Monday, September 20, 2010

Gray Matters

Selecting neutral paint colors, to me, is one of the most challenging color-oriented design tasks.  Neutrals can either sinnnnggg or totally tank, depending on the addition or subtraction of even the tiniest bit of light or dark tints.  Needless to say, acquiring the perfect "dove gray" hue (did I invent this paint color in my head?!) for the nursery has been a shit show taxing, to say the least. 

Total trainwreck in action....note the lavender-y tones of pretty much all 17 of the paint samples. 

I started to give up and the samples got smaller and smaller as I became more frustrated!

Some of the grays I have found and been inspired by, via decorpad.


Jessica Helgerson

Living etc.

Gina Kates.

Now, I am going to totally sell myself out here.  Usually, I am all about sharing my own tips and tricks with y'all, holding myself out as a pseudo painting/DIY expert.  Well, welcome to amateur hour.  I realized about four days ago that I seriously think that the reason the color is so completely off and looks nothing like gray, much less the swatches I thought I was buying, is because the wall color (which seems to be an innocuous neutral) is either coming through the paint OR we are just having a really hard time seeing the colors for what they are, since they are not up against a pure white.  Who knew this could happen, Mr. Wizard?

Hence, back to square one and having to prime an entire wall to restart our efforts.  After it is primed, we will simply take out all the samples and brushes and start again.  I will keep you posted. 

In the meantime, anyone have a truly perfect dove gray to recommend?  Other colors in the palette are sunshine yellow and pops of turq.  White trim, neutral rug.  Please, have at it.  I apparently need all the help I can get!




  1. I'm going to join you in this quest for the perfect grey whenever I finally work up the nerve to paint my bathroom. FYI - we used the Behr paint + primer in our guest bath and were SHOCKED how well it covered. Due to "The Great AC Debacle" we had to patch the wall in one corner and it's truly a miracle worker! Good luck!!

  2. I love the idea of grey walls with the pops of color. It will be beautiful. I found this linke a while ago when searching for a good grey color. Maybe some of these suggestions will be helpful? Also, I have no idea if it's "legal" to post the link from one blog on another, so feel free to delete it if it will get me into trouble.

  3. I have the perfect greige paint. You can get it at Wal Mart. I have the formula. You can come over to my house anytime to see it. I have used it for clients too, in some pretty fancy houses. And it's only $20. per gallon.
    email me.
    xo xo

  4. A friend has the most perfect grey (I think) in her bedroom -- it's called senora grey, Ben Moore.

    A different color I've used throughout my house (bedroom, guest room, kitchen) and will use more of is called Heaven by BM. VERY very light, can look blue or lavender depending on light, looks great with yellow/turquoise. It's been the best "neutral" that's not I've come across. Good luck!

  5. i love the idea of a dove gray nursery! we have actually had the same difficulty finding just the right gray for the exterior of our house - we just landed on one yesterday, after 8 or 9 samples. who knew gray could be so nuanced?! happy painting!

  6. I remember struggling to find a blue for the office and soon-to-be nursery. We eventually found something, but after dozens of trips to Helm. You will find it!

  7. Maybe it is time to call Mr. Colour!

  8. LOOOOVE Apparition by Bennie Moore!

  9. I feel your pain. We have a "grey" bedroom. Inspired by a few of the same pics you posted. That is, until about once every few months when i actually admit to myself that although we were shooting for grey, we really have a blue bedroom. good luck!

  10. ok, I feel your pain!!! Right now, literally I am taking a break from painting my guest room for the second time and we just moved in less than 3 months ago.

    I am going for the same exact look. I have so many testers of gray/grey. At first I did the same thing as you. When I went back with primer and then repainted the samples it was a world of a difference.

    I have turquoise lamps and orange and white pottery barn bedding in the room that I am painting right now. I have a couple of grays that I think you might like depending on how light or dark you decide to go.

    I have finally decided to go with Martha Stewart Bedford Gray. It looks amazing with the orange and turquoise pops of color that I was going for. It is the perfect gray in my opinion b/c it doesn't have the blue or purple undertone.

    I just had the rest of my house painted in SW Amazing Gray. It is so awesome, get lots of compliments and goes with everything that I like. (it's a warm gray, fairly light)

    Oh, and did you get the latest martha stewart mag? I just looked at it the other day and had a article with pics and paint colors. The color they used was Flagstone by martha stewart. You should check that out. I also used that exact color in another room, its just a little darker than the Bedford Gray I mentioned. In the article they talk about how it is the perfect backdrop for pops of color like orange. It is also a perfect neutral warm gray in my opinion. I think it would go great with what you are trying to do. (depending on how large or small the room is and the amount of light it gets)

    Hope this helps. I have tried sooooooooo many freakin' grays. If you have any questions or want me to email you a pic of the room I am painting, just shoot me an email.

    Sorry I rambled on for so long!!! Oh yeah, I live in Baton Rouge, so we are not too far from each other :) Good luck!

  11. So i did my sister's dining room in shale by benjamin more it...i used white furniture with pops of yellow!...working on some black and white curtains now!

  12. Inspiring quest there. What occurred after?
    Take care!

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