updated family room

Finding Gray & Updating the Family Room

PLEASE tell me I am not alone in this…

Have you ever started a search for the perfect shade of paint and you get SO frustrated you either:

a: Want to cry

b: Cry

c: Chuck the paint out the window

d: All of the above

Well I almost cried, and honestly I felt like chucking the paint too… all because I was attempting to find the perfect shade of gray. It couldn’t be too cool, too light, too blue, too brown or too dark, sounds simple right? Umm… not for me! I had painted the girls rooms Pavillion Gray, a Farrow & Ball color, and knew I loved it so I decided to have the formula remixed here… that should work right? Same formula, same manufacturer, different state is all… well for some bloody reason it didn’t! Thank goodness I had only painted about a third of the wall when I noticed something was not quite right, the color was way too blue. So I waited for it to dry, literally watched it dry, and then I painted a square of the original paint onto the new paint. I was not crazy (although some may disagree), whew what a relief! The new mix was clearly blue gray and not at all what I wanted. I checked the formulas on both cans, they were identical so I called the hardware store to politely ask them if maybe their machine was not calibrated or were they out of a specific color . They informed me that it was not possible, the machine would warn them if there was a problem. So what do I do now? Freakin’ start over is what I did… I looked at this wall for days… (yes I started this process back in October)

finding the perfect gray

I did break down and spend some dough on a few of the Benjamin Moore fan decks so I could see the colors in the light in our room, not the store light, it helps trust me. I ended up choosing a color from the Color Stories series. Now these colors are not for everyone, and I have had a “problem” in the past, you see they tend to morph into different shades throughout the day and while the color might be the perfect shade during the day it may look different at night. However, I chose the color Smoke & Mirrors, painted a large section of a wall and then watched it (not literally this time) for a day to make sure it was for me. Whew… finally a color!

Here’s where it gets dicey again…

I paint one whole wall with the quart I purchased and then I go to guy 2 more gallons. When the guy at the store is adding the colorant I hear him make a strange noise… “Is everything ok” I ask? Well apparently not, some of the colorant is not flowing correctly and my cans do not have the correct ratio in it. I stay calm (which for those of you who know me know that was a feat in itself) and I wait for him to correct the problem. Now of course I’m wondering if the stupid machine was broke yesterday too and the color I like on my wall is not the same shade that is in the new mix. Will I like the new color? Do I have to repaint that whole wall? How far off is it? So I bring the 2 gallons home (pray a little) and mix them together in a 5 gallon bucket, to ensure color consistency, and I start to paint… YAY! a break… all’s good.

This is what we started with… a nice big blank neutral canvas.

family room before

I painted the fireplace wall first, only because I knew what I wanted it to look like, then I started the search for the paint for the rest of the room. We removed the blinds, window toppers and fan, added some fabulous rug tiles from FLOR, curtains, rods and a new fan. Oh yeah, we also had to paint the ceiling in this room too… I don’t know why these people insisted on painting so many ceilings, it’s REALLY starting to piss me off!!

gray family room update

It’s so much fresher and brighter in here now. It’s a very comfortable room with lots of light and great views of the backyard.

gray family room update

I’m not a huge fan of the pillows I have on the sofa, but they’ll do until I can find the right fabric for new ones. I don’t know about you, but I suck at mixing fabrics… I have such a hard time I tend to put it off.

gray family room update

At first my Hubby didn’t like the fact that the TV was on this wall, but I love that we can watch the TV and enjoy the fireplace at the same time! Sometimes you have to pick one or the other to be the focal point of the room, so this layout is a great compromise.

gray family room update

At first I thought it might not be the PERFECT shade of gray, it can pull a tad too purple at nighttime, but I have lived with it a few months and really do love it… enough to also paint the Powder room and the Mudroom the same color.

the perfect kid friendly spot

I had this little area setup for my youngest daughter (who has just turned 12) to sit and eat, she can watch the TV in the mirror if she wants. We don’t allow the kids to eat on the furniture so this iron table from Arhaus has been great as a snack / drawing area. The stool is from World Market and is height adjustable.

using antiques in the family room

I found this cute terrarium at a local antique store (although I’m sure it’s not an antique), but the violet pots I ordered off Esty. They’re handmade in the USA and I LOVE them! The clock I bought from Joss & Main. The console table is an antique store find, I stripped and stained the top to break up the blue a little.

wonderful step library bookshelves   updating a plain vase with jute twine

I adore our ladder / shelving with it’s iron frame and wood shelves, they (I have 2) were a Craig’s List score a few years ago and I have found them very versatile. The vase is a standard vase from Pottery Barn, but I spent a couple of hours wrapping jute twine around it and gluing it on with hot glue… lots of burns on my fingers that day! It helps disguise the outlet and give a little height and texture to the area beside the fireplace.

