Living Room Cafe Update: Tentative Wall Colors

Living Room Cafe Update: Tentative Wall Colors

Living Room Cafe Colors I’ve been living with the new living room office floor for about six months now. It’s a dark faux-scraped pre-finished hardwood which I really love, though it does have the “hard to keep clean” qualities that others have warned me about. However, I think the overall look is great.

History of the Living Room Cafe Color Scheme

In my original selection of the floor, I had come up with the following color scheme, which made sense at the time. More details follow!

Wave Texture Yellow Birch Makaho from Perverco The theme for the living room was to be working coffee shop, aka a kind of “living room cafe”, so one of the key features was to be four large square tables to work at. I contracted a local woodworker to make the table tops, and mounted them on inexpensive commercial cast iron table bases. The color of the table tops, I figured, would determine the final wall paint selection.

Floor Swatches I’ve been staring at paint samples for six months, during the day and night, in various weather. Originally I was thinking that I wanted light-colored walls because I didn’t want the room to be so dark and oppressive. However, after seeing the bright orange of the table tops, I was finding that the light colors I was picking didn’t really seem to work. I could find a colortone that went with the floors well enough, but not one that worked well with the floor AND the tables.

Choosing Dark over Light

I was feeling kind of stuck on this, but then one day I happened to take a picture of my cat with a background element that caught my eye…

All the Colors Take a look at the gray storage box to the back right. This color looks good with the orange of the tables, AND it looks good with the floor! If I use this color instead, the room I think will take on a darker and more enclosed feeling. Originally I would have thought this was bad, but perhaps a darker intimate space wouldn’t be so bad. This old picture of my current desk setup makes me think it might work:

My current setup against a darker wall The wall behind the desk is a much darker green than the other walls, and I think it looks pretty good actually. If I chose a darker gray-blay, I think the effect will be deeper and more mysterious. While people have advised me that I want to maximize the feeling of space with lighter walls, when it comes right down to it my space isn’t that big. Light walls will only draw attention to them, and make the room feel cluttered and boxy. Far better for them to fade into the dark, I think, allowing attention to fall on the tables, artwork, and other stylish elements that I place in the room. At least that’s my theory!

It took about a month to settle on the right hue of gray. I’m going with a slightly-blueish dark gray, which will complement the tables and still add a tiny touch of its own liveliness. I bought a can of sample paint ($3.90) to test with, which I’ll apply somewhere during the week.


  1. Mary 8 years ago

    You can paint a LARGE piece of cardboard. That way you can move it around the room. You can see how the color looks at different times of day.

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 8 years ago

    Oh! That’s a good idea!!! Thanks Mary!

  3. Lisa M 8 years ago

    I think grey is a great option. It’s a perfect neutral for any artwork. Its “there” but not there in terms of how our eyes notice things. I think lighter colored walls can have a starkness or harshness that isn’t in tune with the vibe you’ve been describing. I feel like the room needs to feel like a subtle, gentle hug. With coffee. :) Grey is perfect.

  4. Chris 8 years ago

    Hi Dave,

    Very good idea, and inspiring… For any reason, i have always loved the decoration in the starbucks, what i miss working alone is to socialize, and it can be real challenge being on your own (facebook would never replace a good coffee …. ;=) ) Look at this : My ideal desktop would be a bar on which i could work standing, and drinking cofffee… Ok have a nice one, Cheers