Painted Living Room – It’s Not Supposed to be Blue Either

I was hoping we’d have more progress made in our living room since failing for the second time with a paint color, but alas, it is not so (obviously). Thus, up this post goes, and here’s hoping that it’s three times the charm…meanwhile I’ll go bury myself into a good Korean variety show to mellow my frustrations… 

It was Friday afternoon. The crazy snowstorm was to start later that evening. Guess where I was?

Lowes. Looking at…not snow blowers.

Not shovels.

Or salt.

But paint colors.

It seemed I wasn’t the only one thinking that being stuck inside from the snow was a great time to paint a room as the paint center had a steady stream of people buying paint.

Just the week before, Karl and I had painted our yellow living room using a Sherwin Williams grey paint called Alpaca. We had put a sample on the wall and let it sit there for days, and it was a light grey all that time. So we went with it.

We painted the room after dark, and so it was not until we had painted our entire room with it…and then confirmed it the next morning…that we had purple walls.

Or more precisely, lavender.


…annnnd it was our presently lavender-colored living room that was supposed to be grey that had me at Lowes just hours before the snow began.

We had a giftcard from Christmas for Lowes, so not wanting to spend any more on paint, that’s where I chose to go. That, and after telling some friends about our purple woes, we heard from a lot that Sherwin Williams is pretty bad with greys and that they were presently living with purple or blue walls.

I picked up a few sample swatches and held them up under the fluorescents, went to their lighting section and held it under those bulbs, and went outside the store and looked at them there…

…all of their greys seemed to go either toward blue or green.

Somewhat frustrated, an idea started to grow, so I went back inside and asked the lady who was mixing paint if she could add nothing but black to the white paint base.

She said yes. I was thrilled and simultaneously giving myself mental pats on the back: how can you get anything but grey when you add black to the white base paint?! Why didn’t I think of this before?!

She added about 20 drops of black paint to the gallon can and I was all set. The paint samples she gave me of it on the lid were of a light grey. I was psyched to have finally come up with a solution that had no reason not to work.

arrow is pointing to the final mixed grey we got after adding nothing but black

As the snow came down on Saturday the room got painted. We finished all the big areas.

It’s blue.


Allow me a moment here.


K. I’m done.

At least blue is better than purple…

Starting to see paint color layers almost as bad as our wallpaper

As for progress made in other rooms, we currently have our living room furniture in the dining room and are slowly back to work on removing more of the wallpaper glue from the walls. Feels good to be getting something done.

We’re going to wait now until the weather warms up a bit so we can open windows next time we make an attempt to paint. This last can has been really high with the fumes (to me at least – Karl hasn’t smelled it as much) and having some ventilation would be nice.

In the meantime I’m seriously debating about whether to drop grey altogether for this room. However, what color should I go with if I do?  I’d love some feedback! 🙂

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  1. Good morning, ugggg, I feel your pain with trying to find the right color! Just one question, have you thought about painting the trim a white? I don't know if that is an option but I feel,like it will help with finding the right gray. Best of luck to you

    1. Hi Debbie! Finding the right grey is tough in this room for sure, and it's true that painting the trim white might help balance a grey color a bit. However, we're actually quite smitten with the stained wood look, especially given the age of the house. Hopefully we can find a color solution that works with it! 🙂

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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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