One of the first things that I wanted to tackle with the flat, was the paint colors. Almost every room had some sort of a blah color – beige, cream, and purple everywhere. The colors weren’t doing anything for the lack of lighting in some spaces. The hallway was the worst culprit, with the mauve above and dark purple below making the whole space feel small and dark.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

the hallway before

So, when Richard and I were both off for a couple weeks, we decided to tackle painting the hallway and living room. To be fair, we had aspirations to paint the bedroom as well but just ran out of steam. While all the moldings and trim in the apartment add such wonderful character, they also add an insane amount of time to paint. The trim and door color in the apartment was a gross yellowish cream color (hard to capture in photos, just trust me), so we decided to paint everything, doors included, back to a nice white.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

look at all the trim we had to paint… yikes!

After researching colors for a few days, and even getting some swatches mailed to me, I was having a hard time picking. From my limited experience, painting in the UK and North America is very different. Back home, the hardware stores carry a huge assortment of swatches and tend to have other color brands on file to match. But in the UK, color matching is a bit more new, and the brands they carry offer a limited selection.

Brightening a blah living room | Hello Victoria

the living room before

I finally settled on a couple Valspar colors that I found in our local B&Q, and two Farrow & Ball paints I had matched to Valspar paint. For all the trim in our flat, I chose Farrow & Ball’s All White, which is a very true, soft white, without any blue undertones. The living room is Valspar’s Shetland Sweater, which I chose by name alone because it was such a lovely soft grey that looks neutral in some light, and with a hint of blue in others.

The living room initially had a sort of greige color, which was okay, if a bit darker than I wanted. The only window in the room has some lovely stained glass, with very true/bright colors, and I thought that a more blue-grey would complement it better.

Original stained glass windows | Hello Victoria

our lovely stained glass window

After painting, it just feels so clean and fresh – I love it!

Brightening the living room with Valspar Shetland Sweater | Hello Victoria

The hallway has been the biggest improvement. The colors that it started with were just oh-so-dark, that it made a tiny, cramped, windowless hallway, seem even tinier and more cramped! It was in dire need of some lighter colors.

I decided to paint the chair rail and wall below with All White and used Valspar’s Sheer Shadow for both the wall above the chair rail, and ceiling. My original plan involved adding more wood trim to panel out the wall below the chair rail, but without limited time, we opted to save that for a later date.

Updating a dark hallway with paint - Valspar Sheer Shadow | Hello Victoria

What a difference some white makes! We ended up having to use a primer on the lower half of the wall, to save wasting our white paint as it wasn’t covering the mauve very well.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

(ignore the old dresser and picture frames)

As much as I love the new paint, I still think that adding some wood trim (painted white of course) would add great depth and character to the walls. A project for another time!

All in all, despite taking waaaay more time than we thought it would, I do love these colors. It’s going to take eons to paint the other rooms in the flat, but I do look forward to having this fresh feeling in every corner.

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