When it came to choosing the perfect living room colors, artist, stylist and Clare Collective ambassador Ashley Whiteside had two goals in mind: optimizing natural light and creating cohesion in her open-concept downstairs space. Needless to say, the colors also had to align with her bright, personality-filled style—heavy on vintage and thrifted finds, bold artwork and an inventive mix of patterns and eras.
“I couldn’t leave it boring, or ‘builder’ beige, or the yellow that every parent did in their kids’ rooms around the 2000s,” Ashley says. So that’s why she took a two-toned approach, landing on the unique combo of our warm neutral, Like Buttah, on the walls and cool blue, Frozen, on the ceiling.
“It’s not incredibly bold, but there’s plenty going on in the space—I have a lot of patterns in upholstery and art,” she says. “But it feels so fresh and much more interesting. It doesn’t feel like a sleeper, but restful.”
Keep reading to hear Ashley’s words of wisdom about picking the right combination of living room colors.
The Art of Lightening Up
Before its current paint job, Ashley’s living room walls were painted in a classic navy with white trim, ceilings and board and batten. But after spending lots of time at home during the pandemic, it began to feel too dark and heavy, and didn’t take advantage of all the beautiful natural light streaming into the space.
“Even though it’s a beautiful color, it felt like a weight on my shoulders,” Ashley says of the navy paint. “It became obvious it needed to be drastically different—a change of scenery in my own space.”
Enter: Like Buttah, a creamy, dreamy beige that’s adds all the warmth—and a shade that looks lovely as the light changes throughout the day. “I haven’t seen it look bad in any lighting! The living room gets full sun in the morning, crazy bright sun at noon from the bay window, then amazing magic hour vibes before the sun sets. Each of those gives a different color temp,” Ashley says.
Mastering the Open Concept
Because so much of the home is open-concept, there’s a major lack of transitions in the space, making it tricky to paint different areas different colors. Frozen was initially chosen for the hallway upstairs, which opens into the downstairs spaces. Instead of creating an awkward color transition, Ashley brought it to the first level, adding the cool blue to the ceilings for continuity and a touch of color.
“It’s subtle, but very intentional for adding a little interest,” Ashley says. “It’s like an ever-so-slightly cloudy sky—a refreshing injection of joy.”
A Perfect Pairing of Living Room Colors
While blue skies are always beautiful, it’s not often you see ceilings painted in the shade, which is in line with Ashley’s risk-taking nature when it comes to color. And because opposites attract, the cool nature of Frozen made it the perfect foil for the cozy warmth of Like Buttah. It was also important that each of the shades were subtle, and not so drastically different from each other in terms of saturation.
“Finding a low contrast between those two allowed me to pull it off. Cohesion was at the front of my mind for about a year as I plotted this out.” Ashley says.
Want more inspo from Ashley? You got it.