Saturday, January 7, 2012

help me spruce up the store, part 1

I want to make some changes to the store and I need your advice, starting with wall color. Let me show you the general layout. The store is shaped like a 7. The long part of the 7 is a big room that was ochre when I rented it, and I painted it antique white. The floor is wood that someone had done a really ugly faux brick paint job on, and I painted it green. The first two pictures were taken when I was moving into the store in October 2010. 
The only natural light comes from three smallish windows in the back of the store.
I think the white looks nice when there's not much in the room. 

A year later:

That white desk is the sales counter. You turn the corner of the 7 there, and the white wall and green floor continues for about 7 feet. After that the floor changes to wide board pine, and the walls are red. (I'll get to that section in another post.)

 I'm not happy with the white walls. They feels kind of cold, and I don't think art shows up well against it. I love the green floor.  I was thinking about something bold--a deep blue or yellow or orange even. Maybe even do the wall behind the desk one color, the little section where the field bags hang another, and the rest another. Kind of like this store---Kabinett and Kammer.

Or is that too much color? Especially considering I carry a lot of painted furniture? My other thought is a warm caramel color--a light brown with yellow undertones. Or I could paint the wall behind the desk orange and the rest caramel. Which way would you go? I also want to paint that white desk.

edited to add: I keep looking at grey and charcoal. I'm worried it would be too dark without good natural light. But I keep going back to it... and I've gone down the Pinterest rabbit hole. I have a store inspiration board here.

 I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. I'll respond in the comments section so it can be a conversation. 



  1. Hmm...difficult to choose colours, the wall isn't icy white and faint coloured that you call antique white, so it doesn't look cold for me, though on the contrast to the goods on it I agree with you.

  2. difficult choice. I'd say go for colour. bold colour. if you look at some of the old European museums like the Louvre they have each room in a different colour. and not subtle. and it works. how difficult/expensive would it be to change it again if you really don't like it?

  3. I like the idea of a bold feature wall but I love the grey/blue in picture 11. I cant wait to see what you choose, you stock some beautiful things.

  4. Haricot--I do think the white looks fine with the American cottage and farmhouse look of the furniture I find. I'm not sure why I don't like it, but will think about that understanding will help me make better choices when I change things.

    Petra--I was thinking about museums too. A lot of American museums have gone bold. I distinctly remember the first time I saw it, and I think art looks fabulous against the darker colors. The good thing about paint is its not very expensive. Also I will do some test swatches on the walls.

    Anne--I love that color too. In fact my bedroom is walls are very close to that, maybe a bit more periwinkle. For some reason I think I need something deeper/richer/warmer in the store. I also need to think about what will complement the red walls in the other section of the store.

  5. I love the colors of yellow or golden brown/yellow. ...and burnt about go from a white desk/counter to black ? too extreme ? I like black used somehow with colors to tone them down and join everything together in a way.

    Thanks for asking for everyone to give their opinions this is very interesting to think about...wish I has a shop to do what you're fun fun to dream anyway.

    - KAT -

  6. Hi Jen, many thanks for your visit and kind comments.
    I like your idea of colour blocks, but think they need to be in definite zones or areas. I think you could use partitions or screens or even use the furniture itself to define areas, for example you could have a kitchen area, or childrens area and have all your stock relating to these areas, arranged together, to make it like a department store. It's all very exciting, I wish I lived nearer and I could come and help you with the painting.
    In your picture with the yellow wall, it is masked off. You could even keep the white and just mask off areas in colours to suit.

    I like the green floor too and if it were mine I would paint the wooden area so that it is all the same.
    Good luck with your plans, the new year is a great time to start! Much love, Linda x

  7. Kat--black is a really cool idea. Don't know if I'm brave enough, but I will consider it! I love yellow too. That store was ochre when I started, which is not a shade I'm fond of, but I was probably to hasty in painting over it.

    Linda--I tried dividing the store into areas, but it hasn't worked as well as I'd hoped, maybe because the balance of what I have on hand varies a lot. You are right about needing to be zones of some sort, especially if I use more than one color. The unpainted floor is a beautiful wide golden pine so I don't want to paint it. The walls there are a deep red. I am thinking about treating that area as something distinct--will be asking your advice about that in another post. Wish you lived nearer too!

  8. I would not paint that wood floor for a million dollars. Actually, I like a pale yellow very much but would have to look at samples to see what might go well next to it. The idea of blocks is a good one. The desk, I would paint something dark I think, but not black. Too stark. These are hard decisions unless you can afford to do over, but paint does not really cost all that much.

