This month I’m re-doing our lounge room and was looking for a colour that would tie in well with everything in the space, but more importantly, that would give a really nice, rich, and sumptuous old-world feel. I was looking for library/snug,/smoking den sort of escape, and yet had to contend with a lot of extraneous factors, including that this room is part of a semi-open plan space! It’s a tricky one. The lounge gives directly onto my dining room, which on one wall opens onto our courtyard garden, and on the other to our kitchen. Also, the kitchen/dining area has terracotta floor tiles (took me a long time to warm to them, but once I figured out how to work them I came to love them), and our lounge antique pine floorboards. Over the years I’ve gathered a lot of things and somehow these spaces and the things within them have become a layered combination that I would never have picked, or envisioned to begin with (but that I really like!).
The dining and kitchen have a bit of a [and this is probably a stretch!] French farmhouse feel – the terracotta floors, painted furniture (lots of warm creams and light greys), the sisal and woolen rugs, olive green velvet couches, loads of indoor plants, and little touches of yellow, crisp Aegean blue, and grass green (in pottery, serving bowls, and artwork). The lounge room, however, has been a bit of an uncertain space – we have an antique chaise longue in mahogany and damask cream silk, a pale wheat green linen couch, and a timber fireplace with deep green Victorian tiles…
It took me some time to develop a solution to my problem. In the end though, I chose a warm, medium brown with milk chocolate undertones and a sort of donkey colouring. This works so nicely with the French farmhouse side of things – including the terracotta floors, which sit wonderfully against this slightly greyed brown with extremely subtle pink/orange undertones.
The best thing about this brown though is that it’s really a neutral. And I think this is such a valuable thing to note – browns are neutrals! I didn’t want to go with a fair colour, but I wanted depth and boldness (so sick of cream walls!). But in fact I really needed something neutral to tie everything together and have the space as a whole make sense. As it turns out, browns are such a good way to add warmth, depth, and confidence to a space without making an enormous statement or picking fights with other colours/objects/adjoining rooms in your house. They’re neutral, but cozy, they’re supremely elegant, and yet really comfortable. It’s hard to find a colour with these qualities, and considering the needs of my lounge room, brown turned out to be a good choice!
Donkey Brown is a reasonably loose shade – meaning that you can use it a bit lighter, a bit darker, a bit greyer, a bit more saturated, or as a perfectly medium tone depending on your space. I used a classic medium tone for my lounge room, but one with quite a lot of brown in it. I tried the more grey versions and they just didn’t give me that unctuous feeling I was after. Below are a few examples of colours worth experimenting with, and how they look once luxuriously lathered over walls.