How I Chose My Calming Coastal Gray Wall Color
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I get lots of questions about my interior wall color, so I’m going to explain how I chose it and offer a bit of insight after having lived with it for over 3 years now! I chose to use the same paint color throughout the entire house because when we moved in the plethora of wall colors made it seem like the walls were closing in on us and the semi-open floor plan really called for some consistency in color. My vision for our house was for it to feel open, airy and for goodness sake to have all of the rooms flow together! Please see the before picture to understand exactly what I’m talking about:
When deciding on a neutral paint color, I knew that I wanted to err on the side of “cool” vs warm tones. The rich wood stain on the floors definitely needed a cooler color to balance out the warmth, and I was really over beige. Once I decided that I wanted a light gray color, I preferred that it have blue undertones vs appearing purple or green in different lighting. We live in Florida after all, and beachy blue wall colors are pretty common and widely accepted. So, if my gray paint took on a slightly bluish hue at times, I was okay with it.
The time of day you view your paint can make a big difference. If you have the lights on at night, depending on the type of bulbs you have, your paint color can look completely different than it does during the day. See the warmth of the paint samples below at night compared to the bluish looking sample spots I painted on the wall? Day and night differences - literally.
The angle of the sun will cast shadows that change throughout the day and the undertones can look stronger on some walls than they do on others. You might notice the variation in some of my past photos. The image below that I shot for my Spring Table Setting in Style post almost looks like I have an accent wall! Remember, every room in my house is the exact same color.
When choosing a paint color to cover up the rather obnoxious mustard and teal colors that were there when we bought the house, it was hard to really know how much of a hue each color had because of what your eye had to compare it to. Each paint color looked almost white when I painted it on.
I painted several different walls around the house and observed it over a weekend in different lighting. The hardest part about choosing the right gray paint is that it comes with so many different undertones. That being said, I wanted to err on the side of "blue" undertones, rather than risk my walls looking purple or green. Anyone who's looked for the right shade of gray knows what I'm talking about!
I ended up choosing Fleur de Sel by Sherwin Williams. If you opened a can of Fleur de Sel paint, you'd probably be surprised at what you see. It looks almost white, especially against the dark walls that I was painting over! Below is the online color swatch that Sherwin Williams provides. Would you guess that’s the color on my walls?
If it seems like the can of paint is “too light”, just be sure to paint extra large test spots on your walls to get a better idea of what the color will look like once your old paint is covered up and the fresh paint has dried. It almost always dries darker.
Here are a few more tips for choosing the right paint color:
Bring a ton of the color swatches home and place them around your house. Make sure you see them in broad daylight and in the evening with the lights turned on.
Google the paint colors you like best and click on ‘images” to see what they look like in a home that is already painted. Also check Pinterest by searching the color there too.
Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite 2-3 colors, get some samples and paint larger areas of the wall, making sure to try them out on at least a couple different walls in your home.
After having lived with this color for almost 4 years, I still like it, but I think I’d also like this color at half tint. Half tint means whoever is mixing your paint will set their computer to 50% of the pigment, making it lighter and less rich, which can be the ideal solution for interiors without much natural lighting.
Here are a few photos of our interior that show how natural light can cause the paint to appear lighter in some areas:
You can see how the light from our front door really lightens up the color of the wall on the right side of the photo.
Focus on the wall color here in our family room…not the hideous couch. ;) Still working on replacing that thing.
Whew! There's a lot to consider when choosing a paint color, but at the end of the day, it’s worth the effort to find the right one!
I hope this post was helpful and answered the questions you might’ve had about my wall color! Let me know if you have questions in the comments below or you can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.