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Losing my mind over paint

5 years ago

I'm starting to hate paint. I've spent hours scouring blogs only to run out and buy samples of what they suggest and be disappointed in the look. "Too green, too purple, too pink"... but most of all "Too depressing". I want neutral gray/beige, but I want neutral gray/beige that feels cozy. Does it exist?


We're building a house and my main dilemma is what to paint the whole interior (all the same color). There will be a lot of windows in the Great Room, Dinette and master bedroom all on the West side. Foyer/hallway is on the east and not much light will come in there. Our wood floor (foyer, main hall, kitchen, Dinette) will be a medium brown hickory. Our carpeting (bedrooms, hallways, Great Room and basement) is light gray, looks light beige in some lights. It is called I have no pictures because the house is only framed and I'll have to pick paint really before anything is in. So I need neutral, neutral, neutral. I took my carpet sample to Sherwin Williams and the paint consultant pulled out Agreeable Gray for me. It's ok. But in my current home as I look at my sample at different times of the day next to my carpet sample, sometimes it just seems a bit "off". And muddy. Blah.

I like Pale Oak but I'm a bit worried about it looking pink.

Someone suggested Revere Pewter and it would probably go well. But it has a green tint that gives me a sickish feeling. better than purple, I think. But it feels a little dark.

So then they suggested Edgecomb gray which is supposed to be the lighter version - I do NOT think this is the lighter version. It's lighter, but it's yellowish. Which mayyyy be ok. But I guess until I slap it on the wall, I don't know.

Gossamer Veil was too "ugh" gray, too gray with the carpet.

Classic Gray too light and washed out

Colonnade gray - dark and a bit grayer than I want

Modern Gray - not bad, it's on my "maybe" list along with Agreeable Gray and Pale Oak.

But I guess nothing is really jumping out as "This will work everywhere!" Too much to hope, I guess.


I'm probably saying I don't like gray at all, but I can't go with a beige, it doesn't go with the carpet. And I don't want to go "off white", my trim and cabinets will be white and I want some contrast.

Our builder uses PPG so I got a sample of Swiriling Smoke but it was too "gray". They will paint match, and since I find almost nothing online about their paints i've been focusing on SW and BM. But I'd be open to one of theirs if anyone has one they suggest.

My question is, especially for designers, what would you use for an "all-house" paint that is on the lighter side (60s LRV).

Comments (73)

  • 5 years ago

    Thanks Courtney! It is more gray on your wall than I have seen in other photos. i'll definitely have to test that one.

  • 5 years ago

    I feel you. I called it my descent into madness. the swatches got bigger and bigger. It's funny because each time I went with the first color I chose! I learned a valuable lesson.....go with my first instinct. I went with Agreeable and Repose...

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  • 5 years ago

    I am going to suggest that you stop looking to others and reflect on the colors that you love and the neutrals that work with those colors.


    I went shopping last week with one of my sisters and one of my sister in laws. I have dark hair and ivory skin. My sister has olive tone skin and medium brown hair and my sister in law has blond hair, light skin that tans beautifully and blue eyes. We each were drawn to items that were colors that look good on us. I picked reds and purples and teal blues, my sister picked fall colors and my sister in law picked cornflower blues and creams and pastels.


    If you go to our homes you will find that I have an MCM home with a lot of reds and purples and teals and my neutral of choice is taupe. My closet also has mostly taupe and white neutrals. My sister's home and closet are filled with fall colors. She has a tudor home and the main neutral in her home is Devine Moss - a grayish green. My sister in law's home is decorated in a country style and she has a lot of blues and creams. Her neutral is a creamy white.


    Pick colors that make your heart sing. Pick neutrals that work with the colors you love. You are likely to find many of these colors in the clothing you own, artwork,upholstry fabrics, your dishes, blankets, bedding, shower curtains and towels.


