Living Room

A Completely New Direction For My Living Room Walls

Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

Happy Monday, all!

Well, after pressing the pause button and reevaluating the plan for my living room, things really started falling into place in my mind.  If you’re not on my A2D Facebook page, you might be a little behind, so let me get you caught up really quickly.

First, my plan all along has been to add grasscloth to the upper part of the living room and entryway walls above white wainscoting that I plan to add after we get the foundation of our house level.  The brown paint color was just temporary.

Now here’s the deal.  I’ve been planning on using a light brown/neutral grasscloth.  I really have no idea why, except to say that I think I’ve been trying to be someone I’m not.

Our condo was definitely “me.”  Being surrounded by all of that color just made me happy.

I just love color!! Bright, happy colors. Bold, saturated colors. Dark, moody colors.  It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s color.  What I’m not is a neutral-loving kind of person.

But for some reason, when we bought our house, I decided that I needed to be more “grown up” with my decorating here.  And somehow in my mind, that meant decorating with neutral colors.

I don’t think I realized just how much I was suffocating with these neutrals (yes, I even consider the dark brown to be a neutral), until I started searching for grasscloth/wainscoting inspiration on Houzz, trying to determine just what shade of light brown/tan/khaki grasscloth I wanted on my walls and I came across this picture…

As soon as I saw that, I knew without a doubt that all this time, I’ve been trying to be someone I’m definitely not. “Grown up” doesn’t have to mean boring neutrals. And color is what I crave.

So I’m headed in a new direction — one that is definitely more “me.” While I can’t add grasscloth just yet, what I can do is get rid of the brown and get some color on these walls. I chose six different shades of blue (they’re actually all teal) — all from light and bright, to grayed and moody, to deep and saturated.

paint samples in natural light

All of those are Behr colors from Home Depot:

  1. Hallowed Hush — This is the color I used on my kitchen cabinets and my breakfast room cabinets at the condo.  I absolutely LOVED it at the condo, but here I think it’s awful.  It looks like it belongs in a baby boy’s room.  Definitely not what I’m looking for.
  2. Teal Forest — This was Matt’s favorite, but I ruled it out since I’m using dark navy blue in our bedroom, and I don’t want two rooms quite so similar.
  3. Cathedral
  4. Solitude
  5. Mythic Forest – This is the color that I used in the hallway bathroom at the condo.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.
  6. Moonlit Pool – Matt immediately ruled this one out, saying it looks like it belongs in a tween’s room.

I posted that pic on Facebook yesterday, and over 1500 people commented.  The clear winner was #3, Cathedral.

So which one did I pick?  Well, after going back and forth between #3 (Cathedral) and #5 (Mythic Forest) for several hours, I finally asked my family to come over and weigh in on the decision.

Among all of us who saw the colors in person — my mom, my brother, my sister, my brother-in-law, and me — the vote was unanimous.

The winner is #5, Mythic Forest.

paint samples in natural light - winner

It’s the same color I used in the hallway bathroom at the condo.

My mom said that just based on the picture with the paint samples, she definitely would have chosen #3, Cathedral.  But after seeing it in person, we all agreed it was just way too blue, and after painting it on all of the walls, I think it would have taken on a bit of kid’s room appearance.  The Mythic Forest is blue enough to be blue (actually teal), while also having enough gray to tone it down and make it more sophisticated, and more appropriate for an adult space (in my humble opinion).  🙂

So hopefully today the painting shall commence.  I thought I could get some of it done last night, but I didn’t get to Home Depot until 6:30, and then once I got my paint, picked up some dinner, ate dinner, relaxed and watched a show with Matt, it was 10:00.  I came so close to going ahead with my plans to paint, but then decided that just this once, I’d give myself a break.  🙂

I’m so excited to get color on my walls!!!  This new direction is definitely more “me.”

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I love your home and I love your work – I’m a devoted fan 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

      I’m a big fan, too. I need color. Just say NO to beige! LOVE what you did in the condo.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:33 am

    4 or 5 were my first choices. On my monitor they look almost identical. Excited to see the new paint!

    P.S. will your scrolly console table fit where the green chest is now? The effect straight on is vaguely hearth-like. I was thinking if the sweet green chest is taking over that area too much, how about just switching it with the scrolly table? I can’t tell if the table is too long for that area though.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

      It won’t fit there. It’s about 14 inches wider than the credenza. Plus, I’m going to be building a fireplace VERY soon!!! 😀 I decided to go with an electric fireplace insert rather than gas, which means that I can do it very soon. I’ve already ordered the fireplace insert, and it should be here before the end of the week. So the credenza will be moved out, and I’ll be starting on the fireplace very soon. I’m so excited!!! 😀

