Friday, May 31, 2013

Going Gray

Gray is a hard paint color to get right. If you go too warm, you get into the green tones, but if you go too cold you'll be singing Elvis Prestley's Jailhouse Rock and wishing you could break free from cinder-brick walls. Or if you're me, you'll be singing Jailhouse rock (badly) while re-painting the cement-toned walls. I always gravitate towards pictures of rooms that have cool tones of grays on the walls-but in most of the rooms I like, the cool shade is balanced by warmer tones of wood.

Like always, I start with a little bit of inspiration. This is the shot I shared the other day that started this whole round of insanity:

Image from Room and Board found here
So here is where I did things backwards (naturally). I started looking for paint colors first. The first rule of decorating is to always (always) pick the paint color last.  But I am impatient and want to get on with it. Using the inspiration shot above I started looking for various paint samples in tones that worked in the light-filled living room. As I mentioned before,  I have a big window upstairs, so it can handle the darker color.  So I hauled out my paint swatch book and, like any smart painter, I went to Home Depot and purchased two test pots of color.  I painted two swatches on the wall and watched them throughout the day. Benjamin Moore's Gray Husky was the winner.  Interesting note-when searching on the Benjamin Moore site, Gray Husky is no longer listed/available as a color. 

Image found here

The next day, I went back to Home Depot and had them color-match the paint in a gallon of Behr paint. I lugged the gallon home. But then... something happened. 

The more I stared at the paint swatch on the wall, the more I saw green coming through. It could be the slightly green-tinted color that is currently on the wall, I rationalized.  But it niggled at me. So back to Home Depot I went and I grabbed three more sample pots of gray colors. This time, I made sure all of them were cool grays, instead of the warm gray that is Gray Husky. I brought them home and slapped them up on the wall. Sure enough, Gray Husky looked more green than the other grays. 

Colors are: Benjamin Moore Gray Husky, Benjamin Moore Silver Chain,
Behr Porpoise, Behr Gentle Rain and Behr Silver Screen. 
Once I had the other grays up on the wall, Gray Husky definitely looked more sage-green than gray. My favorite of the lot was Behr's Porpoise (third color down), but at certain times of the day, it seems more cement-y than I'd like. So I'm waffling. 

So during this entire paint-swatch indecisiveness, I was looking at my curtains. If my walls went gray, the curtains definitely needed switched up. Now, a little back story here--I purchased these curtains back in March, and wasn't 100% sure I liked them. They seemed... tropical. (Once again, apologizes for the poor picture... gotta get a new camera..but hey, it actually looks like I already have gray walls in this picture! which. I don't.) 

I knew if I kept these curtains I would have to purchase two extra panels to make them span the entire curtain rod when closed. But I wasn't overly in love with them, so I never made the additional purchase. But I also did not want to go back to the dark blue curtains, so I left them up. Now, alas, it is too late to return them. Fickleness is costly. 

So there I was, looking for new curtains. Cue inspiration shot. Gray walls and dark gray curtains. I liked.  So I browsed online, and this time, I was a little more picky. I knew I wanted: 
  1. Dark Gray
  2. Lined
  3. Width had to be at least 53" (which is oh-so-hard-to find in pre-made panels!)
Cue Ballard Designs. Their Essential Panel hit all three notes. In addition, I had a 15% off coupon to use. Oh lucky day! So I caved and purchased them in Trilby Basketweave Charcoal.

So then, I started thinking that I should not decide on the paint color until I get the curtains. For all I know, none of the gray paints will match the curtains and then I'll be back at square one. 

Speaking of square one--I'm oh-so-tempted to paint ONE wall in the Gray Husky. You know. Just to be sure. 

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