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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wilson

An on-line consult: The perfect white brings a pretty living room to life

And by perfect white, I DON'T mean a white that is perfect for every room, every time (because that doesn't exist!), but the white that is perfect for this particular living room, in this particular home.

This colour consult came about when one of my Instagram friends, Lara of @decorgypsy reached out to me. She is a designer herself (not surprising when you see her own home), and wanted to collaborate with a True Colour Expert on paint colours for her own living room. As she put it, "two smart women are better than one!" Can't argue with that!

Lara had just about completed her living room, but knew something was not quite working with the colour palette; she wanted my thoughts on what needed to change.

Here are a couple photos of the space that she sent to me:

Love that beautiful light fixture!

The walls were painted in Cromarty and the built in shelves are in Railings, both by Farrow and Ball; the lovely coffered ceiling and all trim are Benjamin Moore White Dove. However, something didn't feel right; in Lara's words, "I don't love this room, and I surely want to!"

Looking at her entryway and dining room I could quickly see that Lara is drawn to colour:

The sunny yellow paired with turquoise in the dining room, the classic black and white checkered floor paired with the blue and teal wall covering in the foyer are the happy place of a woman who likes bright, clean colours with high contrast! Her choice of fabrics for curtains, sofa and throw cushions in her living room told the same story:

The ginger jars on her mantel and built-ins were another helpful piece to consider. Ginger jars in bright clean blue and white are a classic colour combo, like these:

This living room is a great example of ginger jars in their natural habitat--surrounded by clean white and blue:

Looking at Lara's living room, I could see that the current wall colour, while a lovely greyed-out blue, was in fact too 'muddy' to let her clean-coloured sofa, draperies, art and accessories really sing. Something cleaner and crisper was needed! Taking her other rooms into consideration helped me understand her colour preferences and helped me ensure flow from room to room in her home.

Her kitchen is light and airy, white with some warming wood tones:

white kitchen wood island marble counter
The wood paired with the marble-look quartz is gorgeous

So I recommended a white, more specifically a white that is very close to the ground colour in the stunning Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper in her front foyer, which flows directly into her living room.

Brunschwig & fils Bird and Thistle

Lara sent me a photo of three whites, held vertically against the wall paper. The paint colour chosen would abut directly against this wallpaper, so it was important that the undertones worked well with the ground of the wallpaper.

Bird and Thistle wallpaper with BM white paints
Top to bottom: BM White Dove, Chantilly Lace and Snow White

The bottom colour, Snow White was too blue, the middle colour, Chantilly Lace, was too bright a white next to the slightly creamy ground of the wallpaper. They would both risk making the wallpaper look dingy or yellowed, and the paint look too stark.

The off-white White Dove at the top was the best match of the three, which told us we were on the right track-- we just needed to find the perfect creamy white to match the ground in the wallpaper and still be clean enough to let the sofa, draperies, accessories and art really sing in her living room.

The perfect white for this ended up being Pointing by Farrow and Ball, which is very similar to BM Mayonnaise, a personal favourite of mine. Here are the after images showing the new, lighter colour on the wall:

The lighter, cleaner wall colour enhances the sofa and draperies, rather than fighting with them. It looks so fresh, and I can just tell her ginger jars are smiling on the inside :)

Lara was still in the midst of rehanging her art when she took these 'after' pics, and is planning to add some more throw cushions and accessories, and with her new wall colour, all the clean colours she loves are going to look great in here!

This close-up of the archway between the foyer and the living room shows how the new wall colour harmonizes with the wallpaper in the foyer and also with the drapery fabric in the living room:

Here's a side-by-side showing the before and after:

I'm looking forward to seeing the final project with all Lara's finishing touches in place-- it's going to be light, airy, classic and beautiful!

I really enjoy receiving 'after' photographs from long-distance clients that I have consulted with on-line, it . makes me happy to see the positive results and to hear how happy they are with their changes :)

Until next time,


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