In the Navy, yes, you can sail the seven seas

People, finding the right navy blue paint is HARD.

When we painted our bathroom Richmond Green, I think I tried one other color just so we could be extra special sure, but once Richmond Green was up on the wall, even in a tiny 12 by 12 area, it was perfectly obvious that was going to be our choice.

Not so with the navy blue for the office. Oh, you didn’t know we were going dark in there? Sorry about that.

from Sara Tuttle Interiors

I saw this pin and I pretty much loved everything about it. So even though I had pinned a bunch of white or grey rooms with dark wood floors, when it came down to decision time, we were feeling the navy with lots of crisp white.

However, it took many tries to find the right color. We didn’t even have this much trouble when we painted our living room grey, which is a notoriously difficult color to work with thanks to the huge variety of possible undertones ranging from yellow-green to blue-purple. We ended up with Benjamin Moore’s Silver Lake, which we are still very happy with almost three years later.

I have always been trepidatious about choosing paint colors, but after years of doing it, I’ve developed some strategies for coming up with a happy color.

First, if you don’t already have a fan deck from your favorite paint supplier, I highly recommend that you acquire one if you’re trying to paint a whole house or do a lot of painting projects. I think mine was around $25 and gave me all the Classic Colors in the Benjamin Moore arsenal (get, it arsenal? navy? never mind). Not only does it save you running to the store for swatches and then test paint and then more swatches and then more test paint, it helps knock out choices that are obviously wrong because you can see all your possible options in the light of the actual room you’ll be painting.

Second, they only cost about $6 a color so before spending close to $50 on a gallon of good quality paint, get a test pot. I bought four for this project. That’s $24, a bunch of fun navy paint for future little projects and a whole lot of peace of mind because I know I got the right color. In fact, when I painted this thrift store shelf, I used a leftover test pot.

Third, get a second opinion. Or a fifteenth. Doug is a good judge of color, but having just one other opinion has never worked well for me. For a long time, I relied on Facebook friends for paint help: posting a photo of samples and letting them weigh in. That worked well, but now I found something even better: the new Young House Love Forums! John and Sherry put up these forums for readers to interact with each other and not only is it so. much. fun. it’s actually really helpful when you’ve got a design dilemma. I posted my painting dilemma on Tuesday and got 15 responses in less than 24 hours!

There were a couple common themes. Mainly, people thought the colors I’d tried were too grey. And though they looked more grey on the monitor than they do on the wall, the forum people were still right. I needed more blue. One brilliant poster suggested I try to match the color value of the navy blue to the color value of the Richmond Green across the hall, which was an absolutely excellent suggestion and ultimately what led me to take my blue samples into the bathroom and look at them in there against the green.

That’s how I ended up with the color I actually chose. And what color was that you’re probably wondering?

Well, you’re just going to have to wait until Monday when the room is all painted. I’m sure the suspense is killing you.

This is a post from Pies and Puggles. Republishing this article in full or in part is a violation of copyright law. And it isn’t nice. © 2010-2013, all rights reserved.

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