Deciding On a Paint Color For the Wainscoting in the Study

January 31, 2022

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I was all over the map when it came to choosing a color for the wainscoting in the study. When I feel that way, it usually means I haven’t found the perfect color yet — or there are a lot of good options, and I can’t go wrong. In this case, it was both. All of the colors in the paint deck that I kept fanning out would have worked.

There was a beautiful light blue that was my first instinct — Valspar’s Lark Wing — that felt ethereal and brought out the heavenly skies in the mural. I considered a deep red — Sherwin-Williams’ Rockwood Red — that felt like a loving callback to our old music room. I even thought of doing a really dark black — (Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black) — and contrasting it with a dramatic white desk. Black would essentially “frame” the mural, and that made a lot of artistic sense to me. Though, a lot of the inspiration images that I looked at actually had white wainscoting, and that made me realize that I wanted our wainscoting to be a little softer, with a tone-on-tone design that really allows the mural to be the star.

Even though it might be my favorite color, I was shying away from green because we have so many green elements on the main floor, including our living room (Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon — a green-grey with blue undertones) and the kitchen island (Stoffer Cabinetry’s Plymouth Green). I really like to tie in a variety colors throughout our house (in similar tones), but when I pulled this really muddy olive (Sherwin-Williams’ Sheraton Sage) I realized it was different than the other greens. It felt like the marriage of the taupe in our kitchen cabinets (Stoffer Home’s Bromley Taupe) and the green in the island. And suddenly our living room felt like a bridge between the new green that we could use in the study and beautiful blue tones already throughout the house.

(See all the mood board sources here).

 We made the first “clue board” when I was trying to decide what to paint the living room, and we just had to update it so I could see! My heart is so happy…

After I unlocked my dream green, I got excited about bringing in some mahogany tones with leather chairs and ottomans, and repeating the merlot tone somewhere else in the house, too. That vision kind of sealed the deal for me.

Finally, the new green made the mural stand out more than it even had before — and stand on its own in this room that was starting to really come together in my mind.

I know that choosing a paint color can feel like an overwhelming task at times. But I promise simply DECIDING on a color is the key to getting excited about one.

I got a bunch of questions about why we chose to NOT paint the ceiling in here. And honestly, I take it room by room. In this case, I wanted the light fixture, which is very cloud-like, to come from a white surface. Simple as that!

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What do you think?

  1. Susan says:

    I love hearing your process! Thank you for sharing! The chandelier is like the sophisticated, French Aunt to the one in Faye’s Princess Room! Oooh La La!! Soooo beautiful!! You really have a gift of listening to your homes and letting them speak without losing yourself.

  2. CJ says:

    So where is the final picture?
    It’s not here.

  3. Bre says:

    You’re basically creating my dream home and following along here and on instagram stories is my favorite part of the day. Thank you for taking us all along on your process a bit more this time around. It is very fun to see the development and your reasonings for decisions. I can’t wait to see the rest of your home come together.

  4. Maribeth says:

    Could you share a BM or SW color that compares to Stoffer Home’s Bromley Taupe?

  5. Meredith says:

    I’m so glad you addressed the ceiling question! I love hearing how design choices are made. Here I was thinking a painted ceiling would highlight that wonderful light fixture, but you were thinking more organically. Both choices are valid, but personal preference wins. I love this room, and looking forward to seeing it come together.

  6. Anne says:

    Great choice – and the mural is stunning! I love how the bubble chandelier echoes the shape of the trees but upside down. Wonderful room – maybe your best yet?

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