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

    yeah! I think the blue will give a much nicer background to all the colours you’ve already put in the room!! and you are right: from the condo you gave the impression of being a “colour person” – so why stop here, when this is the place where you will probably stay much longer and thus enjoy it even more? (being “grown up” is so much overrated ;)) ! cannot wait to see the result – and I’m curious about the console getting a green coat of paintl because that’s what I would have thought perfect for it as well 😉 thanks – as always – for sharing your process!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

    P.P.S. What’s going on with the condo? Are you still working on finishng up projects there?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Excellent choice! I think it will be a much happier room in blue! I felt all along that the problem with the room was the brown wall color, but I am not a lover of brown or beige in any sense. And being “grown up” is over-rated anyway; I’d much rather live in a fun, colorful house! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ron Harris
    January 27, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I’m with you. I hate, ok detest, boring neutrals. Give me nice bold colors. It’s perfectly ok to stop and suddenly change direction. What I thought was going to be a green bedroom is now going to be black. My kitchen was going to have dark cabinets with some kind of golden granite. Now I’ve decided on white cabinets with marble (or marble looking) counters. Design just has to evolve with changes in our taste.

    P.S. Do you know of some material that looks like marble but is more durable?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I love following you and seeing all the things you do. I know you desire grasscloth walls and wonder if you considered doing faux grass cloth. I do a lot of things with walls…I’ll tell you my recipe. Premixed joint compound with painter’s caulk mixed in. Apply to the walls and then use a wallpaper smoothing brush to drag across the walls. You can even do seam lines if you so desire with sections marked off with painter’s tape. Sometimes you need to thin the compound a bit more with some water. Practice on poster board. Paint the walls with your chosen color and make lighter shades of the same color by adding white. Dry brush over the texture. You can also use a glaze…(I prefer a professional glaze like Faux Effects aquaglaze.) Ex periment. You can get a very good grasscloth looking wall.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Happy to see the brown walls go….and love your replacement choice! As usual can’t wait to see the walls painted and the beginnings of a fire place….You Rock!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I had wondered if the paint samples looked the same in person as on the screen. I’m so glad you’re making your dream home more YOU!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 11:27 am

    this is such an interesting process to watch. Not having any training (or talent), I would have never known what I didn’t just love about your earlier photos–until you pointed out that green/striped chest was throwing it all off. I love that chest! I love your color choice, I love the way it fits there, but once you spelled it out…YES! It’s the green of the chest that was bothering me w/ the idea of white/blue on the walls and the beautiful window treatments. Even though the green chest “matches”, etc., it wasn’t fitting in with the blue walls. Once you pointed that out (I never would have gotten it if you hadn’t), I love your chosen blue/white wall plan.
    All this to say I so appreciate your taking the time to blog every step in your new home. It’s so educational–and just plain fun to read!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Very inspiring to see your work and your use of color. I get scared of color on walls sometimes because of the boldness of it and a room being locked in to it however I have been expanding my wall colors to include green and blue. My kids rooms have always been colorful. My husband too hates beige. I do consider the chocolate brown walls in our bathroom to be color though. Lol

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon B.
    January 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Love it, and glad you went with blue, it is you! Can’t wait to see it all painted up.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected] Dolly and Moi
    January 27, 2014 at 11:37 am

    love the blue, it makes the fabric from the window covering look even more amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kat Wynveen
    January 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I love the Mythic Forest. It’s a really rich color, and I’ve used it as an underpainting when I’ve painted chairs. It will be beautiful in your room, I’m sure.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I am the same way….I have to have colour…and that means being true to yourself! I can swoon over an all-neutral palette in photos …..but they are just not me! I don’t think colour is an “age” thing…I’m waaay older than you…but I love your colour choices in your condo…because they reflect the person living there.
    I’ve always said I don’t live in a beige world…why would I live in a beige house! I get the “heebie jeebies” in an all beige home…I luv my sister in law to death…but her home is beige walls….with matching beige carpets. *yawn*

    Luv your colour choice too and can’t wait to see your room painted!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Joan Kruse
    January 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    All the samples look gray on my screen so I didn’t like any of them A close up shot of your color choice would help.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I love colour and thankfully the husband does too. We recently moved into a smaller home and his office was the first to be painted. He picked a dark blue and it looks so much better than the bland non-colour it was before. I’m using Behr’s Polar Bear for all our trim work after seeing it on your blog.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I love reading your blog and your advice, based on your experience, has helped us in our own endeavors. Thanks. I also love to look at some of the neutral spaces and think that some are very beautiful and soothing. But, like you, it’s not what would make us happy in our own home. I love your color schemes and your building projects are wonderful. We’ve remodeled/redecorated several homes also, so I can feel your pain along the journey! But, as hard as it is to do, once it’s done it’s all worth it, right? Thanks so much for sharing with others.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I remember that color from your condo and loved it. i’m pretty sure it’ll be great in your living room. For heaven’s sakes – GO WITH WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!!!!! Its your home and you have to live there so do what YOU want.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    January 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    This process is so very interesting to watch. I have struggled so much with paint choices. What I am learning is trust your gut and go with it. After all it’s only paint and if it’s not right them just paint it again. Cheers