  9. RJ (can i call you that?) the pine floor is a beauty and will stay as is. I was originally going to paint the white walls creamy yellow, but then I thought that something deeper would be better. It's pretty obvious I have no idea what I want, right?

  10. Jen.. I recently saw a medical office located in an older home that used the very bold color called "Dill Pickle." With the white trim on doors, windows and warm wood floor & furniture, it was amazing! However, I'm not suggesting this specific color.. but to say that the bold color was just awesome and unexpected. The owner also incorporated a deep caramel in a rear area of the building. The red with your pine floor is sublime! Don't be afraid to be bold. Also, agree with Linda about making "areas" within your space. Maybe some display shelves that are permanent fixtures. Hey... it's easy to come up with ideas when $$$$ aren't a problem. Have fun and enjoy the process... as you can see you'll have lots of help. I'm off down my rabbit-hole to visit your pin board... :-)

  11. Susan-the interior of a store across the street from mine is painted dill pickle and it looks great! My next post, after I've worn you all out with this, will be about shelving, so stay tuned, please.

  12. Birch forest wallpaper on one wall. :)

  13. My suggestions in random order:
    I would keep the antique white on most of the walls and have a few judiciously chosen walls painted with bold colors and one wall with a vintage looking wallpaper, something with a repeated pattern on it. (or a textured wall i.e pressed tin or distressed wall panelling)
    I like the painted green floor.
    I would definitely keep most of the walls a light color which doesn't make a strong statement. I think you may want to play around with the lighting instead to create the mood that you want.

  14. Renee--great idea! Maybe along the back wall, behind the desk, that you see when you enter the store...

    Lambert--I like your mixing it up suggestion. There has to be a calm center to it, since I have so much painted furniture. But there are a few discrete areas that could use a bolder treatment. My original plan was to paint the room a creamy yellow and do the wall behind the desk and the short one behind the field bags bold colors. I'm loving the wallpaper idea. I know nothing about lighting...but maybe just adding some lamps from ambient light would help.

    Everyone--It may seem, from my comments, like I am going in circles, and maybe I am, but that's part of this process. For me, those of you who regularly comment here (and you new ones too) are part of the store, and I love, appreciate and am processing your ideas.

  15. Oh Jen! I would love to give you some advice as well yet I do not know which one.. I always like white walls. I like the idea though that some walls could be pained in a different color. Why not choose a greyish color as on pic 11? It is very nice. The pic of Kabinett and Kammer is nice too but I believe strong yellow is great in spring and summer but I think you need something that is suitable for all year round. I guess I haven't really helped you a lot have I... but I think the solution is within you already. I keep my fingers crossed! Walls can also be repainted...

  16. Dearest Jen,
    Althought I haven't said 'hi' yet, that doesn't mean that I haven't been visiting. It's just that I seem to get stuck with studying your pictures. So many beautiful objects. I wish I could have said: 'Send me everything in picture 2, or 3'.

    I too like white walls, but understand the wish and need for a change. I would be careful with bold colors, afraid that they might steal the limelight from your beautiful things. But, I may be wrong, it could have the opposite effect.
    Not much help, I'm afraid - just confusion :)

    Wishing you a lovely, creative 2012.
    xo Lilli

  17. i would agree with Lambert. i believe light colours( on the walls) in a shop
    lets the object you are selling show more. otherwise i think your shop is gorgeous. i would love to come by and take a look at all these wonderful stuff you have in there : )

  18. Hi Jen, I hope you are getting closer to making a decision and not more confused? I agree with Lambert about the lighting, it is so important to get that right. In shops that I have had, I have always found spotlights to be very good for highlighting things, and lamps for ambience (as you say).
    Perhaps you could have simple screens made up that you could paint or paper to make up a little scenario as and when you need it? Like a giant picture frame filled in with feet at the bottom, so that it shands up by itself.(You may not have room to store these though?)
    Thankyou so much for your e-mail. I enjoy talking with you, love Linda x

  19. Hey Jen, your store is awesome! If I'm ever in that area, I will absolutely stop by. I'm pretty excited about that rack of old baseball bats? Amazing.

  20. Hey Jen, your store is awesome! If I'm ever in that area, I will absolutely stop by. I'm pretty excited about that rack of old baseball bats? Amazing.