RSS Feed

Hey, Behr – I Need Your Advice for a Paint Color!

Alright, all you Behr Paint users: I need advice on a paint color. Namely, a shade/hue of blue. This is sort of a continuation of our Town Home Makeover Project (which I have yet to document here but soon shall) and partially a result of me buying a really cool piece of art.

Enter said piece of art into the house and the consequence: needing to paint. First of all, the entire downstairs living room is white. All walls. Plus the carpet's beige. MLEH. While I never in a million years thought I'd EVER willingly paint "beige" in a house, I did choose Toasted Wheat for the upstairs living room/kitchen and then I accented with red...some orange...etc. I'm kind of a fan of the "neutral" base colors with accents.

Anyway. My idea for this room – our downstairs living room – is a combination of browns (again, carpet's beige; couch/chair/ottoman are dark brown) and blue with orange accents. I just love orange. In addition to red, it's probably the color I can't do without. SO. With that color palette (mostly) chosen, now what do I do with all these nooks n crannies in this room? Paint just one wall? Paint all of it? Bleck...I don't even want to think of painting all of it. My idea is to ONLY paint the wall on which the new art will reside.

Here's the new art – it's a bigun, measuring ~42" tall by ~65" wide – which is to go behind the couch:

Cool, huh? I found this gem in the Lazy Turtle while antiquing with my friend in Anoka a couple weekends ago. So you can see it's the perfect wall art for me – it has neat horses in it, it's historical (Clint loves Egyptian history), plus it has the colors I want for that room – BUT since it'd be going on a white wall something needs to change. I can't do white-on-white.

Here's the room in question last Christmas (hence the lights; no I haven't started decorating already):

First and foremost: yes, I got rid of the pillows on the couch – except the orange one, of course – so no advice needed there.

Secondly, as you can see the room has a LOT of extra surface area on the south side (fireplace, TV nook, stairs) so painting that wall would probably do me in.

Thirdly – and this is a biggie – I'm considering ONLY painting the north wall (behind the couch) with some shade of blue. Thoughts? Suggestions? Am I crazy??

C'mon, a gal out!


Erika Woelfel said...

Hi Sarah!

This is Erika from Behr Paints, responding to your color question.

First of all, as a horse woman, I LOVE the wall mural you found at the antique shop. It's one of a kind. Second, I'm originally from the Twin Cities and reading your postings makes me long for home!

Okay, back to the color question. Any warm orange tones you already have working in the room will coordinate nicely with blue. Also, blue is a complement of orange. Having that in the background will make orange or yellow artwork really "pop" on the walls!

I'm going to give you a few options so you can determine what works best with your particular warm shades of orange, brown or neutral:

The blue should not be too dark, or it will make the room feel cold and shadowy if only northern facing light coming in...

UL230-15 Gentle Sky is a clean, fresh blue.

UL230-16 Windsurf is one of our top selling Ultra blue colors. It is a mid-range, dusty version of Gentle Sky.

UL230-9 Caspian Tide is light in value and has a slightly red-cast tone to it.

From Premium Plus: 560D-4 Madras Blue is another fresh color, and the one right below it on the stripe

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me direct.

Good luck, and let us know how your painting project turns out!

Erika Woelfel
Color Marketing Director
Behr Paints

Debra said...

Hi Sarah,

I just happened upon your blog while I was looking for something else. I love the piece of art you found.

I know you said you want to do blue, but I found a beautiful shade of orange from Behr that I painted my bathroom. It is called Morocan Sky.
If you are doing just the one wall, it would look great with the rest of your colors in your room.


Sarah said...


Let me just say I am SUPER-impressed with not only Behr's quick response to my Tweet but also your personal response/comment and suggestions to my blog post! Define "customer service"!!! I was already a Behr Paints fan before that; you've certainly cemented the relationship.

This painting project had slipped down the priority list a tad lately...but we're back to it. I went to Home Depot yesterday to collect the paint chips you'd spoken of and of course got caught looking at a TON of them (in the blue ranges only; at least I stayed focused that much).

Turns out that on the paint chips themselves, I'm leaning towards these blues:

570C-3 - Tender Twilight
560E-2 - Cumberland Fog
550E-2 - Eminence

I liked 740E-3 - Prelude until I held the chip to the wall and it's REALLY dark; but I don't like the one above it (740E-2 - Misty Surf) as a lighter shade.

