Paint for the Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen, AKA Where We Really Need Your Help

looking into living room

Facing north looking into the living room.

Imagine yourself at my front door. When you walk into the house, you’re standing in a tiny, 3 x 5 entryway that leads straight up the stairs. If you turn right, you’re in the living room, which leads to the dining room, which is adjacent to the kitchen. The living room has a 5 x 10 bank of north facing windows and two glass block windows that let in the western afternoon light. Moving in to the dining room, there is another set of western windows, as well as southern windows, but the latter backs up to an enclosed porch and thus do not bring in a lot of light.

Because you’ve asked in my other posts: the green carpet is covering a fabulous oak floor that will be shined up to a shade or two darker than a natural finish. The sheers will go and we don’t have any furniture to speak of. However, we do own a monster of a circa 1928 upright player piano that has a rich, dark walnut exterior. The piano weighs about 500 pounds and wherever it lands in our house, it will stay forever. We’ve already moved it twice at considerable cost, so we’re not sure whether to just put it in the basement or call it a day or what. It might go near the stairs or between the glass blocks.

The dining room table that’s currently in place, as seen below, is a salvage piece. It can stay or go.

The kitchen, which you can see here, is a odd blend of high-end vintage metal cabinets (for sale), basic wooden ones, 1950s mosaic wall tile, 1970s wallpaper and a linoleum floor. We’re going to shine up the oak floor under the linoleum and gut everything else. We’ll be tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and installing a peninsula that will separate the two rooms. The floor, cabinets and counter tops will be neutral and there won’t be a lot of wall space, so don’t be surprised when you see the bold colors suggested by Evelyn, our Benjamin Moore design consultant.

Living room on Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer

Living room as seen on's Personal Color Viewer.


dining room

Looking into the dining room.

The header and wall leading toward the dining room will be brown.

So that’s the lay of the land.

Evelyn suggested two potential palettes for the living room, we’d like you to pick your favorite color from both:

Benjamin Moore color selections for living room1A: Huntington Beige   1B: Kentucky Haze   1C: Raindance     Accent color 1: Fresh Brew

The brown accent will go on the header that divides the living room and dining room as well as the small bit of wall that remains in the living room.


This second set of options might be a bit dark for my tastes given the available light.Benjamin Moore Living Room Set 22A: Saybrook Sage      2B: Van Courtland Blue    2C: Richmond Gold    Accent Color 2: Hidden Valley

For our otherwise bland kitchen, she recommends one of these bold colors below (as if the brown wall wasn’t enough for a clueless Design Spaz like me!).

Benjamin Moore Colors for kitchenA: Audubon Russet   B: Chili Pepper    C: Yellow Marigold        Kitchen Accent: Brown Tar

So, what do you think? Help me decide!

Voting ends 9/16/11 at midnight CST. Three randomly chosen voters will receive gift codes for Buy2Get2Free Benjamin Moore paint samples so they make their kitchen, or any room in the house, a bit more exciting.

When you vote, keep in mind that the kitchen color will be visible from the dining room.

When you’re done, take a look at Evelyn’s suggestions for my teen son and my tween boy.

And please vote on the color for our master bedroom.

It will be months before the entire job is finished. If you’d like to follow along on our journey, “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook, subscribe to this blog or Progress Notes, our monthly newsletter that serves up links to our most popular posts as well as a chance to enter product giveaways. Click to subscribe.

Disclosure: Benjamin Moore is providing paint and design services for us in exchange for me sharing our journey to painted walls. Without their help, our walls would be white, cream and beige.

27 Responses to Paint for the Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen, AKA Where We Really Need Your Help
  1. Heather Emmert
    September 13, 2011 | 11:56 am

    1C for the living room and
    A for the kitchen

  2. Donna
    September 13, 2011 | 1:46 pm

    You crack me up! I did the same thing when choosing a new color for our kitchen (although without the help of a professional – you lucky duck!) The crowdsourcing was great, because it ended up confirming my color choice (instead of my husband and daughter’s).

    Anyway: I like the first (lighter) palette for the living room. But I’m unclear – are you using all four colors? (That’s what we did in our home – selected a palette and used three of the four colors throughout the house). I like 1B for the walls.

    Kitchen: I rather like the Chili Pepper shade, with Yellow Marigold a close second.

  3. Kelly
    September 13, 2011 | 1:50 pm

    I’m partial to the richmond Gold and the Marigold. I would have never thought to paint that wall an accent color. Now I’m wondering where I should do that! 😉

  4. megryansmom
    September 13, 2011 | 1:59 pm

    I’m so over green and blue. I’d go with living room accent #1, 2c and b for the kitchen. Can you use living room accent#1 in the kitchen as well? Or kitchen accent in both? Hmm the more I look the more I think I like the kitchen accent color better than the living room accent. Yes, yes I do, so I vote for kitchen accent as accent for both rooms and 2c for the main color, and finally B chili pepper for the kitchen.

    Oh and I really don’t need the samples, what I need is a few gallons of paint to paint my living room and kitchen. When you have a giveaway for that let me know 😉

  5. Michele McGraw
    September 13, 2011 | 3:29 pm

    hmmmm! I hate picking colors, but here goes

    I would say 1A & 2B for living room

    and for the kitchen – I think C because it is bright. I like bright kitchens. I always heard that you should paint a kitchen blue because blue will stop you from overeating. Not sure if it’s true. 😀

  6. Amy
    September 13, 2011 | 4:20 pm

    Oh what fun!! Harrington Beige for the living room and the russet color for the kitchen. They’ll play well off each other. Kentucky Haze will also play well with the autumn russet- a nice cool tone to play off the warmth of the russet.

