Friday, April 09, 2010

This One is for Julie - Brown Rooms?


ecently someone asked for advice regarding decorating their new house and then confessed a strong like for all things brown. I am not a big brown fan. Brown has been a trend for a while paired with pink or blues for kids and before that it was a trend in a milky chocolate or dark chocolate as an accent wall. I've never been a huge fan of any of these trends. But who cares what I think? There IS a way to make brown a good choice.

I am in the middle of a re-model project at my house and coming up will be posts on what inspires me, exactly how I chose a paint color and then how I make other choices as to what will add to the room. As far as I am concerned a room is never really done. I'm always seeing something I would like a little different. Or finding a new color I want to use somewhere. Here's the great thing about paint - it's relatively cheap AND you can always change it easily if you get it on the wall and you don't like it!

In terms of brown. I think the worst thing a person can do when they move into a suburban house where the walls are all painted beige or some version of beige/brown is to leave them all that way and try to decorate around them. Your house is going to look the same as every other house in your subdivision because developers typically only have a couple of paint colors that they use, they don't want to be messing around with having to mix new colors all the time - they buy massive quantities (VATS) of paint and everyone's house ends up with the same colors. Then when people move into those houses they find it overwhelming to consider how they would change it all up - they have no desire to start painting the entire house AND frankly, they have no idea where to start in the decision making process anyway. So the walls typically stay beige. Maybe they paint one accent wall.

Here's my advice. Start in the room you care about the most. Maybe it's the first room people enter when they come over - that's usually been my preference. That first room gives people the impression of who you are as a person and gives them an idea about the rest of the house. The rest of the house actually may not look as polished and put together as that one room. But you've got to start somewhere. If it's a small little entry way - great, less space to fret over - if it's a great room/kitchen combination, it's a little more daunting. But still doable.

I'm still not sold on Brown rooms. For some other possible color inspiration see: Here or Here or check out the side bar where there are links to many color possibilities.

Something I think should strongly be considered when choosing brown as your main color though - if it's going to be your main color then it should mainly only be your wall color, but there has to be a secondary and tertiary color that make the room pop. Good choices with Brown include almost any color under the sun because brown is a neutral - so it can be easily paired with yellow, orange, green, blue, pink, red, even in some cases purple (though a bit trickier it can look cool) and certainly all the shades of white. I'd avoid too much black. The brown is already dark and when you start adding black it really bores the room down to a degree that you'll only ever want to sleep there. I once saw a very expensive home in Scottsdale where the homeowners were in love with beige/brown walls with black and white accents. It bored me so much I wanted to cry. To me, that house had absolutely no personality at all. Those are ALL neutral colors. You have to pick at least one color that is not neutral.

Okay so for now, some brown rooms I don't dislike (I'm sorry the jpgs are so small, I'm not sure what happened but I don't have time to fix the problem right now):

Okay that's a brown wall but look at how they've dared to add the flower detailing to the wall with the pink accents and the white.

One of my personal favorites with brown is white and orange. I mean, if I were doing it, that's how I would go.

Here they've gone with a cream and pretty blue. I still wish the chair were more colorful though.

Okay so the walls here are beige and windows and being carpet and beige window treatments which could be super boring, plus, the couch is brown. But they've managed to pull it out with the architectural detailing, both in the windows and the table plus all the pink accents.

Okay not really enough color here for me - they've really only done black and white and brown, which as I told you, I'm not a fan of. But see that reflections of something blue on the black counter top? That makes me feel like if there were a bunch of blue accents in this room, I might like it a lot more.

This is a boys room - but I love the greens and the map with the brown. This color combination would look great in any room.

This room is very traditional, so ignore that if that's not your thing. But look how nice that pop of pink and the light pink, almost lilac chairs make this room look lovely. Also, I'm liking the brown, it's not a typical brown.

This is from one of my favorite designers (Ryan Brown) - what I like here is the walls are totally beige, but nothing else about this room is boring with the striped accenting on the pillows and ottomans and the carpet and the PAINTED CEILING which matches the green in the carpet, and that awesome ceiling light, this room is anything but boring brown/beige.

Okay so if you're still thinking about brown here's your next assignment. Go to the paint store - go to home depot, but also go to a specialty paint store like Dunn Edwards, Sherwin Williams, Frazee, Dutch Boy, etc. and pick up every paint sample of every brown you even think you remotely like (do the same thing with any other color that you're seriously considering) and in my next post will talk about how to narrow it down to the right one.


Groff Family said...

Thanks Lezlee! AFter seeing these photos with so much brown, I think that my fears were confirmed. I definitely need to do more color, I just don't know how. However, I did immediately gravitate to the third picture, which is so like me. I like it, but that's where I want to break out. What I like about it is the coziness factor that you get with browns. I would love to be able to achieve that same cozy feeling with any other colors, and I think I have to stick with warm tones for that.

We have all hand me down furniture that must go, except one awesomely confortable recliner that is... brown! So that is the only furniture to work around. Then of course there is the influence from the kitchen which is dark cherry cabinets and an awful dark grey and black faux granite counter. I am thinking of some oranges? I sure wish I had an eye for this kind of thing! Thanks for all of your input!

bandanamomtoo said...

Okay I hope this was helpful at all Julie - two people asked me for advice at church today on choosing paint color - which I thought was weird - it's either because my house is colorful or they are reading the blog, I'm not sure which. Anyway, I'm going to do a post now on actually choosing a paint color. But what I wanted to ask if you are wanting to paint the walls brown and/or they are already beige or brown? Because my advice would be to paint at least one wall a different color and have accessories in that color as well. I think orange would be great. But also, if you like the third photo - that blue in the photo is a really great accent with brown and it could work really well to have a lot of blue accents - and/or one blue wall. I'm actually getting ready to do a room with one strong blue wall and the others more white/cream. Anyway...I am going to keep talking about that this.

Groff Family said...

My walls are currently beige. All 2300 square feet of them!! I don't know that I want my walls brown. Maybe one? I just know that I love warm and cozy feeling. But I don't want things to feel dark and small either. Can you see that I have no clue? :)

Where my love for brown comes in to play is in most anything I buy from clothes, to bedding, to accent pillows, and our most major and largest piece being our recliner. I have to stop myself in stores from buying brown things reminding myself to DIVERSIFY!

Before seeing your home in person and then featured in the magazine, I would never have imagined using color like you have. That creativity does not exist in me. I would have just chosen beige and brown and made everything look like Pottery Barn. Which does look nice, to me. But, I want to try something new, a little more colorful, different from the neighborhood (as you pointed out), but still safe enough for my pallette. So, that's where I am trying to start! Could I be any more confusing?

bandanamomtoo said...

Are you willing to go with a brighter color on the walls or are you wanting to stay with the beige? One thought I would have is to leave the beige for now but start with one accent wall in a bolder color. I like still like the idea of orange or blue. There's nothing wrong with the pottery barn look, the only thing that i get tired of is that it seems like every young mormon girl in the world does that look. I think you can do something pottery barnesque, without totally sticking to that. Here's a house I thought was really cool and SORTA has a pottery barn feel, but not really:

So it's sort of traditional, but it has contemporary touches.


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