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How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint

A huge thank you to Behr for supplying paint for this project. As always, my opinions are 100% honest and my own.

I could have entitled this post 50 Shades of Gray but eh… better not. For obvious reasons.

We’ve been chugging right along on the playroom makeover train. The last time I gave y’all an update, we had a major Goliath of a project with our wall-to-wall built-in shelving.

But I’m just as excited about the fact that we finally have some wall paint going on in here! I think if I had to look at our still white builder primer walls for one more day, I was just going to grab Olivia’s markers and start creating stick people murals everywhere. (Because that’s the extent of my artistic ability.)

How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint | blesserhouse.com - How to decide on the best gray paint for your room makeover using 4 quick and simple steps to eliminate confusion and find a color you love.

White is cool and all but come on, this was a little (okay, a lot) too much.

Can I tell you a secret though? I get reeaaally nervous choosing wall paint colors. Mostly because I hate that sinking feeling when we’ve spent days painting a large space and I realize as I look around after the whole project is completed that I secretly hate the color I chose.

But I’m usually stubborn and hate even more to admit that I messed up so I often live with it, which is probably even worse than the primer white walls.

Nowadays though, I have my method for picking our wall colors, specifically gray since those seem to be the most tricky for me. You don’t want to go too warm/beige and you don’t want to go too cool/blue.

Finding that perfect gray is like finding the most comfortable pair of jeans that also make your butt look really really good. You might have to try out a few duds but it’s soooo worth it when the right one comes along.

How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint | blesserhouse.com - How to decide on the best gray paint for your room makeover using 4 quick and simple steps to eliminate confusion and find a color you love.

  1. Browse color swatches.

It’s a lot easier to see cool/warm undertones in paint colors by seeing various swatches right next to each other.

 

2. Search Pinterest.

Don’t ever rely solely on images online for paint colors. They’re never accurate in my experience, and your computer monitor or phone/tablet’s coloring isn’t reliable anyway. But you can still do your research to find which paint colors are designers’ favorites and see paint colors in real room designs to at least get some ideas.

How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint | blesserhouse.com - How to decide on the best gray paint for your room makeover using 4 quick and simple steps to eliminate confusion and find a color you love.

3. Test sample paint pots.

When I’m standing in front of the wall of color swatch cards in the paint aisle, I’m always tempted to just hand one of the cards directly to the guy behind the desk and have him whip up a gallon. Been there, done that, never turns out well.

I get impatient. But spending $15 on paint sample pots to try them out on your walls is worth every single penny. Better to spend $15 on samples than $100 on the wrong color paint. If you don’t want to paint directly on your walls, you can just swipe your sample paint on a piece of white foam posterboard to tape up on your walls instead.

When trying to pick the best gray for our playroom, I ended up with NINE sample pots!

How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint | blesserhouse.com - How to decide on the best gray paint for your room makeover using 4 quick and simple steps to eliminate confusion and find a color you love.

It’s amazing to see how different the actual paint can look from the color swatch card. I was so close to choosing the color Curio until I realized it was very much on the blue side. (But it’s gorgeous and I’d love to still use it somewhere else in our house.)

And Castle Path, which looked like a warm gray on the card looked much more tan on my walls.

4. Look at your lighting.

After you paint your samples on your walls, look at the colors at various times throughout the day and on several different walls in your room. A paint color can look completely different in the afternoon than in the morning. How many windows you have in your space plays a factor in how dark or light you want your paint color to be.

In the end, we went with Seagull Gray in Behr Premium Plus Ultra eggshell. (In one coat- thank goodness!)  It’s a cool gray but definitely not blue, and it’s light, which is what I wanted in our playroom since I wanted to keep the space airy and bright and open. (The window trim paint is still coming along.)

How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint | blesserhouse.com - How to decide on the best gray paint for your room makeover using 4 quick and simple steps to eliminate confusion and find a color you love.

It’s a subtle difference from before, but I also didn’t want a color too dramatic since our playroom is open to our entire upstairs hallway and stairway. In our hallway, where there are no windows, the color looks much darker but not so dark that it feels like a cave.

How to Choose the Perfect Gray Paint | blesserhouse.com - How to decide on the best gray paint for your room makeover using 4 quick and simple steps to eliminate confusion and find a color you love.

Do you think we made the right color choice? Do you have any paint color choosing tips of your own that you’ve discovered? Or have a favorite gray paint color that is your go-to? Share away!

I can’t wait to show you guys more playroom progress on Thursday this week for another One Room Challenge update! But for now, you can see our real-time progress on my Instagram stories.

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43 Comments

  1. Hi Lauren… I love that color … I painted the master bedroom in a gray that I think is a little dark but not doing it again. I like the color you picked… and Silver Drop. What did you notice was the difference between those two. Was Silver Drop on the blue side?

  2. Great tips here!!! We painted our whole house with Behr’s Fashion Gray and absolutely love it. We did our bathrooms in the Burnished Clay, which is more blue than I imagined and definitely clashes with any tan… so it’s moving me to give the bathrooms a decor refresh to get rid of any tan. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how your playroom turns out.

  3. Looks great! My trick is to search rooms painted in the color I’m considering on Houzz. I can usually find a dozen other rooms in the same color and it’s fun to see how they look different in each picture. I also paint with samples on the wall and look at them over the course of a week at different times of the day.

  4. An awesome gray is Clay Figurine. We just painted our entire house this color and we get nothing but compliments on the color. We also added 7 3/4 inch baseboards. It looks great! I found out about this color from a friend who is a decorator.

  5. I wish I had read this before we had all the rooms in our house painted last spring. I knew I wanted gray and I found out there are a bizillion shades of gray!! My husband had a hard time understanding why one gray didn’t work everywhere. Ha! I am pleased for the most part of our shades of gray.
    I can also advise everybody, never, ever, have all the rooms in your house painted at one time! Especially if you are 70 years old. I’m still recovering. ??