Decorating advice?

Friday, October 17, 2008

I don't usually ask for decorating advice because I am so opinionated (read stubborn) in this area that I am usually not interested in other opinions.  I like what I like.  However, I find myself questioning one decision. We are having the interior of our new house painted next week right before we move in.  I have picked all of my colors but one thing is causing me doubt.

In the great room, there are some built-ins (by the fireplace) that are very dark wood. They are very pretty but I was planning on painting them white.  All of the upholstered furniture for that room is ivory and the walls will be a soft antique white.  The painter, builder and some others (maybe Dave) seem to think I should not paint the wood. Here is a photo.  What do you think? Paint or no paint?

Den


This is not our furniture...just a staging of the house but our rug and furniture is actually quite similar.

73 comments:

  1. I like crisp white built-ins... so I vote for paint!! Can't wait to see your touch on your new home!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think I would paint it either..
    I can't wait to see your house decorated ..
    You always do an amazing job..
    Hugs girly.
    Have a Great Evening..

    ReplyDelete
  3. don't paint. put your things on them and your furniture in the room and live with for a little while then if you hate it, paint. I really think you will like them not being white if you look in architectural digest you will see it either in wood or in a gloss the same color of the walls. Hope this helped.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have very dark wood bookcases/fireplace that I had built in, and I love them, but I also LOVE painted wood, and have lots of it (paneling, painted cupboards) in other places. I am VERY brave about painting things, and have never regretted it... so, I don't think you can go wrong. Just go with your impulse! Painted wood is not really a big risk... who doesn't love white woodwork???

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like the look of the dark wood, especially since your furniture is cream, and the walls will be white. Once your furniture is all moved in, then decide if you want to to paint the selves.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Kim,

    I hope you are feeling better!

    My vote is to not paint them... at least yet. I think the dark wood looks gorgeous and it will provide a nice contrast against everything else in the room. I'd leave them as-is and live with them for a while before making this decision. If you don't like them once your furniture is in, you can always paint them later. But it won't be easy if you paint them now and want to go back to dark wood later.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We had a dark wood fireplace mantle in our last house, the wood was beautiful and I had a lot of opposition to painting it white so I didn't. I never liked that room and it never felt like it was my taste. Because it was a different style from mine it never looked exactly right with my things either. We still own the home and I often think if we move back into it I will paint the fireplace mantle white before we do.

    I hope that helps . . . whatever you decide I'm sure it will be beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would leave them for now...you can always have them painted later. You know me, I would probably paint them a color!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Don't paint. Try it out that way for a while and see what you think. It's easier to paint
    them white down the road than it would be to strip them because you liked them better natural.

    Can't wait to see what you decide.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think you should live with it for 6 months then decide.
    My home has a lot of nice woodwork/moulding because my builder was a former molding guy.
    So I totally get why you want it white.

    But maybe after a while you will know for sure either way.
    Your furniture in the room will tell you more.

    PS. Did you happen to see this alternative for hanging posters at Etsy.
    They are decorated oversized square clothes pins.
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15066730

    PS2 I love when you talk style, decor, or even fresh flower arranging! You are stylish! :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sorry to post again.

    Do you read Nester? Nesting Place?
    She is a interior designer and just did almost the same wall at her sisters house and yes she painted it.
    However the home was older etc..
    I would peak at Nester and her sis site before you decide :)

    Red

    ReplyDelete
  12. At first read, my vote would have been to paint, but after looking at the room and remembering the feel of the home, I would leave them.

    It sounds like you are already going to have a lot of white in that room. I think you should leave them darker, they will add a little drama to the room. Just my 2cents!!

    Can't wait to see whay you do with it...I am sure it will be amazing either way!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I normally like trim and wood work painted white. However, with the style of the room, the french doors, and your neutral furnishings, the dark built-ins could make for a beautiful contrast. If you don't like it, paint them later.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Normally I love white built-ins but in looking at the photo it might be too much white with the walls. I say leave them alone for now. If you hate them later you can paint them then. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Are you leaving the doors to the left, which I hope you are, dark wood? If yes, then you really need the built-ins to stay dark for balance.

    I would definitely NOT paint them.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I say paint them too. They are the focal point right now- I would place things on the shelves that make them pop- I think things will get lost in the shelving as they are now. I could see a very cool print or wall hanging over your fireplace that will bring your eye there- your eye goes there because of the beaming on the ceiling- something I LOVE!!! Not that I have any idea of what I am talking about- I just know what I like...
    Blessings,
    Sharon
    ps can't wait to see!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. One other reason to not paint them is that they offer a really nice contrast to the beautiful ceiling detail and I think you need something else warm to play off the floors.

