Living Rooms

Style at Home: Living Room Paint Palette

I was thrilled to be asked by Style at Home to share a favorite living room paint palette for their readers to be featured in a special Designer's Secret's issue, on stands now (and on-line at Zinio).  The requirements were to provide them with a four colour paint palette to include a ceiling colour, wall colour, trim colour and accent colour.   You can see the first page of the feature below were my palette is shown.

Style at Home - Designer Secrets 2012, Page 59

A favorite palette of mine instantly came to mind, its based on Benjamin Moore's, Horizon OC-53.  It's not a palette I've just pulled out the air, its a palette I've used time and time again over the past 7 years -  if I had to name a 'go to' colour that wasn't white, Horizon would be it for me.  Its the palest silvery blue that reads differently in every space, its as light as a white so it highlights architectural mouldings and showcases artwork like a white and it pairs beautifully with all wood tones.  I've sampled it with dozens of other greys and off-whites and its almost always the unanimous choice.  I've used it in client's living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and ceilings, in both traditional and contemporary spaces, urban and country.  The feature on p.59 illustrates one of my favorite trim/ceiling/accent paint combos with Horizon OC-53.  (not to be mistaken with Horizon Gray, a different colour completely). 

Below is my own breakdown of the colours and why I chose them, along with a photo of a client's living room and dining room painted in these paint colours (minus the accent colour).  The house is a grand old Edwardian in mid-town Toronto, home to a young family of 4.  If I had to describe this palette, I would say it exudes SIMPLICITY & ELEGANCE.

Benjamin Moore
Horizon OC-53
This pale silver grey is my favorite alternative to white walls but with all the same attributes - its simplicity compliments wood tones, highlights furniture silhouettes and enhances other colours.  I first used it about 7 years ago and its been a go to paint colour for me ever since, it works in any room.  Its undertone has just a whisper of blue so this grey reads clean and sophisticated, never drab.

Benjamin Moore
Swiss Coffee OC-45
A warm off-white that has an aged looked to it and is perfect for architectural mouldings in a traditional space.  Paired with HOrizon this tinged white trim work gives a room timeless and elegant character.  (pair with a white trim for a contemporary space).

Benjamin Moore
Chantilly Lace OC-65
A very neutral clean white, a good balance with the mix of cool wall paint and warm trim paint.  It provides a nice crisp definition against the antique white mouldings.  In a contemporary space, use this for the trim too!

Farrow & Ball
India Yellow #66
What I love about Horizon is you can go any direction for an accent colour.  My favorite with it is a deep ochre yellow, its inviting and chic paired with pale blue/grey, use it on the backs of a bookcase, upholstery on a statement chair, silk pillows, ceramic lamps or on the walls of an adjoining room.

Wall Colour:  Horizon OC-53, Trim Colour: Swiss Coffee OC-45
Room Design and Photo by:  Carol Reed (2007)

Upper Wall Colour:  Horizon OC-53, Wainscoting and Trim: Swiss Coffee OC-45
Room Design and Photo by:  Carol Reed  (2007)

Rosedale Reno - Living Room Sneak Peek

Living Room - by Carol Reed Interior Design

This past October I posted a sneak peek of the dining room in this same house and a brief overview of the scope of the renovation that took place in 07/08.  You can check out that post and read all about the renovation here (see photo below).

Dining Room - by Carol Reed Interior Design

I'm fortunate to have some incredibly amazing clients who not only welcome me into their private lives at the onset of a project but allow me to feel welcome to return to their homes long after a project is complete, insisting that I can come back to visit for tea or lunch or to take photos anytime I'd like. Even when they're not home, they're gracious enough to allow me unlimited access and make arrangement for me to have a key or security codes. I often feel like I've become an extended part of the family and return visits to their homes are like a homecoming for me as I can't help but feel attached to the spaces after spending so many months and sometimes years working on every little detail.

The clients of this particular house are no exception,  they are one of my favorite families and they've been beyond generous over the past couple of years in making me feel like its 'my home' too and give me free reign to come and go as I please and take photos whenever I'd like - as happy as this makes me,,,,I have to restrain myself from taking advantage and imposing myself on them.  If there's anything I love more than designing homes its photographing them!  Clearly I'm not a professional, its a personal hobby that I need a lot more experience with but I'm enjoying getting to know how to use my camera and seeing 'my spaces' thru my own lense.  I'm grateful to all my clients for the opportunity to return for photos shoots as the photos are the only reference I have for months or often years of work.

Although in total square footage this was a large house the living room was not overly big, in fact it posed many of the same challenges that small urban homes or condos do - the room was long and narrow.  During the reno the entire house was brought back to the brick and rebuilt.  In this room, the existing front window was replaced with a larger bay window but the fireplace and stained glass windows beside it were one of the few original details that remained in tact.  I designed new panel moulding treatment for all the walls, added accent lighting and managed to accommodate a comfortable new seating arrangement along with a baby grand piano, and still had room for traffic flow thru the room.

I'm calling these sneak peeks as we're still working on some finishing touches, sometimes these take longer than the entire reno, but we're working on it gradually.  The fireplace (original to the house) still needs a beautiful screen and fireside tools to make it look complete,,,,,and we've sourced a floor lamp that was much needed, next will be another end table, and ultimately more artwork will be added as their collection grows.  But for now,,,,,,,this is all I'm sharing with you. ; )

All Photos:   Carol Reed