The guest room updates are still happening here (MIL deadline is T-minus 10 days and counting), but thought I’d go off on a little side tangent to share a few random thoughts on picking the perfect gray paint. Seriously, picking gray paint is tough, really tough. Having done this pretty recently myself, I thought I’d share a few tips for picking the perfect gray paint for your space so your head doesn’t spin when dealing with this:
Tip 1: The “perfect” gray will be different for you than someone else. One reason for that is because the color gray is dependent on your particular space. For example, your gray paint can look different depending on the amount of natural light in the space, the lightbulbs in your lamps, the shadows in the room, the neighboring wall colors, the floor color, and even your furniture and accent colors. Also, even the slightest deviation in the tone of gray paint can read purple, blue, green, brown, or yellow depending on your particular space. Check out this photo, which may look like slightly different grays but really is the same gray just painted in a corner, up against two other base paints:
Tip 2: Do not rely soley upon internet photos. You can do all the internet research in the world but that is just no substitute for testing gray paints in your own home (for all the reasons mentioned above). For example, internet people seem to LOVE Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray or Revere Pewter or Gray Owl but in our house those paints were too dark or too blue or too green. Even though they looked good on the paint chips, they did not look good in our house. So after failing at those attempts, I was convinced based on other internet photos I was going to paint my walls Benjamin Moore’s Stone Harbor. I had done all the research, looked at a ton of photos, but after testing Stone Harbor the paint looked really flat (as in boring, not in finish) and fairly blue. Not what I was going for. I ultimately went for Benjamin Moore’s London Fog, which look very different on the wall despite looking pretty similar on the paint chips (this pic is a comparison of London Fog and Stone Harbor paint chips – looking at this pic they don’t even look different!).
Tip 3: Test a bunch of grays in your home, and test on multiple walls. See Tip 1 for a reminder on why you need to test gray paints in different lights. I tried painting numerous grays in three different rooms and they looked really different in each one. Here is just one random wall (of many!) that I sampled to get the right gray.
Wherever possible, I tried to take down a piece of art to paint behind it so that way I could hide my paint testing zones whenever we had company.
Tip 4: Beware of color matching grays to different brands. I have had some sucky experiences with color matching (where Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams gray paint turns out green in Behr) and other instances where my color matches are perfection. So, be sure to check your paint before leaving the store and if you aren’t happy with it when you get home, get another tester. Which leads me to Tip 5.
Tip 5: It is okay to try a gazillion test pots of paint. Here is just a fraction of some gray paints I tested before finally making a decision:
And these are just some of the paint swatches I stared at for days:
Tip 6: There are lots of great sources offering guidance on particular gray paints, so I’ve included just a few to get you going. Really, just google. There are millions more resources out there – just don’t forget Tip 2.
I know I am not the only one struggling with picking the perfect gray paint, so feel free to share your tips and best gray paint picks! I’ll go first, mine is Benjamin Moore’s London Fog, which started in our hallways/stairwells and is making its way through our entry and guest room.