I am getting ready to paint our bedroom again. It is currently painted Sherwin Williams In Your Eyes Blue. Over the summer I purchased a new bed, bedding, and chairs (which I hope to show you soon) and it’s all looking a bit too blue. I am leaning towards painting the room gray but choosing the right shade can be a daunting process. I thought I’d take you on a little gray paint journey today to show you how I go about choosing a color for my space.
Tip 1: Gather paint swatches and organize them according to tone.
I visited Lowes, Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore and grabbed all of the grayish swatches that appealed to me. (I had you all in mind when I was grabbing swatches and therefore went a bit overboard in the variety of shades I chose.) I organized all of my swatches on white foam board in a well-lit area. Doing this activity in the space you plan to paint is a great idea so that you can see how the different swatches look in the lighting of your room. You will begin to immediately see the different categories that the grays fall into. I categorized mine into four categories: Taupe Grays, Violet Grays, Green Grays, and Blue Grays.
Tip 2: Don’t get hung up on the categories. Find what YOU like.
There will no doubt be disagreements as to whether one of my categorized colors truly belongs to another category. This is besides the point of the activity. What you are attempting to do here is find what YOU think—it’s completely personal and somewhat subjective. I know that I don’t typically like grays that read “violet/purple”, so I tend to steer away from those colors. If my eyes see violet, it’s going to bug me in my space and whether or not it’s technically “violety” won’t matter. It’s what you see and have to live with that matters.
Tip 3: Don’t pay attention too closely to the paint names. Choose what you love.
You might stumble across a gray color that you consider a true blue that has the word “gray” in the name, and likewise find a great gray that has the word “tan” in the name. Don’t get caught up on the paint’s name. Instead choose shades of gray that you are drawn to.
Tip 4: Explore the colors you love in rooms online.
Taking into consideration the differences that color monitors, photo editing, and artificial and real lighting play into capturing a room’s color, I like to look up the colors I’m considering using to see how they look in others’ homes. Let’s explore each of the four gray paint categories in more detail and give real-life room examples for each category.
The taupe grays have more brown-tones in them and read more greige. Some of the swatches I grabbed looked very gray in the store and then completely tan once next to other grays. The taupe grays are some of my favorite neutrals. Out of the colors below, BM Balboa Mist, SW Accessible Gray, and SW Perfect Greige are my favs.
And here is what some of the taupe grays look like in real rooms…
Violet grays are those that have a hint of purple and read more violet in color. Pussywillow by Sherwin Williams looks just the tiniest bit purpley to me but really is questionable in the photo below. It just so happens to be my favorite color of the ones I classified as looking violet!
The green grays actually fell into two subcategories for me–those that had blue-green hues and those that had more olive-green hues. Comfort Gray looked very greenish in my lighting but I’ve seen it in my sister’s home and it looks more blue in her space.
And here are some examples of green-hued grays…
1. Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray (source Setting for Four) 2. Eddie Bauer Rope (source City Farmhouse) 3. Sherwin Williams Sedate Gray (source Newlywed Mcgees) 4. Benjamin Moore Moonshine (source Young House Love)
The last category of my grays are the blue grays. These read more blue than green or violet when compared with one another. Some of my favorite blue grays are Eddie Bauer Woodsmoke, Olympic Lunar Eclipse, and Benjamin Moore Misty Gray.
And some final examples for you…
1. Sherwin Williams Morning Fog (source The Spontaneous Box) 2. Olympic Going Gray (source It’s a Horvaths Life) 3. Eddie Bauer Vintage Gray on furniture (source Chrissie’s Collections) 4. Benjamin Moore Nimbus Gray (source)
Tip 5: Buy sample pots and use them in your space.
Once you have narrowed down which grays you would like to to try, it is time to test them out in your space. You can paint large poster boards in your chosen contenders or you can paint directly on the wall. Below are my current contenders and they all happen to be Sherwin Williams colors.
Knitting Needles is one of my favorite grays. I have it in my guest bedroom, back porch, and on the front of the house. It looks very different in all three spaces ,but I love it equally in each space. In my guest room it does read a touch violet to me, so I’m surprised I love it—but I do!
I hope this post proves helpful to you in your own paint color choosing endeavors! Do you have a favorite gray? If so, do tell!