Do you enjoy picking out paint colors? In theory, this is a task that I should enjoy. However. I'm not choosing paints for me, but for our home's potential future owners. I'm attempting to do what they call home staging. A foreign concept to you? You're lucky. Basically, it's presenting your house in a way that allows potential buyers to see themselves living there. What does that mean? It means: no clutter, tasteful decorations, no personal photographs, cozy little reading nooks, a dining table set for a party, the smell of freshly baked cookies, and neutral paint. It's the last bit that has had me hung up for quite some time. After multiple trips to several places for paint chips, I spent a good couple of weeks running from room to room, trying to chase the lighting around the house to get an idea of what the paint would look like at different times of the day. A color that looks fantastic at 10am might look dreary and horrible at 5pm. I brought home a few quarts of paint, and ended up with: baby poo yellow, and corn husk green.
I knew the colors weren't right the moment the paint mixer took the lids off the cans. And of course, when I held the paint chips up to the paint on the wall, it was a perfect match.
Forget aiming for something that has any hint of warmth. Let's go for something with gray undertones. I mulled and I pondered. I tried out 397 combinations of paints at the online Behr and Valspar paint simulators. And came up with this color scheme:
This process has taught me a few things about picking out paint colors, especially neutrals:
1. Put some amount of trust in the names of the paints. "Corn Husk Green" will actually appear to be corn husk green when it is on your wall. At the very least, the paint title will give you an idea about what the undertones are. Even if it appears white on the chip, "Frosty Sky" will definitely have a blue tint. Of course, when the name is something like "Party Streamer" (Martha Stewart, MS010, Valspar), you're on your own.
2. When using online paint simulators, try the paints in lots of rooms. Find the online room that makes most paint colors look horrible (usually it's some aspect of the lighting) and then find paint that looks good in that room.
3. Paints with historical names (see above pic) tend to have those gray undertones that are so desirable when staging your home.
4. Do not trust the lighting in the paint department at your local hardware store. I cannot stress this enough. I recommend taking the paint chips you've selected outside before making any rash decisions that the paint you chose at home suddenly looks "fleshy" or "too green" once at the store. At the very least, find that little light box in the paint department that is supposed to simulate natural light.
5. Finally, don't spend as much time deliberating about paint as I did. No shade of beige can possibly be that important. Consider defaulting to the experts' favorite neutrals, like these.
I'll be sure to post pictures once I've painted a room or two. So feel free to dismiss the above advice until I have definitive proof that those beigey beiges I selected aren't cleverly disguised shades of things that you would never, ever want to find on your walls.
Don't think that paint has kept me from doing a bit of sewing, however. In between trips to the paint store, I designed a new little something:
It was so fun, I just had to make a stack of them, which will soon find their way into my shop
P.S. Oh, and anyone who comments on this or any of my blog posts from now through this weekend will qualify to win a FREE new little thingamagig, like those pictured above. Can you tell what it is?? I'll put all the names in a hat Sunday evening and announce the winner on Monday.