Monday, November 21, 2011

gray paint....why do you torture me?

Our living room got a facelift this summer - new couch, new rug, reupholstered the wingback chair, and decided to repaint the walls, since the peachy-beige color was driving me nuts. We decided on gray for the walls - classic and sophisticated - something to compliment the gray couch. Little did I know, gray is a mean old cuss. Mind you, I chose the paint colors for the whole house by eyeballing a swatch on the wall and had no problems. This time I played it safe and put samples on the wall first. Thank god because after 17 paint samples (17, people!!!) - no dice. Love 'em on the swatch, loathe 'em on the wall.

Our living room is bright and gets lots of southwestern light, which apparently turns everything an early 90's hydrangea blue. Barf.

Here's the cast of hopefuls, all colored matched in Olympic low-VOC paint samples...

Benjamin Moore
Gray Owl
Revere Pewter
Coastal Fog
Edgecomb Gray
Harbor Gray
Horizon Gray

Plantation Moss
Gray Ghost

Oatlands Subtle Taupe

Dolphin Fin

They're all gorgeous, right? Not in the glare of our bright living room. Ttoo dark, too light, too purple, too turquoise or too blah.

On the verge of defeat, willing to live with the patchwork of yuck on our walls, I went back one more time and came home with a winner - Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.

I've always loved it on the swatch but didn't buy a sample for this project because it seemed so blue. Not so blue on the walls apparently. Go figure. It goes to show you can never trust the swatch. Now we gotta paint this room before our holiday party - cover up the bazillion gray swatches.

More pictures to come.....


  1. What a beautiful interior, I want to create this innovation in my sweet home for my kids.

    Import Performance Parts

  2. Hi - I'm having the same problem, too blue, too beige, too dark, too light. I tried Ben Moore Pewter and it's WAY too dark, but REVERE pewter looks perfect! Did you find the harbor gray that you show above too blue, because that swatch is just what I'm looking for...

  3. Hi! Harbor Gray was definitely too blue for me. How you tried Pale Oak? It's lighter than Revere Pewter. Good luck!

  4. I like the thunder swatch, but you didnt list the company... who makes it?

    1. Benjamin Moore. Similar to Farrow and Ball's Pavilion Gray

  5. Any chance you can share how you put all of the colors onto one chip? Is there a tool you are using to do this? Thanks so much!

  6. Hi Bitsy! Oddly enough, I did it in PowerPoint.

  7. I always like your blog post because you always comes with different ideas and information. I always shared your site post with my friends. Keep posting and i will follow you.
    carbon bicycle wheels

  8. Came by the way of Pinterest and though realize this is an old post; a method that I have used to eliminate countless purchases of sample pots or in other words 'tame' an undertone in gray is -- Separately take a small amount of your paint and in small increments add either more white or black to it. Then I do a sample board and have it colour-matched. Footnote: Simply -- gray usually has a) three undertones being purple, green or blue that of which the colorants in the formula create and b) always contain a base colour of white plus the colour of black which = gray. As sample pots are usually acrylic/water base you can add ordinary (cheap/acrylic/water base/ craft paint to them that most Craft or $-Stores carry. Also, this method works well if wishing to use a lighter or darker contrast gray in the same space that will go well with the original formula.

  9. I have a low light bedroom. Hc-170 was just a bit to deep so I cut it by 50%....better for sure....I would like it to have just a bit more depth of color...any suggestions? worried about going to 75% since I hear messing with formulas is not smart....On a positive not I LOVE Grey Owl. Ihave that in my great room. Wanted a change for bedroom....a bit cooler but warm..HaHA thanks

    1. Hi! Yeah I find Stonington Gray to be too cool. And getting into special formulas and percentages is quick sand for sure. The two grays I've used in the new house are BM Edgecomb Gray and SW Mindful Gray. Both are on the warmer side. Good luck!