Common Mistakes When Choosing The Best Pale Blue Paint

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I only discovered your blog a few days ago. I think I was up until 3:00 AM the other day because I couldn’t put it down. Thanks.

Actually, I hate you.

Seriously, I’m joking. Oh, how I wish I had found you a month ago. We just painted our living room. I wanted it to be that soft silvery, calming pale blue paint color I’m seeing all over the place.

 

I chose the best pale blue paint color I’ve ever seen. It looked amazing on the paint chip.

 

The painters came. I went to work… Then, I came home. And, well, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. But, no time to do anything about it. That’s because in three days my husband’s younger sister and husband were coming for a visit.


And, I had to make sure all was dry and put back. Did I mention that she’s having her first baby in six months?

 

They arrive, right on time. (always)

 

However, I was so busy mopping up the glass of chocolate milk my four-year-old had just dumped; all over the dog, the cat and the rest of it on himself. And, everything within eight feet of said glass of sticky brown milk.

Fortunately, my DH arrived home from work an hour early and was there to greet and entertain them until I could make myself semi-presentable.

I like my S-I-L. But, for some reason, I’ve never felt that I quite measure up. My problem, I’m sure. She’s super beautiful and talented. However, she looked quite happy to see me.

 

And, then she said, with a beaming smile in our freshly painted LIVING ROOM, “Betty, this is absolutely the perfect shade of baby blue for our new nursery. I just found out that we’re having a baby boy! Oh, please be a dear and tell me what is this paint color?”

 

I tried so hard to smile, but, really I had a pressing urge to slap that happy grin off her face. However, God came in to rescue me as at that very moment, I realized that the roast was burning and went running into the kitchen.

Oh, Laurel, really, I wouldn’t have slapped her. I was just embarrassed. And, that’s because she’s right.

Even more depressing, is that during the day, the color is even worse. In fact, sister-in-law never mentioned wanting to know the color again.

 

How could this have gone so horribly wrong?

 

The color looked so beautiful when I saw it online. And, I worked really hard to find out what it was, too. I asked the designer on HOUZZ and was so thrilled when she let me know the name of the paint color. It was just the best pale blue paint color– ever. Maybe she lied. I don’t know.

I did check out the color in the store too. As I said, it looked beautiful on the chip– in the store, that is.

Maybe you could turn this into a blog post if you think there’s a lesson here. Please tell me that others have made this mistake.

Thanks so much,

Betty Blueper

 

*********

 

Oh Betty,

Not only have others made this mistake, I’m sure that I have too, at some point. But, I’ve probably blocked it out. Believe me. I’ve made 100s of mistakes when decorating. If it makes you feel any better, you can read about some of the more hideous ones here. However, that’s how we learn. Hopefully. :]

And, for 21 common decorating mistakes, click here.

 

Okay, this IS a great topic and for numerous reasons.

 

There are three main problems I’m going to address when selecting the best pale blue paint color; or any color, for that matter.

 

One, is selecting a paint color from a magazine, website or book, brochure, etc.

Two, is understanding that the paint color doesn’t stand alone.

Three, is not understanding how to select a color. Here’s a very good post that goes over that in detail.

 

Pottery Barn cool blue and white bathroom - best pale blue paint colors

 

Exhibit A is an image many have seen on this blog a couple of times before from Pottery Barn. Love that Covington Faucet! The last time I posted this image, which you can see a cropped version here, at least a dozen people asked me for the paint color, AND also the wallpaper.

 

Guys, I love you, but this isn’t my room. So, please don’t ask me information about sources which would necessitate me having to research it. I hope that you’ll understand that it’s not possible.

I’m now going to demonstrate the problem, aside from the fact that this is not my room and I have no idea what the color is. And, even if I did, I can pretty much guarantee that it’s not going to look the same in your home.

First of all. Let’s look at the space below.

 

plain pale blue paint color

 

Let me ask you. If I shared this image on the blog, would you be frothing at the mouth to know the paint color? Most likely not.

 

BUT… it’s the SAME paint color.

 

So, why is it that you aren’t jamming my inbox wanting to know what it is?

Anyone want to tell us why?

Don’t all shout it out all at once. ;]

Anyone? Nancy, I know that you know. Please tell us why.

 

Because the Pottery Barn bathroom is gorgeous and charming and the boys room is nothing special? Therefore, I don’t think the paint color is going to do much to make it more special.

