This Gray has Us Blue

After I took photos of the glass tiles in our kitchen the other day, I turned my camera on the dining room to get a few better photos of my dream chandelier for our "our tour" page
I love the light it casts on the ceiling. It looks pretty cool in daylight, but at night it's even better. Even better than those glow-in-the-dark stars that magically showed up at night that all my friends had stuck on their ceilings when I was a kid.

And while I love the chandelier, I'm not loving the wall color below the chair rail. Don't even get me started on the trim color, it's tinted yellow to match the bright yellow that used to be in every room in the house. And "paint trim" is one of those things on our to-do list that is going to require a whole lot of time and just-take-a-deep-breath-and-dive-in to get done since the open-ish floor plan means we can see every room on the first floor and I know I won't be able to stop once I start. As the resident painter, it feels like a daunting task. Maybe I'll start this weekend.

Anyway, the wall color below the chair rail is Benjamin Moore's Silver Half Dollar which is one shade darker than Iced Cube Silver, the color above the chair rail, in the living room and stairwell to the upstairs hallway. Silver Half Dollar reads more blue in artificial light, above, and in daylight, below. It looks like the most perfect gray ever on the swatch card. Even held up to the wall, the swatch looks like the most perfect gray ever. Clearly my blue eyes aren't working well when it comes to gray. Does it not look totally baby blue here?
I thought it all looked a little too blue when we first painted, but we were painting in the middle of a blizzard and the paint store wasn't open to adjust the color. Plus it was way more our style than what we started with. But now that we're looking at tile for the back splash in the kitchen, it's time to address the gray issue since the walls in the kitchen are the same color as the lower color in the dining room: too blue. So I went off to the paint store and snatched up a bunch of "gray" swatches, including some that are more green-gray, just to see how they look in our light. (Disregard the shadow in the upper left, I broke my camera lens and need to get a rental while it's repaired.)
The one vertical strip shows the current colors. Do you think the lower color on the swatch matches the lower wall? Someone please tell me I'm wrong and that the bottom two colors match our walls perfectly.
A few of my favorites are Whale Gray and Stonington Gray, at the left here:
And Coventry Gray and Gull Wing Gray here:
I also like Pewter. S's response is, "they look gray." Sigh. I asked him to call his mom, an interior designer, to come over to help me choose the right gray, but he refused and said maybe he'll ask her tomorrow and we can feed her some pizza bites as an appetizer. Whatever it takes. I think I'm just drawn to the more blue grays just because of the tan O.D. in our house in Florida, which we never repainted because it was neutral enough for a house we'd only own for three years, max. We just don't want to go for a tan or yellow tint.

I think the first step is probably to paint a section of trim ultra bight white to see how the current wall colors render with our ideal trim. But then the question is where do we go from there? Do we go for an upper and lower re-do with Gull Wing and Whale grays? Just the bottom with Pewter? Is Stonington the way to go despite its brownish hue? For the second time this week we need some inspiration! What are you favorite grays?

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  1. Love all the grays you have displayed there.

    We painted our bedroom in Valspars 'Stone Partition' so that is currently my favorite gray! :)

  2. My favorite grays right now are "Steel Wool" and "Sweatshirt Gray" from BM. They're reading very true in my nursery I just painted, but they're a little darker than where you're at right now.

  3. I had the same issue with Iced Cube Silver - looks perfect on the chip, but baby blue on the wall. In the first few pics I feel your pain, but 3 and 4 definitely look grey.

    I'm fine with grey changing colour in the light, but you have to like the colour it changes to. We used Silver Fox and most of the time it is an awesome awesome grey, but when it changes, it is a greige, which I also like.

  4. I feel your pain on the gray. I've decided to paint our nightstands gray & I also have about 50 million swatches.

    I think the grey below the chair rail looks really grey (and the same color as on the swatch)in pictures 3 and on. But in pictures 1 and 2 you've got some awful baby blue going for sure. How weird is paint?

    I think "Whale Gray" could look really good and will be dark enough not to read pale blue. I *think* I've settled on Behr's Antique Tin for our bedside tables (although I'm pretty sure it's going to read blue in some light - at least it will be a rich blue not a baby boy blue).

    Good luck!

  5. I have had the same gray issues! I wanted a cooler, more modern gray rather than greige (our old house was beige overload and I couldn't stand it). My entire room came out very baby blue when I used "Manhattan Mist" by Behr- in every light it was so blue it drove us nuts! I recently bought a sample of "Pewter" by BM and it is a gorgeous, true gray (although it looked purpley when wet), but I can't use it because its a bit dark and our furniture is black, so I need to find a lighter shade of gray. I recommend buying the samples of your top 2-3 favorites and then comparing. The swatches are just never the same as the mixed pain, and gray is tricky, so it helps to paint on a bit and see what it looks like on a larger scale.

