Master Bedroom Update | Lessons Learned

Winter Storm Jonas gave me 3 wonderful, snowed-in days at home. On our third day, the roads were good enough that Anthony took his brothers to Ski Roundtop for some snowboarding and I decided to spend my day painting the master bedroom. I painted the ceiling (SW Eminence Flat in Alabaster) and got the first coat of SW Eclipse up on the walls and...

I hated it. 

*Pardon the unedited, straight from the iPhone photos...

To be honest, it really isn't bad at all. It's a beautiful color that has the same feel as a navy blue but in green. I would definitely recommend it for another project, but I made two mistakes.

Mistake # 1: For some reason, in my pre-blizzard frenzy I requested Flat paint instead of Satin. What I really like is Matte (just a teensy bit of sheen) but I was trying to save a few dollars because only the highest quality paints at Sherwin Williams offer a Matte option. And I thought I remembered from my days working at the paint store that Super Paint's flat wasn't a dead flat. That last part was probably the result of wishful thinking, because it is a DEAD FLAT. No sheen at all. And when there's no sheen, the color will read darker than the slightly glossy paint chip because there isn't as much light reflecting off of it. So now I'm going to have to buy two more gallons of paint for the room, all because I tried to save a couple bucks. Lesson learned: Buy what you really want the first time, don't try to cut corners!

Mistake #2: I was so confident with my choice of SW Eclipse that I didn't sample the paint. I should have learned my lesson with our dining room, when I painted no less than 5 different sample swatches of pale blue-greens until I settled on SW Pearl Gray. I did order a big stack of 8.5 x 11 paint samples from Sherwin Williams to help me decide for the master bedroom, but even then, the paint chip is not always a true representation of how a color will look in your room. (Especially if you go and change the sheen!) I have a thrifted oil painting that is serving as inspiration for the moody, masculine theme of the room and while the 8.5 x 11 paint card looked like it shared the right undertones, on the wall it just went all wrong. 

Can you see how the wall color is making the painting look very brown? The colors in the painting are definitely shades of olives and gray, but when I put it up next to the wall color, it became evident that I needed a warmer green with more golden tones. Sidebar: Greens can be very difficult. Did you know that it's the one color in the spectrum that your eye can detect the most shades of? This hypersensitivity makes matching greens harder than other colors. Anyway, I ordered some really pretty neutral, warm green samples from Benjamin Moore's Historic collection. But before they even arrived last night, I was starting to change my mind about the direction I wanted to take our bedroom.

See, from the beginning I was flip-flopping between a light/airy bedroom or a dark/moody one. I absolutely love the black walls in our living room, and how cozy and relaxing the room feels because of the color. I thought I wanted a similar feel for our bedroom. But after all this indecision on the paint color, and sleeping in our temporary bedroom for the last month (which has white walls, curtains & bedding), I think I want to go for a more balanced color scheme in this room. 

Now bear with me, I know this is a picture of a living room but what I love about it is how balanced it feels. White walls, dark floors, medium upholstery and wood tones, all neutrals. In my opinion, it still skews to the masculine side, but there are enough feminine touches like the button tufting, little pops of pinks/reds and the dainty lines of the console under the window to make it feel balanced. It feels rustic, antique and collected, but still fresh. 

by Emily Henderson

So while the easy thing to do would be to just ditch the oil painting and make the SW Eclipse work, I'm planning to paint the walls back to some shade of off-white/light taupe. Which will now require primer, but hey! These are the realities of decorating your own home.

I would like to say that I should to treat myself more like a client, putting together a full and complete design plan before taking any action, but I feel like my personal home should be more experimental than that. I want to go bolder than what I might suggest for a client and take risks, even if I end up changing my mind. Despite the time and gallons of paint I wasted, I'm happy with the way my vision for our first home is evolving. Even for a designer, it sometimes takes trial-and-error to figure out what direction to go. 

I was totally gung-ho on the dark gray-green walls until I actually went for it and saw that it wasn't what I really wanted for the space.

Have you ever had this experience? Did you just make it work, or did you change your plan to something better?