning that I was looking at colors. It really is the color of the cookie part of homemade Tollhouse cookies. I wanted a warm, cozy, enveloping color for these walls, a place to go and feel hugged by warmth. (Glidden)

Here is the color of the dining room walls. It's called First Anniversary. It's a rich, caramel-y shade of tan. I wanted a deep and dramatic color in the dining room. Our dining room is just opposite the hallway from the family room, so I knew I wanted the colors to blend. (Glidden)

And here's the color of the living room walls, the entry hall walls, the small hallway between the family room and dining room, and the upstairs hallway walls. It's called Oyster White. It's really not white at all, but light tan, with yellow undertones. Although it's tan, it gives the room a light and bright feeling, despite the gloomy, overcast days that we frequently have, here. (Glidden)

I also tried the darkest shade on this color card, American Bronze. It was far too greenish of a brown, once on the area above the family room fireplace. I wound up going with a completely different color (not on this card, it's a Ralph Lauren color, something like Saddle Brown, but I'm not positive). I had set my purse down, up against one of the painted walls in that room, and noticed that the leather on the purse was exactly the shade that would look good as a complementary brown to the cookie crumb (for above the fireplace). So, purse in hand, I went back to Home Depot to find a matching brown for that small spot.

The white trim in all of these rooms is a creamy white, called Swiss Coffee. There are a couple of Swiss Coffee colors, under different paint brands. This is the Behr brand of Swiss Coffee. If you google "Behr Swiss Coffee" and look at the images, there are a couple of interior photos where this shade of white has been used. When you compare "whites" it's amazing how much variance there really is.

What I discovered with multi-tonal paint cards is that the paint colors aren't always harmonious when on your walls. Lighting, both interior and natural, affects how we see light, as well as how much greenery there happens to be planted right outside your windows.

For reference, the colors on the paint card, up top, by Glidden, are from left to right: American Bronze, New Suede, First Anniversary, Cookie Crumb, Ivory Sampler and Oyster White.

We've had several compliments on the Cookie Crumb. It seems to be an appealing shade of tan to many people.


  1. I've never thought of choosing paints all on the same card. That makes good sense, since they all have the same base color plus variance of shade. It's interesting that you chose the lighter color for the entry and the richer, warmer colors for the interior rooms. Like following a road that leads to the hearth and center of family living. Maybe you had planned it that way, or unconsciously that was why you choose colors on the same card and in that order.

    Behr Swiss Coffee is our go to color when we did our painting jobs because of the ease of getting more paint without mixing (on the shelf, stock color), plus it compliments so many warm, brownish colors and natural wood tones like varnished wood and furniture, and I always thought it brought the outside in. So when the scenery was an inviting one, we chose that color, and when it was not, we went with a whiter white. You're right, so many whites to choose, but the yellow green whites always was appealing to me like Antique White. I'm going to Home Depot and pick up that card to see what Cookie Dough looks like in person, and see how it compliments Oyster White. Thank you for the idea.

    We struggle with paint colors in our own home because of some very outdated ceramic tile flooring from our remodeling 30 years ago. Those days mocha tans were the rage, so not only our floors, but our kitchen countertop too. Then we chose for the entry and laundry room a nice, appealing green ceramic tile (my favorite floor), and we've got laminate flooring in a spare room, carpets in the living and bedrooms (different colors), and even bamboo vinyl plank flooring in our bathroom. So a hodgepodge of different floors and paints. I'm trying to find a color that works with all the flooring, and brings them together, or at least carries one's attention so one doesn't notice the different flooring so much. When I saw your living room color, I thought that might work. It has some yellow, green and brown. The paints we have now don't even have a name. I mix them from leftovers, that I find on our shelf. So when I paint the next wall, a slightly different color and sheen. I guess we got what we paid for lol I wish I had the foresight to value our home more than I did and made good deliberate choices like you have done.

    Have a wonderful day!!


    1. Good morning, YHF!
      I slept long and late this morning, and now, maybe today I'll have some energy again.

      If you were remodeling 30 years ago, it sounds like in the 80s? I remember popular color schemes from the 80s, a lot of white, beige, cocoa brown. I was going through magazines, a lot then, eagerly waiting for my own home to paint/decorate. (We didn't buy a house until the 90s.)
      Our house was built in the mid-70s, and was largely untouched when we bought it in 95. So you can imagine, rust carpeting, avocado green kitchen appliances, green and gold vinyl flooring, and 2 bedrooms with bright aqua carpeting. Oh, and the kitchen counters were that fake wood-block formica. It was like someone had opened a 70s time capsule with a house inside.

      I've found the oyster white is a good neutral shade for us, when white-white isn't what we want for a background color. So, good for our entry and for the different hallways. I used it in the living room, also, to help lighten that room. The living room is on the side of the house that is up against a lot of tall evergreens on our neighbors property, so the sun goes behind the trees in early afternoon. Yellow tones seem to give a warmer feeling than pure white. Pure white feels like a snowy day, to me, in our area.

      I've done the personal mixing of paint colors myself, too. I've done it mostly in small rooms, like bathrooms and the laundry room. That has come about as a result of choosing the wrong colors, and needing to adjust the color a bit. The huge drawback is you can never exactly match that color, for touch-ups. But sometimes, you're faced with that or wasting the paint. Our laundry room is pale yellow, and when I got the first coat of paint on the walls, it looked like I was living inside of a post-it notepad. It was too overwhelming. And with a bathroom, I wanted a blush pink wall, well that came out looking like the inside of a bottle of pepto bismal, so I toned that down with lots of leftover tan paint. In another bathroom, I was trying too hard to match the flooring and grout on the tile and wound up with a greige color. I am just glad that my color goofs have happened in small rooms, which will be easier to repaint than large expanses.

