Painting my Living Room


There’s nothing like the upcoming holiday season to push house projects to the top of the list. Am I right? That’s why, after living in Bayberry House for four months, I finally decided to start painting.

As many folks know, I love dressing up my space for Christmas. Before the tree goes up, however, there are a few big things I want to accomplish. One of those projects was painting my main living room.

I’ll admit that the existing color was perfectly fine. It was a creamy beige that would probably work well with almost anything. But I prefer gray over beige.

Although I have bigger plans for this room down the road, including reworking the fireplace surround and mantel, I wanted to give it a fresh new look now so it felt a bit more like me. Since paint is the quickest fix, that’s where I decided to start.

I came across a color I liked on Pinterest. It’s Farrow and Ball’s Blackened. I have their fan deck of colors, and Blackened seemed to work well with the new pieces I’m planning to bring into the space. Being a bit lighter, the color will also brighten up the room.

Since I’m a Sherwin Williams loyalist, I had them match the color, and then I sampled it on my walls. Even though it didn’t have any blue tint in it, it felt blue on the wall. Wanting gray and not light blue, I decided to try another sample. I looked through the color deck again and chose Farrow & Ball’s Dimpse. This was a bit darker, and it appeared grayer to me. – I even did a few google searches to see what the color looked like on other people’s walls.

Once again, I had the color matched by Sherwin Williams and tried it in my living room. It was much better, but I still thought it felt kinda blue. After testing it in various parts of the room, I decided to forge ahead. (Spoiler alert: I should have trusted my “it’s still too blue” gut instinct.)

I finished painting on Saturday afternoon and, unfortunately, I’m just not feeling the results.

Painting my Living Room - Farrow & Ball Dimpse

I’m not sure how the color comes across here on the blog or on your screen. Because of lighting and different screen settings, it may not appear blue at all. However, in person, it looks like a soft baby blue.

And while Dimpse is a lovely color and I could make it work, baby blue walls are just not my jam for this space. I actually like it more in pictures, but less in real life.

Painting my Living Room - Farrow & Ball Dimpse

Painting my Living Room - Farrow & Ball Dimpse

I’m going to live with it for a few days and see how I’m feeling about it, but my gut tells me that I’ll be repainting it next week. Lol.

I don’t mind painting, and this room came together quickly. but I’m still kicking myself for not getting it right the first time. Still, it’s the first room I painted in the house so I’m allowing myself a bit of grace.

This is an excellent example of the importance of testing paint colors on your walls. You may love the color of a wall you see online, but because of light (or lack thereof), the color could look completely different in your home. I also believe that your house will reveal what colors it wants. Not in like a creepy, ghostly way, but it will be obvious when a color doesn’t work.

Painting my Living Room - Farrow & Ball Dimpse

I should note that the color from Sherwin Williams matches the Farrow & Ball color card perfectly according to my eyes. I did have them match a color for another project I’m working on, and the results were not as close. (This other color is much darker, so I assume that’s why it didn’t match as well.)

Anywho, that’s my painting adventure for the day. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do and how things work out. (I’ll talk to you more about my new cabinet and emerald chairs in another post. Stay tuned.)

In the meantime, I’d love to know what you think of the color or if you’ve had a similar painting “fail.” Decorating is an adventure, isn’t it?

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  • Nikki B at

    It does look gray on my iPad but I understand the frustration of the real thing once the paint drys.
    I love reading your blog and seeing the pics of your new home.
    Keep em’ coming!

  • Beverly at

    Having Been through the paint color selection process many times, the one thing I know for sure is to trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, you will constantly be fighting with it in all the other selections you make for the room, to make it work. Far better to spend the time getting a color that you totally love! Also, is there a reason you aren’t bringing home SW color swatches to use in your selection process if you are going to use SW paint? I’ve had color matches done with different brands and sometimes it just isn’t the same once it’s on the wall. I think it has to do with what base they start with….a dark or a light, or something like that. Good luck, and don’t let yourself feel this is a failure! Love your house and all you’ve done so far!

  • Teri at

    Michael, The color complements the fireplace tile and looks gray next to it. But, on the window wall, I’m picking up pale blue. I feel your frustration. Honestly, though, I’d accessorize and see if that solves your dilemma before re-painting. but then, I hate painting. lol, Hugs!

