Friday, April 15, 2016

Our Office | The Perfect Green Gray Paint

My post title should really be... The Perfect Green Gray Paint - FOR MY HOUSE.  Because no matter how good a paint color can look in one room, under different lighting, with different furniture and textiles, it can look unrecognizable.  This is probably the reason paint will always be one of the trickier elements of interior design.  Yet, it continues to be one of the first sources I check in the back of magazines when I find a room I love and it is also one of my most frequently pinned items on Pinterest.  Even looking at the photo on the left isn't as helpful as I thought it would be because all the colors look so darn similar even though when they go up on the wall, they all look very different.  To me at least, my boys think I'm crazy and say they all look the same no matter what. :)

Finding a color for our office that I loved was actually pretty easy.  I really loved everything I put up. Nantucket Gray was probably my favorite of the bunch and would have been my top choice IF I wasn't also painting the ceiling and doors and trim all the same color.  After living with it for a few days, I decided it was just too dark, especially in the evening.  I didn't want the office to feel heavy and cave like - that might put a damper on productivity! Ha!  The French Gray was just a bit lighter and looked perfect when I put the sample up.  The Ball Green looked lime green, almost sickly, when I put the sample up.  And then the paint dried.  The Ball Green became the perfect mossy, not too dark, not too yellow, not too minty, shade of green.  The French Gray had turned too dark, too gray and a bit too cold for our room.  I went ahead and painted a sample on all four walls of the room, looked at the paint different times of the day and in both sunny and gray weather and it was perfect in every situation.  It was the most green of the three and the best compliment to the green found in the wallpaper of our adjoining bedroom.  Done.  Farrow and Ball Ball Green it is. (Glad all of you on Instagram agreed! :) Whew.)

Office BEFORE: I apologize for this, but it will make for a great before/after post in a couple months. Ball Green on left of secretary, French Gray on right. (desk chair will be road side soon. can. not wait. If you could have seen my face the day Jimmy brought that thing into our home....)
Top to bottom: FB Ball Green, BM Nantucket Gray, FB French Gray

My personal tips on testing + buying paint:
1.  Paint samples directly on the wall if you can.  Painting on a white sheet of paper and taping it up is ok for narrowing down choices, but it will always appear darker on the white paper than on the wall.  I don't know why, but this has been my experience. (Painting a large foam-core board would probably work well too.  I just don't usually have those on hand and I'm too impatient to test out the colors..)

2.  Apply two coats of the sample color to get the most accurate version of what the final color will look like. (All the samples above are two coats)

2. Paint large enough samples on as many of the walls as you can.  Paint can look so different depending on where the light hits.

3. Always test.  Always.  Even if your decorator swears by a color, or some design expert on pinterest says "no fail color. my go to. always works."  I have yet to find a color that always works.

4.  If you love Farrow & Ball colors, invest in Farrow & Ball paint, especially for walls.  (I'm not being paid to say this).  The Estate Emulsion for walls is so different than your typical hardware store latex based paint.  I do wish they made an oil based paint, so when I want oil I will have FB colors mixed for painting wood work.  I regret not using oil on our kitchen cabinetry, I used their recommendation for woodwork and I don't love it as much as I love their wall paints because it chips more easily than traditional oil.

Here are some examples of he above colors in use.  For the most part they look completely different than when I tested the colors in my room.  (For reference, our office has eastern and southern facing windows and gets good light the majority of the day, we also have lots of trees, so in the summer the light is very filtered.)

Nantucket Gray

FB French Gray

FB Ball Green



  1. Excellent choice! We have a very similar color in one of our rooms. I commented in your last post that I recently found your blog...great style and a new favorite!

  2. I love your choice! It is such fun to walk through this with you. You are going to enjoy this space so much when you are done.

  3. It's going to be a beautiful calm room. Perfect for an office. It's very difficult to buy oil base paint in NE Ohio. At least in our area. They can only sell it to you if you state what you're using it for what was already oil base. You get a bit of a lecture about the harmful effect to the environment. I love oil base but I had to switch over. I have to admit the new paint from is MUCH better than it used to be but still isn't the quality of good old oil base.

  4. It looks like you made a great choice! So do you paint your walls in latex paint and all your woodwork in oil based paint?

  5. I'm in love with this colour too! I find it a perfect fit for a country house. We chose something very similar for our bathroom and I'm so glad with it!
    I'm sure you will be pleased by this colour for years!