From the first time we walked through our house before we bought it, we’ve never really been fans of the green floral wallpaper and matching curtains in just about every room on the main floor.  Last winter, we started removing the wallpaper on the main floor when we  redecorated the sun room, but the dining room still has some very green wallpaper from floor to ceiling and our foyer is well coordinated with the matching border along the chair rail all the way up to the second floor.

Dining Room Wallpaper

Dining Room Wallpaper

We probably would have tackled the project to remove the wallpaper a lot earlier if we’d had good ideas for what to replace it with, but I’ve been pretty challenged at picking out paint or replacement wallpaper that I think would look good on my own.  I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be hard to improve on what’s there, but I want to make sure we pick something that’s going to coordinate between all of the rooms on the main floor since they’re so open and I’m pretty bad at visualizing what the whole space could look like with all of the green gone.  Our carpet and some of the existing paint also has kind of a pink hue that I want to be careful to not draw out, which has been an additional challenge.

To help work through my indecision, I started working with a decorator a couple months ago for some help picking out paint colors and coming up with a furniture layout for our very long and narrow living room.  She had some interesting ideas, but I think we just have very different tastes in colors, so I decided to give it a try on my own after all.  The one thing the decorator picked out that I think I do kind of like is some new wallpaper for the dining room.  I wasn’t really thinking about putting up new wallpaper and this is a little bolder than what I might normally choose, but I can see how it would look good in the dining room and provide a very earthy color palette that I like for the rest of the main floor.  My only concern is that it might look dated in just a few years too ..

Paint & Wallpaper Samples

Paint & Wallpaper Samples

The decorator’s idea was to paper the wall above the chair rail with the brown wallpaper in the picture.  It has some green and a red-orange color in the flowers, but mostly it’s brown and cream with a little bit of gold foil outlining.  The bottom of the wall would be a paint color about the same as the background for the wallpaper so that it blends in, but has no pattern.

The paint samples on top of the wallpaper in the photo are some existing colors we have in the house and some new ones I picked out for the foyer and other rooms that can be seen from and will need to coordinate with the dining room.  The one on the left is Sherwin Williams “Sand Dune” (SW 6086).  This is the color our living room is currently painted and it’s a color we’d probably choose to keep if it turns out to match everything else ok.  The color in the middle is Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert (SW 6107).  I’m thinking this color or maybe Latte (SW6108), which is just a shade darker) for the foyer adjacent to the dining room.  The dark brown color is Sherwin Williams Nuthatch (SW 6088).  This is the color we painted our sun room, which is (barely) visible from the dining room, so we want to make sure it doesn’t clash horribly.  The final paint color on the right is Sherwin Williams Techno Gray (SW 6170), which we painted our powder room just a couple weeks ago.

I haven’t been brave enough to start removing the wallpaper and go buy paint … I’m still struggling with whether or not to commit to the wallpaper selection.  I think my biggest concern is probably how dark the room would be with that wallpaper if we decide to remove the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors with a darker stain at some point in the future.  Although redoing the dining room walls would definitely make the biggest difference as far as updating the main floor, I’m thinking I might start with the foyer since it’s an easier decision for me.  I found lots of comments on this blog that all of the colors on the paint card containing the Latte and Nomadic Desert paint colors I’m considering for the foyer are pretty true tans with no undertones.  I’m hoping these will help neutralize some of the pink tones elsewhere in the house and provide a good starting point for the redecorating project …

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4 thoughts on “Picking Paint Colors for the Main Floor

  1. Cindy says:

    I was just wondering if you used the Latte , Nomadic Desert or any color on that swatch. I am helping my parents choose paint colors and have chose those colors and also like Hopsack but am afraid it is too dark. I would love to see photos if you used any of those colors.

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Cindy,
    We actually decided against the wallpaper and wound up not using any of the colors on that swatch. We opted for white picture frame moulding below the chair rail and a medium gray color above instead … here’s a link to the “after” picture.
    Sorry we’re not much help! Good luck with your project!

  3. Bonnie says:

    Hi, Sarah!

    Just found your site while researching paint colors. We live in a 1939 cape cod that has a long dormer room upstairs. The space stretches from the front of the house to the back, with one window at either end. The room is divided into two spaces by a small doorway. The smaller of the two rooms is a bedroom and the larger room is used as a den/office. My daughter has lived upstairs for seven years, but went off to college last year. Time to remodel ;-) !! We decided to paint the smaller room a rich Benjamin-Moore color called Autumn Cover. The color is sort of terra cotta color. Since we were going initially for a coral, what we found was NOT coral, but something we liked even better. The trim around the window as well as the closet door and trim are a nice white, which is very good contrast for the wall color. The flooring is a dark heart pine, which we love. Now for my question! We are thinking that the front room would look great in a warm gray color—-but which one to choose from such a huge sea of choices? My search lead me to your site. I really like the color you selected for your dining room and wonder what you might have to say about it now that it has been on your walls for a while. I want something warm—more brown-ish undertones—since it will need to look compatible with the dark floors. The gray will be used on the paneled knee walls (yes, inherited from a previous owner who succumbed to the 60’s temptation to create a modern den!!) that we will not be removing since there are firring strips involved and a zillion corrensponding holes in the plaster walls underneath. We will be looking for a much lighter color for the slope and ceiling that will coordinate with the gray. Just to clarify, the smaller room that was painted Autumn Cover does not have any paneling, so the whole space—knee walls, slope and ceiling are the same luscious color! The front room, due to the paneling, will be able to be painted two different colors since the knee walls are a different surface than the slope and ceiling. Gee, I hope I have not confused the daylights out of you! Just hoping for a suggestion from someone who has evaluated several grays and landed on one that looks very nice! Thanks!! Bonnie (in Maryland)

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi Bonnie!
    Wow … sounds like you’ve got quite a project! Picking paint colors can be such a challenge … sample quarts are definitely our saving grace!

    I am still really happy with the gray color in our dining room. It was one of the warmer shades that we considered, but it still reads gray, which is what we were going for. We have still have the same beige carpet in the picture above (I’d love to refinish the hardwood floors in there some day, but we just haven’t gotten there yet) and the gray paint has enough warm undertones that it works with the carpet.

    I think it would be a pretty contrast with a terra cotta color and I definitely like your idea of painting the slope & ceiling of your room a lighter color since I think this gray could get a little overwhelming if it were the only color in the space. Contrasted with a white (or lighter gray?), though, I think it would look really pretty.

    Good luck!

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