Color to complement knotty pine

Today’s color dilemma…

My dining room is approx 17\’x15\’. It has a large archway into den (approx 17\’x15\’)which is all knotty pine (not paneling). The dining room is currently white & has been for years. I\’d like some color but am afraid of making the den/dining area seem like a cave because of the knotty pine. The ceiling is white plaster swirls. It has pine base boards and pine around archway.

Kate suggests…

If you fear a cave-like appearance in your home, it would be best to choose a color that is warm or has a warm undertone rather than a cool color or any shade that tend to go gray in dim light.

I most often suggest a full spectrum paint for any room that has low light beause there is a noticeable difference between full spectrum paint colors and many standard paint colors.

Many standard colors are blended using black pigment, which absorbs light. Full spectrum paints omit black pigment and use a broader range of pigments in formulating the colors.

They reflect a broader range of light and because of the absence of black and the perfect balance of a full spectrum of pigments, they don’t tend to turn muddy or lose their character in low light conditions.

I think that in your dining room a soft creamy yellow would brighten the spacce and work well with the knotty pine. It’s difficult to tell from the picture what color your carpet is but this type of color would go with just about any carpet color.

You could try a color from Ellen Kennon’s new designer palette. Two that I like are:

‘Morning Yellow’ selected by architect-interior designer Richard Morrison, is the color of pure sunshine, radiating warmth and cheer, much like Richard’s personality. Richard is a much sought after architect/designer in Menlo Park, California.

‘Classic Marc’ named after designer Marc Charbonnet of MECA Productions in Manhattan, is a very soft creamy yellow—a color so popular with his clients, it has been used at least somewhere in almost every project! You may have seen it in Michael J. Fox’s homes in Architectural Digest Magazine.


  • Ellen Kennon Full Spectrum Paint
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**Please note: Due to individual computer monitor limitations, colors seen here may not accurately reflect the paint colors. Please refer to an actual sample of the paint for an accurate rendition of the color.

7 Responses to “Color to complement knotty pine”

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  1. Sarah says:

    even though i don’t own a home yet, i look forward to stretching my legs creatively when i do own one. i can’t wait to be able to apply some of your suggestions!

  2. Eileen says:

    I’m looking for help with natural oak trim and wood floors. Pretty good light and great artisan wood side tables and hutch. Anything but yellow? Anything bolder? What about something in a green?

  3. Kate Smith says:

    Hi Eileen,

    I posted some ideas for a color to go with your oak trim on the blog. You can see my suggestions at Color with oak trim and floors

    Thanks for stopping by and asking your question. I hope my answer helps.


  4. Kate Smith says:

    HI Sarah,

    So glad you found my blog and I’m glad you are enjoy it.

    I checked out your spinning ninny blog. Great knitting projects plus I enjoyed your ’101 Things in 1001 Days’. It looks like you are making progress and you’ve inspired me to think about my own 101 things.


    PS Next time I’m in Durham, NC or you’re in Northern VA we’ll go for a pedicure and you can check that one off you list….my treat :-)

  5. On Plate says:

    Thank you for ideas. I’m going to re-model my dining room and looking for some facts and ideas about this matter.

  6. Julie says:

    I am in the process of trying to pick out neww carpet and paint for my bedroom . I know i want ot use Behr paint i think it is a great paint, My problem is choosing a color they have so many and my bedroom set is a lighter colored notty pine with some dark accents. There is yellow carpet in there now so please anything but yellow …and my husband wil not let me go with any pink :) Your help would be most appreciated . i am in a reall bind. thank you Julie

  7. Debbie Clifford says:

    I bought this house 10 years ago and fell in love with the country design the last owner had put together. Well unfortunatly I am no designer and the house has lost that look I fell in love with after she moved out and took her things. My living room and dining area are open. The living room has knotty pine paneling on the walls and dining room has the same on the bottom half with the top wall and ceiling in white. We have tan carpet and brown furniture. I need help getting out of this brown darkness. The wood is beautiful so I don’t want to paint over it like some people suggested. What would be a good color for the top walls in the dining area and also what would be the best color for a sofa and loveseat? I don’t have the money to change the carpet right now but when I do I was thinking of getting tile floors? Does ceramic tile and wood walls look okay together? Thank you Kate I am so glad I found your website.


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