    Make your home a reflection of you. Select colors that will make you feel like a 10 when you are enveoped in the colors that are surrounding you. Pick colors for your bedroom that make you feel sultry, colors for your bathroom that make you feel relaxed, colors for your kitchen that make you feel happy and creative, and colors for your family room that make you feel cozy.

  • 5 years ago
    No body here can really give you an idea of how a color will look in Your house because we aren’t actually standing in your house. For that matter you aren’t even getting a true idea of the actual finished look of your house yet so your stressing about this a bit early! When the drywall goes up and it gets closer to painting hire a color professional to help you with this! The bit of extra $$ you spend will be worth your peace of mind.
  • 5 years ago

    Some PPG options for your consideration:


    PPG Ashen


    PPG Crushed Silk




    PPG Ostrich Feather


    PPG Great Gray




    PPG Cool Concrete


    PPG Whiskers


  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    All anyone here can do is advise. We're not going to live there. I WILL say that I think edge to edge carpet in the family room is a very bad idea. i think it's a bad idea in kids rooms as well. It's a nightmare to change after the fact when it quickly soils and mats. You're not getting a luxurious wool, it's just carpet.. An area rug in kids rooms can be changed on a whim as they grow, and tastes change. The hardwood is simply the "glue" for variety in rugs, or even paint. Having wood does not mean you must lack a RUG or cushy softness in any space! . That is a dated idea, ( as is carpeting that great room) despite it is in a "corner" of the house. Your home will feel larger, much smoother and much more unified with same flooring, and your PAINT selection will be far simpler where it counts most.

    I'd urge you to reconsider your selection for that room especially .More bluntly? A higher end look to your build will result, versus...........................................okay, I'll say it: Builder grade basic. This trend has now gone on for years and a trip to any carpet store will reveal vast selections in LVP, LVT along with super chunky wool broadlooms in luxurious weaves designed to be made into area rugs,. and yes a larger area rug selection as well. Why? Because that wood trend w/area rug has completely over shadowed, overtaken, the installed carpet. The store either gets on board, or goes out of business.

    This is just truth of information. Not a criticism, but a far wiser spend of resources that considers the future in your new home.

  • 5 years ago

    How about a warm white color?

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  • 5 years ago

    Get some large pieces of foam board, paint each one with the colors you mentioned you are interested in, and see what they look like during various parts of the day in your home. I can tell you that Edgecomb Gray looks absolutely beautiful in my home but it's probably not going to look the same in yours because of different lighting and other conditions. When I planned the paint for our home I probably took 20 different foam board swatches with me before narrowing it down. They are a lot easier to see than those tiny paint swatches from the store.

  • 5 years ago
    I totally feel ya. I was going nuts about different paint colors and then our builder offered us 4 colors that are included.... we really liked the light gray (worldly gray) and went with it. I just couldn’t pick from ALL the colors in the world!! (Or at least on the internet, haha!) for those wondering why on earth someone would paint an entire house one color... part of it I think is definitely decision fatigue! Another part is that I’m not 100% sure where my decor color scheme is going to go! In my old house I had lots of pale yellow accents. I may not want that anymore. I might have my butter yellow accent chair reupholstered to a totally different color. I’m not going to assign colors to specific rooms until I can live there for a while and decide what I want. Paint is SO easy to change, so this worldly gray gives me a nice simple backdrop to live with for a while until I settle into a decor decision! Hope that helps!

    Good luck, Kate!
    User thanked Kate E
  • 5 years ago

    ABSOLUTELY agree with Jan.

    All of this is moot until we know what light bulbs you are installing as well (unless I missed that very important fact in one of the above posts)


  • PRO
    5 years ago

    Sorry if my comment about hickory floors offended you but 2 yrs ago I had a client that insisted on hickory floors and about 1 day after they were installed she called me up crying, nothing worked with the busy floor and I just mentioned it in passing. She has since been saving for new floors at least in the main living spaces.I do know how over whelming all these decisions are to make.

