How do you get a gray wall color that doesn’t turn blue?

Do your gray walls turn blue when painting your Flower Mound home?  It’s a problem that happens too often.  So, don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, let’s explore how to not make this mistake when painting your home.

Below are some quick and dirty tips and some ideas to help you get the best possible color and final product.  Here they are:

  1. Don’t pick a color that ‘looks’ gray to you, move toward a beige or tan.
  2. Get sample paints and try them in your home
  3. Don’t paint your samples directly onto your walls (please).

Tip #1:  Don’t pick a color that looks gray

Excuse me, what?  Pick, instead, a ‘gray’ color that has a beige or tan base color.  Counter-intuitive, I know.  I’ve seen too many color-confident homeowners wondering just what happened with their color selections and settling for the wrong color with a shrug.  If you read nothing else in this post at least study this picture (do it…):

As we look for a gray in the Sherwin Williams paint store, our eyes are naturally drawn toward the upper right corner of their Color Wall.  However, most of the colors in this area will look blue on the walls.  The area below that where the colors have a beige or tan base will be where you’ll find your perfect color.

If the gray you’re looking at has any hint of blue it will look more blue than gray on the walls.  In the picture below, you’ll notice how blue the color looks on the walls, especially in the back at the right…

This homeowner did everything right.  She checked with and Pinterest to find interesting gray colors.  She brought home paint swatches from the paint store.  She got sample paints and put them on test boards before choosing but still ended up with walls that are more blue than gray anyway.

Tip #2:  Get sample paints and try them in your home

You have to see what your color selections will look like in your own home.  All of the local paint suppliers make this easy by offering low-cost sample pots of paint in your chosen colors.  Try to narrow your options to a maximum of three.  This is cheap insurance BUT it is fallible!  You won’t *really* know what a color will look like until the whole room is done unfortunately.

Paint sample boards

Again, our Lazy Gray paint color customer did everything right (except Tip #1).  Here is a picture of her samples on her walls.  Sherwin Williams Lazy Gray is the top color, now scroll back up to the previous picture…

You can see below how blue Lazy Gray starts to look.  From experience I know that the Argos color from Sherwin Williams does look *mostly* gray for the sake of comparison.

A comparison of the Lazy Gray (blue) with the more true gray of Argos.

The picture below focuses on Argos instead of Lazy Gray to highlight the differences.

Another tip is to compare your selected color to a ‘black’ color standard such as Tricorn Black from Sherwin Williams.  A comparison is shown below.  Here you see the blue in the Lazy Gray color and the blue in Gray Screen.  You can also see how the Argos color looks more tan in this picture and, as I mentioned before Argos looks almost dead *gray* on the walls.

Tip #3:  Don’t paint directly onto your walls

I know this *seems* like a good idea but it’s not.  When you paint your samples on the walls it changes the texture of the wall slightly in that area.  It ‘softens’ the surface of the wall texture by rounding the texture edges off with an additional layer of paint.  Now there is NO WAY to correct the difference in the wall texture.  So, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES paint your sample paints directly onto your wall surfaces.

Get some poster board from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby (you know, the white 2′ x 3′ poster board) and cut it into quarters and paint your samples on those instead.  Paint one coat, let it dry and then paint a second coat.  Now just push-pin them to the walls and check the color.  The larger the poster board the better.  You’ll notice that decorators will use a very large piece of poster board to do this.  OBTW, please write the color name and number on the back with a Sharpie…please.

Final thoughts

So, what are some ‘good’ grays to consider?  Start with swatches of the following Benjamin Moore colors:

  • Revere Pewter – HC-172
  • Silver Chain – 1472
  • Stonington Gray – HC-170

Also look at these Sherwin Williams colors to get started:

  • Anew Gray – SW7030
  • Argos – SW7065

What can you do if you’ve done your homework and your walls still look blue?  Try replacing light bulbs with incandescent bulbs that have a color temperature at the low end of the Kelvin scale, say around 2700 Kelvin.  These will have a more warm tone.

If you have LED lighting or those stupid compact fluorescent bulbs you’ll want to change them.  They’re only making the wall color look more blue.

Again, if all of this gives you eye-glaze or tired-head; just skip it and call us.  You’re really too busy to fuss with tarps, blinds, furniture, paint, tape, etc.  In the end, the cost to have us do the painting for you is kind of a bargain.  The only question I have for you is, ‘What gray were you thinking of?’  We’ll handle it from there.

At Carnival Custom Painting in Flower Mound, we are experts in providing top-quality cabinetry paint jobs. Hire a professional to see an immediate transformation to your home. There’s a reason we are the go-to company for painting services in Lake Dallas.

Our service areas include Argyle, Bartonville, Bella Lago, Bridlewood, Canyon Falls, Copper Canyon, Corinth, Denton, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lake Dallas, Lantana, Lewisville, Montalcino, Point Noble, Robson Ranch, The Landing, Tour 18, Wellington, Justin, Harvest, and Pecan Square.