Dear Living Room,
I love you.
But I haven’t always.
You’re not easy, you know. When we bought this house at the end of 2004, I didn’t know what to do with you. You’re north-facing. You’re almost square. You have a corner fireplace – and you know how tricky those can be.
You have a single, gigantic window, Living Room. And you have two double-width doorways. You have no obvious furniture arrangement, no obvious wall color.
But from the moment in 2011 when I put Benjamin Moore’s 343 Sunrays on your hundred-year-old walls, I knew we’d found the answer. It shouldn’t have taken so long, to be honest. Yellow is my favorite color. Yellow warms up a north-facing room. STRONG yellow maintains its integrity when the weak, gray-tinged light finally makes an appearance.
In so many houses, the living room is underused.
Not so with you, Living Room! Our daughters flop down here when they get home from school, phones in hand for their permissible screen time before homework. I work here sometimes, feet on the coffee table, laptop in, well, my lap. John reads the paper in here. You’re where we have drinks with friends before dinner. Christmas happens here.
Your cheerful yellow walls made us want to spend time with you, Living Room. Yellow cracked the code. Yellow was the answer.
So if I love your brilliant yellow walls so much, why oh why am I changing them?
It’s as simple as this: I needed a change.
I will defend saturated wall colors until the end of time. But for me, right now, I want something softer. Something less aggressive. I wanted to see if you could be happy, inviting, and warm with a lighter, more subtle color on your walls.
And guess what, my dear Living Room? You can! Look good in a softer, strategically selected color. Such as blush. A pinky, peachy blush. Possibly darker than the blush so popular right now, because I did learn my lesson: super light colors wash out in your northern light.
You’ll look pretty great in blush, Living Room. Don’t you think? Grannie’s sideboard and round table will look even prettier. I have a new (to me) vintage painting with shades of mustard…that will look terrific against your walls (I’ve always loved dark yellow and light pink together.) And then maybe new furniture, so the blush walls will be the only pink in the room. No more pink furniture – too feminine.
So farewell, yellow, and welcome, blush.
You’ll see, Living Room. I’ll do you proud.
Annie Elliott’s work has appeared in publications from Washingtonian Magazine to The Wall Street Journal. Bossy color is a full-service design firm based in Washington, D.C.