Update an Old Colonial with Lighting and Fresh Color

May 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

Location, location, location. You’ve just closed on the purchase of an older colonial in a beautiful, tree-lined neighborhood that’s perfect for the kids. But the house clearly needs updating. There is old dingy wallpaper throughout, many of the rooms have dark wood panelling, and the lighting, if you can call it that, is totally inadequate. Where to begin.

1) Call the electrician. The first thing to do is update the lighting. Plan to invest in recessed cans in the living room, family room, and kitchen. The result will be dramatic. Recessed lights around the perimeter of the room will highlight any artwork that you put up and will add a nice glow to the room. Remember to install dimmer switches on everything.

2) Move on to your front hallway. Is it dark? Replace the hanging light fixture that’s been there since the early ’60s. And while you’re at the home improvement store, why not pick up a new light fixture for the guest bath and a mirror to replace the existing medicine cabinet.

3) Plan your new color scheme by selecting a palette of three basic colors, all of which go together. The easiest way to do this is to choose colors that have the same hue value, and in our example, the values will be on the light side since the homeowners prefer light walls and it’s dark in there already.  For example, for this house, we chose a light yellow tint (C2’s Filtered 3121), a fresh pale green (C2’s Lichen 4262), and a very airy blue (C2’s Alpine 5137).

4) Distribute those three colors throughout the public spaces. We decided to use the yellow for the front hallway and up the stairs, the green for the living room, the blue for the dining room, and the green again for the family room.

5) Add accent colors where needed. We chose a slightly darker blue (C2’s Rivulet 5144) to go beneath the chair rail in the dining room and in the half bath off the hallway, a darker green (C2’s Balsam 4073) to go on the kitchen backsplash next to the adjoining light green family room and behind the built in white shelves in the family room.

6) Pick your trim and ceiling color. We chose Benjamin Moore’s White Dove semi-gloss. Keeping the same trim color throughout the whole house makes the house feel more spacious and less chopped up. And the creamy white color ages very well and blends with white sinks and other appliances without standing out too much. As for the panelling in the family room, it will be White Dove as will the built-in cabinetry. We chose a Super White for the ceiling to give off maximum light.

And that’s it. We chose a very pleasing palette of colors that will provide a nice backdrop to their furniture and since we chose colors that go together, the house will have harmony and a sense of flow from room to room.

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