  6. Thanks so much for all the tips. LifeBegins & Krystal I'm so sorry for your baby blue blues!

    We picked up ~50 more paint swatches including all the ones you suggested. We taped them up and are starting to narrow down. We're definitely excited to choose one and show you where we go. Right now I think we're going much darker on bottom to ground out those dark frames and I think we'll end up changing the top color too. It's not on this week's to-do list, but if we end up finding a lighter gray that's more true than Iced Cube Silver we may venture into the living room...and up the stairs.... And to think, I thought trim paint was a daunting task!

  7. Kaleena2/10/2011

    I have a lot of grey tones in my house. IN our living room in Revere pewter which is a tan grey. If you are looking for a grey grey "i can't be mistaken for another color" then go with stoningham grey. That color is in our bedroom and is no doubt the perfect grey...

  8. Christy W2/10/2011

    I want a good light-to-medium gray for our master bedroom. I was thinking of a purple-y gray, but I can't find anything that doesn't scream out "THIS ROOM IS PURPLE!" The husband would be tough to convince. I'm hesitant to choose gray now, though, because of all the folks that have said their gray is reading blue. I'm looking forward to seeing what you choose.

    By the way, I just started reading your blog a couple of days ago (found you thru young house love) and I enjoy your writing very much.

    Happy Painting!

    1. Anonymous2/15/2012

      I am responding a year late . If by chance you are still looking for the perfect purpley gray, I have just the color for you. Please dont judge it by the
      paint chip. Its taupey,grayish with a hint of purple.
      The name is Modest Silver by Valspar. Good luck.

  9. Grey and grey-blue are THE hardest colors to pick. I am constantly reminding my husband of this -- to get a perfect grey-blue, for example, you have to have a chip that looks GREY. So to get an actual grey, I imagine you have to have a grey that's... well, REALLY grey.

    I would think the best thing would be to have an actual fan deck -- then you can spread out the greys and see the rainbow of shadings and help you see the distinctions between the colors.

    Good luck! Can't wait to see how it turns out!


  10. Love your post--and the photos are super helpful. I'm struggling with grey now too. I had almost decided on BM's Revere Pewter based on how lovely it looked on a photo spread from a magazine, but now I'm having doubts... It doesn't make my heart leap! Now I'm leaning toward a greyish blue-green like seawater on a winter day.

  11. I cracked up when I saw this. My living room is currently painted too-dark grey (chosen by the previous owners) and we want to change it to a lighter grey. I even wrote a post about it a couple weeks ago (well, not me, but its on my blog, so it counts). Good luck! Now I'm worried about our choice--Nimbus Cloud by Martha Stewart.

  12. Agreed: Silver Half Dollar looks like the most perfect gray ever on the swatch card, and then blue-ish on the wall.

    We're not color-averse, though, so the bathroom might end up having a "black and white and blue-ish" look to it. We'll see.

  13. Anonymous2/13/2011

    Try Behr's Dolphin Fin ... at least I think it's Behr. If not Behr, try Glidden. The name is definitely Dolphin Fin. It is by far the truest gray I've found.

    A second fave is Sherwin Williams' Pavestone.

    Good luck!

  14. I just stopped by your blog for the first time, and I love that chandelier! I'm looking for one for my house too, and that's a very pretty design. Where is it from?

  15. Hi Biff, the chandelier is from West Elm, available here: http://www.westelm.com/products/large-rectangle-hanging-capiz-pendant-w425/?pkey=cpendant-sconce-lamps-chandeliers

  16. Anonymous1/05/2012

    Anyone who is interested in a light blue grey should check out Stongington Gray from Benjamin Moore. It is perfect for my bedroom. I want a slightly darker shade of it for my Dining Room and am struggling. I could not agree more that the swatch needs to look completly gray otherwise it will feel too blue.

  17. Coming in late--but have the same questions about which shade of gray to choose for our retro yellow and black tile bath. (Thought "beehive" might include such a bathroom! ) Was thinking either Half Silver Dollar or Iced Cube (both BM). Thanks for your post--it will save me from that choice. What I just discovered(?)--turn the paint card horizontally in a sunny room to see a truer color. Well, off to Chantily Lace instead--or I might try Rustoleum's Tile and Tub and vanquish the yellow tiles altogether. Anyone familiar with that product?

  18. Just found your blog today as I googled BM Ice Cube and yellow and black tile bathroom. Thanks for saving me time and money on that mistake! Since discovered that holding the color preview card horizontally showed the bluer tint. So, am moving on to another color--or another house (just kidding!). Or, may just go ahead and look further into Rustoleum's Tile & Tub to vanquish the yellow tiles altogether! Anyone know that product?


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