Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Granny Smith Apple and Ghosts From The Past

There's a line you don't want to cross when fixing up a rental house, you know? Removing wallpaper and painting is cool, but, like, buying a new vanity is a bit much. So we're restraining ourselves to just the cosmetic stuff, you know?

Serge and I just spent the past hour wandering around Home Depot debating the merits of Granny Smith Apple or Yellow Lettuce vs. Green Grapes or Lemon Grass. What is it with the food and color names?

Anyway, remember how I got crazy and murdered the ducks? So we've got to paint the bathroom. I have this vision of green walls with brilliant white accents. White shower curtain, fluffy white towels stacked onto some sort of old, wooden white piece of furniture, white cotton balls in a glass jar... You feel me? A color kind of like this but maybe not so lime-y. Like this, maybe? More of an apple green? Or this? But then we could always take a mellower route and head into the sage family. But they seem drab in comparison.

I don't know! See what I mean:

Anyway, I think we've got her narrowed down to four colors, all of which are represented in the above photo. I'm going to need your help picking one. I just need to paint the samples on the wall and take some photos and I'm too damned tired to talk about paint anymore today. Next week, maybe?


It's an odd thing, settling into a life without a specific schedule. You need self-discipline, routine all that crap. I think we're starting to get the hang of things. I have an entire home office now in which I can write. This house was built in 1901 and I'm told this used to be a pastor's office. In fact, the desk he used is still here, I'm typing on it right now. I found some of his old cards that said something like "Pastor called, sorry you missed me" that I suppose he stuck in people's doors when he went to visit and they weren't around.

I wonder about all the people who've lived here. What were they like? Did they die here? I'm sure more than a few folks died in this house. What were their last thoughts? Are they still here? I like living in a lived in house, if you know what I mean. A new house seems so dull and characterless. Although, a brand new bathroom vanity sounds like a dream right about now. And now I'm back to the bathroom and the color dilemma. Green Tea, Parsley Sprig, Asparagus, Spring Cactus. Maybe I'm on the wrong track. But I want something cheerful and happy... Although anything is better than ducks traipsing across flesh-colored paint.

Okay, so then you tell me. If you could paint your bathroom any color, what color would it be?

Reader Comments (30)

We're having the same dilemma at the moment, but I'm thinking a Mediterranean blue or a lime green (to go along with our white tiles). We have the lime green in the kitchen and LOVE it and I'm concerned our small bathroom couldn't handle the blue I would like (think of those photos of Greece; blue seas, white buildings etc). I guess I just made my decision, ha!

Also, how annoying is it that the paint sample cards never look the same when you bring them home as when you were in the store? Artificial lighting, bah!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

What helped me the most in picking a gray color for my living room was to pick my top 3 and then paint swatches all over the room (where different light hits) and just live with it for a while. After seeing how it looked in different lights the optimal gray became very clear. And luckily, it worked out great because I love the color! They sell $2.99 (or something close) mini jars at Home Depot.. Take advantage!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

I like blues for bathrooms, greens for living rooms, and yellows for kitchens. Purples for bedrooms and neutrals for dining areas, second bedrooms, and hallways.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

go bright! it'll cheer you up forever.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentera.

I renovated the bathroom in a house I shared with an ex a few years ago and chose a pale lavender color. We both LOVED it! The accents (tile, shower curtain, etc) were black and white, bright white trim, fixtures were all silver. I still think about that bathroom and want to re-create it the next opportunity I have!

I agree with a. - go bright! Light and bright. :)

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNat

I painted mine a kind of cantaloupe color - maybe a little brighter - not orange orange - but nice and cheery. I LOVE it. I like a lot of color. Bedroom is a reddish brown called mahogany (also love it); kitchen - red; hall - green; another bedroom blue; living room - like butter yellow; kitchen - white. Color's good! Sounds like you're doing great! Do what makes you feel good ...

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam

hey, get those small sample jars and paint a few places - like in corners, etc, where the light's a little different to get a better idea of what it'll look like and if you'll really like it.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I would go the mellower route because whatever color you choose it's going to look brighter with the white, white accents & trim.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

Be careful that you don't think you are sick every time you look at your reflection in a green bathroom. I only know that I look really good in my friend's pink bathroom.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjls

I think I might go for the mellower color with the white it would look amazing. You can always dress it up with another color later, like adding a brighter shower curtain in the same color scheme, or a bright picture.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

I live in a hundred year old house, give or take a few years. Do to a toilet tank cracking in the middle of the night, we had to competely renovate the bathroom shortly after we moved in. It's a tiny bathroom, but we put in a purple clawfoot tub and a smaller sink to make the room lok bigger. Yes we had the clawfoot tub painted dark purple on the outside with a nice bright white interior and nickel faucets. The walls are a medium shade of purple, the ceiling is a silvery grey, and the ceramic tiles are a silvery grey with purple flecks. I love my bathroom. 5 1/2 years later and I'm still in love with the purple.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I vote for Yellow Lettuce. Nice and bright without being too crazy.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT.J.

I painted a room with the Sued paint once. Im not a fan of the faux but this was different and amazing. I did a combo of green and orange - yes sounds tacky but it was muted colors. The Green was "Tamao Green" and the orange "Adobe". It was the most relaxing peacful feel - EVER! I vote muted route. The green in your photo on the Left, the muted on that is on top of the others - thats the one!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTatiana

My bathroom is bright, BRIGHT green. It came that way, and I made the most of it with a shower curtain in a retro green/brown/orange print. It is the happiest room in the house. Which happens to be painted bright yellow on the outside....

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily d.

