What's the Right Paint Color for This Living Room?

by Gloria
(Montrose, CO)

Our fireplace painted a plum color

Our fireplace painted a plum color


We have a corner fireplace that we painted a dark plum color, so that you can't see the soot that accumulates on the chimney when we use it. We need help with wall colors.

The Moss Rock on the fireplace under the wood burning stove is being replaced this summer with granite, marble or tile.

Behind the stove we will probably do stucco and paint it the same color as the fireplace is now.

The bricks - we are unsure what to do there as the long upper brick portion has slits between each one, behind those it has a heatalator installed to circulate heat, so that is creating a dilemma for us.

The chairs are staying, the sofa and carpeting are being replaced, but I can't wait on painting - it desperately needs to be done.

Also, this room is 22'x14' (long & narrow).


Gloria, I understand how tempting it can be to start with the fastest, easiest and most satisfying part - changing the wall colors.

The impact of a color change and the resulting transformation often provide that instant gratification we all secretly want :)

But starting a remodeling or redecorating project with the walls is how most people get into trouble, because it's "upside down" as an approach.

In fact, I've written a tutorial for planning home color design the right way - it covers the correct order of selecting colors and finishes for a home.

In a nutshell, here's the formula you want to use:

Stone/Tile --> Carpet --> Couch --> Walls

You should start by selecting tile/stone for your fireplace first. It's a fixed element (and I assume it's going to be neutral in color) that will set the tone for all the other neutral finishes in the room.

So choose your tile/stone first, and then match your carpet to it. The colors don't have to be exactly the same (one can be lighter or darker than the other), but they do need to be related/connected by the same undertone in order to work.

With your stone and carpet selected, you can now shop for a couch (again, I assume the couch is going to be some kind of neutral). The same guidelines apply here as well - the undertones should match your stone and carpet. See how it's building?

And now that you have all your hard and soft finishes determined, you can start looking for the right paint color that will pull it all together.

You asked: what's the right color for this living room? And the answer is: the right color is the one that relates to something in your decor.

Right now, all the major elements of your decor are being replaced (stone, carpet, couch) - so there is nothing to relate the wall color to.

And soo many wall colors can look great in a room without furniture and flooring... until you add those in.

You see, if you want a neutral wall paint color, it should coordinate with the carpet, stone and couch for it to look right (if those are neutral) - because not all neutrals go together!

And if you want a "real" color on the walls, it should repeat something in your decor (it can be artwork, decorative pillows or drapes).

Either way, you need a starting point and that is NOT paint.

And finally, no matter what stone, carpet and wall color you end up choosing, you should repeat the plum color of your fireplace somewhere else in your decor, at least twice.

The color itself is fabulous, but to make this choice look intentional, find a few accent pieces in the same purple color (for example, a vase, wall art or throw pillows) and distribute them around the room to connect the fireplace to the rest of your decor.

Good luck with your project! :)

P.S. If you don't like the brick, you can paint over it with heat-resistant enamel that won't affect the performance of your furnace (you can use black paint, or match the accent color to the walls or something else in the room).

Leave a Comment:

Beautiful fireplace!
by: Barbs

I love all violets and purples, and I used a similar color in my own living room.

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