You have only to look at the photos my reader posted below to know that the blues are way too blue in that kitchen.  I would guess that it all looked coordinated and good in the little swatches that the previous owner used to choose the color and the she didn't expect the color to intensify and bounce off the walls at her.   That much pigment may be well and good for a kids room, but it looks a little juvenile for the kitchen.

Paint color intensifies when it is on all four walls, it intensifies in a room with a lower ceiling, it intensifies in smaller rooms, and it intensifies in a southern facing room, and in the evening.  That's a lot to consider when picking a color, and why I always say 'try before you buy'.  Buy the smallest container or tester pot you can and see how it reacts to your light in your own home. I guarantee its going to look a lot different than at the paint store under those flourescent lights.

And then, back off a little from color.  Gray it down.  Make it more livable and more soothing. Neutralize it.  If you crave color - bring it in to the room in accents, fabrics and rugs.  Walls are a backdrop to the beautiful things you put in a room - they shouldn't fight for your attention.


Hi Claudine
I love reading your blog and the advice you provide to other people and I was hoping you might be able to help provide us with some color advice for our new place.

Hi Evan!  So happy you like the blog - love to help readers!

My fiance and I are purchasing our first home at the end of the month and are in desperate need of a paint color (or colors) to replace the bright blue in our open concept living room/dining room/kitchen.
Thats so exciting!  Your first home.  Congratulations.   That blue is a little overpowering.  Blue is a very tricky color to use.  A little too much pigment and its a kids room, right?

We are thinking we want something more neutral than the blue currently there and we are not at all committed to keeping the two tone walls -- however, we do like the white trim.  We don't love the chair rail, but will likely keep it for now.

I like fresh white trim, too.  I think, though, instead of dividing the wall with a white line or separate colors, you should paint the chair rail the same color as the wall.  Leave the baseboards white and the crown, if you have it.  I would also paint any doors the same color white as the baseboards.  

We don't currently have any furniture picked out for this room, but will likely have a neutral sofa (gray, taupe or beige), a modern walnut coffee table, and a very low profile TV stand with a large black TV.  Its worth noting that there is a large black gas fireplace in the living room that can't be moved (that will likely be part of a future project!).

Oh yes, we love those 'future' projects!

Are there any colors you might recommend?  Have you come across any good examples of a single color above and below a chair rail?

The two color walls with chair rail is a bit of a dated formal look, and you are young and fresh.  There is no wainscot below, just a chair rail, so I think you should paint it out all the same for a more contemporary look - something like this... 

Thank you so much!  We very much look forward to hearing from you.

Now, for color.  Here are a few tried and true neutrals.  These are wonderful colors, look great with warm woods and white trim, and will play nicely with almost any color you choose to accent.  

Sherwin Williams COMFORT GRAY

Sherwin Williams MORRIS ROOM GRAY


Make sure you try before you buy.  Get the tester size and paint a nice sized swatch on some poster board (two coats, don't forget to let it dry in between) and keep a fairly wide white boarder around the swatch so that the blue doesn't affect it too much.


I painted my dining room Farrow and Ball LULWORTH BLUE.  

I need a color for the foyer and living room. The foyer is in the center and dining room to right living room to left . I painted the stair railings black and am adding dark wide plank floors. We are adding wainscoting in dining room and foyer in Benjamin Moore WHITE DOVE.


Sounds lovely, Lizanne   White Dove is my favorite white.  The dark wood and black accents will go nicely with a neutral greige (gray/beige) - which will also look nice next to the blue.  The undertone is warm, but the gray will keep it soothing and keep the walls in the background.  Try Farrow and Ball Purbeck Stone or Pavilion Gray.

Farrow and Ball PAVILION GRAY
Farrow and Ball PURBECK STONE

Hope that helps!  Let us know what you choose!

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