Perfect Shade of Gray

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

 

We have lived in our lovely, quirky house for 5 years this October. For 5 years, we have been trying and trying and trying to get a gray room. We started in our master closet, when we had to do some emergency fixes the weekend that we moved in. Nope, it ended up being blue. Then, we redid our downstairs powder room and we tried to make it gray. Nope, blue again.

So, when we decided that we wanted to have a gray nursery, the anxiety started. Is it going to just be yet another shade of blue? No! We were going to fight the gray-turned-to-blue plague that had fallen on our house.

I used my Benjamin Moore color wheel for weeks (months?) looking and looking at the shades of gray. Did I want to err on the side of purple? No, Baby Boy would probably not like a purple room as he got older. Should we go for a more green tint of gray, therefore staying away from the inevitable blue? We loved those options, but it would be harder to match the rest of the room to a greenish-gray. No, better stay with a true gray.

I went on Pinterest to look for grays, but depending on the lighting and other colors in the rooms, each color looked different. Still, it did give me some ideas for additional colors I hadn’t thought of.

I then went to my favorite color blog (Favorite Paint Colors) to look up the different grays that they have. It helped, but I ran into the same problem as with Pinterest: the same color looked different depending on the picture and the room itself.

So, I went to the Benjamin Moore store in town and used my most pathetic pregnancy voice to beg to the woman working behind the counter. I explained that I wanted the perfect shade of gray. Which was the perfect shade of gray? She then proceeded to tell me that each gray had different tones, and it was really hard to pick out a true gray. Duh! I knew that!

So, I decided to be smart and I got some testers of some of our top picks. That night, we put some samples on the wall in two places: across from the windows and next to the windows. We did this because we wanted to really see what the color would look like in different lights. We weren’t taking any chances.

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

 

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

 

Here is a close-up of each of the colors, along with the label of the names:

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

 

We quickly realized that Nightengale and Stonington Gray would be too dark. They were absolutely GORGEOUS, but they weren’t perfect for what we wanted for our babies’ nursery.

We then decided to put a big section of our two favorites on another wall. Tim really liked Wickham Gray, and I really liked Gray Owl. In true competitive fashion, we decided that we should paint the one that we didn’t like. That way, it would give us the chance to “bond” with the un-liked color, thus giving each color the best shot at getting the Final Rose.

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

 

Being the Impatient Nellies that we are, I had to snap a quick picture of the paint before it dried. Ew! Yuck! Didn’t like! But then I remembered that we needed to wait and let it darken when it dried. It also needed a second coat.

That second coat really makes a big difference. Look at that second-coat patch in the middle of Gray Owl. Isn’t that a totally different color?


Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

 

Once they were completely dry, it was time to make a decision. I knew which one I liked, but I wanted to hear Tim’s opinion before I said anything. I didn’t want him to say what he thought I wanted to hear (because he is amazing like that and will do that just to make me happy). His pick: Gray Owl had won him over! As much as he still loved Wickham Gray, it had a different tone to it (he said green, I said blue), whereas Gray Owl really did appear like a true gray.

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

With that, our final decision was made: Gray Owl was our color! We still were smart about it, however, and we lived with these colors on our walls for the next 2 weeks to see them in all kinds of lights, times of the day, weather conditions, etc. Our choice was still just as perfect as on Day 1. Gray Owl really did look like a true gray in our room!

Find the Perfect Shade of Gray - Doyle Dispatch

You can see in the pictures above, we also played around with materials that we would use for the curtains. Stay tuned for more on that!

We had our painter (Brent Lilly) come in and paint the room. Let me just rave about his work (and prices). If you are in the RVA area, you MUST contact him!

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

Finding the Perfect Shade of Gray - DoyleDispatch.com

 

Wait until you see it with furniture. You will really be able to see the beauty of the color.

