Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elusive Paint Color + Elegant Eclectic Living Room

Anyone who has tried to pick out the perfect paint color knows how frustrating and stressful the process can be.  What you see on the fan deck can be quite different than what you ultimately see on your walls.  Everyone is always searching for that "magic bullet" paint color that will look great in all circumstances.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing.  How a color is perceived in an interior is dependent on the amount of light (both exterior and interior), surrounding furnishings and finishes, and details that are specific to your home.  Most interior designers are trained in color theory, so if you struggle with what paint color to choose it's always beneficial to get some professional help.  If your budget can't afford to hire help, one useful alternative is to purchase a sample of the colors you like and paint a poster board for each separate hue.  That way, you can see the color on a larger scale before fully committing to it.  I have several boards I have painted that are great visuals for clients:

Grays are particularly tricky.  What would typically be considered a standard gray can often look blue when painted on a wall.  If you are wanting to avoid that, try to look for grays with brown undertones.  For instance:  I love Farrow & Ball's Skimming Stone paint color and think it would work wonderfully in a current client's entryway and living room.  We are looking for a gray that has brown undertones because we will be utilizing a lot of neutral browns and beiges in the furnishings.  If you saw the paint card only, you would think I was out of my mind for thinking this was a good gray option.  It looks almost pink:

However, look at these rooms that have all been painted Skimming Stone and see how different it looks:

Again, it's best to see the color on a board in the client's home before making any final decisions.  In addition to paint color selection, I am also working on the furniture floor plan for their living room.  With a baby on the way, the client wanted to stick with a darker fabric for the sofa and avoid any sharp edges:
Things are coming along slowly but surely!  

Have you experienced the frustrations of paint color selection before?  


  1. This is the very reason I wonder how people hire
    "e-design" decorators. How can you possibly select someone's paint colors without ever having visited their home?

    Also, my most recent client wanted to pick paint colors first, before any furniture was selected. She was quite insistent about it. I talked her out of it.

  2. I love your plans for the living room. Yes, paint selection is difficult...the most difficult color selection for me was the front door of my house and shutters....everything looks so different outside...and can drastically change the look of the house...we went through 3 iterations I think.

  3. Yes- finding the perfect gray! We have several shades of gray throughout our home- leaning towards "spa" colors, but in the end, one was a little more blue than I originally intended. I wished that I had lived in the house a little to see how the light in our south facing living room changes not only throughout the day, but with each season. Luckily, it's just paint and eventually it can be changed.

  4. looks good, I'm a sucker for grey walls and sofa with a seagrass rug!

  5. I agree with Raina completely. Love what you're doing, Sam. Great post !!

  6. Now you tell me!! :) We had a gray painted in our living room, entryway, hallways and game room, and umm yeah too blue! But for now I'm living with it.

  7. I love all the colors that you picked!! And you are absolutely right, grays are so hard because there are so many versions that look completely different once they are in a room!!

  8. the colors you picked are so calming. i love a clean room with pops of color. you are so good at what you do!


  9. Whaaat!! I would have NEVER guessed that color would appear on the walls the way it does. I clearly have so much to learn about interior decor. Good thing I have blogs like yours to follow. ;)
    Isn’t That Charming.

  10. totally had this problem with my office. i loved the test spots, but when i got the gray on the walls, it had a blue tint. i can live with it, but i did NOT make the same mistake in our family room! what looks like beige in the can is a GLORIOUS gray on the walls! (BM Edgewater)

    love your inspiration!

  11. Those two paintings on the wall made the room look more exquisite, it definitely is the center piece in the room.

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