  • 5 years ago

    I am sorry I have nothing to contribute other than an understanding ear. Decision fatigue is REAL and colors are HARD!

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    You are in DAYLIGHT for at least twice the amount of time you are in evening light bulbs. Lamp light should be the primary source in cozy living spaces like family rooms and living rooms . Overhead lighting is ambient and booster light ( recessed ) other than in areas such as kitchens , hallways and baths. In all cases, lighting is layering, and a combination of high, counter, mid, or eye level , ambient and task.

    Paint your walls for "most" of the time" and THEN adjust light bulbs.

  • 5 years ago

    Sunshine isn’t the only light that has an impact on the look of your carpet.

    Artificial light can have just as dramatic an impact. The type of lighting in your room plays a large role in how your carpet appears.

    Incandescent and soft white fluorescent bulbs intensify warm colors but tend to fade cooler colors, while halogen and full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs most closely mimic the bright light of natural sunlight.

    Bright colors look best in bright white, fluorescent or halogen bulbs. Darker colors and rich textures tend to look best under accent lights and duller bulbs.

    The type of light fixture in your rooms will also affect the look of your carpet.

    Indirect lighting, such as sconces, aims light toward ceilings or walls.

    Lampshades can change the look of everything too, depending on the color of the shade and the strength of the bulb inside.

    This is why I agree with Jan in her opinion of wall to wall carpeting, in addition to the fact that it is not a high end look.

    Chin up, Kate! You're on the home stretch and it will be exciting to hear what you decide!

  • 5 years ago

    Our living room, dining room and kitchen flow into each other. When we remodeled the kitchen, we painted the whole works BM Putnam Ivory, and painted the ceilings BM Elephant Tusk. Both are nice warm neutrals, and we've been happy with them for 6 years now.

  • 5 years ago

    I'm so grateful for all the comments and suggestions. You're all so helpful. I know you can't see my space - and neither can I right now, I'm just trying to prepare as best I can. I'm grateful to be able to build a home, it's been mostly a fun experience but there are times with the decision-making I get a little flustered. Never thought paint would be the thing to put me in a tizzy, but there you have it.

    One thing is I probably need to stop reading blogs and other posts on here. Too many times I get interested in a color and lo and behold I'll see "it reads purple" type stuff and I get turned off. I need to start going by what I see on my samples. I have painted many poster boards and then started ordering from Samplize. I'm amassing quite a collection!


    I don't think I can tag people but I do have some comments and thanks back:

    @Chloebud - I have seen Lori's comments and she is da bomb. I hope she weighs in! I've started watching her youtube videos.

    @DLM2000-GW - Natural cream looks very promising, I'll go look for that! When I saw the name I thought "yellow" because that is what I think of with cream, but it is not. Thank you!

    And yes, you said exactly what I was thinking on building with one color - when I have more furnishings and my house gets more "personality" from me, I'll probably paint a couple rooms, but for now it's just finding the best neutral for it.

    @Patricia Colwell - that White Sage from PPG looks beautiful. I am going to save that for "later" - I don't want the whole house in that color but it may come into play in the future. I am sorry I singled you out on the "hickory" issue. I'm not offended, but yes I am sure worried about making the "wrong" choices. I know you were trying to be helpful. I looked for 3 months at my "allowance" floors and a step above and it was grueling. I did want to go lighter and "plainer" but I just couldn't get into the floors I saw. I guess I'm a "medium tone" girl and that's that, and i saw the hickory in a model and my husband and I both loved its character. It is not too dark, and it's not too red or yellow, nor is it gray but it will look good with nearly any color gray wall, so we're sticking with it.

    All it did was make me re-think putting all my choices out there because I know there will be people that say "You might want to re-think that"... And I've thought....and agonized on every little bit.

    My carpet sample pic looks a bit more beige than it does in real life, but getting a "true color" shot is difficult.


