Asked on May 02, 2014

So sick of builder beige, and scared of gray, need help!

I've used SW interesting aqua in a bathroom and laundry room, and moody blue in our formal dining room. Loving all the colors on this paint chip/strip. The rest of our house is horrible builder beige and can't seem to find the right transition color for hallways. I'm so afraid gray will feel sterile or cold, and every shade of beige makes me cringe. We've made beautiful matching cornice boards in our family room and eating area, and hung pale aqua sheers under them. I painted the eating area interesting aqua, but the whole window treatment fades away. The kitchen, eating area and family room are all open to each other. We have dark wood floor and dark kitchen cabinets. The only window in the kitchen area, is in the eating area, northern exposure. Any suggestions for a warm transitional color for hallways, kitchen and family room color?
Northern window in eating area is our only kitchen window
Interesting aqua is not working
Pretty boring
  63 answers
  • Shannon Provence Shannon Provence on May 02, 2014
    The rug in your dining room has a wonderful color pallet. Maybe you could pull colors from that in all rooms. The chocolate brown would be a nice accent wall next to the light blue window treatment. Or just do the some borders.
  • Moxie Moxie on May 02, 2014
    I agree with Shannon. I have some brown accents with white and grey areas and they are rich and fun.
  • Lavende Lavende on May 02, 2014
    There are a lot of greys with warm undertones that don't feel sterile at all. The "greige" family is perfect for a cozier feel but keeping the grey tones.
  • FrazzledMommy FrazzledMommy on May 03, 2014
    Check flint smoke by bhere. Or one color hue down It's a grayish blue. I used it in my bathroom. It comes out a lot lighter then the chip
  • Sheila Conlon Sheila Conlon on May 03, 2014
    Riki I also found the grey that I used was lighter than the chip. Since I have chrome barstools I did choose the grey to match. I am still battling the 'Builder grade' white but am getting room by room working
  • FrazzledMommy FrazzledMommy on May 03, 2014
    everything so far looks great - one day you will get to sit back and enjoy it.... then again if you're anything like me, there's always a project to be found... good luck!
  • Laura Davis-Miller Laura Davis-Miller on May 03, 2014
    @Riki, I always have to have a project, lol.
  • Amy Hodgen Amy Hodgen on May 04, 2014
    Paint the window wall (with sofa) a bright colour and the rest white. This'll make the accent wall stand out more and brighten up the room. I hate beige/cream too, but grey is a gorgeous colour, if done correctly. I have one grey wall in my studio (which I face) and the other walls I've painted white. The fact that you have white skirtingboards really helps too. These would look great with a grey wall.
  • Margie*Lee Margie*Lee on May 04, 2014
    I really like the colors you chose. It's your house and you should paint your rooms whatever colors YOU choose and not go by what others tell you to do. We just remodeled our bathroom and chose Behr Pensive Sky for the color of the walls. It's a pale grey with a hint of blue/green and it's really neutral but very pretty with our white bead board wainscoting and grey ceramic flooring. I, too, am tired of beige and grey isn't my favorite color either but there are many shades of grey and the lighter shades I can live with. You did a great job!
  • Nancy InTn Nancy InTn on May 04, 2014
    Taupe? I like the aqua room but the rug looks blue. Maybe change the rug out?
  • Laura Davis-Miller Laura Davis-Miller on May 04, 2014
    Nancy, the rugs do have blue, and we're too expensive to change out. I'm rethinking my window coverings. Trying to say away from beige, taupe or gray.
  • Meredith Wouters Meredith Wouters on May 04, 2014
    Try "gravity" by Valspar. It's a bluish gray that doesn't look cold at all. It would tie in well with your blues that you already have. I used it in my one-window bedroom at 75%. (That means they reduced the pigment by 25% when mixing the color.) Here are the after photos:
  • Ozzys Girl Ozzys Girl on May 04, 2014
    I live in a crayon box and it changes around. My office the formal dining room is the color of a tiffany box kitchen cantaloupe livingroom knightly straw and hall way we did a gold to tie it all in jute from Farrell Calhoun paint. And it all ties together. So consider a gold. Check out my pea pod green laundry room on my pinterest boards. They are all there and give you some ideas.
