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Fifty shades of grey, and white, and blue – which hue to choose 


There’s nothing quite like a fresh splash of paint to change up the style and feel of a room. Paint is one of the most budget and time friendly ways to give a room, let alone a house, a new lease on life. Compared to the expense and sweat equity of wallpapering, painting a room sounds like a cake walk, but is it?

What happens if you find your self lost amid the 500 page paint colour fan? With more hues of beige than you could shake a paintbrush at, confusion is almost inevitable. Mushroom, oyster, and baked clam are just a few shades of beige that sound more like items on a menu rather than paint colours. Cool colours, warm colours, colours that stimulate appetite, colours that lift our mood, colours that enhance sleep. Variety may be the spice of life, but when it comes to choosing the “perfect” shade, the task can become a series of unfortunate decisions.

Suppose you decide to play it safe and go with a basic white. White is neutral, light, bright, crisp, utilitarian, and clean. How difficult then, can it be to choose a simple white paint? Shockingly, there is nothing simple about white and unfortunately, it is perhaps one of the most challenging shades to choose. Will that be cloud white, antique white, decorator’s white, pale white, eggshell white, snowy white, swan white, vanilla, fresh cream? So many hues to choose from, even Michelangelo would cringe. 

Once you’ve selected the perfect hue, now it’s time to select the sheen. Flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, hi-gloss, the decision merry-go-round isn’t over yet. 

What is the fuss about sheen? Sheen plays an important role in not only the look, but the function of the room. High traffic areas like mud rooms should have a durable, scrubbable paint sheen like semi-gloss. Living rooms and bedrooms, on the other hand, tend to be painted in eggshell – limited washability but rich in texture. If washability is important in those areas, then a satin sheen will do double duty as it is more washable than eggshell, yet still rich in texture. Mouldings like crown and baseboards are often painted with a semi-gloss or hi-gloss paint to pack a punch and make them pop out.

Again, more decisions. So many hues, so many sheens, so little time. Best advice: go with your gut and fear not – it can always be painted over. 

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