    @JenniferHogan - Good points, loved the "make your heart sing" line. I needed that! This may or may not be our "forever" home so there's a bit of pressure in making it appealing to a future buyer, but dang it, I have to go with what I like. The neighborhood is desirable and we have a nice view so we will have selling points right there. So I have to stop stressing whether the floor, carpet, countertops will be a turn-off to someone else. I plan to enjoy them!!


    (More next comment)





  • 5 years ago

    @Rawketgirl - Thank you for those PPG colors - Whiskers was on my radar but not the others so I will check them out!

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @JanMoyer - I need to go back and look at what we picked for lighting. I am brain dead and don't remember. All I remember is we talked about using "white" bulbs for the brightest look.

    Ok, as far as carpet - I get it, I do. People hate carpet. In our area I saw a mix of new homes - some doing carpet in the great room, but yes, many did not. I know that will be a black mark when I go to re-sell (IF). But part of why we are building a ranch is to have everything on one floor and our floor plan was partially selected because the Great room was "cozy" (we put a half wall in for railing as well).

    I have balance issues and rugs are just not for me. It doesn't matter if they're "non-slip" or taped down. I don't mean that I'm just "clumsy", it's that I have an inner ear disorder. If a rug is there, I WILL trip on it. I will have one in the foyer and bathrooms outside the shower because I have to, but otherwise, I want carpet in the great room, dated idea or not. I do appreciate all who chimed in warning me of this faux pas, but I've fallen too many times and need as few obstacles as possible. Our youngest child is a freshman in college, so yes, one day there will be grandchildren, and i know carpet can get gross fast, but for the most part it will just be myself and my husband living there.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Every comment has helped and given me ideas and direction. Part of why I posted was I was just feeling OVER IT. At this point I do not want to hire a designer because I've done so much work already. I may be making lots of mistakes, but I guess I'll own them!

  • 5 years ago

    By the way - a couple people suggested "Drift of Mist" - I see that is right next to Gossamer Veil which I thought was a bit too "grayish purple". Is it just a lighter GV?

  • 5 years ago

    I'd also encourage you to look at some soft greens. Some of them work as neutrals at least as well as greys and beiges.

    Look at Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

    Or Benjamin Moore Stonewashed:

    When you narrow it down to a few contenders, buy some samples and paint some sample boards. That will help you evaluate the colors better.

    User thanked Holly Stockley
  • 5 years ago

    If you're really feeling frustrated, hire someone for a color consult and to help you over the finish line with your decisions. From my experience, it really helps lower the stress, and these folks have come up the learning curve where you're still at the bottom.

    It really doesn't matter that you've already made some decisions. A pro is used to a design job where they aren't starting from square one.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    kate R, I think you're driving yourself crazy. You cannot possibly pick a color the way you are doing for the whole house without knowing how they will work in each room according to the natural light. This is why most builders give you two choices. Accessible beige and Agreeable gray. Pick one of those that goes with most of your carpeting. (I wanted AB but the AG looked better with the carpeting). It can make a room look beige or gray depending on light and the furnishings. They are neutral enough to go with almost every ones color palette. Once the house is done, you can start changing one room at a time to suite its individual rooms natural lighting if necessary. I suspect one of those colors will be fine. Here are some pictures of it with both gray and beige furnishings.

    https://theflooringgirl.com/painting/agreeable-gray-neutral-gray-paint-color/


    User thanked Linda
  • 5 years ago

    Kate,

    My sister ran into the same fatigue when she was building her home. I flew 2000 miles with my color samples and helped her pick colors.


    I happen to have about 400 large sample boards, but you don't need that many to choose a single neutral that will work. Maria Killam offers a selection of Core Neutrals from BM (50 boards for $329). (It was the start of my collection that has grown over 15 years of helping a lot of people pick colors).


    The collection of core neutrals and whites will give you the top sellers in each of her color categories for neutrals. It will get you in the right place to select a the correct color. You may end up going a bit lighter or darker or slightly bluer or greener than one of the top sellers, but you will know what your looking for.