  • Janis Hill Janis Hill on May 04, 2014
    Though I like most shades, blue is considered a 'cold' color, just as grays are a 'cold' color. But don't worry. Greige is a good combination of gray and beige. Try SW6071 Popular Gray. It is a perfect neutral. I have another suggestion that would work to add color Though I know you worked hard to make the cornice board it really isn't doing anything. The addition of aqua sheers that blend with the walls doesn't enhance the room or the windows in any way. Why not remove the blinds and the other window treatments and use roman shades instead? A fun print would bring in some much needed contrast. You could also use the same fabric to make chair cushions. Hope this helps.
  • Peggy Davis Peggy Davis on May 04, 2014
    Blue is a 'cool' color, not a 'cold' color (no offense intended)...blues, aquas seafome...aand any of the blue/green colors would work....if you are set on a gray, then try a gray with some blue in it....get samples and try them out for a week or twwo...But in the end, as one person said, it's your house, choose what you want! good luck!
  • Laura Davis-Miller Laura Davis-Miller on May 04, 2014
    Janis, I was thinking the same thing about the cornice and sheers. Just kills me that the fabric was so expensive, and the sheers were $25/each. Not to mention, my husband will want to strangle me. But honestly just want to take them down and start over. We love the rugs and they were much more expensive than the windows.
    • See 1 previous
    • Janis Hill Janis Hill on May 05, 2014
      @Laura Davis-Miller , just use the cornices and sheers in a bedroom. A little 'drama' at the windows would be perfect!
  • Judy Parkey Judy Parkey on May 04, 2014
    I hear you and I feel your pain about "builder's beige". I finally was able to paint my house and thought I would get sick when "a beige" was recommended. I found Behr's "mushroom" and I love, love, love it. I could not recommend it more. If you are not near a Home Depot ask SW to look up Behr's mushroom and they can duplicate.
  • Cori H Cori H on May 04, 2014
    Try pops of color like coral or lilac. If you're using SW inspired colors, those two in particular will go well. As for the grey, don't be afraid of it. You can find some shades of grey that have more blue/aqua in them and they'll blend better.
  • Amy Woods Amy Woods on May 04, 2014
    I would go with one of the browns in your rug for the accent wall. Since it's just one wall, you can go pretty dark without making the room too dark.
  • LC LC on May 04, 2014
    The Sherwin Williams near us has a color specialist that can come to your house to help with color selection. I paid $75, but the money went toward the paint purchase and I was SO happy with the results. Their service really saves you from the struggle. (I have no affiliation with SW; I'm just so thankful for this service they provide).
  • A.E. Zaring A.E. Zaring on May 04, 2014
    I would use a rose gold color~light but warm also~it would help you tranfer to any other room color and look inviting and warm~
  • AJ AJ on May 04, 2014
    I would go with a soft yellow. Its neutral and will brighten the room....and compliments blue very well. Just be sure to pick the right shade.
  • Ann Nickens Ann Nickens on May 04, 2014
    why not do the accent wall in the room the same color as the dining room, this would give color flow and consistency and brightness, do the rest of the walls a lighter shade with just a hint of the blue.
  • Meena M Meena M on May 04, 2014
    Pick a warmer tone grey like a French grey or maybe almost in the taupe family. Maybe Brown's? I have Eddy Bauer bamboo on my walls and it's a perfect neutral color without being too dark or cold.
  • Caroline Hargrove Caroline Hargrove on May 04, 2014
    I know it has the word "beige" in it, but have you looked at the soft warm colors such as a "Rose Beige", it is a soft Rose color. Even a desert tan. I love the earth tones and many of them would blend well with the beige and yet stand on their own.
  • MrRooter Amarillo MrRooter Amarillo on May 04, 2014
    I'd go with a very pale butter yellow. It's got a warm creaminess to it that is mostly neutral in appearance. It's nothing like a bright sunshine yellow that people envision with the word yellow.
  • DEB DEB on May 04, 2014
    Gray is the in thing and does look very nice. Accents well with a lot od colors.
  • Dawn Miller Dawn Miller on May 04, 2014
    Yellow tones like SW creme take 3 coats of paint. Get some samples and put them on the walls to view different times of the day.