    If you don't like them once you have your furniture in the room you can always paint them later. But, you can't "unpaint" them without a lot of work.

    ReplyDelete
  18. They look beautiful and I am a fan of the dark cherry wood; HOWEVER, be ready to dust your life away!! My entire kitchen and entertainment center are the same dark cherry and it shows everything...not sure if I'm helping here :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. P.S. Maybe you should take "Cyndi's" advice and live with it (and dust it) for a while - you can always paint it! There, I feel as if I've helped :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I vote for leaving them as is for awhile. You can always decide to paint them, but once you paint them it's alot harder to go back to wood! BTW, what a beautiful room!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree with Cyndi. Don't paint them now. You can always do it later. It's an easy thing to do, but hard to undo once done. You are so lucky to get your painting done before move in!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I like the wood look. But I'm sure whatever you decide will look beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I generally would vote for painting them white as that's more my style. However I like how they coordinate with the French doors as they are now.

    I'm very picky (as I imagine you are) about wood quality. I can't see the bookshelves closely enough in the picture. Are they a pretty wood? Some wood stains up a lot better than others.

    A monochromatic scheme would be nice with your furniture but so would the contrast of the darker built-ins and doors. Boy, I'm a big help here!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I say paint it. They would be pretty either way but I think you would like it lighter in there.
    Sorry you are sick, my goodness, you sure are getting beat up lately! I am excited for your move this week! You sure deserve to sleep in your own comfy bed!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I wouldn't paint yet either. Not sure how the fireplace would look with white bookcases.

    ReplyDelete
  26. White would be real nice but I don't think I would paint it either. I love seeing the natural wood tones. What about refinishing with a lighter stain?? Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would say don't paint....yet. The contrast with the dark wood adds more character to the room and makes the house feel older (in a good way). I agree with Cyndi that you should wait and see how you feel living in it. As much of a pain it will be to paint a room while trying to live in it with three kids, I think it is still worth waiting. Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  28. White would be real nice but I don't think I would paint it either. I love seeing the natural wood tones. What about refinishing with a lighter stain?? Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Kim,

    I would hold off painting them for now. I like the dark wood and if you wait you can see what it looks when everything of yours is in the room. You can always end up painting them later but I would leave them for now. I agree that the wood "balances" out the room with the doors. What a beautiful room/house- I love it!

    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  30. If you want them to be a focal point in the room - don't paint them! With your oolor scheme and the dark wood of the built in's, you eye will immediately be drawn to them when you enter the room. If you want them to blend in (especially if you have something else in the room as a major focal point) then paint away - they would be beautiful painted white and whatever you place on them would stand out. I don't know that you could go wrong either way - the house is GORGEOUS!
    Kim and Katiebug

    ReplyDelete
  31. I would definitely leave them for now, especially since the doors to the left are the same beautiful wood. The wood looks like is it such a deep rich color I think it is a great contrast with the white walls and furniture and adds warmth to the room.

    I love all things decorating!!!! So much fun!!

    Hope you are feeling better.
    Blessings,
    Robin

    ReplyDelete
  32. I had the same dilemma when we bought our home. I ended up painting because the room did not get a lot of natural sunlight which made it feel even darker. The walls were a light off white color but the dark wood just seemed too overwhelming and put a heaviness on the room. After painting, the room took on a much lighter appearance and a more desirable attitude.

    I also felt that I could use larger decorative pieces once the room was painted. Prior to the painting, I felt anything on the larger side only made the room feel more ominous.

    Just my two cents, hope it helps.

    Jo

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hey Girl!
    Ainsley says keep it dark!!!!

    I do love those dark doors... But, completely understand your dilemma... You have fab taste, go with your gut!!!

