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  • Writer's pictureHeather C

When Inspiration Strikes

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

There are very few projects that I'm willing (and skilled enough) to take on on my own. Generally I'm the idea person and then I sweet-talk my very talented and handy husband into doing some or all of the project's execution. (Don't get me wrong--I'm not twisting his arm; he loves projects as much as I hate them.) One exception to my self-imposed implementation ban is painting. There's something very satisfying about perfectly aligning painter's tape, achieving a nice crisp line, and seeing a room transform in the fastest way possible. (I say this now, but one wall in and I'm wondering if anyone would notice if I just left it as an "accent" wall.)

When we moved into our new house, the dining room was painted a very bright lime green. I respected the boldness of the color choice, but it just wasn't my style. I consider painting to be a fairly straightforward project, but even still, I couldn't decide on the color. So I tolerated the green for far longer than I'd originally intended.

Much of our house was already painted in neutral shades--lots of grey and white. And while I appreciate those neutrals for their blank-canvas appeal, I do love a good pop of color (just not lime green). But it had to be the right pop. I finally decided on blue and went to Sherwin Williams to peruse the paint chips. But nothing spoke to me. And since I hate projects, I certainly wasn't going to embark on something so time consuming with a color that wasn't speaking to me.

I've made the mistake before of picking a paint color just to pick one and then having to live with my choice because it's way too much work to repaint just because the shade isn't quite right. (A quick story: one of the very first paint colors I chose was a complete and total miss. My husband came home with the BIG flip book of SW paint chips, and I painstakingly combed through at least a thousand color swatches to find the perfect color for our kitchen. I selected what I thought was the perfect grey--it had just a hint of a pink undertone that looked oh-so-complementary against the rose flecks in our speckled granite and the warm oak cabinets. Thinking that I had properly prepped my project after narrowing it down to just one grey, my husband bought the paint and kindly painted the entire kitchen and hall. Had I bought a sample and tested it in the room prior to making the commitment, I would have realized that what looked flattering on a one-inch paper square was a glaring baby pink with just a hint of grey. The kicker? My dear sweet husband trusted me enough to think I meant to pick such an obnoxious color, and we lived with that pink-grey until we sold the house because painting above cabinets is no joke.)

So learning from my past mistakes, I bided my time waiting for inspiration to strike. And it came in the unlikeliest of forms. Imagine my surprise when one day I grabbed an old mug out of the cabinet, and the handle literally hit me over the head. This was my color!! Back to Sherwin Williams I went to get all the paint samples that could possibly be a match for my mug handle.

It seems like there's always a color that I'm convinced is the match. But paint is so tricky! Once it's on the wall (and fully dry!) and as the lighting changes throughout the day or you flip on the light fixture in the evening, it always shocks me that my initial pick is almost never the one I end up going with. Hence, the several samples that I painted on both sides of a corner so I could see how the light hits from different directions. And darned if I didn't hit the nail on the head with Sample #3 (Blustery Sky in Satin from Sherwin Williams). It couldn't have been any closer if I'd used the actual glaze from the mug.

Lesson learned? Wait for inspiration to strike, even if it takes longer than expected. I love love love my dining room color, and if I had just picked a random paint to get the project done faster, I'd probably be sitting here contemplating a repaint (or fuming over an unintentional pink kitchen). Oh, and always keep a log of your paint colors and the corresponding room so you can get more paint for inevitable touchups down the road.

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