  • Wendy MM Wendy MM on May 04, 2014
    The really light sage kind of green is really popular now.
  • Catharine Henningsen Catharine Henningsen on May 04, 2014
    Coral would be sharp off the aqua.
  • Joan Dingeldein Caughlin Joan Dingeldein Caughlin on May 04, 2014
    You know you can use a warm grey and then use yellow and white as accents!
  • Valerie Bragdon Crawford Valerie Bragdon Crawford on May 04, 2014
    My walls are painted tan and I like it.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on May 04, 2014
    a friend has her house done in Sherwin Williams LOGGIA,,,,, its a warm neutral..but a mini jar.. try it on several walls-different lights and shadows.....I CAN"T paint without those baby jars...leftovers I use for crafting ....also,,if you find a color you like,,,,, have them mix it at 50%.... try it,,if its too light go back and add the rest of the tint.. they can do it in qts,, I also use this 50% trick on my ceiling,,,,, not pure white, a hint of color, thats always right..
  • Dawn Koch Celmins Dawn Koch Celmins on May 04, 2014
    I like the warm coral or rose idea. You need color to brighten up that place and bring some life. And don't forget decorating has a lot to do with enjoying your space as well and plants will do wonders.
  • Melissa B Melissa B on May 04, 2014
    Coral or a salmon would be so pretty and warm up your blue, or stay with the white for the light clean look and pull in some coral or salmon accents. Pictures, table display, etc.
  • Diane Arnold Diane Arnold on May 04, 2014
    I just re-did mine in a light tan with one light sage green wall as a focal point. the trim is done in a slightly darker tan and it really looks beautiful.
  • Audra Mason Audra Mason on May 04, 2014
    My opinion...keep colors to a couple of soft neutrals and use strong accents. I learned the hard way not to go with bold, although beautiful. colors all over the hosue. Hard to sell and really limits your decorating palette. If you use soft colors and strong accents like the ORB that I think I see you have in your dining it creates a striking effect...After moving just 3 houses in 18 years...and painting all varieties, Id say keep it very neutral. Ive been looking online at houses for sale, and the ones with a bunch of colors all over the house make me balk because it is a lot of work to change them. The best things I've done is use one main color for the body of the house (creamish) and then allow the bedrooms to be those soft neutrals.Just my two cents.
    • Reta Lane Reta Lane on May 05, 2014
      @Audra Mason I agree with you. I can't stand it when I go to look at a house for sale and they have all these strong colors. The house would have to be incredible for me to overlook that.
  • Hannah T Hannah T on May 04, 2014
    Grays can be so warm if they are the right tone. You can also warm it up further with yellow and salmon accents.
  • Jeanee Rockweiler Jeanee Rockweiler on May 04, 2014
    soft yellow will warm without overpowering
  • Julia W. Wilson Julia W. Wilson on May 05, 2014
    Friendship yellow is great!
  • MJ Aured MJ Aured on May 05, 2014
    French Blue with chocolate very popular right now. Also a sage like green in some rooms if complementing darker wood. Gray is a highly versatile neutral which can be blued or greened out if needed. I have pearl finished white walls because my historic home full of light and it bounces off my walls. Also have tone of artwork hanging. Wish you luck!
  • Conni Owensby Conni Owensby on May 05, 2014
    Stay with the same color as the dining room or a soft yellow.Just be careful when choosing yellow it can look darker and brighter than you think.
  • R.l. De La Cerda R.l. De La Cerda on May 05, 2014
    All the colors you've used are cool. You need some warm colors. Look to flowers for some color options: irises are blue w/yellow. None of Nature's colors clash.
  • Cathy Smith Cathy Smith on May 05, 2014
    It isn't the colors that are boring it is the fact that the rooms aren't decorated. The only pattern I see is the area rug. Think striped or checked curtains and flowered pillows. Mix and match and by all means add some accessories. A room can take time to put together especially if these colors are new to you.
  • Marry Gebhardt Butler Marry Gebhardt Butler on May 05, 2014
    My kitchen had been a boring yellow for 6-7 years or so. I wanted to do a warm neutral color heading toward a country theme in there. My hubby being a painter by trade had some medium grey paint leftover from a job he did a few months ago. Without my approval he painted one wall with it. When I got home from Lowe's, I fell in love with it! Soft white ceilings and trim, med. grey walls and barn red accents. Pure country and it does not look stark and cold!