 

BINGO! Right on the money. Thank you Nancy, you may sit down now. :]

And, by the way, I have a presie for some of you. I just happened to discover today what the wallpaper is.

It’s Atelier Oiseaux Et Fleurs by F. Schumacher.

 


You can purchase the paper here, if you’re not in the trade.

But, let’s bring down that image from Pottery Barn again.

 

Pottery Barn cool blue and white bathroom - best pale blue paint colors

Right. The photo is not the same color as the sample of the wallpaper. Therefore, when doing wallpaper, you must have the sample of the paper AND if possible a CFA (cutting for approval) of the current dye-lot. And, that is BEFORE you select your perfect pale blue paint color.

 

Corrected - Pottery Barn cool blue and white bathroom - best pale blue paint colors

Above is a color corrected version of the bathroom based on the sample as seen on the internet, on the Schumacher website. But, that too, has variations.

 

Above is a third version of the Pottery Barn bathroom I found. Will the real pale blue paint color please stand up?

 

The reality is, I could’ve posted any one of these three images of this pretty bathroom, and, I’m quite positive would’ve gotten requests to know the paint color.

All three of them.

Therefore, the precise paint color is irrelevant.

I repeat. The precise paint color is irrelevant. What IS relevant is how a color looks in your space and with the other givens surrounding it.

Do you think that this is an isolated example?

No, it is actually a very common issue.

 

Suzanne-Kasler-Buckhead-best pale blue paint color
Above is an exquisite entry to an award-winning home by Suzanne Kasler. Suzanne, one of my favorite interior designers is the queen of pale, watery ethereal pale blue paint colors. And, BTW, I’ve met her a couple of times and she is the nicest person ever. Very humble, too.

However, I found another image of the same room.

 

SuzanneKasler_Ambella Home - pale blue wall color
The lovely furniture, are Suzanne’s designs for Ambella Home.

 

But, do you see that this image is different from the one on top?

 

The first one came from Suzanne’s website. The bottom one somewhere else. I imagine that the one on Suzanne’s site was color corrected as images straight out of the camera tend to have some color distortion.

Did you know that?

So, when we see an image on the internet, most of us don’t know if the image has been color corrected or not. And then, there’s the situation of our computer monitors. The colors vary there, too.

 

***Therefore, if you see a color somewhere that you like, try to find a paint color that matches WHAT YOU SEE.  And, looks the way you’d like it to in your space.***

 

I can’t stress this enough. You must do everything as close to how it’s going to live in real life, as possible.

 

And, even then, please test your paint colors before it gets painted.

One other thing. Do NOT take the wallpaper to the store and have them computer match it. I did that very early in my career. It did not match. Fortunately, the clients were either color blind or didn’t care. Phew! Dodged that bullet. It wasn’t horrible, but it could’ve been a lot better. Coincidentally, it was a wallpaper from Schumacher.

 

So, now we’ve addressed problems one and two. Please bookmark this post. It’s super important. Most mistakes are made when we try to take shortcuts. It’s not advisable.

 

This brings us to the third issue which is selecting the pale blue paint color, itself.  Pale blues tend to be more difficult to choose, if you are inexperienced selecting a beautiful pale blue paint color.

The best pale blues often look kind of drab and boring on the paint chip. But, when they go on the wall, the blue really pops out. That’s why some blues can go quite intense even though they don’t appear that way, at first.

 

And, then it’s important to remember to do the following when selecting all paint colors

 

You go to the paint store. Maybe you didn’t even bother to bring the paint chip home. But even if you did, you probably put it down flat on a table to look at it instead of flat against the wall where it’s going to live. Looking down on the color, is not the color.

Looking at it at the store (with the store’s lighting) or outside in your car is also not the color.

Still, no one ever told you this, so how are you supposed to know?

 

Now, I’m going to share some of my favorite pale blue paint colors.

 

Some of these are in the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collections and some are not. And there are a few others in the collection that are not listed here.

I’m also going to share some images. None of the images are mine and I don’t know what the paint color is. In some cases, it might look like the color name underneath, but I can’t guarantee that.

There will be a chart at the end of the post with all of the paint colors for you to pin to your pinterest boards.

 

Here are some beautiful Benjamin Moore Pale Blue Paint Colors

 

benjamin-moore-sea-foam-looks-like-farrow-and-ball-borrowed-light

GRAY SKY 2131-70

 

tvK1jiAvOb0xDeborah Needleman via Lonny

LOOKOUT POINT 1646

 

- Hickory Chair - Best Pale Blue Paint Color - Quiet Moments

GLASS SLIPPER 1632

HEALING ALOE 1562

For a home I did a while back with Healing Aloe, click here.