    If you don't want to spend the money on her color boards, collect a bunch of the paper samples from the local Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams store and use those along with the samples you have already purchased/made.


    Her home was still under construction, so like you, we couldn't see the colors in her home.


    This is how we picked the colors:


    We gathered samples of her flooring, countertops, backspash, tiles, carpet, artwork that she loved and knew would be brought to the new home, pillows from her couch that she was bringing with her and some of her favorite pieces of clothing. (She also did carpet in her family room and bedrooms against the advice of the builder's in house designer.)


    We took all of her samples and laid them out on a table in the back yard on a sunny afternoon. We then set my color samples on a bookstand on the table and looked at them to determine which colors worked. It took us about 2 hours to pick a color pallet for her home. Since you are selecting only one color this shouldn't take near as long.





    colors · More Info



    One of the neat things about color is that if it all works together in natural sunlight, it will work in artificial light. If the artificaial light has some yellow it will add yellow to all of the colors, not just one, so they still all work. Natural daylight also makes seeing the subtle differences in colors easier. The two tiles in the picture below looked very similar inside the home, but in natural daylight you can see that one has much stronger pink undertones than the other.



    colors · More Info




    I suggest that you get 5000K lighting. You will be told that I am wrong by a bunch of other posters who prefer 2700 k lighting.


    My reason for suggesting 5000K lighting is that it will be the closest color to natural daylight, so your colors won't change when you go from natural sunlight pouring though your windows to turning on lamps in the evening.


    2700 k lighting was the lighting of choice 100 years ago when we replaced gas lamps and candles with artificial light. It mimics the yellow hues thrown by candles and became the norm for home lighting. We got used to having and expecting yellow lighting.


    I opted for 5000 k lighting because I have a lot of purple in my decor and it turns muddy brown when you add yellow lighting. My two oldest siblings changed their lighting from 2700 k to 5000 k after visiting my home and finding that they could see/read better in my lighting. They are a decade + older then me (big family), so they were in their mid to late 60s when they made the change.


    User thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • 5 years ago

    BTW - my sister's home was voted the best new build in the county by the local realtors/builders. The homes are judged by both interior and exterior design. Carpet and non-neutral color selections didn't seem to have too much of a negative impact.

  • 5 years ago

    I used Accessible Beige on the walls at the suggestion of the decorating forum. I asked for a nice neutral warmish color and this was the most popular suggestion. I used it in every room with BM White Dove trim. I love it and it’s the only house building decision that I didn’t gnash my teeth over.

  • 5 years ago

    For what it's worth, as Holly said above - I do love SW Sea Salt. I strongly prefer "neutral" colors (whatever that means!) - but Sea Salt is a very versatile color.

  • 5 years ago

    Linda, you are correct - drove myself nuts trying to match colors when I'll likely change it in many rooms anyway. AB is too beige for the carpet, so I'd pick AG. The Sherwin Williams gal picked that for me anyway.

  • 5 years ago

    @JenniferHogan. Great idea on laying it all out in the backyard. I keep moving samples around my house and there' just not space. I have come to the conclusion that no color will look perfect in every light. All that lighting info - never would have thought of it, so I"ll check into what we're doing. I kind of glossed over those details while my husband discussed it with the lighting person, I just paid attention to the fixtures.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Kate R, I am right where you are right now. They are supposed to be breaking ground next week. I too stressed over the paint, didnt stress over too much more except a little bit on the flooring. The paint was my issue, i finally came to the realization that, out of everything, THE PAINT is the EASIEST thing to change! DONT WORRY. If you dont like it, it can easily be changed in a weekend. Also, pick your cabinets first, dont match it to the paint. The cabinets are most likely for the life of the home, the paint can be changed at any time.

  • 5 years ago

    I can completely relate to your post....choices are stressful. I have no advice but wish you luck!!

