Paint picking pandemonium

We are currently in the stages of prepping the exterior of our house for painting, so picking a paint color is the logical next step…but who knew there could be so many different colors of grey to choose from??

Well, actually I already did because of our hunt for the perfect “greige” during our main living area project, but it’s still overwhelming to look at all the swatches and know you have to pick just one! For most small rooms, I narrow it down to one color, paint the sample just to make sure it’ll work, and we go for it. If I don’t like it, we can repaint it with about $40 and a Saturday afternoon. But this is way more pressure. We’re talking days and days of hard labor out in the hot sun to get this house painted (we’re doing it ourselves, you see), and hundreds of dollars in paint. It has to be right the first time. Even if we hate it, it’ll probably stick around for a while. So, no pressure. I started with this…


Kind of overwhelming. To simplify things, we’re ignoring the gutter color choices and the white trim options until we choose the siding color. Then we’ll choose a clean white trim color from our “Behr Whites” book that coordinates with the paint and gutter options (though at this point we’re thinking plain white for the gutters to tie into our new white vinyl windows.)

Once we got them home, it was easy to eliminate a few right off the bat: any that were too green, too pink, too blue, too dark, too light, etc. Next, we eliminated any that obviously didn’t coordinate with the brick color. Then we compared them all to each other and matched up similar swatches, then chose our favorite of the 2 or 3 that were very close. Finally, we had it narrowed down to just 4 options. (Bottom left: second from top. Bottom right: middle)


Andrew had originally said we were only buying 3 samples (he has to lay down the law or I might get carried away), but he was pretty satisfied we were able to narrow it to 4, so off I went to Home Depot to get my samples. We got them all in Behr since that’s what we’ll be using. Andrew’s employer, MASCO, owns Behr and he gets a discount, so that made that decision easy. And at $2.84 per sample, getting 4 wasn’t such a big deal.

I painted swatches above our garage first. This is the biggest area of siding on the front of the house, and I think the way the front looks is the most important. All about the curb appeal! Here are the colors from left to right:

  1. Pewter Cast by Sherwin Williams (SW 7673)
  2. Anonymous by Behr (780F-5)
  3. Zinc by Martha Stewart Living (MSL267)
  4. Suede Gray by Behr (PPU18-17)


After getting them painted, we felt like maybe we were being influenced by the existing tan trim, so we painted a few coats of white primer around the swatches to mimic our soon-to-be white trim.


We also painted swatches along the side of the garage door so we could see them all next to the brick. (Top to bottom: Pewter Cast, Anonymous, Zinc, Suede Gray).


Then we painted bigger swatches on the back of the house. Here they are partially in the sun.


And in the early morning in the shade.


We’ve heard that you should always choose a darker shade than you think because the sun can make the colors look a lot lighter and more washed out than what you see on the swatch. (Also keep in mind these samples are flat, but we’ll be using either satin or semi-gloss, adding a little more depth to the colors.)

We have sort of a tricky situation, though, because they all look much darker on the front than they do on the back since the siding in the back gets more sun (the pictures don’t convey this very well). We don’t want our house to look ominous from the front, and we already have a very dark roof and lots of black in our brick. We felt like we needed a lighter color and might just have to deal with it being a little lighter than desired on the back.


Even on the back, though, we felt like Zinc and Suede Gray were a little too dark. Also, Zinc had a bit too much green in it, and Suede Gray ended up being a bit more brown than we were hoping. So out with those two…


Leaving us with Pewter Cast and Anonymous.


We both love Anonymous on the back…


But felt like the more “greige” qualities of Pewter Cast might help tie the paint into the brick a little better, and might keep it from looking too much like your typical grey-house-with-white-trim scenario. Though when looking at it alone, it’s still definitely in the grey family.


Something about the blueish tones in Anonymous also make me feel like it just doesn’t belong outside in nature. But I don’t know…maybe I’m crazy.


I really do like them both, but I don’t want anyone to look at our paint choice and think “They just chose that color because they liked it, but without any consideration of what would go with the brick.” Don’t tell me no one thinks like this. I think about this stuff all the time, and have found myself thinking that about specific paint/brick combos on several occasions! Like I said, I’m crazy, and I think about things in WAY too much detail. I just can’t help it.

Meanwhile, our fluffy grey Winston (who hasn’t been properly introduced yet) is tired of looking at paint swatches and wants us to just pick one already! He’s about 100 colors of grey, so he thinks they’re all wonderful.