QUIET MOMENTS 1563

This is one of my all-time favorite go-to colors. It is especially lovely in bedrooms. Both men and women love it. Every single time. In every lighting situation. But, I prefer it in rooms that get a fair amount of light.

The bedroom above is reminding me of the Darryl Carter bedroom. (below)

 

Best Bedrooms - Darryl Carter - interior design - architecture - Donald Lococo - Photo Max Kim Bee

ICE CAP 1576

 

For more terrific bedroom ideas, click here.

And some more terrific bedroom paint colors you’re probably not using.

 

SEA FOAM 2123-60

More furniture by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair. The fabulous Chinoiserie wallpaper panels are by De Gournay.

 

charlotte-moss-lonnyCharlotte Moss

SILVER CREST 1583

naomi-stein-lonny-kitchen-pale-blue-settee-suzanne-kasler-dining-chairsNaomi Stein

I don’t think the walls are actually blue here, but this has to be the most beautiful eating area I’ve ever seen! I would be the one who would slobber marinara sauce all over the settee and while I was cleaning it up would knock the coffee over.

If this were mine, I wouldn’t serve my guests anything but saltines and seltzer. ;] By the way, those gorge chairs, I recognize as one of my faves from Hickory Chair by the wonderful Suzanne Kasler. Love the floral fabric on the back. Really smart.

 

 Wallpaper - Suzanne Kasler

Another fabulous Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair vignette. Gorgeous wing chair.

I designed some wing chairs for a client and myself that are almost identical about 19 years ago.

You can see them here.

 

And, don’t forget the ceiling! A pale blue-green-gray is amazing on the ceiling.

 

Another Suzanne Kasler beauty with furniture for Hickory Chair

 

For more wonderful ceiling colors, click here.

 

Suzanne Kasler - Sophisticated SimplicitySuzanne wrote a beautiful book which came out a year ago. Click the link for more info.

 

summer-thornton-lonny-pagoda-gold-lanterns

Summer Thornton

 

I adore these Pagoda Lanterns.

They are the Mykonos Medium lantern from Visual Comfort. But, medium is pretty large. There is also a smaller  version available.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 7.52.31 PM

 

PICNIC BASKET CSP 730

We used this in a master bedroom and it’s quite lovely.

 

GLASS SLIPPER 1632

Wonderful blue on blue bedroom by Alexa Hampton

 

flickr-blue-strie-walls (1)via

 

CRYSTAL BLUE – 2051-70

This isn’t Crystal Blue, but not too far off. It’s a strie of these two colors. MYSTICAL BLUE 792 glazed with FADED DENIM 795. Actually, this looks nothing like those two colors! I added this, because I love the photo!

 

pholhemus-architects-woodlawn-bluePholhemus Savery DaSilva

WOODLAWN BLUE HC-147

Woodlawn is the bluest of the pale blues here but it’s a definite winner!

 

benjamin-moore-pale-blue

 

Well, I think it’s officially fall now. We’ve had some gorgeous weather recently!

 

9 best pale blue paint colors

please pin to your pinterest boards for reference

 

If you’d like to see a post about some deeper blue paint colors, click here.

This post has some even deeper blue colors and shades of navy.

Also, this post on cool gray paint colors has some colors that really read more blue than gray.

 

xo,

 

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated hot sales. There’s a nice surprise there, if you missed it yesterday.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Joanne - November 10, 2019 - 6:12 PM

    Laurel,
    I saw a Pinterest post you did on. Blue and white Christmas. The room was a lovely deep green ( May be upholstered walls) but if not do you know the color or who the designer is. White furniture with a green accent stripe/ green walls/ pale blue draperies. I have seen this image before. Love it. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Shari - October 20, 2019 - 1:25 PM

    I love your blog! It totally prepared me for painting the ceiling in my master bedroom pale blue…well almost. I narrowed my color choice to two. BM Glass Slipper and Iceberg. I purchased large samples of both from Sample size and placed them around the ceiling. As I suspected the glass slipper took on a green cast…all the paint in my home takes on a green cast even Stonington grey. Maybe it’s the low E windows required in California or the trees or a combination of both. Anyway, I choose Iceberg. In the early morning and evening the ceiling is gorgeous. Almost floats. At various times of the day it fades to almost white and takes on an ombré effect. Really cool
    However, around noon a large section turns PINK! All I can think is that’s it’s reflecting on something from outside. Maybe the flagstone from the patio but we’re on the second story. It’s something I’m very willing to live with as the color is just beautiful. Thank you for all your help.ReplyCancel

