Front Porch is the new Quill: Choosing the Perfect Gray Paint


In my last post I talked about painting my home 50 shades of gray, but what I want you to know is that all grays are not created equal. There’s much more to it than slapping some gray paint on the wall, and depending on the light, you could end up with a color that doesn’t look gray at all!

It’s fun to paint each room a different color (or shade of gray, in my case,) but you need to have one main color for throughout the house–like in hallways, for example. This weekend we’ll be painting most of the house the same color, and then adding variation by painting accent walls and the bedrooms in different colors.  Especially since this color will be used so much, it’s super important that it’s the perfect shade.

In my Denver home, I went with Quill from Valspar which was the ultimate greige.  This time, I wanted to cool it down and go with a true light gray, and landed on Front Porch from Sherwin Williams.  It’s funny how similar they look in person…

Check back next week for photos of the living room!

Tips on Selecting the Perfect Shade of Gray:

1. Paint Chips. Take as many as you can get your hands on! Even if you don’t think you like them in the store because it’s too green or purpley, for example, you may actually  be surprised when you get them home.  They’re free, so don’t be shy!

2. Online Tools. Almost all paint companies like Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and Valspar all have online tools available to help you visualize. You can upload a photo and see exactly what the room will look like with the color.  It’s pretty neat!

3. Samples.  It’s sort of a pain in the you-know-what, but if you must, go ahead and buy a quart to sample on the wall. They’re about 10 bucks apiece, but it may be worth it if you’re having difficulty deciding.  They annoying part is that you have to paint over your test stripes, so if you end up selecting a shade that’s drastically different it may take some primer or a few coats to cover it up.

50 Shades of Gray Paint

4-things-you-need-to-know-about-paintBI’ve spent the past few days mulling over paint colors, calling contractors and gearing up for a labor-intensive weekend.

If there’s one thing that can make an absolute difference when you move into a new home, it’s a fresh coat of paint. You can clean until your fingers are numb, but to me, new paint is the only way to really start fresh. I’m talking walls, ceiling and trim–the whole works… Out with the old, in with the new!

When we moved into our house in Denver, Mike called me “50 Shades of Gray” for nearly three months because I insisted on painting every room gray. Aside from selecting the perfect shade, I actually had no idea what I was doing. I accepted the assistance of the nice older lady working in the Lowe’s paint center, and may have over-trusted.

She was convinced that we would need at least eleven gallons of Quill (shade #1) to cover the main areas of the house. When we had finished painting the house, we still had an entire 5-gallon bucket that we hadn’t even opened.  (Whoops.) A year later, we painted the entire basement with the same Quill gray, and still had at least two gallons left over…

From that experience, here are the lessons I learned:

1. Tint the paint as you go. You can totally return paint before the color is added, but once you buy 11 gallons of Quill you’re stuck with it. If it makes sense (i.e. Sherwin Williams 40% off sale! What.) go ahead and buy a lot of paint, tint as you go, and then return what you don’t need.

2. Start small. If you don’t need to buy it all at once, then just start small and buy more if you need it.

3. Two coats isn’t really two coats. It’s more like 1 1/2. You only use about half of the paint on the second coat, so you may not need as much as you calculated.

4. Calculator, schmalculator. There are a lot of different factors that can determine how much paint you use. Climate, wall surface and the color underneath are all contributors, so just know that your math is merely an estimate.