The difference in the way the room feels to us is HUGE!

Before & After Family Room Update

I hope you enjoy my Family Room tour. I’m happy it is done and we get to enjoy it now!

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Until next time…


Linking up to these parties!

Between Naps on the Porch, Coastal Charm, A Stroll Thru Life, Domestically Speaking, The Dedicated House, Elizabeth & Co., Savvy Southern Style, From My Front Porch To Yours, French Country Cottage, My Romantic Home, Redoux Interiors


  1. as usual, i am astonished by your ingenuity and commitment to getting things just right!! btw, don’t know if you remember me, from orange — you gave me the tutorial in your garage days before your move! i love seeing your latest and greatest when they appear in my inbox. keep it up! you’re a talent!! all the best from RVA, stephanie.


  2. Hi Susan! I’ve been a “quiet” follower forever, but just wanted to find voice to tell you how beautiful your “new” room is! My bf just made the very same paint change—from a yellow-y base to a cool gray! What a wonderful difference!
    Btw~I LUV Farrow and Ball colors and pick from them quite often, but since there is no local dealer for me to get the actual paint I have to get them color-matched in other paints. The difference you may have been discovering/unhappy with is the different paint manufacturers’ TINT BASES and how they influence the ultimate color. If you’re interested at all, I can tell you the paint list I’ve found to mix the best—
    Again, the room looks beaUtiful!


    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging words! I would love for you to share your paint list with me, just email me through the contact me page. It is a HIGE differance between the yellow on the gray, its hard to remember but looking back at those pictures easily reminds me of why I wanted to get it painted quick! Thanks for taking the time to comment, I do love to hear from people!


  3. Hi Susan, i’m sorry, i can’t see the pictures in your mails any more …do you know if there is anything I should do ?
    Thank you for sharing


  4. Oh what a beautiful room. I love the gray color. Looks like a completely different room. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me.


  5. Susan, this has happened to us in the past and I can totally relate. I think I did break down and cry but the hubby took care of it and made it right. It is so frustrating sometimes. I know what you mean about paint changing with light and darkness. It is a battle at times but I usually win, LOL. Love the way the room looks and I love terrarium you found.



  6. am i totally missing where the tv is? you said you have it on that wall to be able to look at the fireplace, too (which i totally agree with) but is it above the fireplace? that just looks like a picture. loving all the grays. enjoy your space!


  7. It looks great!! Our family rooms have a very similar layout. If I only I could talk my husband into letting me paint the brick on our fireplace. 🙂 I love the shade of gray you chose for your walls! Very cozy, yet clean. I also feel your pain on having to paint ceilings. We have literally painted every single ceiling in our house. Arg! Finally, I’m obsessed with the iron console table you set up for your daughter. Bravo on the entire space!


    1. Thanks so much Jessica! I will tell you at first I really liked the brick natural, but once I painted it I think it just looked more upscale, if that makes sense. We LOVE the iron console table, it is so versitile, it used to be behind the couch at our last house but that layout wouldn’t here, still works awesomely where it is now though.


  8. I still have a test patch of paint on my bedroom wall,so I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has gone through this! We also have a corner fireplace, and it’s been a challenge to work around it. I love the way your room turned out–looks gorgeous!! 🙂


  9. It’s beautiful!! I went through the same agony in choosing a gray. I almost went with Revere Pewter but settled on Smoke Embers instead. It’s SO SO hard!! I drove myself bonkers. 😛 Your room looks amazing. More dog pictures please. =D



  10. Well in the end, you room turned out beautifully! That shade of gray looks perfect and worth the effort. But I totally get it. I was agonizing over paint samples this morning and just had to walk away! Walls are so hard. Picking colors for furniture is so much easier!!!


  11. I love your terrarium and eating area you set up. As for the gray paint, I have been on the hunt for gray paint too and going bonkers. We finally settled on Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue which is a designer gray and have yet to get it on the walls and can completely relate to what you went through. Your room turned out lovely. Happy to find you on Wow us Wednesday today.


  12. Loved reading your “trials” of getting the right paint color. LOVE the color you chose. The room looks great and what a good idea for a table and stool for snacks and projects. Visiting from Coastal Charm.


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