Choosing a White

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We moved into our house four years ago and promptly painted about five rooms...first the dining room, then the kitchen (and again), our bedroom and bathroom, the hallway, and the den. We were going for comfortable, serene, and some variation of green (being my long-time favorite color) infiltrated its way into about three-fifths of that list. Except for painting our kitchen yellow (it was an attempt to tone down the blasted wood cabinets, but exacerbated the problem), I don't regret any of the paint colors we've chosen.

Being a 1950s ranch, my house has your standard 8' ceilings. This doesn't really even enter my mind, except recently in our den, I've felt like the walls were closing in a little.

Once we found out we were staying here for residency/being in our house for a while, I started letting myself realize how dark and low the den felt. It doesn't feel dark in a bad way, I don't think...cozy, mainly. But I was really ready to brighten things up, clean things out, and make things feel a little more fresh.

Step one was acquiring a rug my mom had offered me a while backa neutral bound carpet piece with a simple/understated pattern, and thus moving our traditional Persian rug into the front living room (I still love it, but it didn't help the den feel "light" in the least. There's a small shot of it here). [You can see some reallllly rough "before" photos/current green paint color in the den here.] Side note: The Persian rug's move to the living room has made that room start to feel like an actual room in its own right, and not just look like our pass-through/expanded mudroom.

Step two was finally hanging the TV on the wall, which I've wanted to do forever and has been accomplished (thank you, T-Bone). It makes everything feel less cluttered and cleaner already. (insert visual image here. sorry!)

Next, I started considering painting the fireplace white or trim color (here's a festive/instagram shot of our fireplace). I remembered from reading Young House Love back in the day how drastically light-colored paint can transform a brick fireplace and thought maybe we would escape having to paint the room and just paint the fireplace (not that that sounds easier, when you think about it...).

But it's really good-looking brick. Exceptional, even.

And, you can't undo painting brick. Jonathan put the kibosh on it anyway, so white paint for the walls was the next place my brain went. We used Benjamin Moore's Old Prairie in the front living room, as well as both entries/vestibules, and the hallway. It's one of my favorite paint colors, and is sister to BM's Camouflage, another beautiful color and the first color we painted in this house, in our dining room (still love it as much today as I did then). BUT, I'm ready for something just a little brighter/fresher in this room.

A disclaimer: it's hard for me to post "inspirational" images because I don't want you to get the impression that I'm going to be able to change much of ANYTHING else about the room besides the paint, for a while. We're in it with the furniture/curtains we have for now (which is fine! really! except our couch, I hate our couch).

Have loved Joni's blog for years, and of course, adore her den. This is actually the closest to what our "stuff" looks like, from what I've seen surfing the internet trying to write this post.

image here

So bright and clean! (Funny though, that rug looks really similar to the one we just moved out! Who knowsit may get swapped back in post-paint.)

Not a den/living room, but one of my favorite kitchens ever:

image here

I'm really excited to do this, and have (attempted) to give myself the deadline of Juliette's birthday in two weeks to accomplish it. Cross your fingers it'll happen.

Now I just gotta pick a specific "color"do you know how many whites there are?!

How did I write this whole post and not use a single photograph of the room in question? And do I deserve an award for this or a slap on the wrist?

I'll (try) to be back, with actual photos.

p.s. my friend Hannah just painted her dining room white, and it's awesome. The internet speaks for itself here.


  1. I follow YHL too! I chose Simply White for some trim work in our house, as it seems to be their white of choice. It is what it says. Simply white. Not creamy or off-white. Sort of bright. More like the second pic in your post.

    My mom prefers White Dove (also BM) so that's on my radar. It's a creamy white. More like the first pic in your post. I have been pondering whites, except for the exterior of our house. I am leaning toward a softer, creamy white. Perhaps White Dove will be the winner. We'll see.

    Good luck on the search. So many whites!

  2. We need to have a real life convo about this! I've been trying to choose a white for our bedroom (I know, I know… weird) for WEEKS. I have so many thoughts and questions.


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