With A Little Help From My Friend

I have a good friend who has excellent taste. Naturally, I like to bounce ideas off of her from time to time; because in addition to her keen eye for style, she has a propensity for telling the god-honest truth about her opinion; and luckily, I'm someone who has always appreciated a decisive lady.

So while most of the time we trade emails about my design dilemmas, I just got an email from her asking for my opinion on paint colors for her new apartment. Since I've painted, re-painted, and painted some more in our house, she thought I might have some insight.

She wanted recommendations for a blue-grey paint for her main walls, and she's also dead set on a blush-pink bathroom.

She sent along these inspirational pictures.

I instantly recognized them from the Farrow and Ball collection. A paint brand that I absolutely love, but rarely use as it's a little more expensive than your big box store brands.

Aren't they lovey shades? Very powdery, weathered, and coastal - which is appropriate for the part of the country where my friend resides.

But I wouldn't be a good friend unless I provide a ton of options to further complicate her decision.

I find that paring down the shades you think you like, and then gridding them often helps to compare and contrast. This method also allows you to truly see the undertones in each of the colors. For instance, when I looked at "Skylight" I thought it was a true grey. Now, compared to the rest of the shades, it almost looks periwinkle.

So what was my final recommendation? After taking a good, hard look at all of colors, I favored Light Blue by Farrow and Ball. Look at it in this room.


Second runner up (and honestly, as I write this, I am wondering if maybe I do like it better) is Blue Gray by Farrow and Ball. Take a look at it in this beautiful space.

Then there was the more daunting task. A Blush pink bathroom. You all know by now that I rarely venture out of my neural color palette comfort zone, so taking a deep dive into pink was definitely a departure. But a good one. One that stretched my creative muscles and let me think outside of the box. So with this photo as my starting point, I jumped in.

I've gotta tell you, I'm in love with this color now. I have absolutely nowhere to put it in my house, but I sure wish I did. It's so feminine and classic.

My options for Emily run the gamut from a deep and saturated pink (Nancy's Blushes and Peach Kiss) to an airy, barely noticeable blush (Calamine and Middleton Pink).

This time gridding didn't quite do the trick in giving me the confidence I needed to provide a suggestion. I wanted to see the shades within environments and compare it to the inspiration shot.

I ended up recommending Calamine by Farrow and Ball, with the very close second being Middleton Pink also by Farrow and Ball.

So, there ya have it!

I hope they look as serene and beautiful on the walls of her apartment, as they do here. I'd always recommend buying tester pots of paint before deciding to paint your entire apartment any color, even if you really love it. Because sometimes the paint shade just doesn't translate to your wall depending on a whole host of variables like lighting, other furniture in the room, and apparently the direction your room faces.

So friends, I wish you way more luck than I've had trying to pick out the best paint color! It always is a learning experience. And please, for the love of everything holy, don't forget to prime first!