What color should Heidi paint her hallway? She’s keeping some flocked wallpaper – yay!

flocked wallpaper in the hallway

Heidi is a longtime reader with a longtime renovation under way (don’t we all!) She wants our help in choosing a paint color for her hallway — to coordinate with the flocked wallpaper that she is keeping, to honor the many gifts of the Retro Decorating Gods. She explains:

 Hi Pam,

My husband and I are finally getting to the painting part of our long rehab. We are having trouble figuring out what color to paint our hallway, because we’ve decided to keep some of the 1960s blue and gold flocked wallpaper that use to cover the entire thing. So we can’t figure out what color to paint the hallway that would mesh well with the wallpaper. Help from readers would be appreciated.

flocked wallpaperWhat do you think, readers? I’ll pipe in with my thoughts at the end…

Meanwhile, enjoy the slide show of Heidi’s space before, during and after taking down a bunch of the wallpaper. And, hey: If you personally like the “befores” better, please remember our #1 commenting rule: No one can be made to feel bad for their decisions. (Lamentations will be deleted or not approved.) Flocked wallpaper can be a lot to digest — and this wallpapaper was no wallflower. I am SURE that Heidi gave the decision lots of consideration — evidenced by the fact she decided to keep the memorial flocked wallpaper in the hall.

  1. Josie says:

    I actually would go with the blue. Not just to be contrary, I swear! But gold walls can be very…. gold walls, especially at the level of classic greenish-gold of that paper… I’m looking at the background of the medallion section. That is definitely not a sandy, desaturated, nevermind-me-I’m-just-here gold.

    But if its a softer gold, that will just read as giving up and going beige, I think.

    But some dark blue walls everywhere the wallpaper is not… with some gilt-framed mirrors, or pictures, and some gold/brass finished vintage-style sconces? That would look very intentional, coordinate well, and calm down the space. I would hope you have some nice lamps, though! 🙂

    Go team blue!

  2. Wendy says:

    If you decide to go with a gold, make sure that you have a small amount of black paint to tone it down. Almost all golds/yellows these days are too bright and will seem a little sunshiny. Mix in a little black to add that gray scale that was popular in the 50’s and 60’s to get the perfect muted tone. Paint back then had lead in it that really grayed up the colors, so you have to kind of add the grey back in. Good luck!

    1. pam kueber says:

      That’s so interesting that you explain that it was the lead that greyed up the colors back in the day!

  3. daniel says:

    i hope it’s not too late to comment!

    i think putting a gold or blue to try and match the wallpaper in the hallway will end up looking weird— you’re not going to get the exact colour and it’s going to look like one or the other is not original. i also don’t think a red would work, it would look silly, to me at least. *if* you go with more paint, i would probably go with a neutral colour that is very light like maybe a cream? but i don’t think paint is the best option.

    i agree with taking out the wallpaper for most of the hallway— those stripes really make you claustrophobic in a narrow hallway like that. but have you considered having a different, more minimal wallpaper? perhaps a mostly white patterned wallpaper would keep the space ‘open’ without leaving the walls blank.

    also, one other note is the popcorn ceiling. my last house had that crap, and if you can do it without blowing a ton of cash, i would replace it with plaster, and give the plaster a kind of half swirl pattern across it. for an example take a look here:
    they have given the plaster there a kind of circle pattern, but for more of a 50s and 60s style, try giving it only quarter circles across the ceiling.
    the reason i hate popcorn ceiling so much is that it’s an 80s/90s artifact, it’s ugly, and the stuff falls on the floor and leaves this chalky substance there.

    i hope i wasn’t too late and i wish you good luck with your restoration!

  4. Heidi Swank says:

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments. We’ve been in the house for 5 years and still aren’t finished (we bought a foreclosure and restored that one to rent out in the middle of restoration of our house). It is so motivating to get all this help! Thanks again!

  5. Martha says:

    I would go with the creamy tone underneath the blue and gold. That will make the blue and gold really pop and make it really classy. It would also allow you to accent some other features of your hallway in either the gold or the blue.

  6. Kate H says:

    I love your house. I especially love the light fixtures. Unlike some houses, you have a lot of different ways you could decorate this place.

    From the pictures, it looks like a cross between Diff’rent Strokes/Elvis (the wallpaper) and the Flintstones (the rockwork). I like lighter colors for a hallway better than darker, but either could work. Darker: cave. Which might work with the rock. Lighter: easier to see your way to the bathroom at night. (Probably safer.) Paint one wall dark and one light to see which you like best, then go with what is most comfortable.
    I wonder if you could pull the outside in with the flooring materials? Is polished concrete too hard? (good for tricycles, but bad for slip-and-fall). Or maybe some kind of tile from those lovely people in Ohio?
    If you decided to go full-on Elvis, I’d go with shag carpeting, like in the Jungle Room. It’s comfy on your feet, peanut butter can be cut out and everyone loves shag. It’s like fake grass without the bugs.

  7. Hillery says:

    Bold Option: chartreuse or sherman williams pear.
    Subtle: Ice (white with heavy blue undertones).

    I cannot wait to see your final choice and result.

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