Painted Living Room – It’s Not Supposed to be Purple

After all our progress with our floors and then the bit of a break from house projects the holidays provided, this past weekend we were ready to jump back in with the next project: painting our living room. [learn how to prep a room before painting]

For the most part, I feel rather confident when it comes to picking paint colors. I have a good eye, and can usually see any bad undertones in a swatch (greens, pink, etc). Karl as well. Together we’ve been a force for paints to reckon with.

But if there’s one thing I hate, it’s picking paint colors for walls. Sure, I know what color I’m looking for, but when I put the sample on my wall, is it ever what I wanted? NO. Decidedly no.

I’ve even had a sample paint color look brown on one wall and purple on the other IN THE SAME ROOM.


Why can’t it be as easy as using milk paints, where you get the color you expect?

If I pick up a medium-gray milk paint, it will be gray. Fancy that.

With latex paints, first you have a bajillion greys to choose from, and that’s just from one make. Sherwin Williams, Behr, Martha Stewart, Benjamin Moore – they all have too many…and too few that work.

So you can understand my frustrations when after a ridiculous amount of hours at paint stores later I think I’ve finally narrowed it down, tried several small samples of colors on the wall and left them up for days, picked one, and then the color mocks us by turning out not to be a nice warm grey, but lavender.

Can I get an amen from other aggravated painters?

The color here was Sherwin Williams Alpaca…and Al-packa-it-up and out the window for its traitorous streak.

The weird thing is this is how it even looks in the pan – looks more grey in it, right? What the heck?


Back to the drawing board…


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  1. Oh my gosh, I can totally relate with your frustration over gray paint. After reading dozens of blogs, looking at hundreds of Pinterest photos, I finally narrowed my choice down to 35 grays!!!! Yes – I actually purchased 35 samples and amazingly, only one did not turn lavender, blue or green. I sampled all of the grays that everyone raves about – Gray Owl, Stonington Gray, Revere Pewter, Repose gray, Dolphin etc., they all looked terrible!! Most of my room gets a ton of light, but some walls don't, so the color was never consistent – gorgeous on one wall and puke color on another. I finally found Thundercloud Gray by Ben Moore and I fell in love. It's a bit darker, but it looks beautiful in my room. I wish you lots of luck, hopefully there is a gray out there just waiting for you to discover it!!!

    1. Hi! Sorry for the belated response, I've been under the weather the last 2 weeks. 35 samples – you're amazing! I was tired of the process and ready to have a decision after only 4, hehe. I was wondering about those supposed popular colors like Revere and Dolphin and such – tried Grey Owl but it looked terrible in that room but great in another. Ugh. I'm so happy you were able to find a color after all that effort! Hopefully we'll find something that works too! :)

  2. Forgot to mention that Alpaca did the same purple thing for me, but BM Tundra and Gray Cloud both stayed nice, just a bit to light for my sun filled room.

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