When I was younger, I remember going to Lowe’s with my parents so they could purchase paint for our home. From my perspective, it was a simple process, we just grabbed it and headed home for some quality family time over painters tape and rollers. I’m pretty sure that I’ve painted
close to every room in my parents house, often by choice. I just loved that each room was the perfect color (minus that one time when we painted our red kitchen yellow) and it reflected my parents style really well. I figured this was pretty normal, but I will never forget my interior design class during high school when nearly everyone in my class said that their home was the color it was painted when the house was built (white, tan, light yellow, etc). I was pretty thrilled that my parents used color to make our house a home and I knew that it would be important to me to give off the same feeling that I had at my home growing up. That being said, the first thing on my to-do list when we got our keys was to change up the colors.
I thought it would be easy but choosing paint colors quickly became the bane of my existence – you have your your whites, your blue whites, your yellow whites, your pink whites, and so on. Before we even closed on the house, I checked out my local Lowe’s (because Valspar Paint + Sherwin WIlliams Colors = favorite combo) to grab some paint chips. I knew I wanted mostly neutrals so that I could choose new decor around that, so I thought I’d just grab a couple colors that go with our current furniture and decor and move on, no big deal. Boy, was I wrong.
First, I bought 3 samples – Common Thread, Functional Gray, and Software.
As soon as I put Common Thread on the living room, dining room and kitchen walls, it felt wrong. It basically took me the entire sample painted on every single wall in the rooms to figure that out. It went on pink-ish and although it could have been partially caused by the green we were covering, I just wasn’t feeling it. Functional Gray and Software were both colors we considered using for the bedroom. We were covering up maroon walls and the minute I put them on, I immediately ruled them both out because the light grey looked white and the dark grey looked blue. Talk about massive fail. That night, I went home and did a ton of research on undertones. Here’s what I found: Elements of Style Blog, Live Love DIY, Hey There Home.
I guess I’ve always known that they were important, but I didn’t realize how different they could make a room look. I went back to my pinterest board for the house and searched extensively through my pins – generally, I’m a big picture person so I wasn’t really considering the wall color in the images that I was aesthetically attracted to. I noticed trends of white and tan walls and I often liked the look of gray, but rarely pinned it because it often felt like it came off a bit “cold”. The next morning, I headed back to the store for more colors.
I ended up with two more samples (Universal Khaki, Nomadic Desert) and a gallon of Extra White.
Thankfully, at this point I actually searched every color online to see examples of the colors used in other people’s homes as well as the undertones for each, so I felt much more prepared. We had friends coming over to help paint that evening, so I really had to make a decision or potentially lose out on some help. (Just kidding, but when someone says they can help, you gotta take them up on it!) During my lunch break, I headed to the house to test them. The Universal Khaki ended up looking very green and finally the Nomadic Desert was perfect! No surprise, I loved the white as well. For the white, we were only covering up a light purple/gray, so we chose Valspar Signature paint. For the living room, dining area and kitchen, we chose Nomadic Desert in the Valspar Reserve, which is their primer and paint in one option to make sure that it would cover the darker color. Of course this one is more expensive, but other than a few touch ups, we didn’t have to worry about more than one coat. It was glorious and we were fully prepared to take advantage of their money-back guarantee if we had to go back for more. The biggest difference in the two paints was the consistency and how well it covered. The room that was painted white, is a pretty small room but we ended up doing two coats plus touch ups causing us to use every single drop of one gallon. The room that was painted Nomadic Desert was much larger as far as square footage but we ended up using about a gallon and a half or less. I originally thought we’d have to use Kilz and then a color on top of that so the Reserve really saved us on time.
We ended up liking the Nomadic Desert so much that we carried the color down the stairs and into our living space down there. It’s so versatile and I think it will match perfectly with what we’ll choose for decor. In the master bedroom, the Functional Gray grew on me after seeing it in multiple different lights. Despite the white look, we thought that it made the space look bigger and would also be perfect to go with our dark bed and comforter. This will also allow us to choose room darkening curtains which are a must! Other than these, there were a few existing colors that we kept – I don’t have the exact name but they are similar to Sherwin Williams’ Green Trance (in the guest bedroom) and Dignity Blue (in the bathroom). Our office and other bathroom will stay white for now.
Before making decisions, I had every intention of choosing colors off of Sherwin Williams’ pre-selected coordinating color options to make sure that the house had a sense of flow, but I didn’t find a palette that had all of the colors I was looking for and I would have ended up sacrificing what I really wanted. I’m pretty happy with how the colors look together and the best part of it, is that it’s just paint and it can be redone any time.
Now that we’ve done the paint, it’s time to move on to the floors – we are having our hardwoods refinished and can’t wait to see how these colors harmonize with the new floors!