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    YaY!!!! I LOVED your condo! It was bright, colorful and sooooo very inviting and uplifting. The rooms made me smile!!! I say good choice!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Deb Thalasitis
    January 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I agree with you and others who thinK Miss Green Thang took over the room. She’s absolutely delightful, but commands the spotlight and it wasn’t working with the feel of the rest of the room. I LOVE the blue you have chosen. Can’t wait to see the paint and fireplace both. Bye, bye brown.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I too must have color. After renting for so many years I am so tired of neutral. My bathroom at home is pumpkin orange and I love it!! Can’t wait to see what the walls look like painted.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Colleen F
    January 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I am a neutral lover. With punches of color here and there with artwork and such. I do however gravitate toward the cooler spectrum that has been so popular for the last few years. Gray, Black, White, etc. I am not a beige lover. Brown is ok.

    I have always liked this cooler neutral, even before it was so popular. (I had grey carpet way back in the 90’s. Ok, so it did sort of coordinate with the country blue and mauve… I digress… whew, glad that trend is gone.

    The color loving people would probably be so bored in my home, but it soothes and calms me. But, that is the thing, you do your home however you want. Whatever makes you happy, and content. We spend A LOT of time in our homes, we have to like being in them.

    I absolutely prefer the blue to the brown. It is such a calming color….there I go again. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    OMG! That blue grasscloth from the houzz picture is absolutely gorgeous!! Can you please come do that to my walls?! 😉 And can you please get your foundation leveled already?! I’m dying from anticipation here! lol I know you’re saving up funds but are you at least getting close to getting it leveled (barring nothing else comes up)?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Karen Jorgenson
    January 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I am a color person too. One time I started trying to go down the neutral path and luckily I had a good friends step in and show me what she thought I really wanted……orange. Needless to say, I flipped out and tossed the neutral palette. I’m just happier with color. I love the blue and think it’s a very grown up choice…….for a grown up that loves color.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Everything you’ve said about what you were trying to do/be versus who you are made perfect sense and am glad you were wise enough to stop yourself and figure it out! I love the color and think it will certainly reflect you and Matt & your style…and keep a happy smile on your faces! Love the color also!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Kristi, this looks like a FABULOUS change! I thought that the brown walls sucked up the light and didn’t give anything back to the room in terms of energy or drama, the way a strong color should. I think the blue will be much more lively. I also think it will help the blue flowers in your window treatments stand out more, just based on how they look next to the samples.

    I think color CAN be “adult”, if chosen carefully and purposefully!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tara C.
    January 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    In the photo from the condo, did you make the cat bed/feeding furniture piece? I love it. If you have a tutorial, please share it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan M.
    January 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Girl, you are sooooooooooo a woman of my heart! Years ago when I moved from Chicago to North Carolina I thought that by making my home more in the spirit of my new neighbors’ homes I would feel less a transplant. I HATED every thing about my new “decorating style” and unfortunately, unlike you, I didn’t admit it right away. Fortunately it was only a two-year assignment and you can bet that upon arriving at the new home in the new city and state, I very happily unpacked all that was the real me, returned to the colors that I loved and went about creating a home that we all loved. Lesson learned!