I really like the first bathroom. I like bright colors b/c I do think that drab colors dont do anything for my moods...i def think you should try some out on the wall first...

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Mine would be an ocean blue shade, but I pick Yellow Lettuce for yours!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaycie

and boy were we glad to see those walking ducks take a hike. That paper came off TOO EASY!!:) a pleasure to watch..Man, i love love love decorating...every phase of cheaply as possible, without looking cheap! The ideas you shared here are great. The color green is refreshing as long as it doesn't look institutional green or pea green ( pee green) with too much yellow will bring up memories of puke or sputum. I think a lime green is nice with less yellow in it. the light will add enough yellow to it...the muted tones which have grey or blue in them are nice if you have more light which it appears you do. I think getting a nice new sink top is actually a really nice thing to do in a home you might plan on staying in...but I would wait to see how it goes. Maybe ask the owners if they would consider taking a little off the rent in exchange...maybe not at this juncture...anyhoot. It's a full moon so whatever you decide on...maybe wait for a couple of days! Happy painting. Makes me happy just thinking about it ( i'm moving soon to a rental myself so it's fun to see how far you guys actually go in making this place your own)...I like the new vanity idea...but again...full moon!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

PS I liked the description of the white towels and wood and ceramic accessories! Good taste. My sister just did her BR in that soft clean greyish blue "Restoration hardware" green with white beadboard
wainscoating which is cheap and easy to install with wood glue. or one of those Martha Stewart beach glass greens with white.I did that once and it was refreshing. okay! Happy restoration Bielanko style.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

My advice on the bathroom color is make sure you pick a color that doesn't make people look sick when they look in the mirror!

If you will be putting on make-up and doing your hair in that bathroom, that advice is even more important!!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

I have a bright-ish green bathroom with white trim and I love it. The colour, not the actual bathroom itself. I'd like it better if the toilet wasn't in danger of falling through the floor. The colour is fabulous. Don't go with sage. Sage is awful. Sage is the colour equivalent of the sound of newspaper being rubbed. Pick one of the bright ones. On my screen, I like the bottom one on the strip of three under the lima beans, or the middle one in the three group next to it. The bottom one is growing on me, the big square of more emerald green on its own, it looks exactly like the colour of a particular pencil crayon. "Grass green", I think. They will all look gorgeous with white and in an old house like yours. Oh, and I read somewhere that people get sick of more neutral colours much faster than they get tired of bright, strong shades. So there's that.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Dark grey. It's the best.

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

I like your green hues... in fact I had a living room like that, not with the bright whites but combined with more natural/earthy accents.
But be careful with these colors in the bathroom... make sure to pick colors that will make you look as good and healthy as possible when you look in the mirror! I think there's nothing worse than living with a bathroom mirror that permanently tells you how sick/pale/generally "off" you look. At least for me, good neutral colors and really good light are important in the bathroom. My confidence isn't so strong that I couldn't use a little boost from a very benevolent mirror/light. ;)

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I like the third (mellower) option -- while it's not as bold as the others, it's still fun, but adds a bite of 'spa-ness', too. And if you ever want to make the room more fun & sassy, you can always find a shower curtain to bring in some extra color. BTW, what is the name of that mellower (sagey) green?

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

The colors on the far right, top two appear clean and happy,,while the mellower subdued greens on the left are calming
and sophisticated, especially the bluish green one at the top. Sage WAS the rage but it can be depressing.The middle ones and those to the lower left seem dreary depressing and maybe scary ( biliary green). Some greens look like waterproof unpainted wallboard, One of my fave greens is "Oscar green" Here's the old guy now! "I love green"...

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

Dude, do the green. About 10 years ago, my mum bought a new(ish) house, decided to paint it fresh before the move-in...and did the ENTIRE HOUSE in apple green.

It looked freakin' amazing.

Like, refreshing and warm and gorgeous all at once. It was pretty much like the colour under your "Or this?" link.

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPretzel Thief

my bathroom is sage green and after 5 years of it, i so wish it was more "cheery". i love the green on the left side of the paint chip with the square cut out. i think that's a good cheery color without being to crazy floresent. i wish not though that my bathroom were a good bright cheery blue. i hate painting so much that it will be green forever!!

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhilary

You'd be surprised how light the light green turns out. I painted my daughter's bathroom what I thought was the softest mint green to go with all the white accents. Hub looked at it and said "Hey, that reminds me of the green walls in the janitor's closet from high school." And those words made it so. It also made me wonder WTH we were so familiar with the janitor's closet? I'd go bold and bright as long as it doesn't have any hints of yellow in the green.

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuli

I painted my bathroom in what I thought was a nice ocean breeze blue and when all was done.... It looked like someone puked up Easter candy robin egg blue. My opinion is in small places lighter is better!!

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOaklee

there is a nice tips here, your links monica are all great too, I love green color so much, and I think the color tone should be chosen depend on how much light is coming into room, that's the clue to feel good after painting, and true smaller rooms should be lighter, can't wait to see how it all goes :) yeap I love home decorating too :) good luck!

July 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

If there is a window in the bathroom, think about which way the light comes from. If it is north or east go with a warm color to contrast with the cool light. If it is south or west go with a cool color to contrast with the warm light. After many mistakes, I determined that this rule of thumb works best to make sure that people don't look sick when seen in the mirror in a bathroom. It is all about the balance of light. So I have a warm apricot in my north facing bathroom, and pale sky blue in my west facing bathroom. And totally follow the advice of people to put up samples on different walls of the room - so you can see the color with different shadows. Plus it is fun to experiment!

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

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