Home remodeling: reflections on paint

Funny thing happened when we found out that insurance was paying a couple hundred bucks to have our bathroom repainted.  My usual modus operandi is to DIY all house paint jobs in fits and starts over 3 weeks of time, all the while sternly and constantly reminding children to stay out of the paint.  Then my husband gets sick of seeing paint out all the time, takes pity on me, and helps me get it done in a burst at the end.

But when we realized insurance was paying for a painter, we decided to hire my brother-in-law, a professional painter, to do the job. Then– down the slippery slope I went.  I got to thinking that as long as he’d be here for the bathroom anyway , we might as well ask him how much it would cost to paint the living room too.

Long story made short– thanks in part to a little bartering (John’s carpentry skills in exchange for Geren’s painting expertise)  we’re getting a fresh coat of paint in our living room and kitchen.

The biggest challenge with that project so far has been picking paint.  Never have I fuzzled so long over a paint choice.  For several years we’ve had a rusty orange-red below a chair rail and a very pale lemon yellow above a chair rail.  I liked the red for quite awhile, but I am ready now for something a little mellower.

I was thinking something in the range of yellow/gold/copper– sunny, but not blinding. I spent a lot of time looking at paint chips online.  Since my monitor does not portray paint chip colors accurately, I didn’t feel confident enough to pick without testing the colors I thought I liked.    I bought a couple of pints of several likely colors and set out to test in a corner of the living room.

Good thing– the first yellow was pale and blah, not different enough from the color above the chair rail.  The second yellow was a little deeper, but it strayed dangerously toward mustard.   Not enough warmth, and for that matter, not enough depth of color.  Even though I wanted it to be less brilliant than red, I still wanted some pop.  Ho-hum color is just not my style.

Finally this afternoon, after lots more time online, and a couple of trips to the paint store, I landed on a Kelly-Moore paint called Sirena Sun.  it looked like a sickly peach on my monitor, but in person, on my wall, it has a lovely coppery glow. It is more serene than my red, but still loaded with warmth and interest.

I THINK that maybe I have found my color.  My husband and kids think this color is better too.  (Actually– gotta be honest here– John would have been fine with the red– he doesn’t really care about paint too much.  But being the wise and wonderful man he is, he is graciously letting me have my new paint.)

Sirena Sun.  I love it. I love it.  I love it.

I’m just hoping that I like it in daylight as much as I like it in lamp light.

Because, if not..it’s back to the paint store I go.


  1. We are currently choosing paint for our bathroom and house. Unfortunately I can not paint! Steve has kittens everytime I pick up a paint brush! So either he will be doing it all or someone else will be brought in….

  2. Choosing paint colors is SO distressing to me – I think I know what I want and then the sample looks like yuck in my house. DH would prefer all the walls to be white with the trim a shade of white and white ceilings – I tend more to at least a hint of color and loved the house we renovated with deep red and pale yellow (not unlike yours!) Hope the new shade is perfection for you. BTW – you have a case of “as long as we are doing this” – be very cautious – that malady doubled the size of our house when we built a few years ago and increases the budget each time we add,renovate or remodel! LOL

  3. Last time we painted a living room (several years and houses ago now…), we had a terrible time choosing the colour. Finally we picked one called “light coffee” (horribly misnamed), and when we started painting, we did one wall and hated it. But it was Saturday evening, and we had guests coming Monday, so we went ahead. And when it had dried, we LOVED it and we got rave comments for years. It was beautiful; golden and warm but not too yellow, and nothing like coffee.
    All this to say: GOOD LUCK!

  4. Oh I know how you feel. After Ike remodeled my house and then we got to remodel my house the thing I hated was picking out paint colors. We made so many trips to Home Depot to get paint samples and then take them home and see how they looked in the sun light and lamp light and how the shading in the house made them look. We settled on a khaki color for the walls in the entire house but our bedroom was supposed to be pale yellow but it looked as if a canary had exploded! The painter toned is down with a wash and now it’s a lovely shade of pale yellow.

  5. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who starts a small project and turns it into something much bigger. Insurance is paying us to repaint our living room, hallway, dining room and kitchen. As if that isn’t enough, I’ve asked my father-in-law (the one who will do the painting) to paint my sons room too as he is getting a big boy room. My husband thinks I’m crazy but is going with it.

  6. It is so hard to find paint color! I t stresses me out for no reason, givent he fact you can paint over it.

    I want ot go with a really bold color in our den, but am hesitating. I should just go for it!

  7. We built our house two years ago and I had the same dilemma finding the perfect “yellow/gold/copper– sunny”. Finally found the perfect color by Porter Paints called Burnt Ivory (it is really not ivory). I’ve received so many compliments and truly love it. It is warm and inviting. You might check it out if you have Porter in your area. Good luck!