Home Renovation: 50 Shades of Gray and Painting Styles

All types of gray

Before even closing on a home, I knew immediately that I didn’t want to paint the interior white… but gray. And not just one shade of gray but two possibly three shades of gray in the same color family. For weeks, I campaigned to Paul about why it would great and even going so far to leave paint chips lying about the condo to further solidify my cause. Like any great (and conniving) spouse, I got him on board where he succumbed agreed with me. But the next part was tough. Which shade of gray?

Paint swatches

While you may think this was my clever way of working the title of a very erotic book into my post, there’s really more than 50 shades of gray. There’s gray with hints of green, blue and brown. In addition, each gray looks different in different lights: shaded vs. fluorescent vs. natural light. And if that didn’t do it for you, each tint has a different name. As a print professional with a graphic design background, choosing between something labeled “Stormy Clouds” vs. “Steel Morning” is enough to drive me crazy. Can’t they just stick with Pantone colors?

Paul painting

Once we had finally chosen our colors, painting was a new adventure. Looking back, the easiest of our painting tasks was the kitchen. There were no high vaulted ceilings to contend with and the semi gloss went on smoothly. The kitchen was easily a half-day job. But painting the rest of the rooms was an entirely different beast all together. The walls seemed thirsty for the matte gray. With our heavily loaded roller brushes, we each acquired our own share of blisters from the hours of gripping the handle.

As with décor, painting style is also very revealing. Along the hours of painting we put in, I noticed that I started every room but Paul finished it. Initially I blamed it on our height difference and that I couldn’t reach the last few inches of the ceiling but I soon realized it was how our painting techniques differed. I bulldozed along, laying large swaths of paint and Paul did the detail work that I found too boring and time consuming. Paul took special effort to tape off the plantation shutters, door hinges and other things I couldn’t be bothered with. I just wanted to get done as soon as possible. While this may seem like it might be a problem, we actually complimented each other.

In our whole painting adventure, the only wrench thrown into the whole process was when I borrowed an airless paint sprayer the same weekend Paul left for the Denver Comic-Con. In the hands of any paint professional, the work would be fast (much faster than using roller) and problem-free. In my hands it was a disaster. There was paint everywhere (including my clothes and face) and while coverage was fast, it was uneven. Holding the paint sprayer was what I imagine holding an automatic rifle would be: loud, heavy and instead of bullets being shot out, it was paint.

Tall ceiling

Paint meeting  ceiling

While he was at the convention, I warned Paul well in advance about my shoddy paint job. But he took it in stride correcting what I had done with a paint roller but there was only so much he could correct. Some bedroom walls gradiate from gray to the original off-white paint job. It’s especially noticeable on the 12-foot vaulted ceiling in two of the upstairs bedrooms and on the remaining popcorn ceiling. On the plus side, it is just gray and to anyone besides Paul and me, it looks like some odd shadows cast on our walls 24 hours a day.

Paint used: Valspar’s Urban Sunrise, Gray Skies (accent walls)

Approximate cost for paint so far: +$300

3 thoughts on “Home Renovation: 50 Shades of Gray and Painting Styles

Add yours

  1. We used a gray shade called “London Smog” for exterior trim. I liked the name, but now the color does nothing for me.

  2. Ahhh!! I love that you mentioned “50 Shades of Gray” Hee hee! Congrats again on your new place. Very, very happy for you guys. 🙂

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