Grounded: Painting The Wall Under Our Chair Rail Darker

We finally got around to painting the area under the chair rail in the office a shade darker than the stenciled wall above it so it feels more balanced (as mentioned here). It was a little top heavy with the stencil going on above the chair rail and nada happening underneath, so I slid one square down on the Benjamin Moore paint swatch with the wall color on it (which is Moonshine by the way) and landed on Gray Horse (which we also had color matched to Olympic No-VOC paint in satin). Total spent: $10 for the quart of paint. Das it.

Doesn’t it look more grounded now? Hence the title.

You might notice that we returned the matching metallic-y gold gourd lamps that we used to have in favor of these two that were also from HomeGoods (one’s a tripod desk lamp in ORB with a white shade and the other is a glass based lamp in ORB with a white shade). They don’t match but they definitely go, and it’s nice to break up all the symmetry just a little (mirror image desk + centered window + two matching chairs =über balanced, so we thought it could take a little imperfection).

The not-matching lamps might bother you without any art on those walls (yes, mom I’m talking to you) but I promise once we hang art there won’t be quite as much focus on the lamps and they’ll fall into the room and be just another layered element that will make more sense as the whole picture comes together. Or you’ll still hate them but will still love me as a daughter (also for mom).

Oh and we brought in the dark leather chair from the bedroom since the dark wood top of the desk looks pretty nice with that guy nearby (it just held mounds of clothes in the bedroom but actually gets used in here). And a bright green lumbar pillow that we already had (you know pillows are like nomads around here) tied in the new green desk chairs that we painted a few weeks back.

For some reason I’m especially enamored with the file cabinet thanks to the colorful accessories. Gray walls + white desk & cabinet + brown chair & desktop = a craving for color (hence the addition of the green chairs and a few other punchy accents).

I tossed these books down with some stacked bowls and a ceramic pear and said out loud (yes I talk out loud to myself all day) “oh man, someone should base a room on these colors.”

Then I realized that:

  • the yellow tones in the bowl and bottom book are in the chairs’ upholstery and the wall stencil
  • the green bowl mimics the color of the desk chairs
  • the dark gray book on top is just a shade or two darker than the darker gray that we just added under the chair rail
  • the turquoise in the globe and middle book are also in our desk chairs’ upholstery fabric
  • the glossy white from the ceramic pear relates to the white trim, desk, and file cabinet

Duh, we sort of did base a room around these colors. Purely by accident. Gotta love when you back into things like that (trial + error = not a bad way to go). So I highly recommend white + green + yellow + gray + turquoise. Oh yeah and some chocolate brown too (maybe someday I’ll ORB the globe base to represent that color, you know when I’m just sitting around twiddling my thumbs).

Much like every other room in our house the office is nowhere close to “done” (as in, it’ll probably take us a few more years of tweaking like our first house)…

… but it’s definitely feeling more finished than it did a few months back when it looked like this:

So far we’ve:

  • built the wall-to-wall desk (more on that here, here, here, here, here, and here)
  • brought in an Ikea file cabinet (more on that here and here)
  • added a toy basket for Clara (function = the most important thing)
  • painted the walls soft gray (BM’s Moonshine – more on that here)
  • painted the chandelier indigo & added a huge drum shade (more on that here)
  • stenciled the walls (more on that here and here)
  • painted and reupholstered the desk chairs (more on that here and here)
  • painted the bottom half of the room darker gray (BM’s Gray Horse)
  • brought in a chair for the corner (Clara demands storytime in nearly every room)

Still gotta:

  • hang art
  • add some window treatments
  • figure out a rug (the existing one is too wide and not long enough)
  • add a floor lamp to the chair corner (for some height) along with a proper side table
  • tweak a ton of stuff (we’ve learned it’s par for the course for us… stuff evolves as we go!)

What have you guys been up to? Any other fellow WP’s (weekend painters) out there? It was a nice weekend for outdoor stuff too. Anyone seeding or weeding or transplanting? We definitely have the outside itch to tackle some of that stuff before it gets too cold…


  1. says

    I really love that Gray Horse color (I may steal it for our living room!). The walls do look more balanced how that the bottom half of the walls is a smidge darker than the part that’s stenciled. I also love the leather chair in there (otherwise it just felt too light to me) and all the accessories on the file cabinet. Maybe you hang some art with turquoise in it! Great job :)

  2. Sarah says

    Looks awesome! Love the tripod lamp, can’t wait to see what art you choose. The room is really coming together :)

  3. diana says

    Looking great! But what happened to the original rug? I missed that one piece of info. I love the unbalanced lamps, i always like a break in the symmetry of a room. From all I know, the weight center (so the higher lamp) should be in the left bottom corner, but you shouldn’t take my word, as I am left handed. Love how it’s coming along, can’t wait for some height balance (floor lamp and art over the desk).

  4. says

    Looks great!!! Have you thought about using roman shades on the windows? I decided to make some for my windows and they were super easy and turned out great. Just an idea!

    • Marci says

      I was thinking roman shades too, maybe even in the fabric that you used for the chairs and in the dining room. Maybe it might be overkill but I just love that fabric so much. Office looking fab, even without any window treatments! I’d love to stencil my half bath with those exact colors.

    • says

      Yes, I love that fabric too, but I think it’ll be too much with the stencil and the painted built-ins in the dining room. Not sure where we’ll end up. Maybe something airy and sheer like white or soft gray – just to let the future art and stencil and chairs be the stars? We’ll have to see where we end up…


  5. Megan says

    Looking forward to seeing what you pick for a floor lamp. I’ve been searching for one but most of them look so college dormish to me.

  6. mribaro says

    I like the grounding you did by painting the lower part of walls darker. It’s a pity photos don’t do justice to the beautiful stencil job you did – I’m straining my eyes but it’s hardly visible.

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