  • Maxine - September 30, 2019 - 4:11 AM

    Everyone! Belive Laurel when she says “What IS relevant is how a color looks in your space and with the other givens surrounding it.”
    Huge bright green trees grow right outside all my huge windows. Every colour, no matter what, looks yellow in my house. After many frustrating attempts to acheive non-yellow rooms I’ve finally relaxed and accept that I must work with and enjoy my own reality. Thanks Laurel for another great post.ReplyCancel

  • Catherine Cullen - September 26, 2019 - 12:51 PM

    I did Gray Sky in our guest bedroom based on your recommendation and I love it. I painted everything – walls, ceiling, trim, doors. It’s such a light and calming color that I think it works and looks intentional without being weird.ReplyCancel

  • Shirley Nickorick - September 26, 2019 - 11:45 AM

    HI there! Just lookihg at your fabulous information and wanted to let you know that your first example of blue, is actually Borrowed Light, from Farrow and Ball. Love your work!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:39 PM

      Hi Shirley,

      Is that the Pottery Barn room? Or the Suzanne Kasler room? I did a chart last year. Well, originally four years ago and there’s a good Benjamin Moore clone, Glass Slipper. It’s a beautiful color that I’ve used before. And, it’s in the post under the Suzanne Kasler bedroom with the floral fabric. You can see the conversion chart here.ReplyCancel

  • Angelica - September 25, 2019 - 6:21 PM

    Laurel,
    Thank you for another wonderful post! I only wish I had found your blog BEFORE making every mistake possible with decorating my first home—including painting our sitting room, dining room, staircase, and upstairs hallway blue without swatching. And before buying furniture. At least I now have sound advice to use while I correct my past decorating sins!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:48 PM

      Please take heart Angelica. We’ve all made decorating mistakes. Even the A-listers do. Oh, they usually don’t admit to it. I wish they would. Wouldn’t that be fun? In fact, it would make me love my favorite designers even more to know that they too, don’t always get it right. I know that they don’t. We only see their “tens.” They don’t publish their “eights.”

      Bunny Williams did say, however at the Design Blogger’s Conference in 2015, that she’s had clients screaming in her ear. I can’t imagine anyone screaming at dear Bunny, but of course, the world is full of all kinds of strange.ReplyCancel

  • Pat - September 24, 2019 - 1:40 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I basically love a white on white color scheme, but I painted my sun porch Quiet Moments, bought pillows from Pottery Barn to match. It’s such a beautiful color and I get many complements. Many thanks for the recommendation.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    PatReplyCancel

  • JeanFB - September 24, 2019 - 7:35 AM

    Ah I see. That’s good to know, and not just for wallpaper. I often see bloggers who attempt to color match one paint company’s color in another, cheaper paint company’s paint. But I have noticed that certain paint company’s paints have a certain, idaknow, “luminescence” or way of catching the light and changing with the light or something – and I was always skeptical as to whether that can truly be replicated. My guess is…. “nope!”ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 24, 2019 - 5:37 PM

      To know for sure, the paint colors would have to be examined under the same lighting conditions and one at a time. I would make two samples of each and mark on the back which is which. Then, I would tape them to a wall in the same spot and stand back.ReplyCancel

  • L - September 23, 2019 - 10:26 PM

    I just reread my comment and it sounds so rude? I desperately want that architecture lol, please don’t think I’m rude. Just a desperate student. I want that Laurel, teach me teach me please! You gave great example with that blue wall. But what’s next, I’m ready.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 24, 2019 - 5:35 PM

      There are a ton of posts concerning how to get the architecture of a room correct. Most of them were within the last few months.ReplyCancel

  • L - September 23, 2019 - 10:14 PM

    Laurel, please don’t hate me. I still don’t get the most important question, how to make interior architecture like Suzanne Kasler one? Who made it, she? It’s already been there and she just picked the color…Laurel, I want that blue on that interior architecture. Exactly that interior architecture like at the pic. So would you teach me or not? pretty please?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 24, 2019 - 5:34 PM

      Hi L,

      I’m sorry, I don’t hate you, but I don’t understand the question.ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor - September 23, 2019 - 1:55 PM

