2 shades of gray
August 4, 2014 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I need to paint my home to sell and completely lack the skill necessary to tell good colors from bad. (Really, my bedroom is a navy blue pit of despair.)

It's small, and the realtor has suggested sticking with two shades (tones?) of the same color. One very light for living/dining/kitchen and a shade darker for the bedrooms/bath.

It needs to be gray, with no green or yellow undertones, to go with my furniture and upholstery.

I am overwhelmed by the number of choices available.

Do you know of a specific brand and shades that fit the bill?
posted by 1066 to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Benjamin Moore Collingwood and Balboa Mist (lighter) or Silver Fox (darker). It's a grey almost taupe that goes with everything.

Revere Pewter is also lovely. You could pick a shade 2 lighter or darker for the other colors.

Also, Oxford White or Simply White in semi gloss for trim.
posted by saradarlin at 8:11 PM on August 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

Agree with above. Benjamin Moore colors are AWESOME....just don't let yourself get overwhelmed. I think Saradarlin's pick are perfect..... go with them....if you were living there, I would suggest an eggshell finish, it looks great and wears well but it's more expensive. Since you are selling, you may want to go with a flat but definitely a gloss for the trim. Don't overthink this. Just get a good painter, grab the colors and do it. Keep your palate simple....You'll be amazed at how great it will look.
posted by pearlybob at 8:36 PM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Everything will look different on your exact walls (with their patterns of light and shadow and reflections from things in your house), than they do on swatches in the shop. The usual recommendation is to paint test patches (large ones) on various walls and live with them for a bit. I found that still didn't give me a good idea of what the outcome would be like.

Many paint stores offer a service where a consultant will come to your house and take a look and then recommend specific shades. Our local hardware store offered this for $150 and I really wish I'd taken them up on it. It would have been much cheaper than repainting later when I was unhappy with the final look.
posted by lollusc at 8:55 PM on August 4, 2014

I have always had great success in going to a Benjamin Moore store that has an in-house decorator. Make an appointment or be prepared to wait. (It may only be a few minutes.) Bring pictures and any fabric samples. They will give you a quick and free consult. I'm not sure if every store has this, so it might be worth going a little farther afield. My local store always has a decorator there. I'm sure it's better when they come to your house, but...free!
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:02 PM on August 4, 2014

Check out Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray--it's neutral; doesn't tip too warm or too cool and ask at the store for a coordinating lighter or darker gray, whichever they recommend and, if needed, a trim color.
posted by Anitanola at 9:11 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Take a chair pillow and couch pillow to the paint store. Take photos of your window treatments. Ask the store decorator person to pick with you. Tell them you want colors from the neutrals palette.

And don't panic - fresh paint looks good even if the color is touch off.
posted by 26.2 at 9:28 PM on August 4, 2014

Here is my overly-exacting method of picking paint colors, YMMV.

-Go to Hardware store, pick up many many similar to what I want paint chips. Ignore brands altogether, but grab chips from any display that approaches the right colors. Any color you end up picking can be custom mixed.

-Tape up all the chips on one wall. I use painters tape or masking tape on the back only, so it doesn't affect my color perception. You can probably eliminate a few colors immediately.

-The next day, or later in the day when the light changes, evaluate the chips again. Eliminate some more. I like to get a look at them different times of day, because that affects the color.

-Next step: Move all the remaining chips to another wall in the room. The light and color will act differently on each wall, making the decision easier.

-Continue to do this with the other walls in the room. Sometimes I have to add a couple of paint chips back into the mix.

I almost always use an eggshell finish, because it is good about showing the color well. Shiny paint reflects light, so the true color is not always reflected. Though, I have read that using a more reflective paint on the ceiling adds more light to a room.WalMart doesn't seem to have accurate color scanners, so I always go to a hardware store.

I never do test paint swatches, because they didn't used to be available. The small paint chips are great, but remember that the color will be darker or more intense on an entire wall. Good luck!
posted by annsunny at 9:44 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

This isn't actually about colors, just a painting tip - if your bedroom is actually painted navy blue, you'll need a couple of coats of primer if you don't want to spend a million dollars and the rest of your life painting and painting and painting to cover it. Also, the shinier the paint, the more any little flaw in the paint job shows, so you might consider semi-gloss rather than gloss for your trim, and eggshell for walls and ceilings.
posted by gingerest at 9:47 PM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

We have the two-tone gray thing going on in our house. Dunn Edwards colors: Muslin (light) and Play On Gray (darker) are awesome, and seem to go well with other grays/blacks as well as beige/browns. We've left our trim white.

We've used these colors in two homes now, they just work really well.

Good luck!
posted by nadise at 11:43 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't forget to type the names of your potential paint colors into Pinterest -- you can often pull up pictures of rooms that people have painted with that color.
posted by Ostara at 8:04 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all!

Dunn Edwards isn't available here, unfortunately.

The colors suggested here are pretty, but looked very yellow on my walls. We did the color consult and ended up with Benjamin Moore Tundra 2133-70 and Sidewalk Gray 2133-60.

And a tip from the pro, if you want a gray, look for the black chip and stay within that "family".
posted by 1066 at 4:58 PM on August 6, 2014

I am glad you found some colors that worked. I am a big fan of the Benjamin Moore pallet! Those are awesome colors you have chosen!
posted by saradarlin at 4:41 PM on August 7, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all!

Sold in two days for 2k over asking.

Off to paypal to show gratitude.
posted by 1066 at 9:09 AM on August 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

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