  • 5 years ago
    We are days away from moving into our newly built home. We picked PPG Elusion as the color for our main rooms, and two of our bedrooms. We have hickory floors, and the carpet in our bedroom looks similar to your carpet. Here are some pictures. I hope it helps.
  • 5 years ago
    Oops... forgot to include our carpet. I will try to take a picture in one of the bedrooms so you can see the carpet paint combo.
    User thanked mandapanda75
  • 5 years ago

    Hi Kate... I am an In-Home Color Consultant for Sherwin Williams. Many people don't know we offer this service. I have done about 1200 consults ad customers always feel relieved to have the decision made and they can move on with painting. Where do you live? I would encourage you to check it out at your closest Sherwin Williams store. Some cabinets colors that people are happy with are Alabaster, Extra White, Snowbound and Origami White. For the walls Agreeable Gray and Anew Gray seem to be my favorite with the least undertone. If you want more beige you may consider Shitake or Loggia.

  • 5 years ago

    Lots of suggestions you received! Benjamin Moore Titanium is one to consider. It can read both warm and cool depending on the light. I do suggest testing it for yourself as most of the images online are inaccurate.

    User thanked lindsey_9002
  • 5 years ago
    You may want to check out Ben Moore, Intense white. Don’t go by the name, it’s neither “intense” or “white”. It’s a pale grey that leans a little beige, very neutral.
    User thanked CC
  • 5 years ago
    We went with Revere Pewter and it looks great. Best part is while it’s one color in every room, it looks slightly different depending on light and furnishings. And for flooring, we went with a 7” plank of white oak that has a rustic finish and much variation of nots and color. Looks like a toned down hickory and we love it. Most complimented finish in the house.
  • 5 years ago

    Revere pewter is a nice color. I had it in my old house. Never went green to me. Nice floors!

    My Home Pics · More Info


    My Home Pics · More Info


  • 5 years ago

    Lots of GREAT suggestions. I'm feeling like I'm getting somewhere.


    @mandapanda - Our floor is a very similar color to yours - as well as the carpet. Thank you for showing me "Elusion" I had the paint chip card with this on it, but it wasn't really on my radar.

  • 5 years ago

    @CC - From what I see on my computer which may or may not be accurate, Intense White looks like a contender. I can't get over the name, as you hit it on the head, it's not Intense and not white! Will look into this one more.

  • 5 years ago

    @nuncia57 - the SW consultant at my store gave me Agreeable Gray and Pure White chips when she saw my carpet, which I already had a sample of and am not sold on it. At least it made me feel I was on the right track. When they get the drywall put up it will definitely be one of the ones I try.

  • 5 years ago

    Also - @mandapanda (is there a way to actually tag people you are responding to?) - can you tell me the trim color you used with Elusion?

  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    @Kate

    What did you finally use?

  • 4 years ago

    If you want the perfect grey/beige, you will not be disappointed with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. Is it grey, is it beige, depends on the light, room size and flooring. We have it through our entire brownstone and I was hesitant as I don’t like all one color, but it’s perfect. Everything compliments it and absolutely no hint of purple.

  • 4 years ago

    I used SW Perfect Griege in most of my house and love it! I also used Revere Pewter in the laundry and 1/2 bath but it def has a green tint especially in the bath.

  • 4 years ago

    I’m wondering what kate chose

  • 4 years ago

    What did Kate choose ?

  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    For peel & stick paint samples go to this website.

  • 4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Here's a simple picture showing how difficult this all is. The paint shown is the same grey paint. But it is showing up as a bunch of different colors depending on the light. They all do this. This is why we risk losing our minds.

    https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/How-to-pick-the-best-gray-paint-colour.-Showing-Benajmin-Moore-Shoreline-by-Kylie-M-INteriors-Edesign-blog.jpg

  • 4 years ago

    I work for a staging company:

    Here's our 'go to' list.

    I have Agreeable Gray throughout my current home.

    Repose Gray SW 7015

    Agreeable Gray SW7029

    Anew Gray SW7030

    Popular Gray SW6071

    Alpaca SW 7022