Going Green + Choosing the right swatches, color matching samples, and selecting the details.

August 6, 2019

Sources: Bed / Rug / Glass Vases / Throw / Crib / Dresser – Paint swatches on the top via Magnolia (a few I am considering!) and bottom via Coco Kelly.

I’ve been itching to do a room design that incorporates some deep olive green paint, but wasn’t sure if we could swing it in our own home. Now that we are moving rooms around though, an opportunity opened up to re-design a bedroom. I am going to share the process from start to finish, so first things first….paint colors! Finding the right shades of green paint, color matching paint samples, testing paint in your space, and choosing what finish to use…

We have been shifting rooms around as you know, and it feels a bit like musical chairs. Rocco and Gabriel swapped bedrooms because Rocco and Max just entered a similar season of sleep routines, and are getting along really well as playmates too (they are 6 and 4). Gabriel is entering a phase of later bedtime, and needing a place that isn’t constantly invaded by toddlers! The new baby will be with me for the first few months, but will eventually move in with Gabriel. The bedroom upstairs where this will be has been used as our guest room as well when family comes to stay, so it’s quite the complex design to figure out! A bedroom that will suit my oldest son, a new baby, and guests when they come to stay. I love a good challenge though.

Selecting paint swatches. In store vs. online.
Viewing paint colors online can be tricky as your computer screen monitor can vary how it receives color. (There are different types of quality of your LCD screens as one example.) It does help when companies offer different room views using the color of paint, but I almost ALWAYS go into a store to pick up physical paint swatches. I will get ideas online, but rarely do they look the same in your hands! After picking up a couple dozen (no joke), I bring them home to tape to the wall of the room we are going to paint. The color of your paint will look differently depending on how much natural light it receives. So often I have picked up a paint swatch that looks completely different than I originally guessed it would be.

The biggest dilemma has been whether or not to go dark green on the walls or incorporate the dark green within the furniture. I originally was ALL IN for the dark green walls and monochromatic trim, but then decided because our babe will eventually be staying in here, a more soothing lighter color is probably a better option! I may have to save my dark green wall dreams for later.

Color matching paint swatches. Once you have narrowed down which paint swatches you would like samples of. Most paint stores offer this free option to color match your paint swatch in whatever brand paint they do carry. However, as my experience turned out with color matching a Benjamin Moore color at Lowe’s vs the actual Benjamin Moore store, the color was way off. Sometimes it works, and others it is a far cry from the true hue. I would opt for going with the true source of the paint for most accurate color. It’s about $5 per paint sample which gives you enough paint to do several large areas in your room to see how the light hits it on all 4 sides. Ace Hardware even offers $5 off your gallon of paint when you return the paint sample can, so its a win win! Gabe’s preference for high performance quality is usually Benjamin Moore, Farrow and Ball, or Sherwin Williams paint. We have also been really happy with Behr Paint which most of our main floor is painted in!

Learn from my mistake;) I made an impatient decision when we moved in our current house to paint our entire kitchen and dining room a shade of white that I did not test on the walls. We had painters scheduled for the next morning, and since I ran out of time I took a gamble. Well it definitely turned out a cool light blue vs. a warm white. You can see this unfortunate mistake to this day if you come to visit;)

Testing your paint samples.
For this particular project, my “narrowing down” swatches still left me with 10 colors I wanted samples of. I was still debating dark, light, or in between green so I wanted to see it all on the wall! Some of the colors dried exactly like the swatch, and a few dried looking darker or lighter. It helps to view the paint on the brightest side, and the darkest side as well to envision the overall outcome. It is always worth painting your walls before deciding which to commit to! Always!

Design by High Street Home, Photo by Bess Friday for Domino Mag

Narrowing down your selections.
Since the wall color is one of the main starting elements to a room, it can certainly help to have your furniture color (f you have that already!) or rug design next to the color to see how it compliments. Often times it all makes sense in my head and then I see a paint color next to another main element, and it completely shifts my decision! Working with physical color palettes always helps! I also do a pinterest board to see how things are working together visually side by side.

Joanna Gaines Library Office
The Magnolia Library Office Tour
Reading nook in the Chris Loves Julia cabin

Choosing a finish.
This of course comes down to preference and also the function of the room. I almost always go with an eggshell finish just because it hides the imperfections of the wall best! It is easier to paint over marks that come along as well. The more gloss in the finish the harder it is to touch up. HOWEVER! A semi-gloss or gloss finish cleans much easier, as well as holds a better accent, so this finish works best for trim and doors as it is easier to clean! I am hoping we can have the trim, doors, and possibly the ceiling the same paint color as the walls.

via Apartment Apothecary

via Manhattan Nest

A really good green paint round up by Studio McGee

These rooms are some favorite dark to light gray green spaces, and would love for you to help me decide! I have been emerged in green paint for days and can no longer think about it. I am leaning towards dark olive furniture (I can paint our old crib and dresser) against light or medium green gray walls. Or do I listen to the inner voice that tells me to just go for the dark olive green?! Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, especially if you have painted a room these hues before! Stay tuned for the next phase!

