When I painted my home office, I mentioned that I used Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray mixed at 50% and I got a lot of questions asking what that meant. I explained it years ago, but thought I would do a refresher post, explaining why I love to customize colors on the paint deck.
I do acknowledge that sorting through a paint deck containing thousands of colors can be overwhelming enough. Why would you want to muddy the waters even further with the option to customize every single color in the paint deck?!
If you’ve ever had angst selecting a paint color, then you know that, even with all of the options, sometimes a color is right, but not quite right.
When looking at the gradation of hues on a paint deck, one might assume that it’s the same color in different values (light-to-dark), but that isn’t the case. The colors are in the same family, but they are distinct colors. This can make it tricky when one color is too light and another is too dark and one is perfect, but it’s too green, etc. Customization can fix that and make a color you like work for you. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to match a fabric or wallpaper.
In the case of my office, I wasn’t trying to match anything specific. I liked Stonington Gray, buy I wanted it to be softer. So, I asked to have the color mixed at 50%.
What this means, is the paint store puts in 50% of the pigments that make Stonington Gray into the base. The result is the same color, but a lighter version of it.
If the color was too dark, I could ask for 25% or 30% or whatever I wanted to try.
This is particularly helpful when choosing whites. The tricky thing about whites is being able to see the undertones on a small paint chip or even a swatch painted on the wall. It’s not always easy to determine until you get on all of the walls of a room and you realize your creamy white looks yellow or your cool white is reading as baby blue.
It’s much easier to see the undertones of a color when it’s a mid-tone. You can see if it’s a blue with green undertones or purple, for example. So, if there is a color you love, like Stonington Gray, have it mixed at 5% or 10% to make a custom white that has undertones you know you love. It will take some experimenting to find what works, but that’s what sample pots are for! Also, I would suggest starting a little lighter, because you can always take the paint back to the store and ask them to add more pigment.
Speaking of adding pigments to paint, if you’re on a tight budget, you might already be familiar with the “oops” shelf or bin…colors that were mixed that weren’t the right match, were returned, etc. Sometimes you can even find paint that is about to expire. If you find a pale color or white, you can ask them to add pigment to it to make a mid-tone or darker color! It won’t be a perfect match, but you can adjust the color, which is a nice option.
So, next time your picking out paint colors, remember that you can customize each color and design your own unique palette for your home.