Paint Colors

April 4, 2014

blue paint chips

Image and text by Gabrielle.

I’ve kind of surprised myself as I’ve picked paint for The Treehouse, because throughout 85% of the house, I’ve chosen white. In other houses we’ve lived in over the years, I loved putting color on the walls! I painted our first nursery in the perfect shade of sky blue. For years I was obsessed with a certain Dove Grey that had blues and pinks and purples in it — it went in the living room of the first house we bought. I remember in our initial New York rental, I painted the family room a dark blue. I’ve done a basement entirely in yellow. And I’ve painted Napoleon Dynamite in a bedroom.

But in this house, I’ve mostly craved white. Origami White by Sherwin-Williams to be exact. I love it so much! It hits that sweet spot between warm and cool and everything looks good against it. On the main floor, I used it on walls, ceiling and trim — everything in semi-gloss. In the upstairs, I chose a brighter white for the ceilings, but stuck with Origami White for the walls and trim.

There are only 2 other colors I’ve used so far: a medium grey on the woodwork in the lofts (you’ll see it when I share the reading loft tour), and the beautiful grey/green in the hallway makeover — I used it on the lower walls. Other than that, it’s Origami White all the way!

But. Over the last week, I’m feeling like there are a few places I might want to work in more color. There’s a wall in the boys’ bedroom that could use a dark shade of paint, or maybe wallpaper. And I’m almost done with the Reading Loft and feel like the wall behind the bookshelves could use a shade of blue. Something not too light and not too dark.

So I picked up paint chips the other day and have been studying them in the loft. I still haven’t decided on a color — or even if I’ll paint the wall at all. But I’m having fun thinking about it.

I’d love to hear: Do you prefer white walls in your home? Or do you long for a different color in every room? And do you pick out colors quickly? Or do you labor over the decision for weeks? Are you a white is white is white person? Or do have a particular shade of white that you know you love? What’s your take?

P.S. — This isn’t a sponsored post, but I met the folks from Sherwin-Williams at Alt Summit and have been working with them as I paint the house. We’ve done some of the painting ourselves, and hired out some rooms as well. The painter we hired is a young sculptor who paints houses and does handyman jobs on the side. After a couple days of painting with Sherwin-Williams paint, he was raving about how good the coverage was! And that he needed much less paint than when he used other brands. I’m no paint expert, but I was glad to hear it.: )

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea April 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I love white walls, but I also love shots of color here and there in a home. The most beautiful blue I have ever seen on walls is Benjamin Moore ‘Atmospheric’. It is blue with green undertones, and looks beautiful with every kind of furniture up against it. Happy decorating!

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2 Design Mom April 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I like the name Atmospheric.

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3 Zoe - SlowMama April 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I love whites, though don’t have a favorite shade at the moment. (I usually go with Benjamin Moore so you’re endorsement of Sherwin-Williams makes me curious –something not too warm and not too cool that goes with everything sounds about perfect!) But while I tend to paint larger areas white, I like to use color in bedrooms, offices, etc. Right now there’s blue in our bedroom, a shade of grey-blue in the upstairs bathroom and a light lavender in our daughters’ room (which used to be a yellow office). I’m ready for some changes, but am putting it off since we may move soon. Looking forward to your loft tour!

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4 Design Mom April 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I really love grey-blues. I gravitate toward them whenever I’m looking at paint colors.

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5 Molly April 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Paint on the walls is always an item of contention between my husband and I. he wants bright colors and lots of color and I always steer towards grey/blues and prefer to have bright colors on pillows or furniture.

Also, whites are so different, but i love them all!

Finally, I am also not sponsored by Sherwin Williams, but we are loyal Sherwin Williams paint customers. Over the course of three houses and painting all types of walls, furniture and cabinets, it has yet to fail us and is totally worth the price difference compared to brands you find at the big box home improvement stores. Also, the colors actually match the swatches! In lower quality paints, we found that paint you receive to be different than the swatches. I have heard great things about Benjamin Moore paints, but we have been so happy with Sherwin Williams that we have never had a need to try them.

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6 Design Mom April 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm

“Also, whites are so different, but i love them all!”

