Jamie’s Painting Diary — Selecting the Right Shade of Paint

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In my last diary entry, I was focused on deciding on a paint color scheme, a monochromatic scheme (different shades of the same color). I’m focusing on a yellow and gray comforter as the focal point of the room, so my paint colors will be yellow and gray. Now it’s all about selecting the right shade of paint.

In order to have a nice mix of light, medium, and dark, you need to first select two different stripe cards from the paint store (one from the top section and one from the corresponding bottom section). Looking at my comforter focal point, I decided on Behr cards P300A and P300B. 

yellow color cards

All the other cards I looked at were starting to get too muddy or too green. With my yellow shades selected, I decided to paint seven different SureSwatch temporary paint swatches so I could see all seven colors of the cards up on my walls.

Once I had the painted SureSwatches, it was all about selecting the right shade of paint. Remember, you only need one color for the wall the other colors can be used as accents in the room. My two favorite yellows ended up being Meringue P300-2 (which is a light shade) and Upbeat P300-5 (a dark shade).

final yellow shades

As I painted all the yellow colors, I forgot how difficult it can be to use yellow. In order to get more vibrancy, yellows are made in a clear base. Imagine a glass of water and you are adding food coloring — it takes a lot of food coloring to make the water truly yellow. Paint is the same way — it takes a lot of coats to get to the color. Take a look at the SureSwatch in the picture below. Even with two coats of yellow paint, the purple and pink flower colors are still coming through.

painting with yellow

For this room, I wanted to pull in some darker yellow to add variety and depth. I initially thought about doing an accent wall in a darker yellow and the other three walls in a light yellow. The more I thought about it, however, I wasn’t sure I wanted an all yellow room. Yes, it would be bright and cheerful, but it would probably be better for a sunroom or a children’s bedroom. We wanted a little more warmth for our guests, so I decided to look at the monochromatic grays.

Selecting the Right Shade of Paint — Is Gray the Answer?

Again, I selected two different stripe cards from the paint store (one the top section and one from the corresponding bottom section). This is the key — making sure you use the stripe cards from the same column. Unfortunately, I picked a top card from one column and the bottom card from the adjacent column. Of course, they didn’t match, so I had to redo several of the grays. Lesson learned: Always double check before having the paint mixed!

Once I had the right colors, I painted my SureSwatches. My comforter focal point is lighter, so I needed a medium or dark gray for the wall. If the comforter was darker, I’d use a medium or light color for the wall. In the end, the only gray I really liked was Stargazer N510-3.

final gray

After playing with the grays, I decided against a completely gray room. To me, it was too somber and didn’t have the warmth we wanted.

My bedroom redo adventure continues! Next up, I need to find some complementary colors to go with the yellows. A complementary color scheme uses the color of the feature piece and picks the color directly opposite on the color wheel. The opposite of yellow is violet, so it’s off to the paint store to look for some complementary violets!

Until next time, happy painting!

Jamie


Jamie’s Painting Diary is a series by SureSwatch inventor and president Jamie Peltz. It chronicles her adventures in painting — and in life — from deciding on a paint color scheme to the trials and tribulations of a home improvement painting project.

Find SureSwatch at Home Depot, Walmart, and Ace Hardware.

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