Using Artwork For Color Inspiration

February 2, 2013

I have been working with a young couple who just moved into their first apartment. They already have an amazing collection of artwork for a couple so young:


They took this photo above while they were on vacation in Greece. They loved it so much, they had it blown up and then separated into three separate pieces of art to hang over the sofa.

They asked for help choosing a wall color that would work well with their artwork and other furnishings. Another key player in selecting a color for the living room was this vibrant colorful rug:


Which is bright and colorful (and happy!) and so we must work it with when selecting a color. Notice their sofa is neutral so it did not play much in the initial color selection process.


So where did I begin to search for a color for the walls? I started with the artwork that will be up against the wall.


What color comes to mind when you look at the photo? Blue water, right? But you do not want to pick a blue match for the walls because you do not want the picture to get lost and blend in with the walls. You want a color to be a background to the beautiful artwork which is the star of the room.

What color did I zero in on? The color that I suggested was a soft, blue gray. Gray is modern, clean and a great neutral. And it looks fabulous with all of her black picture frames:

photo (5)

And then every gray I found that would work with the artwork, I would make sure it was also working with the rug:


I love the colors in this rug, don’t you? Many of the colors are too bold for the wall (and to work with the art), but great for choosing an accent color in the room!

These are the Benjamin Moore shades of gray, listed in no particular order, that I think will work well in their room:

Gray Owl OC-52:


Gentle Gray 1626:

click to view full size


I love all of these shades of gray! They are all beautiful grays that will work in the room, they just have to choose which shade they love best. They are going to live with the samples a few days in their space until they make a decision. I will keep you updated!

Which would be your favorite color to use on the walls with their artwork?

If you need help selecting colors for your home, contact me today.


  1. If they’re going for a more contemporary look, I’d say one of the darker grays. But if there’s not much light in the apartment, maybe go lighter gray. I love the Greek photo!

    On the other hand, on my monitor I see a nice soft creamy pale yellowish color in the rug and the Greek photo. That might be a color I’d try to work with. It’s also quite indicative of the area πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait to see which color is chosen!

  2. Hi Kelly!

    The grays are beautiful but I am a lover of warm colors and so would have chosen the soft yellow on the front of the boat and also in the background on the buildings or a neutral beige.

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