  • Amanda Taylor at

    It’s definitely looking blue to me too. And when you want gray, blue is just not cool, right?? I just finished painting my living room the gray I wanted all along after letting my mom influence me to paint it beige 5ish years ago. Why I listened to her is beyond me! And why I spent my time in a room I didn’t like for that long is beyond me too! LOL. I’m never painting anything beige again. But, also, I think gray is kinda hard. The gray I used in my house looks almost white to me, but when I took it to my grandmas to try it there it looked baby blue. I’m guessing the lighting? Anyway, I think you should definitely do what makes you happy and not sit in a room you only kind of like for the next 5 years like I did with that atrocious beige. Ha!

  • Jenn Jalowiecki at

    Hi Michael! Your photos look great but I know what you mean. The same thing happened to me. After searching colors online and putting swatches around on my walls I picked Ben Moore Moonshine but it looks purple in my house! Still searching for the perfect neutral gray so i can paint it over! I love following you by the way! -Jenn

  • Kathy at

    Many nice real grey tones by Benjamin Moore pants, and also Sherwin williams that don’t have blue undertones and also pinkish undertones. Please take look at their colors too.

  • Kathy at

    Paints not

  • Leigh at

    I have never had good luck color matching one brand to another’s mixing. I now stick with Benjamin Moore and have been really happy with the results. I have had to the-do a grey in my bedroom a couple of times, it looked purple at night. Greys are really hard and lighting makes a huge difference. Good luck, you always do such a beautiful job!!

  • Anne Westgate at

    Hi Michael, Love what you are doing with your home! I have had great luck with Benjamin Moore Stonington grey. We did a bath remodel last year and it is very nice. Also will be using it in the master bath in our new home.

  • nancy at

    I’ve had two expensive painting fails and for exactly the reason you mentioned. The color matched by a different paint company was wrong. I didn’t test the paint either time (my mistake; btw these two fails were decades apart so I’m not that slow a learner) and I paid someone else to paint it so didn’t discover it until it was done. The first painter rightfully expected to be paid to paint again The second, since he insisted on the paint manufacturer did paint for free.

  • Melissa Michaelson at

    I’m a Benjamin Moore loyalist and absolutely love Revere Pewter. May be a bit too dark for your living room (I used it in our bedroom) but it’s a true gray.

  • Jacqueline DaSilva at

    Light french grAy by Sherwin Williams….a true light gray…IT’S BEAUTIFUL]

  • Elle at

    I feel you! I recently chose a color for our open-plan house so it had to go on a LOT of different walls and it looks great on every wall except one where it feels a little green. Unfortunately that’s the wall in front of me when I sit on the couch at night…. 🙁
    Is this room north-facing by any chance? That pale watery north-facing light is the kind that always gives me the most paint color headaches.

  • Ann M at

    Check out Miss Mustardseed’s website. She just moved into a new home and her gray color selections were spot on I thought.

    • DBLori at

      That’s what I was going to suggest. 🙂

  • Rach at

    Hi! I’ve had the same issue a couple times now and I’m also a SW fan. I finally solved it by picking a similar gray to what I wanted, but something that noticeably had more of a warm green undertone compared to the other grays I was considering. Even if I thought it was a little too green on the paint chip, it seems to work out on the wall almost every time. Good luck and happy painting!

  • Katrina at

    Try Behr “Statuesque” – I think it might be close to what you’re looking for!

  • Adriane at

    We have a light gray scheme and used SW Egret White. It is very light gray, but next to a white ceiling or trim it looks great. We have an accent wall of SW Samovar Silver, and like your room, it turned out blue. Because blue is our accent color in the room, we left it.

  • Tardevil at

    Maybe try agreeable gray by Sherwin Williams. I’ve used it in 2 homes and it’s about the same color without the blue. Revere Pewter is close, too.

  • Elaine at

    Paint not working is The Worst. I think I went through roughly 20 test pots for my living room after the first color was soooooo much darker than I could handle. It’s a north facing room, looking into an alley, and would you believe colors look dramatically different? Finally went with BM Bunny Grey. Looks blue all over the internet but somehow just looks grey in the room. Yay! It’s been painted for nearly a year now and I’m so glad with how it turned out.

  • GiGi at

    On some of the photos it does appear to have a blue tinge. I noticed that the adjoining room on the other side of the arch looks like a perfect gray. Have you considered that paint color? It would also expand and connect the rooms.

  • Debbie at

    I can’t see blue in it, but then pictures don’t usually don’t show the “true” color. I like it!

  • Midwestmom at

    It does read blue to me. I’m feeling your paint I’m having a hard time picking paint for my kitchen. I’ve tried the beloved sea salt and it’s baby blue in my bright room. Not what I was going for! I just used sw mindful gray in my great room and I love it.