    I painted our living room BM Glass Slipper several years ago after buying your paint collection books. Now it’s our homeschool room and I spend most of my day in here. Architecturally there really isn’t much going on and we don’t have great natural light…I still don’t really have art or mirrors finalized in the space..or finishing touches like chinoiserie vases. Nor have I been able to get the designer fabric pillow covers I want from Etsy..and there is kid stuff crowding the bookshelves but I LOVE it. It’s such an amazing, life-giving color for me in this space. THANK YOU. I have learned from you that architecture is #1 in making a space and I really get that after years of being educated on your blog. However, the wall color makes this particular space (prior it was beige and then cranberry and was very blah, at least to me).ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Gasper - September 23, 2019 - 12:03 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    Well, I find I have to share my own blue paint debacle. I moved into a home that had been painted so beautifully and meticulously that I did not have to repaint one room. There were a few very minor spots that needed a touch-up. I looked at the left behind paint cans and decided none of them could possibly be the match for the living room and carefully cut out a small chip to be matched at the store where I knew the paint had been purchased. The retouch wasn’t perfect, but in such a small area I wasn’t bothered by it.
    As I reorganized the leftover paint cans, I once again looked at the colors…one of which was a very pale gray. I’m sure you know where this is going; my beautiful pale blue living room I just had paint matched is in reality a very pale gray! I am thrilled I now have the exact color in case I ever choose to repaint, but it goes to show that gray can read as blue in certain light!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2019 - 1:48 PM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      The truth with gray is that it seldom reads as a pure gray when it’s on the wall. But, I’m so glad that you have a color you love!ReplyCancel

  • JW - September 23, 2019 - 12:13 AM

    Ooh, I was so excited to read your post about my favorite color. Your “Dear Laurel” letters always make me chuckle.

    We used Sea Foam in the bathroom and my son’s room in our last house and loved it. A perfect example of how colors look different in different places- the bathroom (no windows) looked blue but the bedroom looked green (both beautiful) but people were always surprised when I told them they were the same color. I tried it out in our new house which is at a completely different longitude (much farther north) and it looked different again, probably because the room is larger and facing a different direction and different sunlight quality.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2019 - 1:49 AM

      Hi JW,

      Well, there it is. My bathroom is Shoreline and I would classify it as gray. But, in some lights, it looks blue. And, it does not look at all blue on the chip!ReplyCancel

  • Rose - September 22, 2019 - 10:45 PM

    Oh my goodness, this post brings back memories and laughing tears! I was in search of this unicorn pale blue for my bedroom, and started accumulating samples on the wall. Then more, and more, and more until I had about 20 large paint splotches all over (yes, I know I did everything wrong). I was in such dismay that I posted a pic of my madness on FB and everyone started chiming in with their opinions. In the end, I used NONE of those colors and started all over. 🙂 Though I haven’t decorated at all in the past 2 years since, because life, I selected BM Yarmouth Blue and it’s quite pleasant.

    I will say BM Wickham Gray looks to be the palest of blues in my hallway, something I wasn’t going for, but it happened and it stays, for now.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2019 - 1:47 AM

      Hi Rose,

      Several years ago, I specified Wickham Gray for a quite dark entryway and I really loved it. Yes, it’s a pale, pale, blue-gray-green.ReplyCancel

  • JeanFB - September 22, 2019 - 8:52 PM

    Laurel these blues are gorgeous, and the photos of the same room but with different color corrections were a real eye-opener. I have to ask though (and sorry if you’ve covered this before) – how is it that the color-matching you had done, for the paint to match the wallpaper, ended up not actually matching??? Is this service just unreliable in general? Or is it something about wallpaper that makes the machine go haywire? Thanks for a great article once again!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2019 - 1:46 AM

      Hi Jean,

      No, in my experience, it’s computer matching, period. There are so many pre-made colors. There should be one close enough. Or make a mixture using one’s eyes. That’s far better than the computer “sees.”ReplyCancel

  • Vicki Bowman - September 22, 2019 - 6:31 PM

    I loved reading your post today, as usual, but loved seeing lots of Hickory Chair pieces. I live in Hickory, North Carolina, and we are proud of our furniture companies that produce lovely pieces, like those you presented. Especially loved the days of long ago, when Hickory Chair would have a killer auction, when the whole town would buy the same pieces for 15$. No more!
    I know you come to High Point, Laurel, do you ever come to Hickory? It is a nice little town- come for a visit. Vicki BowmanReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2019 - 1:44 AM

      Hi Vicki,

      Actually, I haven’t been to High Point in 3.5 years. There’s a good chance I’m going in the spring, however. I’ve not been to Hickory.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - September 22, 2019 - 5:19 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I was introduced to your blog a few weeks ago and have been binge reading it ever since. Love it!

