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Alexandria, VA
Inspiration for my palette:
Necessity is the best inspiration. It's not a large house, so the living room has to be used for relaxation, entertainment, and even work-from-home -- and every room in the house has to accommodate some of the thousands of books. And although I can admire a dramatic room design, I don't wish to try to live with one. I wanted a restful, meditative background that was not boring; I needed a space where every surface serves some purpose or other. I love the look of layered neutrals -- cream, gray, soft green, tan, woody browns -- and the foyer, living room, dining room, and kitchen are all visible as you come in the front door, in a sort of enfilade. The obvious solution was to choose an overall neutral palette, then emphasize one of its colors for each room. I used mostly tans and browns in the living room. Copper tones as accents throughout also help bring the rooms together: in the living room, copper urns and trays and a copper-colored cotton throw.
Colors used in my room:
Walls: Bleeker Beige (HC-80) from Benjamin Moore. Fireplace and bookshelves: The Right White from Restoration Hardware. Windows and crown molding: Litchfield Gray (HC-78) from Benjamin Moore. Plus: deep wood tones, natural fibers, natural stone.
Tips for using color successfully:
My method for choosing a color: Gather a lot of paint chips that you like. In the room you are deciding about, shuffle them all together like a deck of cards. Pull out two. Which one looks better? Discard the losing chip. Take another chip from the deck. Which one looks better? Discard the losing chip. Make this an unbreakable rule: NEVER LOOK AT THE DISCARD PILE. Continue until the deck is exhausted.
Natural Neutrals