    Love,
    Di & Ainsley

    ReplyDelete
  34. Do what makes YOU happy! Either way it will look pretty! : )

    ReplyDelete
  35. My .02 ...don't paint right now. Once you paint the original wood, then that's that. I would put in my furniture first and see how it feels for a while. You can always paint it later.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi there! I left you a Smile award on my blog. (By the time you are able to check you may have to scroll down a few entries). The award asks that you participate by choosing some others to receive it - just wanted to let you know that this in not an obligation! From reading your blog, I know that you are not into 'memes' - and I know how busy you are. I love your blog though, and just couldn't resist choosing you. Smiles!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am going to vote for not painting them yet. I like the look of the dark wood with your light furniture and rug. I see you have gotten alot of advice and I am sure whatever you decide to do will look really nice. Can't wait to see the room done. Very pretty. Good luck deciding:)

    ReplyDelete
  38. I would follow your instincts ... you have impeciable taste. I think it would gorgeous painted!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Don't paint them yet. Live with them for awhile. A long while. You can't go back if yu paint them.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I vote to paint. I think it will make the room look bigger, and not be such a focal point. I think the fireplace should be the focal of the room, and you loose the fireplace b/c the wood stands out so much. I would have said if your furniture was darker or more rustic you could leave it, but I think painting it would make you happier. Painting it later would be such a chore, as it would be hard to do it by hand....will look better if the painters can spray it, and you don't want to have to hassle with removing everything to have that done.

    Men never think wood should be painted has been my experience. Beams and handrailings are the only thing I LOVE to be stained.

    Good luck, either way your house will look beautiful, and most of us are really stubbourn about what "we like"

    Happy moving...what an oxymoran:)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I hope you are feeling better! I would not paint the wood. The dark wood looks beautiful and would look great with your ivory furniture. Take Care, Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  42. I vote for no paint! I would also live with them for a while to make sure you would want white paint on them! Looking forward to yall getting settled and playing some board games in front of that fire place!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Kim -- That is such a fabulous room! I am so excited for your move.

    I think I would leave it for now and then paint later if you don't like it.

    ReplyDelete
  44. LOL -You are the most savvy decorator I know! What ever you do will be beautiful! I don't think that I would paint right away - I know that it is easier right now - but they are really beautiful and dark is in :D I am actually having a painter come in two weeks and he is painting some thing "dark" in out living room. You have beautiful appointments and art that will give them a very rich feel. I would wait ;D but then I am no decorator - I keep wanting you to come do my house!
    Ladybug hugs,
    ;D

    BTW - I am coming to Austin in November to shoot - Don't know how far that is from you if you want to try and catch up :D

    ReplyDelete
  45. I like the wood...especially since that doorway is also the wood...they are pretty.
    norah

    ReplyDelete
  46. Is the wood similar to the pretty buffet/dish display you had in your old kitchen? (I loved that kitchen :-))

    I hope you find rest and please be careful around those paint fumes!
    Terri

    ReplyDelete
  47. I hope everyone's feedback is helping! LOL
    Go with your gut, you know the look you're going for!
    As hard as it is, I wouldn't let the builder sway you, he built it as a 'Craftsman' style which is beautiful, but you are trying to make it more "your style" and those are exactly the kinds of things that will help with that transition.
    I say definitely paint them!!
    It will really open that area up and the gorgeous stonework from the fireplace will look great against the white! :)
    Good luck with your decision, your home is going to be beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I vote no paint on the wood. Wood work is beautiful and with the right warm colors on the walls, your furnishings will "pop" against the rich wood tones and the paint colors. JMO though...I'm sure whatever you do will be lovely. BTW..I tagged you on my blog. Check it for the details.

    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  49. No paint....if you paint the bookshelves then the doors will look blaa...the dark bookshelves and the dark doors together = BEAUTIFUL!

    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  50. You should take into consideration the type of wood. My carpenter husband insists that certain woods should only be stained and not painted.

    ReplyDelete
  51. No paint. Leave the wood as it is for a contrasting color. Just my opinion!! Whatever you decide will be BEAUTIFUL!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. It's hard to tell just in the photo (tried to blow the photo up so I could see the wood but wasn't successful). I think the dark wood is too much for the room. All your attentions is drawn to them and they kind of stick out like a sore thumb in contrast to the serene feeling you get from the other elements in the room. If you paint them, then I think I'd also paint the door as well. I think it would really enliven and open up the space. Plus, as someone said, the accents you display on top of the shelves will visually "pop" out at you. It's hard to tell from a small photo where I can't see the wood grain, the floor well, etc. whose quality might be really beautiful, but I just think the dark drags the room down and would love to see the contrast come more from the furnishings and accents than from the heavy looking wood. I can't wait to see what you decide...judging from your last home, your decorating sense if beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I vote to paint them. I really think that the room will be more of your style instead of the craftsman that rarely has painted wood. I also think it will brighten the room up. I can't wait to see ehat you decide!
    Love,
    Chesnye

    ReplyDelete
  54. I would probably paint, but I like painted woodwork in my older home. I'm sure your new home will be beautiful -- you have a wonderful eye for decorating.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  55. i am all for paint. I love dark wood, but only in clean colors, not that just chopped from woods colors. I think it would look nice in white and bring more focus on the fireplace. good luck!! hope you are holding up well!

