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Picking the Perfect Grey (or Greige)

One specific item that a lot of clients have asked for is the perfect grey paint color. I am told constantly, that 'I picked a grey, it looked great in the store, and then, on my walls, it looked Blue (or Purple).' To explain this, I will set up a set of rules to help you pick the best grey for your home:

1) NEVER and I repeat NEVER, EVERY Pick a color after only seeing it in the store

lighting in a store is often halogen or fluorescent, and rarely the same color temperature as that in your home. You will always benefit from the extra time it takes to bring samples home

2) Always take more samples than you need.

Find a color you like in the store, grab at least 10 sample chips that are similar in tone, but are too warm, too cool, too green, too yellow. These color variations may (and likely will) change when you get home.

3) Take at least a full day to think about it and hold it up throughout the day, in different light on different walls in your house

If a wall has more natural light shining on it, the color will look more blue, if it has more artificial light, it will look more warm and even purple. Greys change a lot with light.

4) Do not compare your potential color against any other color paint besides white

yellow behind grey can make it look purple, brown can make it look blue, green can make it look brown...I could go on and on. get a large white poster board or at least a white sheet of paper to place behind your potential contenders as you walk them around the house.

5) Allow yourself to buy a quart of paint and paint one single wall before you commit to the entire room

Don't let the commitment of a can of paint force you to paint an entire room a color that does not work. Know that if you are heading in the grey direction, GREYS ARE VERY HARD but they can be BEAUTIFUL IF DONE RIGHT and allow yourself the time and effort to get it right.

6) Flat finish is always a better look

regardless of the color, flat looks better. I realize what I am saying, but it does. If you can get away with going flat, do it.

7) Err on the side of being too beige

if you end up too beige, you are not blue or purple. It is better if your grey, in some lights feels a bit beige than the alternatives. YOUR COLOR WILL CHANGE with lights on and off, during different times of the year, and in different times of the day. If your color changes to a bit on the beige side, it is way better than it turning blue, purple or even green.

I get clients, family and friends all the time asking for the perfect grey. My answer is 'I can give you greys that I have used successfully, but a lot depends on light, lighting color, furnishings, flooring and ceiling color.' I will share my favorites because they would be a good jumping off point.

Frazee (bought by Sherwin Williams, so ask them for a color match) Siberia CL2852W

Sherwin Williams SW 7022 Alpaca

Sherwin Williams SW 6001 Grayish

Sherwin Williams SW 7023 Requisite Gray

Just remember, recommendation or not, follow the rules I mentioned to make sure you have a successful painting endeavor!

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