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BlueHow to Choose ColourPrimary BedroomUnderstanding Undertones

How to Find the Right Colour for your Bedroom in Minutes

By 12/03/2012January 28th, 201721 Comments

Colour Boards

Debbie, one of my lovely readers sent me this email the other day:

‘I asked my husband to order your color boards for my Christmas present last year.  Before they arrived I was sure that Wickham Gray was the right color to paint my master bedroom.  When the color boards arrived I discovered that Wickham Gray made my beautiful new headboard look dirty.
I also bought a quart of Nantucket Gray and that looked like a primary blue on my walls.  Using your color boards, I determined that Stonington Gray made my velvet gray headboard look fabulous so I painted the walls Stonington Gray and I love to wake up every morning and look at my beautiful new walls.  Thank you!’

Here is the beautiful result:

Lighting in bedrooms can vary greatly from the main rooms in the house. Master bedrooms generally depend mostly on ambient light as many don’t have overhead lights.
So if you are having trouble finding the right colour for your master bedroom or another room in your house, this might be the reason. There are hundreds of situations where I’m clear I would never have found the right colour without my 50 large hand-painted colour boards in Benjamin Moore colours to go through one-by-one.
By the way, Stonington Gray has a blue undertone. A lot of people think it’s a neutral gray without an undertone but all you have to do is get your fan deck out and compare it to HC-173 Edgecomb Gray or HC-81 Manchester Tan and you’ll see it right away.
Remember context is everything. All I do in every colour consultation is compare, compare, compare so that my client can see for themselves exactly why I’m recommending one colour over another.
Here are some more rooms in Stonington Gray:
It’s very blue if you ask me!
 Love this Black + White dining room by Samantha Pynn.
Just in case you were wondering, the reason why you generally don’t see photo after photo on my blog with ‘Here’s what-insert colour name here-looks like’ on the walls is because that will not help you chose the right colour for your interior.
The correct colour or neutral for your interior is determined first by your fixed elements, second by your furnished items and third using large colour samples to make sure the colour you have chosen will pull your space together.
To choose a colour for your bedroom consider the wall-to-wall carpeting, the bedding or the drapery. And with large colour boards, you’ll have the colour so fast you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them!
Colours for the bedroom are so much easier to choose than the rest of your house.
Which grey is your favourite?
Related posts:

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones to learn how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.


  • Susan@Susan Silverman Designs says:

    My favourite gray at the moment is BM Thunder AF-685. However I have been using quite a bit of Coventry Gray which has a definite blue undertone, and Edgecombe Gray which is just so neutral. Maria, in your opinion, is there a gray that has the least amount of undertone? I am looking for one that has no blue, purple or green undertone.

  • Sara Smith says:

    I love Gray Owl, Coventry Gray, Oyster Shell, and Sea Haze (which is very green).

  • Wendy says:

    Revere Pewter is our Go-to neutral lately…doesn’t go too blue, and reflects its surroundings somehow. Gray Owl works well here too…something to do with California light. Color science is so mysterious!

  • Jan says:

    Thanks to your “Bonus Book of Colours” I found Collingwood. I tried it based upon your description of its undertones. I knew those undertones were what i needed but could not see them clearly in the swatch. It is perfect and I love it! It’s a dynamic shade, more chameleon-like than most. It is warmer than grey and cooler than beige, a perfect balance.

  • Debbiecz says:

    What a smart move to ask for Color Boards. And even smarter for the husband who gifted them! Think of all the saved trips to the store, the stock piled sample cans, the arguments, the tears. Divorce lawyers everywhere cite Maria as the number one marriage savior.

  • Tonya says:

    Always interesting to see how color looks different in each room / house. We just painted our master bath Stonington Gray. In our house it’s darker and more gray than the photos above. ; )

  • Penny Tapp says:

    Thanks so much for this reminder, question: I am going to repaint my bedroom and get rid of the builder pinky beige, after choosing my color do I paint the ceiling the same color? I have 9 ft ceilings separated from walls with crown molding, but the bedroom has a large bay sitting area and the roof line is very cut up. I have thought of repainting the crown molding to match walls too. Any advice would help sooo much, thanks. If you have covered this in a previous post, let me know, thanks.

