Ballard Design

Sometimes we forget to first look at the basics.
We change fabrics, paint, flooring and accessories
and sometimes fail to make sure
we have the basics covered...
like lights!

Hello Claudine,
I am so happy to have found your blog recently; I love all the advice you offer and relieved to know that I am not the only 'color-challenged, frustrated decorator' out there!!!
I have a windowless kitchen; a formal dining room on one side, with north-facing windows; and on the other side, the kitchen is open to the breakfast area/ den, with windows facing south. I have terracotta colored tile with dark gray grout throughout this space. The paint color is navajo white with white trim.
My dilemma is lack of natural light. The south windows are shaded - one by a screened porch and the other by a huge oak tree. It occurred to me the other day that perhaps I could paint the wall a 'brighter' color rather than a 'lighter' color to compensate for the lack of light. Not sure I want all walls bright but, at least perhaps in the breakfast area. I should also mention that I have a med-brown sofa, and a dark brown chair in the den.
The colors that I would like to incorporate are orange and gray. I should also mention that I have a painted brick fireplace in the den that I would like to paint a darker version of whatever gray color I might use on the walls. Can you help me? Any input/advice is much appreciated!
Thank You, Eva.

Eva, you are not alone in the 'color challenged' category.  
 If your room is feeling dark and dreary, check your lighting first.  

Grapeseed Kitchen

Proper lighting consists of 3 types:
1. Ambient lighting - light in its most basic form - Natural Light and what passes as natural light when the sun is down.  Overhead light used to fill a room with light, for example. 

Braitman Design

 2. Task lighting - light needed to perform tasks. 
Under cabinets, pendants over kitchen island, lighting above sink, stove, etc.
Segreto Secrets

House Beautiful
3. Accent lighting:  creates mood and atmosphere - picture lights,
candlelight and sconces for example. 
Domestic Ease

House Beautiful
With the proper lighting, no kitchen is too dark.  
Canadian House and Home

This may not apply to you at all, of course.  I don't know what kind of lighting you have and you may have all the bases covered, but it gave me a great opportunity to talk about lighting - so thank you!
As I read your comments I wondered what your kitchen cabinets look like. Are they wood toned or painted? I'm assuming wood tones for purposes of this post - because you have a dark feeling kitchen.  If you have golden oak cabinets your color palette might be different than if you have dark wood cabinets, so I will try to choose colors that will go well with both.
 Brighter grays for your kitchen that needs light. 
Gray Owl - Benjamin Moore
For the Love of a House

Ashwood - Benjamin Moore
For the Love of a House

Titanium - Benjamin Moore
For the Love of a House

Classic Gray - Benjamin Moore
Decor Pad
Arctic Gray - Benjamin Moore
Decor Pad
The cool blue undertone in Arctic Gray will never look dark and is the perfect contrast to a bright accent color.  Its perfect complement is Orange.

I would use the Orange you mentioned as accents as you already have an abundance of the orange family in the flooring you mentioned. 
 Here are a couple of darker gray colors for the fireplace area.  Depending on the color you choose for your walls, one of these grays will be a great accent.

Hello Claudine...
Would you happen to know what Benjamin Moore paint color this is, or one similar to it?

Thank you :)   Heather

Pottery Barn Teen
Heather, in Pottery Barn's paint palette with Benjamin Moore there are two that look like a possible match:  Sweet Innocence, and Silver Gray.   I'd get a tester pot of both and try them in the room to see which will be closer to the color you want.

Best wishes,


 And in a totally unrelated subject
my friend's beautiful daughter
as spokesperson
so confident in front of the camera!
She spent a while at Disneyworld as Princess Pocahontas
Bright future ahead, Brittney!


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