Leave a Comment

  • I’m obsessed with that green dresser you chose! It is so darling!


  • I am loving green rooms right now too! I originally wanted to paint my bedroom a dark moody olive color but just couldn’t pull the trigger on it. I ended up going with a Benjamin Moore color called oil cloth after seeing it in both Mandi from A Beautiful Mess’s office and in Daniel from Manhattan Nest’s bedroom. I am so happy I went a bit lighter! It is a gorgeous color that changes throughout the day and I’m now fighting the urge to paint the rest of my house oil cloth. Whatever you end up with will be beautiful, I’m excited to follow along

  • I did a dark green wall in our living room (PPG Essex Green) and while it was a risk, I absolutely LOVE it and everyone that comes over compliments it. In fact, I’ve had two friends paint their walls the same color since seeing ours! I found it super helpful to search specific paint colors on Pinterest and browse a bunch of different rooms with that color. It helped me narrow down even better than my own sample-testing! Feel free to email me if you want my photos from ours, but if you search it on Pinterest you’ll find rooms with that color! I LOVE the dark green with wood and leather furniture!

    • Abbi Hearne

      OH! And we painted our master bedroom that color after loving it in the living room. It looks amazing.

    • Hi Abbi! I agree! I always stalk the web for paint colors I am trying to see in different rooms. It’s good to hear you had a good dark paint color experience!

    • Did you offset it with a different color on the other walls and ceiling? So intrigued!

  • Seriously considering the same for our basement, which will be an extra playroom/guest space. On a recent cover of Garden & Gun magazine, they had the most amazing dark green/teal color on a wall and mantle. I FELL IN LOVE!!!!! I’m worried though that it might be too dark for our space that doesn’t have a lot of natural light. If you’ve got the natural light to offset it, I say go darker!!!!

    • Yes I agree! Natural light can make the world of difference. There is only one window in this room which is why I am hesitant to go dark. If it was just going to be my son Gabriel’s room he would be all about it – ha! But with a baby in there I think lighter might be best.

  • I just went through this last week. I was painting an architectural feature in our home green. I looked at about 60 different shades before selecting. Green really changes color as the light changes throughout the day!

  • Whatever shade you choose, I am here for it! We plan on finishing our basement this fall and I’m obsessed with featuring the color Farrow & Ball’s Mizzle. I’m thinking open mudroom, lots of built ins, fireplace.. Going for an old English feel, very snug and cozy. It’s not a very wide basement and doesn’t have many windows. Love the drama of the darker gray-greens you have chosen as well.

  • We bought a house a few months back and everything was painted with white so we have a blank slate, it was so exciting to think I can transform it all but it is an intimidating endeavour with every room.

    Have you looked at Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan? It was named color of the year and we ended up painting our bathroom in it. It’s got that green grey tone but somehow looks super light in our small windowed room.

    Can’t wait to see what you pick!

  • We have BM moonshine in a hallway and a similar shade called gray horse in our kitchen and living areas. I really like the gray horse because it pairs well with greys and wood features alike. Good luck!! I can’t remember when your baby is due, but we are expecting ours in 2 weeks. I thought we were close in dates. We are also changing up rooms and did some painting and closet reconfigurations. Not fancy like yours, but they function!! And we don’t do this as our job 😉

    • I am so glad you mentioned that color! I am finishing up testing a few light hues and that looks like one I have been looking for. I hope you have a smooth delivery and recovery. How exciting! I am due Sept. 23rd! I would say getting closets organized no matter how you do it is an accomplishment! Feels so good!

  • Nicole McKee

    How exciting for fun changes! Green is one of my most favorite colors for walls! My living room is a ‘neutral’ sort of green and my guest bedroom is a bright, happy yellow green. 🙂 I can’t wait to see your finished room!

  • […] you may recall the great green paint debate, we finally landed on a color for both the walls and the ceiling! Since this all went down right […]

  • Robert Martin

    try a another. I am doing a accent wall in beach glass green by benjamin moore or if you like dark try avon green by bejamin moore

  • What is the colour paint on the wall with the two plants and white curtains please? Love it!

  • Will you please look and recommend PPG colors? PPG Paints is by far the best quality.

  • Katie Wood

    What is the color with the 2 plants and cream curtain?? Im obsessed! Thanks!

  • Just painted bedroom SW garden sage. Pretty

  • Just painted bedroom SW garden sage. Pretty soft color

  • Joan EBrands

    We are currently in the process of a total remodel of our kitchen. I choose Sherwin Williams “Isle of Pines” as my cabinet color. They come directly from the manufacturer with which ever color you choose as long as it’s a Sherwin Williams color. Mine were made by a small manufacturer here in Davison, Michigan-Pioneer Cabinets. Maple wood painted in my color choice. I can hardly wait to see them,,

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