    To the topic at hand: one tactic I use to pick paint colors is to find out the actual percentages of pigments used to create the color.( I first used this approach when specifying ink colors for print.)
    If the pigment is in the paint, it will show on the wall, to some greater or lesser extent. The bloke at your local paint store should be willing to tell you what pigments are in the color. At least they are at my local store.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 23, 2019 - 1:43 AM

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’m of the school of is it is what it is. But, the lighting in the room has a huge effect. And the way walls reflect light is so variable.ReplyCancel

  • Dan - September 22, 2019 - 3:11 PM

    Hi Laurel
    Color labels on your paint chip board would be very helpful. Thanks for the great advice and blues-green faves. Go Blue!!
    U of M fan.ReplyCancel

  • Denise - September 22, 2019 - 1:24 PM

    The best light blue I painted was actually a white.
    In the light of the bedroom, it was a soft sophisticated light blue. DeniseReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 3:15 PM

      Hi Denise,

      It’s true. Some whites are actually a pale gray blue unless the light is super bright.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - September 22, 2019 - 12:19 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Happy Sunday! All of the rooms in my open floor plan home are painted Quiet Moments. (Except for the guest room). I’ve had it for almost 10 years now & I’m still not tired of it. It looks so good with my teal colored sofa in the living room. And the teal headboard & drapes in the master couldn’t be better.
    It looks especially nice in the master bath that has a Carrara marble counter & floor. They really bring out the grey undertones.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 1:01 PM

      Hi Mary,

      It really is a magical color. That’s because there IS a healthy amount of gray in it. The one above, healing aloe is nice too. I forgot to say earlier when we were talking about healing aloe is that of course, in cooler light, the color will look more blue and in warmer, brighter light, the green will come out. But, I find that Quiet Moments always looks beautiful. And, yes, it acts as a neutral because it really does go with everything. Hmmm… that would be such a good post. I think I did one along those lines a while back. Might be time to re-do it.

      This post was actually a re-do. I always think, oh, it’ll only take me four hours tops to revise it. Nope. This one was still a full nine hours. That’s probably because at least 80% of it is all new material.ReplyCancel

  • susie - September 22, 2019 - 11:57 AM

    I seem to recall from physics class that it works something like this: something absorbs all the wavelengths of light but the wavelengths of light that are not absorbed are relected back to our eyes and so something is perceived to have a certain color based on what wavelengths are reflected back to our eyes. If you ask me, the color is totally dependent on the light you see it in. A color under flourescent light vs. a color in direct sunlight vs. a color with various light bulbs etc. The look of the color is always changing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 12:56 PM

      I agree completely Susie. And, that sums up why I can’t advise people on paint colors except in terms of theory. Or, on occasion colors I’ve used numerous times that always look good together, like White Dove and Linen White. And, of course, everything under one lighting condition will be tinted with the same color light. Problems come when the light is coming from only two opposing sides of the room and one is very warm and one is very cool.

      Very interesting. But as I always say: “Decorate and then go about living your life. Soon, you will completely forget all about what was driving you crazy the first week or two.” hahaReplyCancel

  • Margaret - September 22, 2019 - 11:53 AM

    Watched Death at a Funeral (2007) on Prime last night.

    I’ve seen it before years ago and lol’d the first time.

    However, the second viewing OMG was all about the decor.

    Perfect pale blue walls in the drawing room.

    Come to think of it, loved the entire house.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post, Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 12:49 PM

      There are some movies that I love just for the decor. And, it’s all different kinds of decor, too. Of course, everyone loves Something’s Gotta Give. (Hampton’s dream timeless dream home) And, I also love the movie and the decor in Sense and Sensibility. Ahhh… that fetching COTTAGE!!! And, another movie with a very different decor than all of those is A Perfect Murder with Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Douglas. That NYC apartment. Impossibly chic. Effed up people but who have fabulous taste in decor. lol

      I’ve not seen Death at a Funeral. Compelling title.ReplyCancel

  • Dian L Jones - September 22, 2019 - 11:48 AM

    Blue is not my go-to color; I love green. But I have a bedroom in Healing Aloe that I absolutely love! In fact, I have repainted recently and used the color again.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 12:43 PM

