Monday, January 26, 2009

Home Office: Color Dilemma

The exterior colour of Victoria Hagan's New England home inspires my office colour palette
(Photo:  Country Living)
Remember my office?  It needs your help.  I finally replaced the rug with an ivory wool, neutral rug (which I love) from Ikea.  The rug is called Havbro.  But now I want to paint the bookcase and the small dresser to match each other.  I just can't decide what colour to use!
The walls will remain this pretty medium blue, a colour called Scribe from General Paint.
The ugly mouldings (trim work - now brown) will eventually be replaced with more substantial white trim when we re-do the whole house.  In the meantime, I plan to sand it and then paint it white because I really hate it and want it to disappear.
The desk will remain as-is for now (since David won't let me paint it), but may be replaced with my old table (which I can paint).  New curtains will be hung (white cotton on a white wooden rod).  The armchair will be re-upholstered and the desk chair will be replaced (eventually).
So, my dilemma is in choosing a good colour for the bookcase and the small dresser.  I am torn between three choices:


White furniture will make the blue-and-white theme very literal.  The white curtains and ivory rug will work perfectly, and I will likely use brown linen colours as accent colours for upholstery and storage containers.  I can also use blue accent colours, including some of my blue pottery.
White cabinet from Biskopsgarden shop


Pale blue furniture will make a nice transition from the darker blue walls.  Then I can use white as my accent colour in the curtains, ivory rug, and for all my storage bins and baskets.  I am leaning in this direction because all my accessories can be white, which is very practical.
Blue  cabinet from Biskopsgarden shop (Photo Mari Eriksson)

Here is the exact blue I would use (below).  It is the complementary colour from the General Paint swatch and it's called Sea Fog.  I love the name as it evokes, naturally, the seaside!  I've shown it here against the new rug, which has a lovely weave and is quite soft.


My third option is to keep the bookcase in the existing grey-beige family.  I would give it a new coat of paint to freshen it up and then paint the dresser to match.  This idea isn't so obvious, but having linen-coloured upholstery would bring it all together.  There are so many beautiful grey-beiges and light browns, and it would create a weathered-driftwood-beach effect in the room.  White accessories would also look gorgeous against a light brown bookcase. 

Some of my colour choices are:

(a) Slipper Satin by Farrow & Ball (shown below on large cardboard):  I think this cream is too light (it's a beautiful pearl cream), but it's the same colour used in the hallway outside the room, so it would relate (and it looks so pretty on my hall walls!)
(b)  Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball (see below).  I love this gorgeous milky beige and I am hungry to use it somewhere!  It is a perfect beach sand shade.
(c) Baby Fawn by Benjamin Moore.  This is a beautiful pale taupe (and was a Pottery Barn feature colour last year).  It would probably look best with the tone of the blue walls, as it has a similar saturation.  I'm leaning towards this colour if I do something in the brown family.

Now it's your turn - what do YOU suggest?
I really need some advice here!


  1. I love that rug! It's so soft and dreamy! All your color choices are beautiful, but I'm really loving "skimming stone"! That would be my first choice, and my second is the pale creamy satin slipper. :)

    I can't wait to see this all done, it's going to be gorgeous!
    xo Isa

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Oh you would ask and, of course, I must respond... I like the complementary color that is reminiscent of that blue cabinet from Biskopsgarden. One other thing, if you don't like the brown moulding and you'd really like it to "go away" how about painting it the very same color as the walls? White or any contrasty color is going to draw the eye to it. Until you replace it with the more substantial molding that you do want to be noticed.

    Have fun, Terri!

  4. I had another thought - you could paint the shelf 2 colors - the outside and shelves one color and the back a second color from your choices.. =)

  5. I would paint the bookshelves white but paper the back of the bookcase with some geometric design in a new color that has some punch, and then paint the smaleer piece in the same color. I understand the appeal of the soft palette but in a work space some energy is good. I personally would go with a reddish coral. There are greens that would be nice with the blue,white and sand too...

  6. I love the white option. But that's just because I love white rooms. The Scandinavian blogs you sometimes link to are SO peaceful and calming. Please post pics as you keep working on the space.

  7. I am so unoriginal, but I love the suggestion from the other commenters of painting the bookcase a nice light creamy white (have you looked at F&B Pointing? I love this color), and painting the back of the bookcase blue or papering with an interesting paper.

    My initial thought was a light gray with a blue undertone. My bedroom is blue and white, and I have a dresser that is the most beautiful shade of gray - it is from a company called Tritter Feefer that specializes in beautiful paint finishes, and the finish is chambertin. I also ordered some Chelsea Textiles bureaus to use as night tables, and chose the color 'Gustavian gray'. I love the look of gray with light blue and white.

  8. I'd go soft pale gray, more gray than you show in your samples more like the back ground colour of this website which by the way I think you'll love OR sea fog :) Good luck!

  9. They always say go with your first choice because the others are just there to confuse you...So, what was your initial, FIRST, choice?

    I know I am no help, whatsoever. I like them all, too.

  10. Maybe its just that the photo isn't representative but I sort of like the bookcase as it is.

  11. ok - here's a comment about the desk

    float it in the middle of the room and then make a tailored slip for it, top with a piece of glass - you will change the look of your office so much, it will really look upscale and so cool!

  12. Hi!
    Since you will keep the wall colour I would personally go with the blue "sea-fog". That way I think the furniture will kind of "disappear"...and wont stand out that much.....if you understand what I mean....I'm not so good in expressing myself in English... =)

  13. Hi Terri!
    I see u have plans for the office. Me myself plan a move to our big city in the south..Lulea...100 km away. 1st of april I will be there :-)

    Many hugs

  14. Oh Terri you've given us too many choices. My head is reeling! Honestly, I don't think you could go wrong with any of these choices, but if it was me, I'd go white. Boring I know, but classic, and will look lovely against your wall colour. If you hate it you can always get out that paint brush again and paint over it. Second choice would be the taupe colour - very chic. But then so would white, with a taupe coloured wallpaper in the back of the bookshelf...Are you confused yet? I am!

  15. Fresh out of ideas tonight...but loving reading everyone else's thoughts on your room!!! How much fun to have a project!! I love your rug. love!!!

  16. Anonymous3:49 am

    I liked it, you can find more Home Office Desks from spacify.

  17. Anonymous3:10 pm

    my 2 cents:

    - blue on blue is too matchy-matchy and a little precious (think baby-boy's room)
    - i have slipper satin on my walls and love it. However, the sales rep at F&B recommended it because it would go with my warm (pine) floors and furniture. Blue is cool and apparently warm and cool don't mix that well (??)
    - that leaves you with white or grey or greige which I think would look amazing!!!
    PS very much enjoy reading your blog (it is possible we are kindred spirits)

  18. Hi Terri!

    Wow so many beautiful colors!! I really like the first option, white ofc but I really like the second option too, seafog. We have this color on our couches in Spain (fog blue, when they arent dark bordeaux red for Christmas that is) and it is SO nice against the white. And I do like that you can have other things in white, such as decoration, curtains etc. I do like the pearly white tho as well :) I'm just not keen on too much brown. I've been meaning to email you and will do :)

    Have a great weekend!

    Hugs, Susanne

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