50 Shades of Gray
February 11, 2017 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Please help us choose paint colors for a couple rooms in our house!

We need to paint these two rooms which are adjacent to each other. There is wall between them with a door that we keep open (see photos). What color would you paint these rooms (one color for both or two different colors)? This is our entire kitchen/dining room area. The living room (adjacent to dining room) is painted a deep red. An office which is on the other side of the dining room (which is not visible because of another set of closed accordion doors) is an awful, light purple. We are not planning on doing anything with the office.

We want to sell the house in the next couple of years. I hope that by painting the dining room and kitchen one color, that whole section of the downstairs will flow better and just look fresher. Our house was built in 1946 and does not feature an open floor plan which you can probably already tell. Would a bold, bright color be good (a painter once suggested orange) or something more muted like a gray? Whatever it is, it has to look nice next to a room that is a deep red.

Most of the upstairs is gray if that matters at all.

Photos of current colors: kitchen, dining room, dining room looking into kitchen
posted by rglass to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Is there something you don't like about the yellow of the dining room? I'd paint the kitchen the color yellow that's on the bottom in the dining room.
posted by ilovewinter at 9:14 PM on February 11, 2017

Agreed on the yellow. Yellow kitchens can be very warm and welcoming, will go with the red, and complement the purple. I'd maybe aim for the lighter yellow though and make the bottom and top of the dining room match - it will make the room feel a bit loftier overall.

One thing you can do that will definitely aid the "flow" but will cost a bit more money than paint is if you can make the wood floors in the kitchen match the ones in the dining room. Newer floors (or gorgeous refinished vintage floors) will be much more attractive to buyers than any paint choice. If that's something that is viable for you, choose a paint that emphasizes the wood tones that you're working with.
posted by Mizu at 9:57 PM on February 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

You have appliances in the kitchen that are white...consider that changing the color in the kitchen will make those white appliances really pop out.

In any case, I wouldn't suggest painting both rooms the same color (kitchens typically need a semi-gloss coat anyway, other rooms matte or satin). I'd leave the kitchen white, and add some detail color to the backsplash (under cabs).

In the dining room the yellow isn't working great with the nice wood floors, imo. So many colors to choose from, but a dusty lime green could work great. And could use that as well on the backsplash, to tie the rooms together.
Get paint samples (I paint 10"x10" pieces of fomecore and tack them up), and see what works best for you.
Have fun.
posted by artdrectr at 10:00 PM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth both of the houses on either side of mine have been renovated and flipped in the last year and both interiors were painted with light gray paint (Behr Sterling, I asked) throughout. The doors and trim were bright white, the flooring was either wood or beige carpet.
posted by Miss Matheson at 10:18 PM on February 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Paint is the simplest, cheapest thing you can do to a home to ready it for sale. If you do a good job, your prep will take longer than the actual painting. Any good paint store should be able to mix up pints in any color/shade you want.
Something we've done, to good effect, is paint the room with a "full recipe" of the tint, and then painted the ceiling with a 1/4 recipe of tint. It will be white-ish, but will reflect the wall color really well.
Also just curious why you wouldn't consider painting any room that is an "awful" color. Think about it, certainly before you put the house on the market. Buyers often cannot see past paint.
posted by dbmcd at 10:21 PM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been house shopping these past couple of months and so much of the bright paint I've seen in viewings ends up looking like bad DIY. It can very easily make a place look cheap.

Definitely go for an effortless gray (or maybe a mossy gray-green or an airy, dreamy palladian blue?) and then flow the same color (or one shade lighter) into the kitchen. It'll look stunning with that crown molding. In the dining room, I'd use two shades of the same color two spaces apart on the paint swatch, divided by the chair rail. Darker on the bottom. In the kitchen, keep the cabinets white because that looks very nice with the white appliances. Think soothing and serene.

Also I'm casting another vote to paint the red and purple rooms. One, it'll tie all your spaces together and create a flow. Two, some people haaaaate those colors and it'll bias them against you. Three, painting over red is a total pain (I've done it; it took absolute days and a ton of primer) and it's exhausting just thinking about it as a buyer.
posted by mochapickle at 1:21 AM on February 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

When you are about to put the house on the market, please paint both rooms white. I had to hate-view so many custardy yellow rooms when house-hunting.... please no yellow walls. It's like a stuffy influenza ward.
posted by Drosera at 5:00 AM on February 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I vote for painting the dining room white to match the kitchen or painting both rooms a very light gray, which is in style and has the added benefit of matching your second floor rooms. But I also agree with the other comments that the red living room and purple office sound like problems to tackle first.
posted by areaperson at 5:24 AM on February 12, 2017

Paint advice we took and do not regret for two rooms (dining and living) that flow into each other: Find a paint strip with a color you like a lot. The room that gets the least light gets that color. The room that gets the most light gets the next DARKER color on the paint strip. We did this with two greens (Pacific Pines represent) and we love it.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:29 AM on February 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you have an eye toward selling, I agree with the other posters that you should aim for a light grey throughout. Our realtor had us use Revere Pewter (Benjamin Moore). It's a light warm grey that worked well with the white cabinets and appliances in our kitchen. It wasn't too out of place in other rooms with deep red decor, so I imagine it wouldn't clash too badly with the existing living room color if you wait to paint/don't paint that room.
posted by ailouros08 at 7:40 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Please do not spend money painting anything yellow. It's a controversial color (I usually hate it). Then you'll have buyers mentally adding a couple thousand to their move in costs (i.e., subtracting it from the money they can use on a down payment to you) to repaint the home interior.

In general, either go with a very tried and true color, ask an interior designer, or paint the place white. Don't get tricky if you're having to ask metafilter what color to use.
posted by salvia at 10:55 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you do decide to paint over the red, get a tinted base paint, it will make it sooo much easier to cover. A good paint store can advise.
posted by dbmcd at 11:04 AM on February 12, 2017

I'd do a warm light grey on both the dining walls and the kitchen walls (slightly more matte paint in the dining room but same color.) It will make your white kitchen cabinetry and tile pop, and the cabinetry will coordinate beautifully with the white trim of the dining walls. You could do a slightly darker shade of the same color on the bottom half of the dining room.

I would also prioritize fixing the goofy colors upstairs.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:51 PM on February 12, 2017

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