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Friday, July 18, 2014

Painting the Living Room

Slowly but surely I am decorating my way around our newly renovated 1st floor.

I started in the Kitchen.

Then I moved to the dining room. There's a couple of things yet to do in there but plans are on on hold until I receive the rug that I ordered in MAY! It was back ordered at the time I ordered it.  
Benjamin Moore Colors: Palladian Blue (Walls), Lehigh green (Table)
So then we turned our attention to the family room. We had paint sample colors up on the wall for months and we finally decided on a color.  Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore. Let's check out the complete before and after shall we?  Throwin' us all the way back to the very beginning when we bought our home in May of 2013.
Then there is this picture (which if you follow me on instagram you may have seen it). These two pictures were taken a year apart from each other, almost to the day.  It's still hard for me to believe, and I lived it!

The biggest reason it took us forever to paint our living room?  Choosing a color. (or, I guess, it could also be because we tore down all the drywall, redid the floors, replaced windows etc..)

Guys, choosing paint colors is so hard! I mean you literally have every option under the sun at your disposal....and then some.  With sneaky little undertones lurking, ready to jump out at you and say "Boo! I'm more pink than you thought!" or "Tada! I'm a snazzy shade of puke green, and you thought I was a soothing earthy olive."  Jerks.  Paint colors are jerks.

I mean, I like surprises but not ones that cost $40+ dollars a gallon and 5+ hours of work just to find out you have to do it all over again.  So what's a nurse and nerd to do?

Well there are a million tutorial on how to choose the perfect paint colors (here is one of my favorites).  And honestly I don't have a fool-proof process (not sure there is one) but I can tell you what I do and maybe it will help you.


1. Consider your room: What is the feel you want the room to have?  Light and airy?  Fresh and clean? Cozy? Earthy? Formal? Bold? Subtle? There are definitely moods that certain colors evoke so starting here can give you a direction of shades and color families.  For this room?  I wanted inviting and causal.  On the kitchen/dining room side, there are a lot of cool colors going on.  So I thought I would warm things up with a light sandy beige.


2.  Search your options: Once you have an idea of the color family you want, google it.  A good starting point is to google a favorite paint brand, for instance: "Best Valspar Blues" -Or- "Favorite Benjamin Moore Yellows" -Or- "Popular Sherman Williams Greys" etc.. I mean, why not use other people's experiences with paint color to your advantage?  There are lots popular colors and they are popular for a reason.  Why would you not want to take advantage of the colors that have been picked out from the huge crop of colors as some of the best?

 Here are all the shades of beige I considered. Putting them side by side like this helped me compare intensity, and tone. For example, it was pretty easy to eliminate Lenox tan right off the bat.


Then look for as many images using that paint color as possible on google images and/or pinterest (if it's a popular color, this should be easy, if not, you might have very limited pictures to sort through).  Pinning these images helps keep color choices in one neat and tidy place and makes it easy to reference back to.  Now pictures can only help to a certain point, but at least you can see how they look in a real room.  Plus, many times bloggers will explain more about what the color looks like in the room, which is helpful when you are trying to avoid certain undertones.  That being said I should probably tell you about Grant Beige.  There are definitely green and golden undertones that I was not anticipating. Look at how much it changes as you go from left to right.



3. Buy Samples and Consider Lighting:  Once you have a couple different options, pick your top favorites and buy sample pots of the paint.  We tested the Grant Beige and Shaker Beige and found that the Shaker beige had way too much red in it. 

Apply a square to each wall of the room (or paint pieces of cardboard) to see how the lighting changes the look of the paint.  It will look different at different times of the day.  And at different angles.  And with the lights on.  And with the lights off.  And depending what furniture and rugs you have in the room.  And no matter what you do.  Paint colors are jerks.  

But at least by applying it to the wall you can have a heads up in seeing that the largest wall in the room looks all wrong.  Maybe that beautiful beige color you picked out had so much red in it (like we found out with Shaker Beige) that it would make Santa Claus himself would say "ho ho no."

4. Paint and live with it.  As you are painting, don't jump to conclusions about how much you love or hate the color.
Look at those awesome helpers!
It takes time to see the full depth of your relationship with your wall color.  Of course sometimes it takes longer than others, but give it time.  Because maybe the sandy beige you were going for is blatantly golden looking for the half hour that the sun is setting and then the gold is gone and you are back to soft and sandy .  So is that half hour really worth repainting your room? - with no guarantee that the next color won't have some other problem?  Nope! At least not for me!

Additionally, as my mom wisely told me.  No one ever looks at your paint as closely as you do, especially when you just painted it.  So step back.  Live with it. And see how you feel! If it bothers you consistently for at least a month, it is probably safe to go ahead and make a change.  How am I feeling a month later about Grant Beige?  I like it! It reminds me of coffee with creamer... and I love me some coffee with creamer!  There are certain periods throughout the day that it catches my eye and I think hmm... not what I was going for (gold/a bit too green)... but for now, it certainly does not bother me enough to make me want to change it. 

So that has been my strategy for choosing paint colors thus far...it's definitely a learning process.

And now that we have the living room painted, we can move on to other orders of business. 

We moved some dressers to fill the space around the fireplace and add some storage.  You may remember that we will someday be adding some built-in bookshelves.  But for now, these guys will do the job. They are primed right now... so I'm not sure what color I will paint them.  Thoughts?  I am kinda digging the white.  I also think they would look good with bin pulls but I also don't mind their current hardware.
We added some art and accessories - basically just things we had on hand for now.  Some of the artwork are just place holders (like that water color that I have turned the wrong way which is driving Michael crazy!! ;-)

But I am really liking how this sailboat art turned out.  It is a wallpaper sample that I stuck in a frame we found in the attic.  I am planning to paint the mat white.

I have other artwork that I plan to hang up too.  Like this pretty water color painted by my Great Great Aunt -she also painted the little apple painting a couple pictures up.

I also sewed some pillow covers for my old pillows. With zippers! I'm so proud of myself!

We hung the TV above the fireplace.  I tried my darnedest to not have to mount the TV above the fireplace but I am really happy now with how it has brought back some much needed symmetry to this wall. 


So things are coming along in the living room.  I still need to order the fabric for the curtains - just some simple white and airy panels.  I am also considering ideas for the coffee table (paint it? replace it? upholster the top?).  We need some lamps, side tables, a slimmer desk behind the love seat, and a couple storage ottomans for extra seating and storage.  So we'll see! And as always, I'll keep you posted!

Do you have any tricks for picking out paint colors?  I'd love to hear about them!


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