    ReplyDelete
  56. I say paint them white! Plus, that was your initial instinct- and you are always right! :)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Love the look of crisp white! Also didn't you have mostly white wood in your last house?

    Ashley

    ReplyDelete
  58. No paint stick with the wood

    ReplyDelete
  59. I would definitely paint. It will look amazing. I hate dark wood. When I was pregnant with the twins, I would literally throw up every time I saw dark furniture. That and the smell of shampoo made for some not so fun memories. Dark furniture is ok for me now...but I will always choose crisp white and lovely ocean colors. How exciting that your family is going to be enjoying your new home! I am sorry your house in Virginia sold. It was so lovely. Hopefully this new one will bring you just as much joy as the last home. Cheers to your family from ours. Lisa :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I advise on waiting to paint it. Give it time, see if it grows on you, or if it really bothers you.

    ReplyDelete
  61. No paint. The wood is goregous. I have ivory furniture in my living room too and my walls are a dark, chocolate gray. The dark wood, dark walls, and ivory furniture just pop in my house. I would vote for no paint. :) Whatever you choose I know it will be goregous.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I know I'm late on this and I haven't read all your comments. I would vote for not painting them for now. This way, you can see if you like them this way. I think they are beautifula nd the thing is, once you paint them its tough to unpaint them.

    I love the ceiling in the room! It looks like you have a great house with a lot of nice details!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hmmm....it's a hard choice. I wanted to paint some of the built ins when we moved into our new house. But based on your picture, it looks like really nice wood & it coordinates with the doors. It could be a nice accent to leave it natural. My vote would be not to paint it YET. Move everything in, see how it looks/feels and then decide. I am sure it will look beautiful no matter what you decide. And how exciting to be at the point when you can start thinking about moving out of the apartment & decorating your home!!!

    I hope you are feeling better & that sinus infection is gone soon!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I would leave them....I think it will be a lovely contrast...Can't wait to see pictures! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  65. I vote to not paint... yet. I like the contrast with the french doors, etc. You can always paint them later after your furniture has arrived and you've "lived" in the room a bit. If you regret it, it will be difficult to undo.... whereas waiting will buy you time to reflect with your belongings.

    Beautiful home!! Happy decorating!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. I would paint them. For some reason, men have a hard time painting wood like that :) I am so excited for you and can't wait till you get to move in!!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I vote absolutely not to paint them! They're so pretty as they are, especially if your furniture is pretty similar to what is in the photo.
    Hope things start getting better for you soon xxx

    ReplyDelete
  68. I see you have already made your decision but after pondering your decorating ? for 24 hours and consulting my husband, I decided to add my 2 cents anyway. Our vote was to leave the wood, for the time being. I am usually an all white girl myself but we feel the wood helps balance the colors in the brick on the fireplace. As well, as you live with the wood for 6 months, if you do decide to paint you might want to pick a color for the back of the bookcases that make the contents pop a bit. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Here's my take:

    For goodness sake...paint that fireplace!!! I would paint the brick on the fireplace the same color that you're painting the walls. Leave the wood alone on the shelves for now. HOWEVER...paint the french doors. That dark wood on the doors breaks up that wall too much. Then, on your ceiling, I would paint the squares between the moldings in a very light blue. The lightest of blues. I LOVE coffered ceilings but they really tend to make a room seem smaller than it is. By painting the ceiling a light blue it will lift it up and make the room seem a foot taller. Promise.
    If you decide you don't like dusting that dark wood on the shelves (and you may)...then after a while paint the fireplace black and the shelves white. Or you could leave the fireplace white and have someone do a red lacquer finish on the shelves. THAT would be fantastic.

    Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  70. I think the builtins pop being dark. You need some contrast, but that's just my 2 cents!

    ReplyDelete
  71. I agree, wait to paint. I kind of like the dark wood... I feel like it looks like a pic out of Traditional Home.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I have wood bookcases and everyone including the painter said not to paint them white. I went ahead and painted them and the fireplace and now everyone including me loves it. It really lightened up the room and looks so classic. However, I also agree with the other bloggers that if you are unsure maybe you should live with them the way they are for a little while and make sure you really want to paint them.

    ReplyDelete
  73. So what did you decide, on the painting
    ? gorgeous house by the way.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your kindness.