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Comments

  1. I just had to comment on your shades of grey! My husband and I have been fixing up our house and have *almost* repainted the entire house… our choice was to do different flavors of gray. Tan gray, green gray, blue gray, dark gray, purply gray…. endless! So congrats on finding the perfect hue of gray for your babies future room! I stumbled upon your blog a while back and I have enjoyed reading about your multiples pregnancy. Me being a planner started reading and researching pregnancy as my hubby and I are officially no longer preventing pregnancy so naturally I go into planner mode from there it is in gods hands 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for following the blog and for the comment! I’ve enjoyed looking at your blog and your pictures of your house updates. I always love a good house tour. What were some of the colors you chose to go with? Best of luck to you and your hubby in the upcoming months! Pregnancy (and trying to become pregnant) is an emotional roller coaster, and I hope it goes well for you! As a fellow planner, try to relax as much as possible during this time (haha…easier said than done), and let me know if you have any questions!

  3. DidGray says:

    From experience – check how much BLUE is in the color formula for each candidate. I did Wickham Gray in a flat base and it looked great for a while. I tried to retouch it after a year and the original paint can and the touch up paint was darker than the wall. Apparently the entire paint industry has problems with formulas that have lots of blue in flat base – they often fade quickly. Mine faded to almost white – using Benjamin More quality paint – but it is not their fault, it is a documented industry issue with blue tints and flat paint. It does NOT happen if you use a matte or egg shell base. Solution – use a base other than flat or find a formula for a color you like that has less shots of blue. For example Ferrous by C2 has just a 1/2 shot of blue where Wickham Gray has 3 shots of blue. Your paint store can help you as they have access to the formulas.

  4. We did our sons nursery in gray owl in 2012 as well! LOVE the color. It is by far my favorite gray out there!!! I am now in search of a deeper gray to make a feature wall in his new room since he is being moved to make room for his new sister next month 🙂 Anyone have a great darker gray suggestion to complement gray owl?

  5. I want to paint my family room a gray. My couch is a greenish/khaki from pottery barn and trim and built-ins are creamy off white not white white. Do you think Gray Owl would look ok with those colors? I would tie it together with throw pillows and art. I’m considering doing gray owl at half tint in the hopes that it would match better. Thoughts?! Thanks.

    • We have a lot of different colors in the nursery, and Gray Owl looks fantastic with all of them. We recently had a friend use Gray Owl at half tint and it looks amazing too. Because a lot depends on the type of light that you have in that room, I would definitely suggest getting a sample and trying it out on in a foot square on a couple walls to check first and see how it looks in your house. My immediate thought is that it would look great, but it’s hard to say without being there. Good luck! I’d love to see pictures!!

  6. Thanks for your blog! We tried gray owl which we really liked, but ended up choosing Porpoise from Dunn Edwards. Both really great options!

  7. Thank you for posting this. I have two friends who have painted rooms in their home gray, but both look blue to me. I have been obsessed with having a gray bathroom for some time now and now that my husband and I are officially doing a bathroom remodel (vanity and flooring has been purchased!) I know I can go ahead and start looking for a color. I want the paint to look GRAY not blue and definitely noting with green in it! I have been searching online like a crazy lady. All of the grays I really like are too dark, my bathroom is small, so I know I have to go lighter. The “Owl” color you have shared seems perfect! I am going to go get a sample of it this weekend 🙂 I agree with putting the colors up and waiting weeks to see it in all sorts of lighting. My husband thinks I should wait until the remodel is done, then pick a color. I told him that will be the final test (seeing it with our new vanity and floor) but until then I am going to put up samples and look at it day in and day out until the time comes when we can decide if it goes with what we have done, if it does we will paint and know we will be satisfied. if it doesn’t, then we will go back to putting more samples up!

  8. In the future, you will want to prime the wall behind your paint swatches or put these colors on white boards and leave a white edge. The existing colors on your wall will always skew your perception of the actual color sample – try it both ways and you’ll see.

    Also, always use 2 coats of paint and let it dry to get the true color —> BM lies until it dries.

    Curious what colors you used previously that read as true blue on your walls?

  9. Fariba Katz says:

    Thank you for your post. Your son’s room looks great. I’m trying to figure out the Gray Owl paint you used. Was it 2137-60 or OC-52?

Trackbacks

  1. […] closet makeover – painted Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore. She also just wrote a post about picking out the perfect shade of gray for her new nursery(she is having twins!). Thanks for the great inspiration, Dory! […]

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