Paint Colors

Oddly, even though we sold our home in Austin a year and a half ago, I’ve recently received a ton of emails asking about the paint colors we used. (A ton of emails meaning three, at most.) Fortunately I saved all of the paint swatches in our home improvement file….because, yes, I’m crazy like that.

We bought an outdated fixer-upper and, over the course of the four years we lived there, wound up painting every single surface that would stay still long enough for us to attack it with our paint brushes. I wish I could say that we thoughtfully planned out the perfect color scheme for the entire house in advance, but that was not the case. What did happen, however, were 9,746 haphazard trips to Lowe’s every single time we painted a room….to get a different color, buy another gallon, find a better paint brush, etc. Because apparently that is how we roll (get it….ROLL?).

Modern Home Color Palette
Anyway, we ended up with these nine colors based on a very scientific process I learned in Architecture school: grab a handful of paint swatches, close eyes, point finger….WINNER.

But sometimes, after spending an entire weekend painting, the winner turned out to be a big fat loser and the process started all over again. This is the stuff homeownership is made of, my friends.

Exterior Color PaletteSources: Mountain Ridge by Behr, Pale Wheat by Behr

We chose these exterior colors to coordinate with the brick, although the outside of the house was actually the only part we didn’t paint ourselves. But we might as well have. It’s a loooong story, but let’s just say that the “painter” didn’t have the greatest work ethic. Come to find out, he also didn’t own a paint brush or a ladder. Or speak much English. Although he clearly communicated that the new paint color I chose looked muerto (dead).


Perhaps turquoise would have been more appropriate?

Living Room Color PaletteSources: Soft Earth by Ralph Lauren,
Rugged Suede by Valspar, Stone Manor by Valspar

We ended up completely repainting the living room because I hated the first gray color we chose. It was a cool gray that had more blue undertones than brown, which made the space look like a prison cell. Thinking about it even now makes me shudder.

Needless to say, the next day we were back at Lowe’s picking a different color. Gray can be tricky, I tell you! But the Soft Earth / Rugged Suede / Stone Manor combo we arrived at for the entry / living room / dining room / kitchen was perfection. I feel like pictures don’t even do it justice because the difference between these shades seemed so subtle in real life which made for a seamless transition between spaces. Like it was totally planned or something.

Kitchen Color PaletteSources: Stone Manor by Valspar, Polar White by Behr

I’m a big fan of the Stone Manor color we painted the kitchen. I thought it was brown; Jason swore it was gray. We regularly surveyed our guests and, hands down, girls said brown while guys thought gray. So weird. Either way, Stone Manor was a keeper.

All the trim, baseboards and cabinetry throughout the house were painted Polar White. For the longest time I thought white was white. Wrong! Have you noticed how many shades of white paint swatches there are at Lowe’s? Talk about overwhelming.

Master Bedroom Color PaletteSources: Sand 5 by Laura Ashley, Ancient Marble by Sherwin Williams

The color we painted the master bedroom was Sand 5 in the Laura Ashley collection. It added a richness to the space that was hard to capture in photos. In certain light it looked brown, other times it had a golden glow. As a result, this was my favorite room in the house because I could admire its loveliness from the comfort of bed. Bow chicka wow wow!

Master Bathroom Color Palette
Sources: Ancient Marble by Sherwin Williams, Emperor by Ralph Lauren

Oh, the saga of the master bathroom! You can read all about its complete transformation here. We first painted the space a teal shade in hopes of creating a spa-like retreat. Then, before putting the house on the market, we felt like we needed to tone it down a bit, so we repainted the bathroom in a more neutral color. Emperor was fun while it lasted, but I think Ancient Marble made the space feel larger and much brighter. That’s the good thing about paint – it’s easy to change the personality of room quickly and relatively inexpensively.

After making 9,853 trips to Lowe’s, of course.

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  1. ChrissyNo Gravatar

    Where are your chairs from in the dining room? I love the detailing!

    Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  2. ShaylaNo Gravatar

    @Chrissy: Hi, Chrissy! The dining room table and chairs belonged to my great grandparents. They were made by a company called Duncan Phyfe and I’ve seen identical sets in antique stores. I love the detailing, too.

    Posted August 7, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  3. NicolasNo Gravatar

    Hello! What an awesome job you all did on the home. The before and after shots show an amazing difference! I’ve recently painted my own master bath with Rugged Suede from Lowe’s and am pleased with the outcome. However, I’ve read a bunch of negative reviews online regarding the quality of Lowe’s Valspar paint. Specifically, multiple coats being needed and issues with touch-ups not matching (even from the same can). Did you run into any of these issues? Thanks!

    Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  4. LeahNo Gravatar

    Do you have the paint number for the soft earth by Ralph Lauren? I live in a very small town and don’t have a Ralph Lauren anywhere close to me and I love the color!
    Thank you

    Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  5. ShaylaNo Gravatar

    Hi, Leah – I don’t have the exact color match formula, but you may be able to get it here. Soft Earth is part of Ralph Lauren’s Urban Loft palette.

    Posted December 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  6. MonicaNo Gravatar

    Hi there!

    Can you tell me what color you used in your hallways & such? We are getting ready to redo an entire interior of a 2 story, and I’m trying to get some ideas. Thanks so much!

    Great job on your home! It’s beautiful!

    Posted January 8, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink
  7. ShaylaNo Gravatar

    Hi, Monica – Thank you! The hallways were painted Soft Earth by Ralph Lauren. Hope that helps. Good luck with your project!!

    Posted January 8, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

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