  • Lori at

    I had the same thing happen when choosing a paint for our main living areas with tall ceilings – yep, had it done twice, and yep still some blue tint. I probably would have chosen another color (third time was not going to happen), but it has grown on me. And I have had compliments on the color. So certainly understand your dilemma. One positive though, it does look very nice with your wood accents and furniture. Whatever you decide I am sure it will look fabulous!

  • Debra at

    This is a bit like “what color do you think ‘the dress’ is?”, isn’t it? I see gray, however, I know others see blue. I can’t wait to see what you decide. It’s all very beautiful.

  • Lindsay at

    It looks grey on my screen, but I totally get what you’re saying. I painted a room what I thought was grey once, and it turned out blue. Not grey with a hint of blue, just blue. I’m a slow painter and I don’t enjoy it, so it was really frustrating. Ugh. I can’t wait to see what color you end up with, and as a long time follower, I know whatever you choose will look great!

  • Nancy at

    I have had the worst time finding a grey that I don’t feel is too blue, so I’m glad to read it’s not just me. Khaki, I can do. White, no problem (I used Valspar’s off-the-shelf “perfect white” on the most recent room makeover, and it truly is perfect and I want to use it everywhere forever).
    I have to say that one of the many things I love about you is your use of the word “anywho.” Kindred spirits!

  • Holley Simons at

    It looks great on screen, but I can understand being frustrated that it doesn’t look the way you pictured it in real life. I made a similar mistake with the first room we painted in our new house. I picked out a fun coral for the baby’s room, and it just looks…kinda salmon-y, LOL. I think you’re right that our houses kind of tell us what colors they should be. For the rest of the house we went with more muted, pastel type colors, which is NOT something I ever would have thought I would like, but it works here. Good luck finding your perfect color!

  • JenW at

    It does look blue-grey on screen…but if it’s not for you then repaint! We have had similar painting failures…in our first home, the first room we painted was our living room and hallway. Hubby got one wall done and I said “eh, let’s wait before doing the rest”. Well, he wanted to get it done and did the rest while I was out. Michael, it was so horrible. We still refer to the color as “Bordello Yellow” and paired with the curtains which had a lot of red in them…it was just horrendous and looked like décor in a bordello from a 1950’s Western movie!! He repainted into a much softer buttery color I had in mind and all was good!

  • Lynn Connor at

    Oh dearie!!! I think everyone has lived through the “what was I thinking” stage re a paint colour. Trusting your gut says it all. If you don’t quite like it in the beginning…nothing will fix it except repaint. With the rush re time maybe a path to take is go with a white up or down one shade from your trim…or use trim colour. Everything will pop esp those emerald chairs , your Christmas lights etc. This will bide you time and who knows maybe it will stay. Enjoy your new digs. Just found your blog and loving all you write and do.

  • SoCalLynn at

    We painted our family room Smooth Stone by Glidden but mixed in Behr. It is perfect. However, when we went paint the connecting living room with it, because of the different lighting I guess, it came out looking purple-ish! Yuk! So I found a similar color, Dolphin Fin and we painted it that color and it came out beautifully. They look exactly the same, but they are different paint colors.

  • Teresa at

    Hello Michael,
    Can’t paint be so tricky! I have learned the hard way that lighting, room size, furnishings etc can make a color look so differently in each house. I would like to suggest BM Edgecombe Grey (one shade lighter than Revere Pewter) for a clean, modern gray shade. Also, you might want to go over to “Young House Love” blog and take their current house tour. They live in my hometown (Richmond, VA) and have written books, been on several shows and designed a décor line for Target and Universal Furniture. They use some great gray colors in their house that you might like. If nothing else, you will love touring their Colonial house and seeing all the upgrades they have done.

  • Karen Mary at

    Oh darn, it does look baby blue. Pretty, but likely not the right vibe here! Glad you enjoy painting (me too)!
    I had a very close call with a giant painting fail recently. I selected paint colors for our house exterior, and, because of rain delays, the painters wound up putting on the color while I was out of town. After putting on one coat (with no trim color), the painter sent me a picture of the house. The color didn’t translate well on my phone, and I hated it. HATED it. “What have I done?” I thought the remainder of my trip. It’s a big old Victorian house, so I couldn’t afford to have it repainted, and it looked like a cheap teal/swimming pool blue green instead of the lovely sage green (with bright white trim) that I had chosen. Kicking myself the whole way home, and in tears, I kept thinking I should have just painted the house white and been safe. I was never so relieved as I was when I pulled up to the house after the trip. I actually love the color, my sage green after all!