I like the TONES of UL230-16 - Windsurf...but again, it seems VERY dark against the wall...darker than I'd imagine when holding it in my hand. Similarly, I like the tone of UL230-17 - Blue Cascade...but again, way too dark - in my opinion - for the room.

Now, here's the question/concern: How "light" or "dark" should I go? I realize some chips are bigger than others so one can get a better feel for what an entire wall looks like, but even with paint samples (which I've done before several times) I STILL haven't been able to accurately pick the right "lightness/darkness" of some of my paints.

A friend of mine - along with others I've asked along the way - said, "Always, ALWAYS pick the color 2 shades lighter than the one you really like, because when you put it on the wall, it'll darken."

I DID find that to be true with our bedroom (a creamy yellow) along with a green I picked for my mother's house (WAY too green on the wall!). What's your suggestion for the blues???

Again, I really appreciate a) your original response/suggestions; b) the time you took to really answer me; c) the speed with which you did all of this and d) any further hints/tips/suggestions you might have to offer!!!




Hi Sarah,

We're always here to help! And of course I remember you with the cool horse artwork.

Yes, it can take some time and research to find just that perfect hue. I always tell people to test their samples or take a few days to live with the chips on the walls.
Seeing the color in different light helps the determination as well. Testing the actual paint on the wall is the final step as it gets you closer to seeing how the color appears in a bigger area. The 8 oz. sample jars are really good for that.

Your friend is absolutely right about the color changing once you see it in greater scale on the walls in a room. It does tend to shift darker than what you see on the little chip. It is one of those visual tricks that happens in decorating, and has a lot to do with the light.

As I'm looking at your blues, I can see you've gone lighter and maybe slightly more reddish in tone. This is especially true of Tender Twilight, the freshest and brightest of the three.
If any were to be my favorite pic for your room situation, I would say Eminence is the first choice. My second choice would be Cumberland Fog, the lightest option you're looking at.
If the room won't get a ton of natural sun, either of these will be a good choice. Blues can often start to look "gray" and shadowy if there is not a lot of light in the room.

Let me know what you end up with, send pics if you can!


Sarah said...

Hi Erika -

Again, thanks!!! You're like my very own, private paint coordinator!

I did buy numerous paint samples - for all rooms/colors - when I repainted our fun-house-of-colors last year...the samples DO help. But, of course, they only come in flat and I wanted satin so that even created a difference. Of course I realize those little samples aren't a true representation of the color (especially factoring in a. a full wall/room of it and b. a different finish) but will take your advice to heart and get at least 3 samples to test in larger spaces down there.

I guess I do like the reddish hues better - some were, as you mentioned, too gray...and a couple were too "robin's-egg-blue" looking. At least on the little-bitty chip :)

I do like Eminence & Cumberland Fog...of course, it depends on how the cool painting will look against either of those, too! Mustn't forget that.

Quick story:

I'll never forget when my sister & brother-in-law decided they wanted to paint the outside of their house a nice gray color. They studiously pored over a bajillion samples of gray, bringing them out into the sun, scrutinizing them at home, at the office, etc. and FINALLY they picked their hue. My brother-in-law was the first to get home on the day it was painted, and he FREAKED out - called up my sister and told her, "the painters messed up...they painted our house PURPLE!" It was hilarious. In sunlight, the house was a nice shade of gray. On a cloudy day, however, it was lilac!!! I've been scared of grays ever since - and blues remind me of gray. Hence all the hemming and hawing!

Again, a thousand "thank yous" for your help!



Hi Sarah,

Oh, your poor sister! Hopefully they didn't have to live with the purple house. Urgh. I always tell people, if you're going for gray on the exterior...make sure it is on the warm (yellow) side, not the cool (blue) side. If there is any hint of blueness to it all, it can often end up either looking either really blue or purple. But the truth is, gray can take on just about ANY color--purple, blue, blue-green, green, is very difficult to get the perfect, neutral middle-of-the-road gray. Your sister would have benefit from the rule of thumb: exterior gray leaning towards a tiny bit of brown is usually just right.