I’ve been following your blog very closely and I recall your very informative post about how white will never come to life in a dark room. So although I LOVE white, I decided to choose a wall colour (BM Ranchwood) to blend in my fireplace and sofa instead of going white which is my instinct. But, now I’m having a hard time “lightening up” the room. It seems very dull and dark. I recently spent $$$$ on a custom Ripplefold window treatment hoping to bring life, movement, and texture into the room, but because it has a blackout liner, the room seems even darker! I even have 2 skylights in the cathedral ceiling.
I really hope you pick my question for your blog since I think it answers a common question of “If I love white, dislike bright colours, but I can’t use white, then what?” Jane W.
First, to answer your question about light colours in dark rooms, it’s true that white in a dark room will most likely appear gray and dingy but this doesn’t mean you need to go directly to a much darker shade.
Having said that, it looks like choosing the Taupe shade was still a good choice because it relates to your fireplace brick which isn’t changing and also you chose drapery fabric to coordinate.
Since you clearly have two bright accent colours in this room, the yellow coffee table and the green toss cushion, it’s not clear to me that you dislike bright colours, however the bigger issue now is that your walls are taupe and your sofa has a blue gray undertone.
Since your room is now taupe, this is one situation where even two undertones is too many. My first recommendation would be to eliminate your sofa but I’m going to assume it’s staying.
So here’s the issue. We have taupe walls and a blue gray sofa. While you can find a rug that is taupe or blue, it’s much harder to find something with both undertones present.
Here’s the taupe colour with a taupe and yellow area rug. However, if we bought this rug, it would not look good with the blue gray sofa.
Here’s a rug with blue gray and green, great with the sofa, but it would again look wrong with the walls.
The only way to marry them both is to find a rug with just a small amount of gray without a strong distinguishable undertone so it works with both the sofa and the walls.
Here’s one way to pull the room together using bright yellow and orange accents with a hit of black. I like where you’re going with the black and white print above your fireplace, I’d create a wall with similar artwork above the sofa (below). This will also bring more white into the room to freshen it up.
And you could switch out the yellow and orange with green and turquoise or if you really don’t like bright colours, find a black, white and gray rug using the same guidelines as I mentioned above, however then I would find a way to repeat the blue gray of your sofa in your prints above the sofa for example.
Hope this helps bring your living room to life!
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Creative Director and Founder of Understanding Undertones® and the Killam Colour SystemTM. Decorator, author, speaker and internationally sought after Colour Expert. See Colour DifferentlyTM with Maria Killam.