I agree! I remember the first time I opened a swatch book that was focused only on whites. I had no ideas there were so many versions!

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7 Sam April 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

We just bought a place and rather than paying for movers we decided use the money to have painters paint the new house from top to bottom. It’s a townhouse with 5 floors, so we painted all of the rooms a SW white – Alabaster and then the main stairwell going through the middle of the house we had painted a mid blue with teal undertones. We love the calmness of the Alabaster and the blue stairwell is like a accent wall without being part of the room – it provides interest and movement without dominating the rooms.

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8 Design Mom April 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm

The stairwell sounds wonderful!

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9 Kate April 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Last house we had I picked a different color for every room which eventually I realized was a big mistake. Super annoying when doing touch ups. And we hired painters who recommended Benjamin Moore-both of which I felt were a huge waste of money.
New house, I picked the same color for every room and I think it makes the house look more cohesive. Painted it all myself this time and used Glidden from Home Depot and like the quality and color options.

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10 Design Mom April 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

It seems like some people are fine to paint a room themselves, and others are willing to do anything else if they can hire the painting out! I’m somewhere in between. It’s not my favorite job, but I don’t mind a day of painting now and again.

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11 Karla April 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I love lots of different looks, really, so it can be hard picking one. For our home, though, there’s a different color – sometimes two! – in each room, though it’s not really crazy because not all of the colors are dark/bright.

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12 Design Mom April 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Your house sounds like it’s very fun, Karla! I love seeing what people do with color in their homes.

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13 Jocelyn April 4, 2014 at 4:16 pm

It’s funny, growing up I used to hate white walls. I thought of people only have white walls because they lived in a rental and had no other choice. My mom has always been a lover of color and so every room in our house was a different color and there was often wall paper as well. These last few years that I have been looking at blogs I have seen so many beautiful, clean, white spaces. I think probably the the difference from the spaces I disliked as a kid is that these white homes I see online generally have lots of light and beautiful wood floors (and possibly also older homes that have more architectural details like crown molding). The homes I saw before were filled with old carpet and were decorated poorly. The homes I’ve seen lately make the white seem very intentional and also generally have beautiful pops of color in the accessories.

In my own home I don’t have any white walls and I don’t know if it would look so great in white, but if I were to move I would definitely be interested in recreating some of the gorgeous white walls I’ve been seeing.

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14 Melissa Camara Wilkins April 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I tend to be frustrated with how fast white walls get fingerprinty… but lately I’ve been tempted to try again. At our last house, we did a sand colored wall with white trim throughout the main areas of the house. At our current house, we’ve gone in more of a grey/blue direction. I think if we didn’t have high ceilings, I would be constantly repainting! We’ve been exploring some of the zero-VOC paint options out there this time — YOLO Colorhouse and Mythic Paints have been our favorites.

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15 Design Mom April 10, 2014 at 12:38 am

The trick for me is to use semi-gloss. Then I can really clean the walls without ruining the paint finish!

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16 Rachael H. April 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

So sweet! I’ve got two daughters, three nieces, and a bestie with a baby on the way.

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17 Spy Garden April 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

White all the way! White IS my favorite color!

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18 dawn April 4, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I LOVE color on my walls… I have to have color!! But, since moving into our new home (and b/c I am a photographer) I opted to keep many rooms white this time around – for shooting purposes! White walls work better for photography b/c any color I paint is going to reflect onto my subjects’ skin. But the graphic designer in me is longing to throw up some bright, fun color like at my old home – which was bathed in color everywhere. So lately I am torn… its an inner ongoing battle. :)

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19 Design Mom April 10, 2014 at 12:38 am

Oh man. White walls do make sense for you! I wish you a rainbow of throw pillows instead. : )

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20 Kathy April 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I have always loved bright colorful homes and when I was younger and broke, the best way to achieve that was with paint on my walls. When I got married and we bought our first home we painted lots of colors again. Now we are in our current family home with three kids and at first we had lots of amazing colored walls, but as time went on and life got more chaotic and we accumulated more kid stuff, I craved a calmer environment. About four years ago I just woke up one morning and decided I needed white. I painted all of the walls in our house white, which was a huge undertaking as I had different colors in each room. I still have lots of color but now I prefer it to be in the art or furnishings.
I have noticed that I am starting to want some depth and darkness back so I recently painted our master bedroom walls and ceiling in a deep dark charcoal and I love it! I may just end up channeling Abigail Ahern and going to the dark side soon. We’ll see!

