In my post last Wednesday I came clean about my paint color fail in the kitchen and dining room. I started with Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, but after it took a horrible minty green turn for the worse, I repainted everything in Stonington Gray. Yes, after all of my endless sampling, I still managed to pick a color I hated immediately. And I ended up going with something that I randomly had sitting in the basement. Face palm.
But as you’ll see in these pictures, my walls are finally gray and I’m happy with how they turned out. Now if only I could do something about those plywood countertops!
And since I’m clearly not very good at picking paint colors, I thought I’d share with y’all my top ten things NOT to do when picking a paint color. Take it from me, I’m quite experienced when it comes to making paint color screw-ups!
Ten Things Not To Do When Picking A Paint Color
- Don’t get too many samples. There are an endless number of paint colors out there and getting a gazillion samples will just confuse things. Keep it simple, and narrow down your selections before painting your top choices on the wall. I suggest five. Definitely no more than ten.
- Don’t solely rely only on the internet to pick your color. Doing internet research is a good thing, and I especially suggest googling your top few choices. But don’t pick a color just because your favorite blogger has it in her kitchen and swears by it. Her house isn’t yours and the color will no doubt look different in your home.
- Don’t believe everything you see. Just about every photo on the internet and in magazines is re-touched in some way. You might love how a paint color looks in a photo but when you paint it on your walls, suddenly it’s much darker. Lightening photos is the most common (and simple) edit so be sure to keep that in mind.
- Don’t paint tiny samples. Test areas only a few times larger than the paint strips aren’t going to help you very much. Dedicate some serious wall space to each color so you can really see what the room will feel like.
- Don’t only look at them for a few minutes. Leave your samples on the wall for a few days and see how they look at various times of the day. Also knowing how your room will feel on a bright sunny day, verses a gloomy rainy one, is good to know before you commit (this is especially important for grays). And if you can, create how your light will be at night. Lightbulbs come in all kids of different ‘temperatures’ so knowing what your walls will look like with your current lighting set up is important.
- Don’t ask everyone and their mother for opinions. This goes along with my number one ‘don’t.’ Asking for a million opinions will only confuse you. Who cares what the painter thinks, he doesn’t live there. Your husband, on the other hand, might have some constructive feedback, so you might want to ask him!
- Don’t rush the decision. This is a good general rule for all decisions in a renovation, but I feel the need to specifically mention it here. I often get so bogged down in samples, and testing, and re-testing that I rush the final decision. It looks something like, “I don’t know, these are all fine” and I randomly select the final choice. Don’t do this! If you’re still unsure paint a larger sample on another wall, but don’t just get frustrated and pick one in an effort to move on.
- Don’t forget everything else. Don’t get so focused on a colored square on the wall that you forget how it will flow with the other rooms in your house. And remember that it’s ALWAYS easier to match paint to furniture and decor than the other way around (there are a million paint colors but only so many upholstery choices.) So keep all of this in mind when picking a color.
- Don’t skip the primer. This applies to painting the samples and the final room painting. Paint isn’t totally opaque and often times the color behind it can show through. To give yourself the best chance of achieving the true color you picked, prime the walls first. Also, be sure to prime over your samples, so you don’t see a bunch of slightly off-color squares when you’re all done!
- Don’t always expect to get it right the first time. This is important! Go in with the understanding that you might have to re-paint the whole room again if you don’t like how it turned out. It happens. Painting isn’t the most fun anyone has ever had, and it’s definitely inconvenient, but if you did pick the wrong color, it’s a totally fixable problem. So don’t stress yourself out too much, it will be ok!
I hope my top ten things not to do when picking a paint color will help you on your paint color search! Hopefully my missteps will, in the end, be good for something!
You can read about (and see awful pictures from) how I originally painted this room here. Original color in that post is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. The images in THIS post are the re-paint of Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray.