Family room in Analytical Gray

August 13, 2014

OK! I left you last week with some tips on picking out paint, specifically paint at my favorite place, Sherwin-Williams. Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of how I picked out the colors for our family room and ceiling.
The ceiling needed to be addressed first because of all the patching that needed to be done from taking down the wall. My old office had that pretty blue ceiling that I loved:
blue ceiling
I loved that color but didn’t want to go quite so blue for such a huge room. So I decided to go a little bit lighter, and I got my inspiration from one of the paint chip booklets they had in the store:
This one is perfect when you’re looking for a white or a light neutral. It really shows the difference between all the “whites” right?:
picking out a white paint color
I wanted something with a very slight blue to it so I went with Rhinestone off that sheet, but at half – so 50 percent lighter than what the chip showed.
I’m glad I went lighter because I think the full color would have been too dark for the ceiling. This is a very light blue gray color:
Rhinestone Sherwin Williams
I think a blue tone on your ceiling will makes a room feel more airy – almost like the ceiling isn’t as noticeable because it kind of goes away.  
I think other than the color the hardest and biggest decision to make is what type of paint to use. There are a ton of options at Sherwin-Williams so it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what they all mean. Thankfully they spell it out quite well:
Sherwin-Williams paints
I talked to the manager at the store to find out more before picking out the ceiling and wall paints. Since the color we were using on the ceiling was similar to what was there before and we needed so much of it, we went the basic HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams paint in a flat sheen.
The sheen is SO important when picking out paints, especially on a ceiling. The only time you’ll want a shiny ceiling is if you have flat (non-textured) ceilings and you’re going for a more modern look. I don’t care for a shine on my ceiling at all, so it’s always flat for me. Even the slightest reflection drives me crazy. :)
The walls are a different story:
what paint sheen to use
I always go with a satin or eggshell for my walls. Long ago I used to use semi gloss for bathrooms because I heard that’s what you’re supposed to do for cleaning reasons. No more. I don’t like that much reflection on all the walls so the low-shine of the eggshell is perfect for me. There is one area that I use semi gloss on though -- my trim projects like board and batten. I just like the look of it and it gives a nice contrast against the walls.
Here’s the thing -- glossy paints will show a lot of imperfections in the walls – so if you have wavy walls or lots of holes that have been filled, it’s not for you. Flat hides those imperfections well but is not easy to clean. It’s also sometimes too flat with no dimension at all, so be aware of that. My go-to is eggshell (or satin, very similar) and is still scrubbable with just enough shine that it gives it some life.
I liked the other chip sheet so well I went to another one to look for the perfect wall color. I’ve had the same color on the wall for ten years! It’s time for a change. This book is called Essentials and includes a ton of their most popular neutrals:
tips for picking paint colors
It was there that I fell in love with the Anew Gray color. I got a sample from the store (see my previous post on picking out paint colors!) and tried it out on a wall. At first I wasn’t sure it would be a big difference from the previous color, but after seeing it on the wall the difference was huge:
how to pick out paint colors
It’s a lovely stone gray color…but it was a little too stone for me. Too gray and not enough warm, you know? So I kept at it with some more samples and some colors I’ve used in other parts of the house.
First I tried Amazing Gray and Useful Gray (left to right) after the Anew Gray:
picking out paint colorsThe Amazing Gray looked very similar to the Anew, so that was out. They both started to get a very slight purple tone as I compared them to the others too. The Useful was way too light. One thing I realized during this process was that I wanted to go darker than I originally thought. At first I planned on something lighter but I was drawn to the tones with more depth to them.
THEN I tried the colors I’ve already used in our home to see how I liked them. The fourth color from the left is my beloved Analytical Gray that I used on the rest of the main floor and some upstairs. The one on the end was the Agreeable Gray color that I used in the powder room.
Look how different it looks in natural light compared to that room!: Agreeable Gray Sherwin Williams
I think that’s crazy. Just goes to show you need to try your colors out – even when you’ve used them before!
I knew the second that Analytical Gray went up that it was the one. It has a bit of the gray tone but is still a warm color. And it looked great with all the light in this room! I really wanted to change things up from the rest of the main floor but when you love a color you love a color. :) 
With that decision finally made I went for it! The manager at Sherwin-Williams recommended the Harmony paint line since it has zero VOCs. I didn’t smell a thing as I was painting or after:
"greige" paint color
I used this Harmony paint in the basement as well and LOVE how well it covers.
I’m SO HAPPY to have this decision made! I love this color so much. Here’s how the corner I showed you earlier this week looks with the new wall and ceiling color:
Analytical Gray paint colorI’m most excited about that little wall with the speaker. Last week it looked like this:

Slowly but surely I’m patching the board and batten, replacing molding and getting things touched up. Still have to paint the crown but it’s almost there!:
Analytical Gray Sherwin Williams
Painting the built ins and fireplace needs to happen too. My list is long. :)
So there you have it – the process I went through to pick out the family room paint colors. NOW to get all that board and batten trim up and caulked and painted and the rest of the walls painted…I’m getting there slow but sure!
How many samples have you put on the wall before deciding on the ONE? I’m pretty sure I read that one of you has 18 on the wall right now? You’ve got me beat. ;)
*The $200 Sherwin-Williams paint giveaway is now closed.
*I partnered with Sherwin-Williams for this project but all thoughts are my own.
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  1. I *love* the Analytical Gray, Sarah! It's gorgeous in your family room. One of these days I'm going to have to repaint my great room, and I'm quite certain I'll be one with 18+ paint colors on the wall. It's not an easy room to paint, so I have to take my decision more seriously. ;-) You're on a roll - keep on going - it's been a fun transformation to watch!

  2. The colors are really soft and beautiful. They complement your curtains beautifully. I use SW but will have to try out the big paint booklets you showed when I am itching for a switch.

  3. 21 samples in my bedroom before finding the perfect neutral: Revere Grey from Benjamin Moore.

  4. Lovely!

    We went through about 16 colors on the wall when picking our hallway color. It went all the way up the stairs, and in the halls upstairs and down. It was rough!

  5. Those colors are so perfect with your curtains! I love it and can't wait to see the rest of the room come together!

  6. I love how it's all turning out. Great color choice!
    Liz VanKirk

  7. LOVE the Analytical Gray! SW is my favorite paint too and my house is actually mostly painted with Agreeable Gray in the lower level and I'm itching to get it up the stairway too. I love it and you're very right about how different it looks in different light. Looking good in there!

  8. I knew it! I had this feeling you were going to choose Analytical Gray! I love the colors! Are you going to keep the window treatments? I wondered because I love them, but now that the two rooms are one room, I didn't know if you would make the curtains all the same. I never know the "rules" on that ;)

    1. I am pretty sure I'm going to keep them -- not 100 percent but they work so well with the family room colors so for now they are staying! I wouldn't mind something a little more graphic down the line. I'm still deciding on the french doors so if we go ahead with those I won't have to make any more drapes. I believe the fabric is still available at Joann's though!

  9. Have you done a tutorial on how to paint ceilings? If so, can you link it? Or, if not would you mind sharing some tips? Thank you😊

    1. I don't think I ever have! I'll check -- it's not too bad if you put your roller on a pole (I just use the pole from my broom -- unscrew the broom off). If it's a big room your neck and shoulders may need a heating pad after, but the hardest part is cutting in around the room on the ladder.

  10. Your textured ceiling is exactly like mine. I have never seen one painted in a color before and it looks so awesome!!! Was it hard to paint and did you have to do more than 1 coat because of the texture? I think I read somewhere that Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper uses Analytical Gray in many of the homes. Very pretty!

    1. No, not hard at all. It's a light texture so it doesn't flake off or anything. One coat is fine if you have a good paint! Painting ceilings is a pain in the neck, literally. ;) A smaller room isn't bad and it goes pretty quick but larger rooms kill me.

    2. Joanna actually used Intellectual Gray. It is a shade darker than Analytical.

  11. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your wall colors! Its so clean and crisp and warm and soft and welcoming. I am currently in the process of removing 8-10+ layers of wallpaper from our old house we just purchased and once that is done (or I decide to just sheet rock over it due to lack of patience) let the painting fun begin! I can't wait! Any suggestions on how to remove wallpaper easily?

    1. Hi Sarah! I can't help but share a link to a post I wrote recently titled "The Easiest Way to Remove Wallaper". I think it will be super helpful to you!

    2. Sarah I've never had to remove it but I've heard a mix of water and laundry softener works well!

  12. Absolutely love this! The colors and decor are beautiful! :)

  13. The colors certainly look fabulous! The light blue ceiling is almost like you're looking at the sky.

  14. Sarah, I love where you're going with your Family Room renovation! Great colors! I've had my eye on SW Rhinestone for a long time--thanks for the tip on getting it 50% lighter. Having a bunch of paint samples on the wall is confusing to me because it is hard to see one color without the others skewing the view. Here is a tip I have found helpful to this quandary--

  15. What time zone for 8pm? It's not yet 8pm here, so I'll give it a shot.
    We usually go through 5-10 difference paint samples. You picked some really nice colors with the light blues and grays.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  16. I am just starting the hunt for new paint. Thank you!!!

  17. I was so thrilled to see you picked the same color as I did for my living room! Anew gray is one of my hands down faves! It is pleasant, complements everything and changes just ever so slightly with the light throughout the day! You won't be sorry! Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  18. I really like the process you showed; I too like a warm color and so I really like the grey's I'm seeing throughout the design studio's/blogs, but I haven't found one that is a warm grey. I'll need to give this a shot.

  19. Have a quick question. I have those same type of wall speakers. How did you paint them and not get paint inside clogging up the screen? I love that blue ceiling. Great posting

    1. Nanci I've done it two ways -- either use a brush and paint the frame and then use very little paint on the brush and just swipe it across the screen. It won't clog them up at all as long as you dab the paint off the brush. I've also used a sponge roller (again with very little paint) and painted them with that. If you have any paint clogging up the speaker just use a toothpick to get the paint out. You shouldn't have any problems though, good luck!

  20. I love your walls, they are simple but really love the way the light reflects on them. I'm a earth tone color type of gal but you're really selling me on these color tones you've chosen for your space. The transformation is beautiful, can't wait to see what's next!

  21. I agree! My entire house is painted with Sherwin Williams paint - love it! The colors you chose look awesome and I love reading your blog to get idea about my own home! I got so excited when you mentioned Anew gray as my living room and spare bedroom are that color. It works so well in my house (lots of natural light) but one day I hope to go a little lighter and bluer. I also have the Agreeable gray in the kitchen but am planning to do a cool white in there soon. I could go on forever about the grays in my home but here are a few others I have: gauntlet gray, porpoise, black fox, and mega greige. Sherwin Williams has some really great grays!

  22. I find whites the most difficult to settle on when choosing paint. Thank you so much for the insights into colors, finish and brands...awesome!

  23. I did 23 color samples for the exterior color of our house. And close to that for inside.

  24. I wish we could afford SW but we bought really nice low voc paint at True Value close to us. We painted our living room a very light gray and we love it, looks so fresh and clean, bright. Love all colors you chose but the gray you decided on is gorgeous. One thing I love about gray is how clean and soft looking it is.
    We have a mfg home
    so have the plastic covering on panels, ugh, hate them then they put those narrow strips over the seams. We painted them same color and they don't really show anymore.
    I found curtains at TJMaxx on clearance that are gray with damask design on them, that started it all as no color seemed to be what I thought I wanted. Curtains have grommets also which I wanted, that started whole gray thing so glad. Your home is gorgeous.Love your curtains. Happy days

  25. I have unsubscribed from every other are my "one and only" Sarah (lol). I have never used white on my ceilings and never will. I bow down to you...your home is beautiful. I am in the process of updating my own home and have looked to many blogs for inspiration and find myself coming back to yours repeatedly. Thank you for keeping me motivated!

  26. Love your board and batten trim! I was glad to see your sample of Anew Gray. It's one of the colors I have been looking at to replace the gray I put in our master bath (Behr Cathedral Gray) which when done over the whole space, turned purple at certain times of the day and in certain light. The perfect gray is so hard to find! I am new to blogging but have been following yours for a little while now, love it and your style!

    Hope -

  27. We have a ton of natural light in our home and went with SW Dorian Gray. It is a true gray, but with a brownish cast. We sampled about 18 different grays trying to find one that didn't have blue undertones. We were set on gray yet needed something with some brown to tie in everything else. Blue would mean changing everything although I do like blue. Paint colors change so much throughout the day and even based on directional light exposure. The same paint looks different from northern to southern exposure in our home.

  28. This was so helpful! We decided on analytical gray after your help! Yay!

  29. I love the Analytical Gray. I'm considering it as an accent wall in our living room. I agree 100% that ceilings should never be anything but flat. I use flat for all my walls as well, even bathrooms and kitchens. I hate the way glossy paint accentuates the texture. I wish our walls were smooth but we live in California where texture rules.


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