At this point I think we’re leaning toward Pewter Cast, and we’ve even considered asking if they could just make the Pewter Cast about 10% darker. Which do you prefer? Do you like the truer grey or the greige?

Check out the other stages of the process and the finished product!

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7 Responses to Paint picking pandemonium

  1. Rachel M July 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    I found your post on a google search for “Pewter Cast” because we’re thinking of using it on our house, too! I think we’re going to do it. So obviously, it gets my vote!

    • Simple House Expressions July 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      Haha, yay! It’s good to hear that someone else might use it on their house. 🙂 Makes me even more sure that it’s a good color! Thanks for the affirmation!


    • Brenda Brewster March 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      I know this reply is almost a year after you have probably already painted, and actually, that’s great for me, because I would love to know if you are happy with the Pewter Cast paint selection !! We are getting ready to paint our brick. Our house is brick on the lower portions of the house, and vinyl siding on the top portions. Originally I had picked a darker neutral gray to paint the brick, but I checked with a Sherwin Williams in-store decorator, and she felt that the gray I picked would be way too dark — it would be too drastic and choppy between such a light siding color right above it. My siding color is similar to SW Knitting Needles ( a very light gray ) . She suggested the Pewter Cast, which is a little darker than my siding color. I trust her judgement regarding not choosing too dark of a gray — my only concern is that the Pewter Cast might be TOO LIGHT. I just don’t want it to be chalky/putty pale looking. Can you give me an update on if you are happy with the Pewter Cast, and if it was any lighter looking than you thought it would be? Any feedback would be much appreciated. I am stressing over this selection process. Paint selection is the worst/hardest part of building or remodeling for me !!!! Thanks so much !!

      • Simple House Expressions March 8, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

        I know! Picking a paint color for an exterior is so overwhelming because it’s too expensive (or too much work) to repaint if you don’t love the result! It was super stressful for me, too!

        We love Pewter Cast! We were going for a medium gray and I think that’s how it turned out. I was worried about it looking chalky or faded, too, because I kept seeing tips that you should always pick a slightly darker color than you think for an exterior because it will look lighter in the sun. I definitely don’t think it looks chalky or pale at all! If anything, I think it may have turned out darker than we expected from the sample. I still think it looks great and I’m really happy with our color choice!

        Make sure you paint a big sample area (next to your other color) and look at it several different times throughout the day to see it in different light (low light, direct sunlight, dusk, etc.). We were convinced we were going to pick another color (Behr Anonymous), but once we got a sample of it painted on the house we realized it was way too cool next to our brick! But also remember, there will always be more colors! At some point you just have to make a choice and stop second guessing your decision! 🙂 Good luck!


        • Brenda April 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

          Thanks so much Arielle !! You are so sweet to respond. I so appreciate your input ! Makes me feel so much better to know that I’m not the only one that goes outside and looks at the samples about 20 times throughout the day !! I finally narrowed it down between Pewter Cast , and Pewter Cast 150% just a bit darker . We DID end up going with the true Pewter Cast, and I LOVE it .!! YAY !!! Happy that y’all are also pleased with the choice.
          Take care!

  2. Painting Contractors October 17, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    What simple things have you done to make your home more environmentally friendly?

    • Simple House Expressions October 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Sorry for the delayed response! We were on vacation without access to internet! We have a very small budget for projects which means we haven’t done very many major renovations, and unfortunately it doesn’t always allow for more expensive “green” products. But we try to do little things that hopefully add up, especially in the area of making our home more energy efficient. As we replace appliances we try to buy energy star rated/high efficiency appliances. We use CFL bulbs wherever possible, and have replaced most of our faucets, both shower heads, and a toilet with low flow alternatives, in addition to being conscious of our water usage, especially outside! We recently got new windows to try to improve the energy efficiency of our house, as well. I would say the biggest way we try to be green, though, is by reusing and recycling. Almost all of our furniture has been bought secondhand (besides mattresses and a new couch), retrieved from dumpsters or the side of the road, etc, and we always donate items or sell them on Craigslist instead of throwing them away. It’s such a waste for perfectly good items to end up in landfills! We also try to reuse materials whenever possible. For example, we have hardwood floors throughout a good portion of our house (already here when we moved in). They may not be a green material and ours aren’t our favorite style/color, but at this point keeping them is a more environmentally friendly option than buying new eco-friendly flooring. We’ve been on the lookout for excess flooring on Craigslist for other parts of our house, but haven’t found enough of one thing. I would also love to install a rain barrel in our back yard, but we have to solve the drainage issues first. 🙁 And we’re always open to ideas of what else we should be doing, too!