  • Janet at

    I have the same problem with grays. I have painted my living room twice in two years and each time I thought I was getting a light gray and it turned out light blue! Others have also saw it as blue. I’m sticking with it for now but who knows if I might change it down the road. Ugh. I wish I could find a true gray. Good luck Michael! I understand your frustration.

  • ABC at

    I have seen a few people who have had issues trying to have a color match done to Farrow and Ball colors. The problem is that Farrow and Ball is a clay based paint. This gives their paint very different qualities that makes color matching very difficult but also makes it a beautiful to work with. Their price point is high but I have found that in some cases it is worth the splurge.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      This is great to know! Thank you so much!

      xo Michael

  • jae at

    Sorry you have to probably repaint, but that color just looks cold to me, and your rooms are usually so fun filled and warm! You know you can have them up the intensity, like 125 percent or 150 percent to deepen, but i think i would get some sample pots and paint patches first, because real life seldom resembles a paint chip……

  • susan m at

    I’d like to repaint my warm beige walls a gray, but my ceiling is a creamy off-white. What color is your ceiling?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Just a standard ceiling white.

      xo Michael

  • Margaret Rothaus at

    How frustrating! It’s great to know, though, that someone as experienced as you are,Michael, anguishes just like we do, over picking the color that is Just Right – and then, even with all the care you have taken, have it turn out to be – not THE one – just like us!
    Houzz had an exploration of shades of gray paint about 6 to 9 months ago- I’ll try to find it and send you the date.
    Given that you tried so hard to get just the right color paint and it was still not quite right, you might want to wait till after Christmas is over and then repaint it when you are under less stress to make the right choice! (Though it’s not quite the shade I would pick, It really looks pretty much grey from here!) I will say though that – at first when I saw the light beige on the walls I thought, “It’s fine, why change it”? But then when I saw the grey paint up – even if it’s not yet quite right-I realized that _ although I can’t explain why- the grey will bring much more elegance to the room!

  • Penny Burke at

    Love your new house. Being a color-phobe myself I tend to stick to pale yellows. BUT I’m getting ready to paint my kitchen cabinets and want to use grays, light on top, darker for the bottoms.. So I love this feed and all the gray colors and paint brands everyone is talking about.

  • Lauren at

    I completely understand what you are going through with your gray color. My husband and I repainted our bedroom over the summer and the next day, I woke up and said, I hate the new paint color! It had a blue hue to it and we have a medium oak bedroom set, and I didn’t like it with the furniture. Then we went back to the paint store got new paint, repainted a little darker color! I like the color with the furniture, but it still looks blue! We have lived with it, and moved on to other projects and those colors have turned out great! I recently found out for a small fee, SW will come to your house and help you pick out colors for your room! Maybe worth a try! Hoping you have better luck with your paint colors!

  • Heather at

    While horribly frustrating, at least your painting “fail” is still completely livable. When I was 9 months pregnant, my husband and I finally got around to painting our sons nursery. Word to the wise- never trust the color judgement of a woman who is 9 months pregnant! (Or at least don’t trust me!) I had read that brighter colors are good for an infant so I chose a cheerful grassy green shade. Unfortunately after my husband painted the entire nursery in this color I realized I made one EPIC mistake. It was a sickening, alienesque green that made us sick. YUCK. Thankfully my hubby came up with the idea of painting the bottom half of the room in a calming tan tone and added a white chair rail. After those two additions the green finally looked the way we (or really I should say I) wanted it to. PHEW. My husband is a saint to have been able to survive that disaster! So no worries about a slightly blue-ish tint. It’s a much easier fix than mine was! Oh, and you’re right- the color looks lovely in the photos but I can imagine that in real life it is quite underwhelming when you consider your design scheme. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  • heather at

    Sherwin Williams paints have a gold (warm) base. Harder to color match Barrow or Benjamin Moore colors which begin with a black (neutral base). In such a case, stick to the color brand or, in my experience, use BM for the color match.

  • Iris at

    Curious if you could tell me by whom the beautiful green velvet chairs are made? Thank you. Beautiful design!

  • Adele at

    Both Dimpse and Blackened are Farrow and Ball colors that just can’t be replicated by color matching. I’ve tried color matching with both colors and was disappointed until I got the real thing on the walls. Some colors are easier to match (dark colors) but the light ones are too subtle to duplicate. Dimpse sometimes looks gray, at other times lavender or blue but never one dimensional, always ambiguous.

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