  • Maria, this advice is worth its weight in gold. Great post.
    Best, Ellen

  • Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Now this is what all that effort was for, Maria! A perfect example of the application of the color boards to real life! I agree—great husband, who probably did the painting as well! I really enjoy seeing what people do with these tools. Loved the pictures. Just a suggestion: with these subtle colors, sometimes an extra coat or two of paint really brings out the richness in the color.

  • Angela Taylor says:

    My husband was very reluctant in allowing me to paint his office, but when I used the colour boards he came around very quickly. Best investment I’ve made this year.

  • teresa says:

    It was clearly the best choice for that headboard. I agree that is is quite blue which is why the accessories in the first source photos work.
    I also think it shows the difficulty of incorporating wood furniture in a gray interior. I love the Biedermier look with gray, so neo-classical, but I find other tones especially golden oak problematic.I’ve had a gray guest bedroom for years and struggled with the furniture. I think you addressed that issue at one time.

    Too bad I didn’t have these samples when I was trying to decide on paint for my MB. I think CTD I got it in the end, but I left it the way it was for ages. 🙁

    • Judy says:

      What is the best light neutral to go with woods of all different colors-yellow oaks, walnut oaks, mahogany, antiques, etc? I have a friend who uses a satin finish on the walls to make the light bounce in her dark north facing living room.

  • Monica says:

    My kitchen walls (white kitchen cabinets) are painted BM Gray Cashmere which is a soft blue green. I absolutely love it. The walls and celings in my dining/living room combo are Wickham Gray and the moldings are white. Wickham Gray feels cooler than Gray Cashmere but it works well with a variety of wood tones including golden ones. In a small bedroom I used BM Balboa Mist on the walls and doors and Cumulus Cloud for the window and crown molding. Balboa Mist is a very neutral pale gray with just a tiny hint of lavender. It feels pretty relaxing with the white and gray/blue painted furniture in the room.

  • Bonnie says:

    I really like Benjamin Moore’s Fog Mist.

  • Debbie says:

    I am the Debbie with the beautiful bedroom and the wonderful husband (who painted half the room). I just wanted to say that if you have not purchased Maria’s large color boards, then you really are missing out. They are truly indispensable, all design professionals should have this tool as well as any design enthusiast who wants to get it right. The color in this room changes depending on the time of day, it appears gray in the morning, blue in the afternoon and turquoise in the evening. I am very happy with the results and my choice of last year’s Christmas present.

  • Lisa says:

    Santa just might have to bring me some color boards. 😉

  • Ruth says:

    This has been the year of gorgeous gray for me! As a home stager and designer I spec paint colors a lot (I don’t leave home without my color boards). I just used Fieldstone in an historic home and love the look. Other frequently used grays are Wickham or Conventry if I want a little blue gray, Edgecomb for a very neutral gray,Gray cashemere for a little green gray, and Chelsea gray for a little darker color on kitchen cabinets. The color boards are indispensable in my business – thanks Maria.

  • The only grays I like are greeny grays.

  • Sunday Wilson says:

    Green/gray is my absolute favorite too. I painted my kitchen cabinets SW “hardware”, a beautiful greeny gray with White Kashmir granite and Daltile Rittenhouse Square Biscuit (off white) matte 3X6 subway tiles. I love, love, love it.

  • Sophia says:

    I just ordered the color boards! So excited! I hummed and hawed about getting them but this past week I painted my bedroom a grey color (well, that’s what I’m calling it). I wanted BM Revere Pewter but our local store only sells BM Origins and although there was no color slip they did try to mix it for me. It turned out a creamy yellow color so I said no thanks. Went with another color (not BM) that I thought would work and I was so disappointed 🙁
    Not the first time this has happened to me – actually, it happens ALL the time! I ordered the color boards so I no longer have that problem! So glad I found your blog Maria. I love it! Thank you!

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