Monday, May 10, 2010

Bedroom color dilemma

We have three bedrooms in our house: a master bedroom, and two which we refer to as the front and back bedrooms.  We'll be setting up the back bedroom as my office (i.e., the bedroom of the curtain fabric).  P and I are planning to set up our things in the front bedroom, while we complete some additional projects on the master.  We'll probably be using this as our bedroom for at least a year to come.  I wonder if we'll ever get around to moving out: the master bedroom is short on windows and fairly dark, while the front bedroom has fantastic light. 

Our current priority in the renovations projects is to complete this bedroom.  It will be lovely to have one room finished that we can retreat to at the end of a day of working on the house.  And hopefully the whole house will start to feel a little more ordered when we can finally put some of our furniture where it actually belongs!

P did a great job of prepping the room for painting.  A number of the nails holding our drywall to the studs had loosened, so you could see (if you really looked hard) the nail heads bulging out.  He pulled all of these nails, refastened the drywall to the studs with screws, and spackled over all of the resulting nail holes and screw heads. 

I did some work to clean up the crown molding.  The plaster that had smoothed the joint between the molding and the ceiling was starting to look pretty scruffy.
So I chipped it off.  I assume this is plaster.  It certainly crumbled like plaster when I gave it a good whack.  Today builders would do this job with caulk, but I doubt that anything like the plasticizers used in modern caulk had been developed in 1954.  Or did people still call whatever they used then caulk, even though it isn't much like what we use today?  Anyway, I used good, modern caulk to seal the newly exposed seam.

We primed all of the wood I had exposed in removing the plaster, and all of P's new spackle.  We painted the ceiling and the crown molding.  Hopefully today I'll finish painting the trim on the windows and doors.  At that point, all that will be required to complete the room will be: 1. to paint the walls, and 2. to replace the baseboard molding that we removed before refinishing the floors.

Now we reach the really tricky part: choosing a wall color.  I'll be painting all of the living areas in the house a light gray, so I'd like some other bedroom color.  It needs to complement our bedding, which is blue.  The bedroom walls in our last rental were a light blue--we really liked the color, but I thought it was a little much with the bedding.  So, blue and gray are out.  We'd like a relatively light color, to keep the room nice and bright.  And one final note: these walls have been painted many times over the years, and have a lot of roller texture built up.  But now certain patches of the walls are nice and smooth where P spackled them.  So whatever color paint we chose, we'll be using the flat finish, so as not to draw attention to the variety of wall textures.


I first selected two taupes, with pink/gray undertones.  (I don't like taupes and beiges with yellow undertones.)  I decided to test two Benjamin Moore colors, Featherstone and Mocha Cream, to decide whether we preferred a darker or lighter wall color.
I was quite excited about these colors, until I painted the swatches on the walls.  Definitely not what we were thinking.  The Featherstone was far too pink, and the Mocha Cream was too dark, and not pink enough.  I pulled my fan deck of paint colors back out, and quickly decided that if we didn't like these two colors, there was a good chance we weren't going to like anything in a taupe.
Back to the drawing board.  I decided it was time to get over my irrational fear of painting a room green.  Somehow, I'm convinced that if I paint a room green, it will either be too yellow, or it will look like my grandparent's living room.  But I was inspired by some swatches in the Freshaire paint line (particularly a color called Hidden Sea Glass), and decided to give green a try. 

I rolled up to the Home Depot paint counter, and asked the paint guy to mix up the Freshaire color in a Behr brand sample size.  The paint guy declined, explaining that for reasons unknown to him, the Freshaire colors never looked right in any other brand. 

Maybe this was a sign that I should try some zero-VOC paint.  I asked him to mix me up a Freshaire sample, then.  Nope.  Freshaire doesn't come in sample sizes.  Given my love (and Consumer Report's love) of Behr and my poor track record of choosing paint colors, I thought committing to a quart was a bad idea.  So I took my swatch and compared it to all the other swatches Home Depot had, and decided that Behr's Whitened Sage was a pretty close match.  For good measure, I grabbed a similar, but slightly darker, color as well, Sliced Cucumber.


Hmm.  Those don't seem quite right either.  Whitened Sage looks a little too yellow on the walls, and Sliced Cucumber is far too dark, and in my mind, almost verges on olive tones.
I'm not quite ready to give up on greens--the Whitened Sage is the best of the failed choices.  So, next I'll to find something that is green, but has bluer undertones without being too blue, nor too bright and aqua.  (We're going for really subtle and peaceful in this room--aqua would be a pretty good choice for the back bedroom, my office, next door.)  Maybe Spring Melt, in the new Martha Stewart for Home Depot line?

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