      Hi Dian,

      Yes, I would say that all of these have some green in them. Some just a little and some like healing aloe, a lot, so is it green or blue? It’s both! But, of course, putting it next to a true blue and it will look greener and vice versa.ReplyCancel

  • Ellie Cox - September 22, 2019 - 11:12 AM

    Laurel the comparison photos you posted illustrate everything you told us so well! If the color I’m really looking for is the one in that photo…I get the color name from the info in the magazine or from the website, but the ACTUAL paint looks much more like the second photo….I’m doomed to disappointment. Right?

    Years ago I saw a dining room photo of a room in Anne Turner Carroll’s house-the muted lovely murky green on the arched opening to her kitchen, with the crystal chandelier over the table. My eyes opened wide. This…was the Exact color I wanted for my entry and huge living room! I had to drive miles to the paint store that carried the Pratt & Lambert green she used. Fortunately only bought a quart. Ended up using it on a garden bench. It was so dark I couldn’t believe it! My house would have looked like a cave! (And a couple years later saw the same shot in a different magazine labeled Farrow & Ball Pigeon. But it’s not Pigeon. At least I don’t think so. Anyway, I loved this post. And while it’s disappointing to “see” the right and perfect color but find out it’s really quite different, once a kind designer with a well-written blog handholds you through the process, at least you can begin to work towards the right paint for your room.

    EllieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:28 AM

      Hi Ellie,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and also your kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Emilia - September 22, 2019 - 10:56 AM

    Hi Laurel, While reading this informative article (several times in fact), I became entranced by the window treatments and especially the curtain rods. Would you please consider doing a blog on curtain hardware and aspects to consider when purchasing? By the way, I especially loved the simple curtain rod with the curved ends. Appreciate all you do Laurel.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Sheehan - September 22, 2019 - 10:27 AM

    Hi,
    Another wonderful post Laurel. Two things you didn’t mention that I think are important though, first, the trim color. Putting these soft blue tones against ‘white’ trim that is too yellow is a big mistake (I know, I’ve made it). Also, too white trim can make the blue look cheap and ‘kid-room’ like. A balanced off white is the key.
    Also, in Art School I took a photography class and back in those prehistoric days when we used expensive cameras instead of our phones to take pro looking shots, you had to set an ‘F-stop’ level (the aperature) before taking the picture. There is a term, ‘bracketing your shots’ which means taking a picture a few ‘F-stops higher than you think is correct, and a few lower than you think is correct in order to hit upon just the right exposure. I use this principle in selecting fabrics, floor color and wall paint too, making sure I have samples lighter and darker than I think will work. One of them will be correct.
    Thanks as always!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:24 AM

      Hi Barbara,

      Great advice. And yes, a too yellow, or too white trim color can look icky poo. That’s why I put in the trim colors that will work with all of the paint colors in the Laurel Home paint and palette collection. Still, always test. My apartment came with the standard Benjamin Moore white which is fine in every room except the living room. It just looks really icy with the Hawthorne yellow. But, it’s just me and my half-dead plant, Joe (I got him at Trader Joe’s). And, he doesn’t seem to mind as long as I remember to water him.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie Poland - September 22, 2019 - 10:02 AM

    I just love these blues! And I want to encourage everyone – everyone – especially if they have tall ceilings and lots of crown moulding -molding? – anyway, everyone, paint your ceilings a pale blue!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:19 AM

      Hi Melanie,

      I love that too and especially if it’s a gray blue with some green in it. One of my favorites that’s not in this post, but in the ceiling post I linked to but here it is again, is Benjamin Moore Opal Essence 680.ReplyCancel

  • Ivis - September 22, 2019 - 9:50 AM

    Wonderful post about my favorite color! I was interested in your comment about the Naomi Stein room that you don’t think the walls are really blue…I was watching Flip or Flop (for entertainment value ONLY) and Christina tested an exterior color on the house and said it was gray–Tarek said it was blue. They argued of course (entertainment value) but it did make me question my own color vision! Cheers and thanks as always for your wonderful posts that are NOT entertainment but actual professional advice!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:15 AM

      Hi Ivis,

      I think the Naomi Stein room is probably white, but it’s the photo that is making it look like a pale, pale, blue, gray. I do understand that we all see colors differently. But, I’m not sure how that’s evaluated.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - September 22, 2019 - 9:41 AM

