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What Color Should I Paint My New Shelves?

So I really really need to whip the office into shape. Ben is planning to move his stuff ‘n’ things downstairs to make room for new baby plus old baby plus a guest room upstairs, but we’re a ways away from making the former dining room into a functional office. Namely we desperately need to figure out how to fit doors to our double wide entry that opens into yet another door, but considering that conundrum is giving me a headache so instead I bought some pretty shelves. Behold.

erin williamson office dark harbor

Nice, yes? They’re solid mahogany so the whippersnappers can’t flip them over whilst riding tricycles through the house. Also, I like that they offer some closed storage down low. But that color is barfaroni and I must decide what color to paint them. To give you an idea of what’s going on with the rest of that wall, I’m planning to add sconces to either side of the painting, toss in some pillows, and get rid of that monstrous coffee table.

I know. I know. I’ve been threatening to get rid of it for two months, but this time I really mean it. IT HAS TO GO THIS WEEKEND OR I MIGHT DIE.

Not that I am feeling melodramatic about the situation or anything. Anyway, if you recall my original plan was to install built in shelves around the sofa and paint them wall color, like so:

But then my buddy Christian suggested I get a pair of vintage brass etageres to avoid constructing a box around my already boxy sofa.

Yes, these would do nicely. The problem is that the office is very tiny and dimensions are tight — I just couldn’t find anything that would fit. Oh, and the other problem is budget — the pair of shelves I purchased cost less than a third of one vintage etagere. Not having to double mortgage your home to buy one shelf = priceless.

erin williamson dark harbor

So back to the matter at hand: what color should I paint the shelves that I already bought? I confess to having a certain yearning for a corally salmon color, like this:

But then I reminded myself that this is to be a man’s office, and it’s already bad enough that I have a giant painting of a girly lady hanging front and center. (Not that this guilt will stop me from buying some pillows in that delicious color…)

erin williamson office dark harbor

Also, these guys are a little hulking. I think it’s best to choose something darkish that recedes into the wall… And although antique gold is still appealing, perhaps I ought just go with the wall color (Dark Harbor) in a gloss finish, as per the original plan? Karly thinks so.

Other choices might go a little something like this:

black iron and city shadow

On the left is Black Iron (same color as our banister trim), and on the right is City Shadow (cool gray with maybe a hint of purple).

Ok guys. My job here is done. I’m tired of looking at paint colors, so it’s your turn.

What should I do?

[Inspiration images via Maison 21’s pinterest]

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