  7. Jen
    September 13, 2011 | 8:18 pm

    I can’t find my notes from the other night, so I think it was #2 for the living room (I like richer colors) and Audubon Russet for the kitchen.

  8. Kathy
    September 14, 2011 | 1:00 pm

    I like 1B Kentucky Haze for the living and dining room. Love the Fresh Brew for the accent color! I think Yellow Marigold will work for the kitchen, only because I know someone with a bright yellow kitchen. Otherwise I don’t know if I could visualize it. (In which case, I would have picked Chili Pepper.)

  9. Cynthia
    September 14, 2011 | 3:35 pm

    I pick the second set of colors… they are timeless and you won’t tire of them, don’t be afraid of depth in the color,,, and 2C on any wall is such a dressy statement.. I had my entire house done in it before we sold it and moved in July, people kept asking us who our decorator was.

  10. Kim
    September 14, 2011 | 4:02 pm

    1B, 2C, & A. I love bold colors and have them in my house. Dark wood pops with them and furniture comes to life. I have the gold in my bathroom, the brown accent with light blue & green were in my sons rooms. All were beautiful, I think you will be very happy with some color in your life!

  11. KimberlyJ
    September 14, 2011 | 4:09 pm

    1C for the living room and A for the kitchen. Good luck with everything.

  12. Pat
    September 14, 2011 | 4:47 pm

    I think that if the living room runs right into the dining room, you need to choose the same color for both rooms. I would choose the Saybrook Sage for the main color, and if you must have an accent wall in brown, use the Hidden Valley. use that also as the accent in the kitchen, and use the Richmond Gold as the kitchen color.
    Now if you what me to play by the rules, the 2nd color palette would be my choice for living room, dining room. for the kitchen, I would choose the yellow marigold. 🙂

  13. SMcGuire
    September 14, 2011 | 4:47 pm

    I’ve used Huntington Beige. It’s versatile so it will give you plenty of options as you accumulate furniture. Or just have the best dance in floor in town. I don’t like the accent wall at all. It’s a odd shaped wall and hardly a feature (sorry). I also think it’s odd to paint the kitchen before you pick cabinets but if you’re going that way – Audoban Russet. The accent wall can work well in a kitchen that is broken up by cabinetry. I recently painted the same type of wood door in your kitchen a rich brown and it looks wonderful. Maybe that the place for the Brown Tar.

  14. Sandy
    September 14, 2011 | 4:49 pm

    Color is my favorite tool for decorating, with so many ways to incorporate and cross-pollinate from room to room. My choice would be 1A Huntington Beige-it’s so warm and you can accent so many different colors against it, to make changes simple when the mood stikes. As a second choice, I like 2C Richmond Gold. I would choose A Audubon Russet for the kitchen. While I like both of the other colors, I think I would use them in accents-artwork, pottery, dishware, fabrics. I think the Russett is a bit more neutral.

    • Marjorie
      September 14, 2011 | 5:22 pm

      I love 1c(raindance) and then chili pepper or audubon russet for the kitchen but was wondering why you can’t carry the accent color fresh brew into the kitchen.

  15. dawn unger
    September 14, 2011 | 5:28 pm

    kentucky haze
    courtland blue
    audubon russet

  16. Jane foley
    September 14, 2011 | 7:19 pm

    1A,2c,and C for the kitchen. Blending tones with accent colors in furniture, pillows, placemates etc.

  17. Diane P.
    September 14, 2011 | 7:37 pm

    Kentucky Haze and Saybrook Sage. Chili Pepper for the kitchen and lavender sipstick for bedroom. Takes me forever to choose colors.

  18. Stacie
    September 14, 2011 | 8:48 pm

    1C for the living room and A for the kitchen. Good luck and happy painting!

  19. Amy
    September 15, 2011 | 6:24 am

    I would go with 1A for the Living Room and Audubon Russet in the kitchen. The Dining Room would look great in the 1B or 1C and coordinate well with the adjacent spaces. Good Luck!

  20. Carol Daniell
    September 15, 2011 | 8:52 am

    Kentucky Haze, Van courtland Blue and Marigold, living room accent 2. I actually have colors similar to these in my own house, and it is so easy to decorate with them, and the kitchen is so happy and bright being gold!, it looks beautiful seen near the blue as well, like the sun and the sky!

  21. Jeanine
    September 15, 2011 | 10:15 am

    Kentucky Haze
    Fresh Brew
    Audubon Russet

  22. Stacie Bruno
    September 15, 2011 | 10:43 am

    I’d go w/ 1B for the living room and B for the kitchen.

  23. Lisa
    September 15, 2011 | 12:22 pm

    1B: Kentucky Haze for the living room

    B: Chili Pepper for the kitchen

  24. […] As long as you’re reading, will you click to let me know what color combo you think works best for my kitchen and living room/dining room? […]

  25. RR
    September 16, 2011 | 4:29 pm

    So, I think you need to look at some whites. You really need to post a pic of the stairwell wallpaper for folks to make an informed vote. But I think a nice off white would compliment it. Also, I can tell you first hand that a northfacing living room can be quite drab with pastels. Either a bright white or something warm like brown or gold. Sorry Evalyn. I like the dark brown for an accent wall and the brightest colors for the kitchen and the darkest grey for the tween’s room – or white with black chalk board paint accents. Now you know my opinion. Finally.

  26. And the Paint Color Winners Are… #PaintMeBen
    September 26, 2011 | 6:16 am

    […] the Paint Color Winners Are… September 26, 2011 The votes are in! My hearty thanks to all of you who chimed in with your preferences and useful advice, to boot. […]