      As far as getting all of your floors and walls to harmonize with one single paint color, you may want to find very similar colors, but with slightly different undertones for the one or more of the rooms. Our kitchen walls are a different shade of white than the trim in the rest of the house, but you'd never notice if you walked through. Swiss Coffee didn't look right against the counters, flooring and cabinets of our kitchen. So we went with a different white (I think it might be Clear Moon). We have a lot of color in the kitchen, white walls made sense, but Swiss Coffee looked too muted of a white for that room. And yet, still, the Clear Moon looks like an antique white to me.

      Good luck, and have fun in the choosing. I love imagining the change of paint (just don't like the actual painting, ha ha).

      Have a great day!

    2. You're right about Swiss Coffee not going well with some colors. Also Swiss Coffee varies with paint brands, the Behr brand has a more warm and pinkish tone than Glidden. Behr Swiss Coffee doesn't seem to go well if the colors in the room are cool. We always kept both Swiss Coffee brands on hand, because they are the most popularly used. Made touchups go really fast and easy knowing this subtle difference, using stock Behr or Glidden rather than resorting to computer matching. The computer matching at Home Depot has improved a lot in recent years. Before it was always off, and only if you cut in whole walls was it acceptable, so patching a small ding on the wall could result in painting the entire wall, and that wall will not be an exact match with the rest of the walls for future touch ups.

      Good idea about going with similar colors than trying to find one single paint color. But Oyster White has really peaked my interest.

      I wish we had a front door to show but my dad did a remodel that was never completed, so we don't have a front door, just a garage entry. Probably never will, as I don't think we want to spend large sums on major home improvements.



  2. Great post, Lili! Very interesting! I get geeked-out over this sort of thing, and love to peruse paint chips, although I have generally opted for one wall color throughout our various homes. I like the harmonious flow of that effect, perhaps moreso because I like eclectic furnishings.

    I'm more adventurous with exterior colors,though. I just got paint for a new front door color this week. Exciting! :)

    YHF, I like your idea for harmonizing your various stages of home improvement. I think that might be just the ticket! Hope Lili's color or another one solves the issue!

    Sara :)

    1. Hi Sara,
      I love looking through the paint chips, too! What I really need is more rooms so I can do all of the color combinations that I want.

      I think house style also dictates whether using one color is most appropriate, too. Great-room houses, with more continuous flow between rooms, seem to do better with a single wall color. I think it just looks neater, if different colored walls are broken up with framed doorways, as opposed to having a change of colors between two walls that butt up against each other. In an open floor plan, you generally don't have much of that, except when leading to private spaces in the house.

      Front doors are fun! You can put just about any color you want on the front door. Although ours is just a glossy black. I love red front doors. What color did you choose for your front door?

      I would say that our furnishings are eclectic, but in reality, they're probably not all that eclectic. It's like when you see children from the same family and you think they all look different from each other. But in truth, you can see the family resemblance and how they are all related. Most of our furnishings have been handed down to us, a few garage sale pieces, and just a couple of new purchases, over the years. I'm okay with that, as it has saved us tons of money in the long run.

      Send me a photo of your front door when you get it painted! In fact, I think it would be fun to post as many of our front doors as possible, so anyone else wanting to share their front door, send a photo of it to my email!

      Have a great day, Sara!

    2. Hi, Lili--

      You're right about some styles of house being more conducive to a single color. I also think it's really a style thing. Some people love color on their walls. I love color, but not necessarily on my interior walls.

      One color for all the walls makes it easier to change colors schemes within the room, too. If wall, trim, and floor are the same throughout the house, then if your belongings look good in one room, they'll look good in the next. I think I decorate a lot more with my stuff than with my paint; so that's probably why it appeals to my style. :)

      I agree, front doors are fun! I like black front doors (and shutters). I think that they look very sharp. I have had contrasting door colors a few times, and like them. I recently read that red front doors, in colonial America, used to mean that you welcomed travelers. I love red, but have never had a home where a red door looked right.

      I chose a green that has yellow, gray and blue tones in it for our front and back doors. We'll see if we like it. :)

      Take care-- Sara :)

  3. Love your interior color palette.
    My entire house (minus the MBR and the Music) room are from the same paint card. This is the 3rd house I have used those exact same colors. They are similar to yours, but mine are a cool brown/beige/tan rather than warm. I love the cohesive look from room to room, but browns are so neutral they only serve as a back drop to whatever color or accent color you use with your furniture.

    1. Hi Anne,
      Your cool tones are probably more appropriate for your area and sunlight. I imagine they're soothing on a scorching day. I totally agree, the brown shades are so neutral, I can't think of any colors that don't look right with at least one shade of brown/beige.

      Have a great day, Anne!

  4. I love this color shade and it is a very popular color right now for living rooms. The home we are in now has paneling, but if it didn't I would go with a shade like this as it is very popular right now.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Paneling can look really attractive, I think. We had 70s-style paneling in our last place (a duplex), before this house. Our neighbors in the duplex painted their paneling white and it looked great. It gave her place a look of a beach house. And then my parents also had paneling in the family room, left stained dark. It looked good, there too.

      Have a great day, Belinda!


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