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21 Sally from Little Hiccups April 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm

We painted all of the walls in our home in Australia in a soft white called Fresh Talc. It was the perfect “in between” white: not too warm, not too cool. The walls were all originally either a terrible yellow based cream colour which just looked dirty all the time, or were covered in 1960′s wall paper – but not the good kind! It was amazing how fresh and modern the master bedroom became when we removed the floral and woodgrain wallpaper and painted the walls white – even though the built in 1960′s furniture remained.
I like keeping the walls white and fresh and adding pops of colour through artwork, accessories and furniture. In our kitchen we added colour with green glass splashbacks above the counters but other than that the walls were all white.

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22 Design Mom April 10, 2014 at 12:37 am

Fresh talc! I love that name, and it evokes the same feelings for me as the name Origami White. I wonder if they’re similar?

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23 Sarah W April 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm

I have never hired goats, but the developers who own the property next to my apartment building did! It was so crazy. I woke up one morning, and the grassy field beside us which had previously been empty was now covered in goats. They also put up a temporary fence to keep them in. We were perplexed until my husband’s grandmother told us people use them to clear large areas of land. So cool! Here’s a picture. http://instagram.com/p/bUOe97xBO-/ I am so excited to see more of your house renovations! Happy weekend!

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24 Kim April 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

We’ve now lived in this house for a year (and a week!) and the only room that has been painted is the nursery for the little one who is due in 9 days. I am too focused on the “right” color. I like color though. The more, the brighter, the better in my world. My husband, however, likes things nice and neutral. Even if he were more like me in color choices I think much of the house would still be untouched while I decide what to paint everything. I’ve got three months maternity leave starting any day now though, so we’ll see how this place looks once I return to work. ;)
I do envy some gorgeous neutral rooms, however. Or an airy, all white loft with brightly-colored accessories or furniture.

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25 Melissa April 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm

I think I’m probably the pickiest paint person ever. I spend hours choosing, and still end up re-painting to tweak the color to the–ha ha–”perfect” shade! But, I crave color, and I love it when I finally get it right!

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26 Design Mom April 10, 2014 at 12:36 am

That’s the nice thing about paint — it feels like you can start over if you get it wrong.

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27 Traci April 6, 2014 at 11:40 am

I’m into the idea of the white trend, but I always choose color. LOVE the blues in that picture!

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28 Mandy April 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm

We rented a house before where the previous owner had painted bold colors in each room of the house, each room a different shade! While it was fun to have a few rooms that way I found it overwhelming to decorate, my husband have the tradition of buying something for our home when we travel, Mucha poster prints in Prauge or a handmade oversized tea pitcher in Bulgaria – yes please! It has a dual purpose of looking beautiful in our home and it’s a trip down memory lane each time we look at a different part of our home. Because we like these special pieces to shine,having the walls compete was overwhelming. Now we have mostly gray walls, and I love how flexible we can be with where we can place things in our home.

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29 Abby D April 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

My grandfather, an 88 year old world traveler, had always used white on his walls. He felt that it showed off art best to have white walls however he recently had a sitting room painted a lovely shade of turquoise (a little darker blue than turquoise) and he loves it. I think when you don’t overdue it with color, it can really make it pop when you do decide to use it.

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30 Design Mom April 10, 2014 at 12:36 am

I love the thinking of your grandfather!

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31 julia-tagandtibby April 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

we painted our home neutral grey (edgecomb gray). I like it alot, but in a future home I’d try all white. and would love to try a moody-dark wallpaper in an office space or loft. And in the kids’ rooms I think a pop of color would be really fun.

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32 Design Mom April 10, 2014 at 12:35 am

I’m so drawn to greys! And I’m also feeling similar to you about wanting mostly white, with some fun color experiments in certain rooms.

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