Going Gray

If you know anything about gray then you know just how finicky it can be. The color gray (or grey) has so many variations – maybe a few too many IMHO. Choosing the rightgray (or any color, really!) can leave you a little paralyzed, no?
I always hear people say “it’s just paint” and yeah…it is…but umm, hello!! #realitycheck. Who wants to paint something more than once? Not I. 

So whenever I choose paint (especially grays!) I always, ALWAYS buy a sample and try it out at home before committing. You should too.
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s have sample pots for under $5 and can mix any color from any manufacture in the paint brands they carry – Behr/Glidden @ Home Depot and Sherwin Williams/Valspar @ Lowes.
Knowing which color direction we were going in (gray) I headed to Home Depot armed with a long list of different grays from all different brands and asked the gentleman behind the counter to mix up some sample pots for me. I left the store that day with 8 samples and went home to try them out.
If you follow me on Instagram (smash that Follow button if you don’t) then you saw this a few weeks back:

We painted these 8 colors in 5 different places around the dining/living room and sun room just to see how the color would react or change depending on the different levels of light throughout the house. It’s important to do this in multiple areas throughout the space because the same color may take on several different tones depending on how much (or how little) light those areas receive throughout the day.

As I tried these samples on the wall, I knew almost immediately which ones weren’t going to work. I also knew almost immediately which one would. Gray is a funny color – some too blue, violet, brown, or even green – and seeing them all lined up next to each other made the undertones even moreapparent. Can you spot the undertones in the photo above or below?

Even though I heavily leaned toward one favorite, I let S, my Mom, my Dad, even the 2 dump guys weigh in! S was firmly planted in the Stonington Gray camp and I was in love with Gray Owl…both from our buddy Benjamin Moore. While I loved Gray Owl (brown undertones) as is, Stonington Gray (blue/violet undertones) was a tad too dark for what I envisioned in this space. But I still wanted to take S’s opinion into consideration so I agreed to try a lightened version of Stonington Gray and see if that would change my mind.
So back to HD we went.

I asked the paint guys to mix me up a sample of Stonington Gray lightened 25% and another lightened 50%. And!! Because I’m a complete lunatic, I picked up a few other samples as well. Bringing the grand total to 12! #somebodyhelpme

We tried these additional 4 colors on the wall and spent the next few days staring at walls.

And guess what?!
I still loved Gray Owl more than any of the 11 others.
But…I lied.
Yep. I sure did. I told S I liked Stonington Gray lightened 50% and that we’d go with that one. Partly because I felt bad that I had asked his opinion just to veto it anyways and partly because I was trying to convince myself to love it even though I knew I wouldn’t. I have a habit of doing that sometimes. #allthetime
But I forged on and did what any insane person would do.
I painted our entire hallway with the sample pot of Stonington Gray lightened 50%.
To S it looked like I had committed to the color he chose but I was just trying to convince myself I could actually live with it – haha!
Turns out I still hated disliked the color – it was even more purple (to me) in a larger dose – and it was then that I decided to trust my gut and go with Gray Owl. Without telling him. #ofcourse
I took S with me to HD to order the paint – mainly because I needed his muscles to carry the 5 gallon bucket of paint – but also because he’s pretty cute too. Luckily for me, he has a habit of sitting in the section with the outdoor furniture while I peruse the paint aisles so this worked perfectly for my genious color-swapping plan. Thank you Home Depot for putting the outdoor furniture near the paint section! #highfivesallaround
By time we got home with the paint he was none the wiser. Where’s that sly looking emoji with the smug smile when you need one?
The next day (while S was at work) I slapped a coat of paint on the walls and because we’re installing new baseboards and crown there was no cutting in needed!

When he came home from work that night the first thing he did was comment on how much he liked the color and said we had absolutely made the right color choice. Bahahaha!! #littledidheknow

I’ve since come clean. And he still loves the color. #andmetoo

Do you? The color, not me, silly.
 If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in the gray paint waters (or any paint really!) here’s a few tips to help you choose the right gray for you:

Find Pinspiration

Not sure where to start? Browse your Pinterest boards and see what colors/rooms you’re drawn toward. Often times we Pin the same type, style, or look over and over. Are you pinning bold, moody rooms, or do you gravitate towards the light and bright spaces? Pinterest can tell you a lot about your own personal style and esthetic and is a great first stop on your painting journey.

Bonus: if you’re not already following, be sure to keep up with me and all my latest Pins. I’m a pin-binger.
 Buy the sample pots

Never ever buy a color based off what you see on the paint chip in the store. Even though it’s an extra step (and an extra expense), the sample pots are absolute worth it to get it right the first time around. 

Bonus: those little sample pots come in handy for crafts or smaller projects around the house

Don’t Limit Yourself 

Don’t limit yourself to only the the colors offered by the manufacture(s) your hardware store carries. Any hardware store can and will mix any color from any manufacture in the paint line(s) they carry.
Bonus: Here’s a great blog post about what stores carry what lines
Go Big or Go Home
Paint a swatch – a big one!! – on your wall and in several other areas throughout the space you’re planning to paint. And then spend a few days staring at your choices.
Bonus: Don’t forget to look at your paint colors at all hours of the day. Be sure to evaluate them in the morning, mid day, and night too! You’d be surprised how much the colors will change throughout the day.
Ask a Pro
Once you’ve chosen your color be sure to ask your paint pro their recommendations regarding sheen, application, and amount of paint needed depending on your project specs.
Bonus: Paint calculator #forthewin

So? Are you ready to dive right in and get your paint on? Tell me! How did you choose your color? Have you ever painted your walls only to find you hated them later? Do tell!

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