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rojo's avatar

Can you assist me with an interior design question?

Asked by rojo (24179points) January 16th, 2017

Please help, I do not have what it takes for coordinating colors.

I am installing this flooring Canyon Oak in a room that is to become my library. It is not a huge room, about 11’ x 11’. The flooring has a reddish tint, actually a darker red that the photo shows, almost a mahogany.

There will be be built in floor to ceiling bookcases all along two opposite sides of the room. What little of the walls show on either end (one has a door, the other a 6’ x 6’ window) will need to be painted. The door, frame, window sill and trim and the baseboards can either be stained to match the woodwork or painted in a complementary color. I am open to suggestions.

My question is what color should I stain the bookcases? Should they be darker than the floor? Lighter? or perhaps a matching mahogany color? And, since the room is separated from the rest of the house should I match the rest of the home for the paint colors or go with something distinctive.

If I go with your suggestion, I will post pictures of the room (not sure whether this is considered incentive or threat) when completed.

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20 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Black always works.

rojo's avatar

Thanks, @ragingloli but I would rather not paint the shelves. I would have saved a few bucks using a lesser grade of lumber on the bookcases if I had. Could use a black stain but then the grain disappears.

As it is, the bookcases are done in red oak so the grain will show.

BellaB's avatar

Do you want the space to look like a traditional library? would that flow with the rest of the house? I don’t necessarily think rooms have to (or should) match others in the house, but I generally don’t think it works if one space clashes too much with the balance of the house.

Sneki95's avatar

If you want to paint the walls, go with white or light colour. It would make a room appear bigger than it is, which is desirable in a cramped room full of books.

Complementary colour to red (on the floor) would be green. You may as well paint the bookshelves green. The white walls probably wouldn’t work in that case. Go with yellow or orange or something (pale shade, not the eye stabbing one). The door and window should probably need to be painted in a darker shade than the walls. Some shade of brown, perhaps? You may as well match it with the floor.

Just some ideas.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@rojo, what do you like in a room? What mood are you hoping to achieve? This is an essential consideration in providing suggestions. I know at different times in my life, I’ve tended to gravitate to darker colours, but now I want things light and airy. Are you trying to create a sophisticated, man cave type space or a light and airy place to read? Will you have a desk in there or if not, what sort of seating are you going to have in the room? In other words, tell us more about how you will use the room and how you want it to feel.

CWOTUS's avatar

What kind of lighting will you have in the room, other than the window? And what is the exposure of the window (which compass direction)? I’m assuming this is a Northern Hemisphere location. Additionally, what wood will be used to assemble the bookcases?

Finally, the most important question of all, asked by @Earthbound_Misfit: What do you like?

Personally – to my taste – that’s a pretty dark shade already, so I’d be inclined to lighten up a bit with the bookcase stain, but obviously you don’t want that to be a gaudy, contrasting or unnatural shade. If you like the dark colors of the floor, then there’s no reason not to stain the bookcases to match. But if you’re not sure, start with a light color and work towards a darker one. It’s always easier to “add dark”, but pretty hard to take it away.

marinelife's avatar

That’s a lot of wood. How much light is in the room? I am thinking cream.

LornaLove's avatar

If you print off a color wheel, there are basically two types of color schemes.

One is monochromatic and the other complementary. So if you were, for example, going to use blue as your monochromatic scheme, you would look on the wheel and use various shades of blue. Or if you were going to paint in yellow, you’d use mustard and yellow and pale lemon yellow. (These are just examples I don’t imagine you’d paint your room yellow or blue!).

If you were to use complementary, you’d use the opposite of the colors that dominate the room. I couldn’t see your link, so if its wood it would be brown and the opposites would be greens like sage green, olive green, or blues. There are quite sophisticated colors in every range so it probably looks better than it sounds!

gorillapaws's avatar

I find the best way to do interior design is to look for examples of things I like and pull those elements in. If you’ve never checked out it’s a great tool to quickly see 1,000s of examples. You can narrow things down to styles and room sizes that are similar to what you’re hoping to deal with. I’ve had a lot of luck getting inspiration in the past.

Best of luck.

rojo's avatar

Lighting will be a ceiling fan with 3 or 4 bulbs plus floor stand lamp and possibly a table lamp.

My main concern is the stain on the bookcases. I know I want them stained but do I stain them to match the wood floor or do I go lighter or darker? Which is more pleasing to the eye? Should the floor and woodwork blend in or should there be a substantial different shade/hue between the two wood elements?

The walls will probably be a neutral. The rest of the house is a taupe with a complementary trim color. The library is actually off the kitchen which is wallpapered and therefore separates the room from the rest of the house so I don’t need to match although I probably will since my idea for picture frame paneling on the walls has been nixed.

Strauss's avatar

My first impulse is to recommend the shelves be stained a little lighter than the floor…but it’s better to err on the side of “too light” as @CWOTUS says. To “go darker” is a lot easier than to “go lighter ”.

rojo's avatar

@gorillapaws thanks for the link, searching now.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

@rojo, I also think your flooring is quite dark and to have the shelves in the same tone would create a very dark room. I would look for a lighter wood stain. Something warm that doesn’t clash with the floor. Houzz is a great site. I hope you find some photos of something that appeals. Share what you are leaning towards.

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MollyMcGuire's avatar

I like libraries that are neutral walls with white bookshelves and trim OR deep colored walls (blue, green, red, and stained bookcases./ Dark floors are good with either one.

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rojo's avatar

FWIW I ended up going with a dark red mahogany flooring and staining the oak shelving a similar but slightly lighter color. Looked great IMHO. I would send pics but the books hide all the shelving anyway. Those walls not covered in books are a light off-white or ecru while the window and door trim are a dark taupe color. Still a work in progress as I need to replace the light fixture/fan, one more door and find some door hardware that has a craftsman styling.

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