One of the first things we wanted to finalize in the house was our interior paint colors. While we planned to keep things fairly neutral, we also wanted some color. And the paint colors would help us choose some of the other finishes in the home by excluding some options.
So. Many. Interior. Paint. Options.
We are pretty spoiled for options when it comes to interior paint choices. You can have nearly any color under the sun. And once you pick a color you like, you can tweak it. A little more white? A little darker? A little more blue? A little more green? Maybe you want different undertones?
Originally, the plan was to go with an off-white for much of the upstairs, and then a little more of a grey for the downstairs. We started off by pulling a few of the Sherwin Williams colors we like (there is a Lowe’s near the house, so it seemed to make sense to choose paint that we could source in a hurry). The whites and off-whites that all looked pretty similar in the store looked pretty darn different once we got them home. You’ll see a lot of interior designers talking about “undertones” when it comes to paint, and particularly when it comes to whites and greys. It seems like a minor issue until you start to compare them side-by-side.
Take the two swatches in the middle of this photo, for example:
The swatch to the right has a pretty strong blue undertone, while the one down and to its left is much pinker.
The undertones matter both in terms of color coordination but also in terms of natural light. Generally, light from the south is “warmer” toned, and tends to bring out warm undertones in colors and make them stronger. In contrast (ha!), northern light tends to be “cooler” and enhances cooler blue/green undertones in colors. You may want to pair warm light with warm undertones if you want to bring them out, or if you’re looking for a “true” white, you may want to offset the tones and use a cooler undertone in a southern room.
We also took into account the fact that we are going to have a lot of natural light, particularly in our great room. So though we wanted a neutral, we didn’t need to stick with a “true” white or even an off-white. We could start moving into the greys a little bit without making things too dark.
Downstairs, we wanted to keep things a little cozier. We also wanted to have some contrast between the downstairs and the upstairs to punch up the transition between the cozier downstairs and the light-flooded great room.
We also wanted some punches of color here and there (or at least half of us did; I’d be fine living in a white box). A strong blue for the bedroom, and some pops of colors for the girls. And finally, with the greys and colors, we wanted a “true” white for doors and trim. So this was our final color list:
- Trim, Doors, Master Bath, Powder Room, Bed 2: White Gallery, Sherwin Williams HGSW4002
- Master Bedroom: Adriatic Sea, Sherwin Williams 6790
- Master Closet, Living/Kitchen, Office: Agreeable Gray, SW HGSW3467
- Bedroom 1: Magical, Sherwin Williams 6829
- Lower Bath: Bella Pink, Sherwin Williams 6596
- Laundry: Passionate Purple, Sherwin Williams 6981
- Downstairs Hall, Activity Room, Mudroom: Flannel Grey, Sherwin Williams HGSW1464
Overall, the palette looked like this (though what you see here is an approximation – your computer monitor or phone settings have a big impact on how specific colors are rendered):
Overall, we were happy with how things looked on paper (or at least how the paint chips looked). We also purchased some larger wall stickers from these guys to test things out a bit once we got things refined. Now we just had to see how they looked in the house.