Project Notebook: Living Room & TV Nook in a Transitional Home Part 2 - Choosing a Color Story

Once my client and I agreed on a direction for the furniture layout in her living room and dining room, the next step was to determine a color story for the space. The colors we use need to play well with the existing elements in the space. The trim is oak, and the floors are a light maple. The fireplace is a red brick, which is thankfully not too bossy. The floor in the entryway is a slate look tile, and the walls were just painted Benjamin Moore Litchfield Gray. The kitchen, which is visible from the TV nook,  was designed in shades of warm grays and taupes. 

I knew my client loves red, but I wanted to see what other colors she would be open to, so I sent her my Color Questionnaire and asked that she and her husband to complete it separately. The questionnaire is based on researched conducted by Shigenobu Kobayashi in Japan during the 1980s in conjunction with the Nippon Research Institute. I relied on Kobayashi's work heavily for my masters thesis and found that his results are still relevant today. I've previously used his Color Image Scale with other clients to establish palettes for their businesses and homes and love how accurate it is.

My client was convinced that she and her husband would want completely different moods and colors in their space, but their responses were actually very similar. I analyzed the results and found that they wanted to create an enjoyable, casual, natural space that was simple, open and cheerful.

I looked at each of the colors that they selected and used them to generate several color palettes that would invoke the mood we were hoping to create. In each of these palettes, the color on the far right is the Benjamin Moore Litchfield Gray.

Option 1:

Option 2:

Option 3:

Option 4:


I emailed these options to my client for her to review with her husband. Neither of them care much for Option 1, saying it was too boring, which I totally expected. Nor did they care for Option 3, which I also expected. Her husband liked Option 2, and she liked Option 5 because it included the bright red she likes so much but didn't care for the "peach" tone. I tweaked them a little and came up with a final palette.

These colors are just a guideline for the different elements, such as rugs, artwork, pillows, lamps, and other accessories, that we'll be pulling into the two connecting spaces. I am envisioning the tan hue in the middle as representative of the wood tones in the flooring, furniture and trim. I am picturing neutral, light colored furniture and possibly a sleek leather recliner in the corner of the living room where the husband can read. I think colorful rugs, maybe flat weave kilims, would connect well with their artwork and help set the stage for the other accessories by bringing in color and pattern.

If you are interested in a personalized color analysis, I would be happy to work with you on connecting how you want your space to feel with the colors you should be bringing into your space. Call or email me today to begin the process. or 515-344-3140