Saturday, February 12, 2011

Home Office ~ Colour Dilemma ~

My office needs a makeover. And I am feeling lost. This is a room full of paper and stuff and proof of life, so I'm struggling with how to pull together a coherent "look" for it while still letting it be an easy unfussy space.

Today I painted some sample boards and thought about painting the whole thing a nice soft beige to replace the medium blue walls:
Above: Skimming Stone sample by Farrow & Ball

But don't get too excited. I decided against the beige and took down all my samples.

I still like the blue walls and the natural linen skirt on the work table:
A while ago, I painted my odd furniture (bookcase and little dresser) a soft blue, which I also like (although the blue walls and lighter blue furniture together have always bothered me). And don't worry, we are painting the trimwork white throughout the house, so this will be done too (eventually replacing it all). The armchair will also be reupholstered when all is said and done: is the dilemma. I have colour schemes racing through my head!

Option #1: My first plan was to paint the walls a warm white like most of the house. Nice and classic and foundational. This also works with the brown drapes I adore (Restoration Hardware's "Fog" linen drapes, which are a grey-brown, almost identical to the ones below). I think they look great with a white wall. And I could keep the furniture soft blue, like the accent in this photo. The chair would be reupholstered in a complementary brown, like the drapes.

I really like this combination:

Option #2: I keep the blue walls and do a white or natural linen-coloured drape.
This saves painting (yay!) and still looks soft and inviting:
This would give me a look similar(-ish) to the ones below:
The blue wall with white/natural linen curtain option would be quick and painless. A soft brown natural linen drape would coordinate with the linen skirt I have on my computer table. And I could reupholster the chair in a nice natural linen. But white linen drapes would be nice with the blue walls and crisp white painted trim too. And I could use all white accents. So even if I do the blue walls, what colour drape?

Thoughts? Some days I love my blue walls and other days I want those brown drapes, which I think would look better with a white wall.

I am torn between two!


  1. Terri,
    I feel your pain. This is what I would do: I would buy the paint and the new curtains, paint one wall , put the curtains on the chair, leave it that way for a few months and then want something else.

    In all seriousness though, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. This is such a personal decision you shouldn't let us influence you. For me, the blue walls with natural linen colors evoke the sea. For you, they may evoke the sky. The other color scheme is more European country for me. I don't know if they do the same for you but if either is a desirable place to go, that may be your answer.

    The tough thing about choosing color is that one color is always in relation to another color. When you paint a square of color and put it in your blue room, you're looking at it in comparison to the blue walls. Orange is the compliment of blue (opposite sides of the color wheel) so the blue will intensify any orange that's in that beige. If you put that same square of beige in one of your other white rooms, it may look totally different.

    My suggestion would be to get swatches from RH and maybe PB so you can see them in your own environment. I was in RH last weekend and I find the colors very deceptive since many of them are so close. I just, yesterday, got a new quilt and shams in fog and with my other neutrals, they look gray. Pure gray. I *think* I have a pretty good eye for color but when you see their colors in different places throughout their store in relation to their equally complex paint colors, Fog, Lava, Dune and Prairie are all confusing. If you can get samples in your house you can see them in relation to the other colors you have in your house and the answer might be easier.

    I hope that helps.

  2. I like the blue walls with the light curtains. I think the blue makes it feel more peaceful which is good for a office lol

  3. I like the blue. I'd go with a natural linen drape and a fun fabric on the armchair. Plus if you're prone to changing things, it won't feel like you're undoing as much work.

  4. hi terri,

    this is what i'd do (since you did ask.)

    i'd leave the blue walls b/c i personally love them. i'd get the drapes in a soft off-white linen color and paint the woodwork white. i think this room would totally flow with the rest of your house. soft muted linens, whites, blues and the sparkle of accessories that you do so well. i think i'd fall asleep in this office though b/c it would be so relaxing. and i'd upholster the chair in a fabric that tied all the colors together.

    now come and fix my house.


  5. Hi Terri, I'd go for the colour which fits best with the rest of your home. Like, it's a prolongation if you know what I mean.
    the blue is nice, but I love the earth tones of the curtains.... and it's easier to combine with earth colours maybe than with blue, but this is personal ;-)

    have a nice week.