02 April 2014

The great paint debate RETURNS

There’s something about the warm light that floods our apartment in the spring. On one hand, there’s so much LIGHT. I love making coffee in an orangey glow of sunrise and cooking dinner in the purplish twilight.

On the other, I suddenly realize... oh my gosh, our walls are pink.

This feeling of sudden realization wasn’t unfamiliar, so I checked my archives. Sure enough, the last time I was openly voicing my disdain for the paint on our walls was April and May, one year ago. It’s like I live all winter in a dark apartment, and then suddenly the sunlight flips on and I look around and say “WHOA. THAT’S GOT TO GO.”

If y’all only knew how much time I spend futzing around with the color on my photos trying to tone down the pink-ness of our walls. If you ONLY KNEW!

And so therefore, I am once again beginning my now-traditional Annual Paint Debate. As I already told you, our landlady (quite reluctantly) gave us permission to paint the walls when we signed a long-term lease last year. So what’s kept me from doing it? Three reasons.

First, my job keeps me busy, so very very busy (did you miss how I wasn’t even IN my home last week?). I’d want to knock out a room in a weekend to keep long-term chaos at a minimum, but I often don’t have a whole weekend to play with. Heck, this past spring it’s been a challenge to find time to grocery shop, let alone spend quality time with Mr. P, both of which trump painting a room because I find the color off-putting. (Considering my color-blind husband literally cannot see why the color bothers me so much, it’s hard to justify skipping date night with him in favor of wielding a paintbrush.) However, this summer is looking a little less insane work-wise, so I’m penciling in a few painting dates.

The second reason I haven’t done it yet? I couldn’t decide on a color. Considering that I want to replace all the pinky beige with a single color to maintain continuity through the rooms, I need to really like the color. Fortunately, my obsession with Emily A. Clark and her paint colors led me to Sherwin Williams to pick up this palette:

(I’m sorry I keep doing that thing with my thumb. Really, sorry!)

This is seriously the best collection of neutrals I’ve seen. Fifty shades of gray for real, y’all.

“But those don’t all look like gray, Sarah!” I imagine that you are protesting. “I see pinks and greens and blues and purples!” Yeah, exactly. Having all these neutrals grouped together in a single book can really show you difference in the undertones. Most of these paint chips might just look like boring gray in isolation, but in this collection, you can see how it’s actually lavender, pale yellow, or the dreaded PINKY BEIGE. (Except none of the colors in this book actually match the color on our walls, because our walls go beyond pinky-beige to STRAIGHT UP PINK.)

I hope you can also appreciate how, for the most part, each column represents different saturations of a similar undertones. So if you want cohesion (yes yes yes!), you can move up and down within a single column for different rooms of your home. This is exactly what Emily did, and the results are stunning!

And like Emily, I’m interested in the column starting with “Shoji White” (on the far right) – but also in the column starting with “Incredible White”, on the far left. In both columns, I think the next-brightest shade would be best for most of our rooms...

Though I wonder about dropping down a shade for our master bedroom. It gets a lot of light so I can go a bit darker, plus it’s isolated from other rooms (no disrupted flow). And even if it’s a bit dark, who doesn’t love a cozy bedroom?

Either way, Agreeable Gray (marked with the arrow on the left) and Worldly Gray (on the right) look super-similar in some lights and super-different in others. On the whole, it seems that Worldly Gray is a bit darker and warmer, while Agreeable Gray is ever-so-slightly cooler and lighter. BUT! The existing wall color reflects a pink undertone onto ALL the chips when I hold it up, so maybe Worldly Gray isn’t as warm as it seems? Ugh, so hard! Stupid pink walls...

So for now, I’m just holding the paint chips up in different lights on different walls, trying to make the call (the two main choices are marked with arrows in all)...

That last picture is a particularly good illustration of the pink cast over the chips, as well as how different the chips look in different light (in that photo, Worldly Gray looks much darker, but in the first photo with arrows, Agreeable Gray appears more saturated). Crazy! But hey, I’m close to making the call. So, my second reason for putting off painting is nearly resolved!

Which just leaves me with reason #3: I’m still afraid to tell our landlady. I shouldn’t be – she gave us permission, after all, and she’s told me several times that the apartment has never been decorated as nicely as it is now (although she’s grading on a curve, as the apartment was previously occupied by a string of bachelors). Nonetheless, it’s still not MY place, not REALLY. And honestly, that keeps me from picking up a paintbrush as quickly as possible.

That too is changing, though, with our time spent here. This does feel like home, and we plan to be here for years to come. Which means... maybe I won’t have a great paint debate in 2015, eh?


Rachel C said...

This post makes me ridiculously happy for several reasons. One, I want you to paint your walls. I think it would be the final piece to making your apartment feel like "yours." Second, ah! Sherwin Williams grayish neutrals. I heart SW grays. Third, I've been debating for several months what color I want to paint our bedroom. I really want to do SW Dorian Gray (I'm pretty sure it's in your booklet); however, I've been scared that it would be too boring and safe because it's on the same chip as our living room (Dovetail) and bathroom (Mindful Gray.) But after reading the post you linked to, I've decided that exactly what I want to do. I love the living room and bathroom colors, and they NEVER make me sad or regret that I've used them, so why not continue with the same idea in the bedroom.

Also, I totally vote for a shade darker bedroom. :)

Tina said...

I do not see how Landlady could possibly object to a neutral even more neutral than what is there now especially after repainting has already been sanctioned. I do question the carpeting color tho'... Is the gray going to make it look pinker? The carpeting is so over-powered by the wall color right now... Jus' tryin' to be helpful at all levels - which by the way when the undertaking is finally underway, I'm a stress-free house guest/family who is very handy with my own paint brush, ya know? I'd be glad to help!

Anonymous said...

So I'm not alone! Relieved. I have had these two paint strips beginning with Shoji White and incredible white and have been walking around all morning trying to decide wall by wall, light by light. So in desperation I typed into to google Agreeable gray or wordily gray and there is was...your post! Thanks I am going with the colors Emily used!