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Choosing Paint Colors

Out of our long to do list, painting the walls seemed like one of the easier tasks to tackle to get the ball rolling on house updates. The house hasn’t been painted since the previous owner lived there, so at least 5 years but likely quite a bit longer. The first challenge was choosing the right colors.

Blue Paint Swatches

Left to right: Autumn Fog, Winter Flannel, Blue Twilight. We liked Winter Flannel, but read as too gray looking in from the master bedroom so we chose the slightly bluer Blue Twilight.

We found that painting large samples on the wall was the best way for us to determine what we liked and didn’t. It was helpful to see how the colors looked in various lighting conditions and angles. It has meant living with patchwork walls all over the house while we figured out what we liked and slowly work our way through painting rooms, but we figure that’s better than regretting a paint color and having to repaint. Besides, I only have to see it when I’m around on weekends (sorry DJ).

We chose Valspar Signature for our paint. 13 sample pots later, here is where we landed:


  • Crème Fraîche in satin for all the trim and doors
  • Oyster Pearl in flat for all the ceilings
  • Oyster Pearl in eggshell for the living room, kitchen, and hallway
  • Warm Putty in eggshell for the bedrooms
  • Blue Twilight in satin for the master bathroom (and probably the downstairs parlor room)
  • Pale Linen for the upstairs hall bath

I pulled the colors in the image above from online swatches, but I feel like it doesn’t really do the colors justice. In reality, Oyster Pearl is about half as dark as Warm Putty despite looking real similar above and the blues have a bit more punch. Crème Fraîche is a lovely warm white that’s quite a bit whiter and brighter than the cream color the trim is currently painted.

We tried other colors for the main walls – Olympic’s Brandied Pears and Valspar’s Cream in my Coffee – with Valspar’s Dogwood Petal for trim. The former two felt too warm/yellow and the latter was almost a perfect match to the existing trim which we ultimately decided was too cream for our tastes. Oyster Pearl and Warm Putty had a lot more gray in them but still plenty of warmth.

Paint prep is a lot of work, but we had a little buddy help us when we tackled our first room – the master. It has a weird little nook in it that serves no purpose except to collect dust. To speed up the process of cleaning it, we put DJ’s roomba up there, and it worked surprisingly well. It has edge detection, so there was no risk of it plummeting off the ledge.

Thanks roomba!

So far we’ve painted the master bedroom (whose vaulted ceiling somehow took as long as the rest of the room to paint) and the hall bath. It’s amazing how much fresher and cleaner a room feels with a new coat of paint. Next we’ll tackle the master bathroom and hallway. While originally the plan was to paint the whole house ourselves one weekend at a time, we’re seriously considering hiring out painting the double story vaulted living room after our master bedroom ceiling experience. The rest of the house should be no problem.

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