    Laurel, I painted my guest bath a mix of at least 8 of the little cans of white, blue-green, and grayish colors I bought when trying to decide what colors to paint rooms iny new house. That’s my favorite color in the whole house. It is a pale greenish blue much like your photos.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:11 AM

      Hi Liz,

      I did something similar with our old den. It didn’t have a lot of wall space to begin with. And, the little room was north-west facing, but there was a big hill, so except for an hour or so, in the spring and fall, the room was dark. I loved that pretty, pale celery green. It had a lovely, soft glow to it.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Cunningham - September 22, 2019 - 9:40 AM

    Laurel, I love your blog and only wish I had found it two years ago, before I painted the interior of my 70 old house (that I had just bought). I freaked out over greys, and the one I finally used for the LR/DR is too dark. Can’t afford (or stand the mess) of repainting now, but I’ll know better the next time.

    Meanwhile I remodeled the kitchen and used the LR/DR grey but 75% lighter for the walls and it’s perfect!

    Your blog helped me realized why the entry chandelier looked so stupid. It was hung 4 inches below the ceiling, so last week it was lowered to about 12 inches and wow what an improvment.

    You also convinced me to get new fillers for my sofa pillows. I crammed those babies in and the pillows are so much more stylish.

    Thanks for your blog and if/when I get around to painting again I will buy your paint color guide. For now, I enjoy your subtle but vital information, like the lamp shade should cover the stem…who knew? Mine do, so I can keep them as is.

    Nancy in Savannah GAReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:08 AM

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks so much for this lovely comment that reads more like a testimonial. Made my day!ReplyCancel

  • Allison S - September 22, 2019 - 8:58 AM

    I just love your sense of humor. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and wit – a double blessing!ReplyCancel

  • Tsippi - September 22, 2019 - 8:56 AM

    Hi Laurel. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, especially during this holiday season.

    I was intrigued by the Summer Thornton galley kitchen, so I managed to find a Lonny slide show of the entire apartment, which is really great. In case anyone else is interested, here it is: http://www.lonny.com/Home+Tour+Summer+Thornton+Project+in+ChicagoReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:05 AM

      Thank you for sharing that Tsippi! And for your kind thoughts as well.ReplyCancel

  • Connie Fowler - September 22, 2019 - 7:59 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I know how very important it is to test paint colors! When we first built our house 20 years ago, I chose a green for our bedroom that, once on the walls, made me think of an operating room! My husband hated it so much that he agreed that we should repaint it immediately. Then years later when I was updating my kitchen, I remembered that mistake and purchased several small samples from BM and brought them home to test. I tested them on several walls and in the hallway and bathroom. I examined them during different parts of the day and night. I’m so glad I did, because I was finally able to hit on the soft, silvery green I was looking for. It’s money and time well spent. Thanks for all the beautiful photos.

    Take care,

    ConnieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 11:02 AM

      Thanks for sharing your story Connie. We’ve all made painting and other mistakes. I daresay that even the designers who seem to knock it out of the park every single time have made them too.ReplyCancel

  • GL - September 22, 2019 - 5:46 AM

    Context is all, isn’t it? I notice that two of the most beautiful examples (the bathroom and the bedroom above the Ice Cap caption) use the same palette of white, blue, brown.
    I’ve always followed F&B’s advice that a perfect pale blue doesn’t look blue on the paint chip at all, but when you get it in large quantities (walls or other big surfaces) it reads as blue, as you point out. Testing a really large sample in situ is perhaps more important with this than with any other colour.
    And here’s a cautionary tale with another colour. I took my own large sample of F&B’s French Gray to a fabric shop to try to find a grey with similar undertones to cover a chair and footstool. I found a velvet which looked really good, but prudently bought only 1 metre. Thank heavens! outside the shop it turned out to be a very brown taupe, precisely what I didn’t want. (It will do very well for a desk chair, so all is not lost.) A replica of the same experience I had 50 years ago buying lining for a suit: a green that was brown — I should have known better!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 22, 2019 - 10:59 AM

      Hi Gilly,

      Yes, it’s wise to always get large samples of everything. And, look at it in the lighting situation at home, not the shop it came from. I can’t tell you the number of times I was fooled by “the showroom lights.”ReplyCancel

  • Lisa DeLille Bolton - September 22, 2019 - 4:38 AM

    why is there no “y”??ReplyCancel