Before & After: A Classic Color Combo Adds Definition and Drama to This 650-Square-Foot Apartment
Between work and play, Sarah spends about 90 percent of her time in the living room of her Washington, D.C., apartment. The space had been well-suited to her sophisticated style, with a gorgeous period fireplace and striking built-in bookcase, but it just didn’t feel complete — not even with an upgrade to new modern furniture. The culprit: the gray walls, too ho-hum to help the space pop. “The room has a lot of light, but that light changes throughout the day,” says designer and visual artist Sara Weissler of why the gray just never felt right.
Having figured out why the energy just wasn’t there, Sarah was excited to push the boundaries of her classic aesthetic with a bold refresh. That meant going back to basics that are anything but boring.
Sarah needed a classic neutral that delivered brightness and energy. That’s a job for a crisp, classic white: a background that delivers high-def sharpness against decor with the subtle colors and clean lines that Sarah favors. Her room also needed a focal point, and there was already an architectural feature begging for the job: that beautiful built-in bookcase. (If you’re lucky enough to have an architectural feature to work with, it can be a great anchor for your design.)
To create a visual break from the rest of her apartment, she painted the entire living room Ultra Pure White 1850 by BEHR® Paint. This crisp white unifies Sarah’s space, helping her great decor — from a just-so stack of books to a vase of fresh flowers to that luscious blue sofa — stand out. Ultra Pure White also helps maximize sunlight, creating more brightness and energy throughout the day.
And for even more energy, Sarah added the understated oomph of Broadway PPU18-20 by BEHR Paint, which she used on the back of that gorgeous built-in bookcase. The dark gray adds incredible depth and spaciousness to the room. It’s also a gallery-perfect backdrop for Sarah’s books and art, picking up warm browns and metallics especially well.
“Painting the interior of bookshelves can be a lot of work, but if just the back is painted, it takes far less time and creates the impression of wallpaper,” Sara Weissler says. “The contrasting tones are really striking and elevate the entire space.”
Sarah’s apartment proves how the right colors can transform a small space without overwhelming it. It also goes to show that the classics are classic for a reason.