  • Linda M Linda M on May 05, 2014
    We use Compatible Cream by Sherwin Williams--beautiful transition color, classified as a neutral, and great to reflect light. We have this color in our hall and living room--also great to have as background with so many accent colors.
  • Judy Williams Judy Williams on May 05, 2014
    You need some greens to give it life! A little bolder colors would brighten it up looks bland!
  • Sherry L Sherry L on May 05, 2014
    Look at your color wheel for compatable color and use the strong colors for accents.
  • Val Val on May 05, 2014
    I would add light colors on the walls and try to put up mirrors and white wood/iron items to brighten the eating area up. Get rid of the rug, cover the table with something light, maybe a green and paint the mirror frame to match possibly or white antiqued and paint the lamp a lighter shade of whatever you choose for the walls. Also, carry out the color you choose into the living area with drapes to match and pretty floral pillows and add a silk flower arrangement or a family name in a pretty color on the wall.
  • Beth W Beth W on May 05, 2014
    Add undertones to brighten up paint colors on your walls. Using a soft peach, very pale orange or light green undertone will help you get away from the blah white/off white builder color without becoming a dominant color theme. These may seem like odd or undesired colors, but, when they are very soft and subtle the undertone on your wall will add life to the rooms or hallways. You can also pick up a color that is minimally used in your other décor or furniture and use it as the undertone. Changing colors and redecorating (even just seasonally) is much easier when you punch up the color of a room with your accent pieces instead of your walls.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on May 05, 2014
    I must say I painted lots of rooms in 60+ yrs.... many different paints..but, after Sherwin Williams I won't use anything else..I love the way they have the colors arranged into warm and cool.... it just seems easier to me to work with and get the "just right shades" ..Not to knock any other brands but thats my fav.... DON"T be afraid of GREY.... make is a soft "WARM" shade its a neutral shade....people think of it being cold and not inviting for a living space..I always paint samples on several walls-- different light---- sunny day-- rainy day....that requires a bit of planning on my part..
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on May 05, 2014
    I think the reason you don't like the cornice boards is because of the paint color.... they stand out tooo muchagainst the beige..I'd be sure to test the coor up next to them.. those are simmple boards,,you could easily recover them.... a bit of fabric, a hot glue gun or staple gun backing fabric to cover the staples, some trim to hide the edges...easy 2 person project...
  • Tammy M Tammy M on May 05, 2014
    light creamy yellow
  • Nancy McGrath Nancy McGrath on May 05, 2014
    We painted our house a bluish silver very pretty
  • Jocelyn D Jocelyn D on May 05, 2014
    Moss/tea leaves green, and creams
  • Ann Marshall Griffith Ann Marshall Griffith on May 05, 2014
    Consider a light creamy butter yellow shade ; it's welcoming and cheerful.
  • Joyce Armbruster Joyce Armbruster on May 05, 2014
    Better homes and gardens has some interesting and pretty color palettes too. Try their web site.
  • Dee325843 Dee325843 on May 05, 2014
    You're working in very close tones, that's why the aqua wall color doesn't work. Think of your house in terms of black and white pictures, drab. Try cranking that aqua up to match that lovely rug. Cream sheers, tie backs and table runner in a print to add some more color that you can use elsewhere. And add some art, that poor family portrait frame looks so lost and alone.
  • Colleen S Colleen S on May 05, 2014
    All I can say is stay away from grey---your hallway will look like a casket. (That's what grey makes me think of.)
  • Jean Costello Jean Costello on May 05, 2014
    SW "Rainwashed" - a neutral, every color looks great with it and it's not beige!
  • Laura Davis-Miller Laura Davis-Miller on May 06, 2014
    Thanks for all the suggestions, I ended up using "forest khaki" and I love it!!
  • Laura Davis-Miller Laura Davis-Miller on May 06, 2014
    @Janis, found at walmart, think it's glidden
  • Anna Anna on Oct 20, 2016
    I just did my whole house in shades of gray and I love it! My trim is white and I used turquoise, purple and bright pink accents. Check out Property Brothers ; they use a lot of gray as their neutral.