50 Shades of Gray and I Wind Up With Baby Blue

I tried. I really did. I used an app to match the gray color in the rug that I liked. I got sample after sample after sample and painted swatches on every single wall in the dining room. Took pictures with lights on, lights off, blinds open, blinds closed. Squinted. Asked for opinions. Got a fourth of a wall done before starting over. And in the end, I have a baby blue dining room. A BABY BLUE dining room. Par for the course for me when it comes to paint color picking…..*sigh*

So let’s backtrack a little: am I the only one who will have 27 things that NEED to be done at any given time, but still choose to randomly repaint a room instead? We’ve been in our house for over five years now and the brown dining room has never bothered me too much before. Sure, the lighting is awful. And it’s pretty dark and dungeon-like in there with the chocolate walls and oversized dark wood furniture. But honestly the only times we ever use it (for something other than laundry overflow) are the two days a year we pull out of our hermit shells long enough to host a shindig.

Leave it to me to forget to snap a before pic until after I got a few samples on the wall…

Regardless of where it came from, the revamp bug bit me and The Dining Dungeon got a budget friendly overhaul.

I’m good at a lot of things; picking paint isn’t one of them

IMG_4724Umm…yeah. This is kind of a thing with me. It doesn’t matter how many “how to pick the right paint color” tips I follow. I.Can’t.Do.It. Hubs still reminds me of that time 9 years ago when I tried to paint our bedroom tan and it ended up a shade of shiny gold. Oh and there was that one time when one of the boys liked turtles and I thought a green room would be cute. That one’s really not my fault. I used the paint recommendation on the target bedding packaging. (That room’s actually still green and everybody refuses to go in there because it hurts our eyes….)

I’m not sure why I thought this dining room experience would be any different. But I was confident that anything would be an improvement over the dark brown. No such luck. I was going for GRAY people!!

Painting trim, the ultimate motivation drain

All of it was like this! I guess I never bothered to look up, maybe??

Despite not being totally in love with the final sample color, I was pumped to get going. For better or worse, the change was gonna be dramatic. Of course, hubs had to go and be a buzzkill and tell me the trim needed to be painted first. Ugh…blah. White on a different shade of white, precise edge work, arm in the air all day. Right….go ahead and pull the plug on the excitement train.

The kids call this my “Not Happy Happy Face”. They are correct.

As always, though, he was right. When I really looked at it, the baseboards and crown molding were gross. The trim had bleed-overs of three or four different versions of dining room lives on them.

The crown molding looked filthy (turned out that whoever put it up just got lazy and left the space between the teeth unpainted). I used an old toothbrush to clean it and sacrificed a concealer brush (I have no idea how to use makeup brushes for anything other than putting on blush so it wasn’t a MASSIVE sacrifice) to paint the grooves. I gotta admit, the new trim paint really did give it a fresh look that I hadn’t noticed it was lacking before.

What the sam heck is that?!

The house isn’t that old, but anytime you move in after a couple of previous owners you’re bound to find a few surprises if you really start looking hard. The dining room turned out to offer several of them ranging anywhere from surprise wallpaper curling against the window trim to bright red paint on several of the electrical outlets.


But my all-time favorite (heavy sarcasm) had to be what was apparently a wad of dog hair painted into the base board. I kid you not. In addition to the actual wad, I scraped and sanded out thousands of solo hairs that had been painted into the wall by previous owners. It makes me gag thinking about it still. Makes me want to crawl around the house on my hands and knees checking the rest of the baseboards (not enough to actually DO it, but you know…EW).


Paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint

Once you’ve slapped samples on the wall, you’ve kind of forced yourself into a project that has to be finished regardless of how long you stay motivated. The more I got on the wall though, the more I realized that, regardless of the fact that it looked absolutely gray on the card and was the best out of the 50 samples on the wall, I was going to have a baby blue dining room.

After 4 gray samples I settled on one and trimmed out an entire wall before I admitted it was blue regardless of the name. Slapped up two more colors and went with the left square which totally looks gray here, right? RIGHT??

So I made myself finish a wall. Waited until I cared enough to do another wall. Waited again. And so on. Eventually I got the whole room covered, but I’m not gonna lie…I drug this project out. I knew the finished project wasn’t going to be what I wanted and had in mind originally, so I was in no rush. Plus, work and kids and all, right?


Something else that I thought would help lighten the room up was switching out the heavy chocolate curtains. Because the custom ones that you order from a design showroom are pretty stout price-wise, I decided to check out JCPenny online and was pleasantly surprised with their fabric selection.

We ordered and sent back several (be sure to measure the length you need even if your spouse absolutely KNOWS what height your ceilings are….all I’m gonna say) and ended up settling on some that had the wrong top but right fabric (check out what I did to make them work in my When You’re Too Cheap for Custom Curtains post – super easy (minus the sewing machine debacle)).

Finishing touches


After all of that it was really just down to some finishing touches. I would never consider it decorated yet, but it’s on its way. We changed out the outlets and faceplates, decided the massive black mirror had to go and replaced it with pics of the littles (hubs used some old barn wood to make the frames – LOVE). And if we’re planning on people coming over, we’ll throw some fresh flowers on the table. Otherwise it stays undecorated, because you know, laundry and all.


I’m still not 100% cool with the gray-that-is-actually-blue paint, but overall I’d give this revamp an A+ on the bang for the buck factor. Now I’ve just got to find somewhere else to keep the liquor that doesn’t make my Southern Baptist family curl their nose every time they come over for supper….


Until next time,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s