Gray paint is all the rage so of course I wanted it to be the neutral in our new home. Plus we did beige in our last home so it was time for something different even though this new house was builder beige everywhere. I like to go with a neutral in big open areas like family room/kitchen so I can do bold pops of color for accents but then later I can always change up the accent colors.
We had 3 days to decide the paint color we were going to use since we hired someone to paint the entryway, family room, kitchen and stairwell. Why didn't we DIY it like we usually do? Well we wanted to get it done before the movers moved our stuff in (we just didn't have that kind of time) since these were going to be the most lived in areas and it would be a pain to move furniture later AND we would have had to hire someone to do the stairwell anyway since it was too tall to adequately reach on a ladder (sounds like an accident waiting to happen). So hence the 3 days...
We started off with 41 shades of gray on paint chips. YES 41 shades. That probably sounds like overkill but there are a ton of gray paint shades out there... and we were just using mainly Sherwin Williams and also some Benjamin Moore. And these were just the light gray shades. I had already weeded through the paint chips and didn't even number anything on the too white side or the too dark side to bring us to a big whopping 41.
We taped them all up on a main wall in our family room on a Friday afternoon. Ones that we didn't like came down and the rest were then taped up on a wall in the stairwell to repeat the process looking at them on a different wall.
See gray is a hard color. Much harder than beige in my opinion. It can have undertones of blue, purple, green, or beige. I really wanted a true light gray so no undertones. And Eric wanted whatever I wanted :) Of course paint will also look completely different under different light or during different times of day.
So we left and came back that night because you want to like your wall color at night too when there is no natural light right? Again we looked at colors on different wall and narrowed it down some more.
We did the same thing the next morning and had it narrowed down to about 10 shades. Then we picked our favorite 5 and bought the samples. I really loved two of the shades, SW Passive and SW Gray Screen and I was sure one of those was going to be the winner. All 5 were Sherwin Williams colors. We mostly had SW since our painter said that is the brand he highly recommended and they can do it in the No VOC option. We had used SW paint in our first house for a few things and really liked it.
At the house we painted the 5 samples on 3 different walls - family room, stairwell and kitchen and let it fully dry before judging. Of course paint on the walls will look different than paint on the paint chips but gray proved to be even trickier than colors we worked with before. The two colors I was so sure of I didn't really love. Passive had a greenish bluish undertone and Gray Screen definitely had a blue undertone. Knitting Needles and Light French Gray were too dark for what I was hoping for. On The Rocks seemed to be the best of the 5 choices.
But I wasn't loving the way On The Rocks looked on the kitchen wall. It seemed too white there and I didn't want it to just blend in with the cabinets. We came back different time of day that Saturday to look at them too.
I told Eric I really wanted a gray that I just loved and that I saw on the wall and I knew that it was it and I just wasn't feeling that. He thought I was a little nuts for needing to fall in love with a shade of gray. So Sunday morning after more staring and discussing, I
And low and behold I loved Front Porch! It was the one! On all the walls and during different times of day. Super glad went for two more and didn't just settle. Eric was super glad he wasn't going to have to put up any more samples.
The painters came a couple days later and did in a few hours what would have taken us an entire weekend plus extra time for hiring someone for the stairwell. Well worth it in our situation, although not to worry I'm sure we will be DIY painting most of the rest of the house.
These gray paint shades could look completely different in your home but we were really happy with Sherwin Williams Front Porch and highly recommend it for a great light gray shade with no undertones. They recommended a flat sheen as it is the least glossy and hides wall imperfections the best and cleanable (for dirt marks or fingerprints, just not scrubbable for bigger messes) contrary to what I thought. With flat paint most of the time you only need one good coat instead of two with other sheens. The painters also said it is what they use in over 75% of houses they paint, which I found surprising.I think in our first house we used eggshell or satin because we didn't know any better. Now we will continue using flat paint in almost all our rooms.
Good luck in picking out your perfect shade of gray, I'm glad I found mine!
Would love for you to follow along!