    I’m so glad you listened to your heart!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gilmer Gal
    January 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Color – yes! I like this new direction. I really liked the condo. It was cozy and warm and comfortable. It’s what you love and feel comfortable with. I had the problem of wanting everyone one but me to like my home. And now have turned to what I like. My Realtor friends will just have to live with it 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Good for you Kristi for figuring out what you truly WANTED rather than what you thought you were supposed to do. That can be tough. We get bombarded nowadays with all these images online. Sometimes it is difficult to discern what we LOVE from what we see everyone else doing. Like the person above me said — follow your heart! It hasn’t let you down yet. 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG
    January 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I LOVE teal – I have this color in my kitchen and hallway – it’s going to look fabulous!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    From the pictures my choice would have been #3, but I have trouble with certain colors especially in pictures and it makes a huge difference as to the light available in the room itself. As long as you and Matt like it, do what you like best. Enjoy the new color.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Kristi, I have to admit I was a bit surprised when you painted your walls brown. It seemed such a change from your condo colors and I like those colors so much more. What does it mean being grown up? I’m 73 (O.K. and a half) and I still don’t know. I tell people my body is 73 but I’m not sure where I am mentally. I’ve always been a diyer but since I discovered DIY and Decorating blogs several years ago, I’ve got more projects I want to do than I would have time (and energy) for If my body was much younger. I sometime think, “Where were those blogs when we were poor and living with hand-me-downs”. Then I remember they were the same place as home computers and the internet, non-existent.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anne Wolfe
    January 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I LOVED your condo, and I’ve been feeling a bit bad that I can’t get excited about your new home as much. I love (covet?) the fabric in your Roman shade…could stare at it forever, but I didn’t know how much the brown was “pulling me down”.5 Years ago we had our house painted professionally (!), and sad to report, the whole family, except me, wanted white walls everywhere. The painter consoled me with, “Kids like things safe and not changed; once they move out, you can put color on the walls.” Well, he’s right. Inspired by your blog, i have an accent wall in cardinal red (Love it!), a soft yellow kitchen, and I’m painting the laundry room a very soft apricot. Keep blogging & using COLOR and gorgeous fabrics!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    It’s been a fascinating journey to see this room evolve. I admire that you’re not afraid to change your mind and go with something else than what you originally planned. Not to mention your ‘get ‘er done’ attitude! I look forward every day to see what new thing you have built, painted, or designed, and appreciate your sharing your thought processes with all of us. Keep ’em coming, Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I love the new color choice! The teal color is definitely “you” and will make for a beautiful room. Congrats on all the fab projects you have completed! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Yes! #5 was my first choice! It will be beautiful. Can’t wait to see it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Kristi-I love your blog and FB page. Think I have been following for several yrs. I am usually gaga over your things (some more than others). As it should be. This bickering sniping back and forth with people who are so rude is not enthralling me to continue enjoying your work. I am sure there are times you would like to have someone loud mouth have it, but please please, couldn’t you just delete their remarks, block them and carry on. Bright and perky as your usual self. Thank you for reading my little blurt. <3

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim May
    January 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I knew when you had trouble with the lampshades the real you was aching to get out. Isn’t it great when you get back to your happy place? The new color will be so you and so awesome! Thanks for sharing your thought process – it is really helping me work through some of my decorating decisions.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I am very visual, too, and use bold colors in my home. My bedroom is royal blue with white and yellow accents. I get so aggravated when realtors and decorators always advise neutral colors for resale value. I made my home for me, not some future potential buyer. Bold is better! (I am. 69.)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    OMG I love the dining room pic from HOUZZ! That’s perfect. I know exactly what you are saying about trying to be more “adult” in my decorating… hence neutrals… but I just can’t seem to do it either! So glad you are listening to your inner you… it’s what brought us all to your blog to begin with! We all loved your condo!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carole Beseler
    January 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I am going to HD to find that color!! On my computer it looks like a charcoal-blue/grey. I LIKE it!!!! Great choice!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michelle B
    January 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Buh-bye, baby diaper brown! 🙂 Blue is you..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    It’s gonna look so nice! 😀
    I can relate to the neutral horrors, we are bathed in builder beige. But I have to look at it as a blank canvas.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gayle Pratt
    January 27, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    So glad the color is back in your life! lol
    looking forward to seeing it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I’m confused, but I LOVE that dining room! Which is probably why I never seem to get any kind of decorating done – well, that and hubby’s and my taste are so different we can never agree on ANYTHING!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 28, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Kristi, So funny that when you did the brown upper walls, my thought was “Hmm, that’s not quite Kristi . . . . ” Then when you said you were changing out the green console “My thought was “Wait, that is soooo Kristi. don’t repaint it. I can’t wait to see what the navy walls do to the room as it is going to look awesome. And then maybe the green console and blue table across the hall will all be what you wanted. In the meantime, those lamps you made are amazing. Love reading your blog and can’t wait for each next installment.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 28, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I didn’t chose mythic forest but I love that color and am presently painting my daughters bathroom that color and LOVE it. I can hardly wait to see the finished project!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 28, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I am convinced that whatever colors or ideas you have I will love watching and reading of your doing it…but the thing about this post that mostly impressed me was the family you have…how blessed you are!! To come over and give their own opinions…that is so amazing to me. What a wonderful family you have…I am always amazed at developments on your blog…but this is the blockbuster of all,,,families like this are not that easily found in homes today! so my hats off to your family!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Janet Lickey Fletcher
    January 28, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Love your sense of design and the warmth you bring into a room. I’ve got to say, well done. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    January 28, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Thanx for keeping it real and sharing your thought process as your room evolves. Our office is brown. I like brown, but our trim is stained and we have oak stained furniture, too. It’s the art of compromise as my hubby hates painted furniture and would freak if I painted the trim, ugh! So now I’m considering wainscotting 2/3 up the wall or batten in an antique white and changing the brown to a deep blue. I might have to do it while he’s on a trip, ha! This way he still gets his dark color and it’s a bit brighter for me since it’s also my craft room and all of the trim and furniture won’t blend in as it does now. Your room/home will be beautiful as you are so gifted. That ottoman. Those lamps. Seriously, is there anything you can’t do? You are such an inspiration. True story.