Color Me Flummoxed: Choosing a Paint Color

I am a fan of the Sherwin-Williams Company, if only for the crazy audacity of their logo: a giant paint can spilling its contents over Earth. What I want to know is, how did they decide on the color? Painting the earth is a big job. You don’t want to do it twice. And red is a bold choice for even the smallest home decor project.

Paint Colors

As is yellow. Last year, Ed and I spent 45 minutes flipping through yellow paint chips when we redid our TV room. Seeking something subtle, we went with Peace Yellow. Ed covered two walls. “Whoa!” he said, squinting. It was like living inside Easter. We had failed to observe the Universal Law of Paint Chips: Whatever you choose will be two times brighter, darker and more garish than it looked on the chip.

This time, repainting the guest room, we decided to go with Benjamin Moore. They sell trial paint containers the size of baby-food jars, and, as with baby food, the idea is to smear patches of the stuff all over the walls. This enables you to try the colors out before committing to a full gallon. Off we went to the paint store.

“This is nice,” said Ed, holding up a chip of Wyndham Cream. The name was pretty but largely devoid of useful color associations. This bugs me. I like a paint namer who calls it like it is—for instance, the person who came up with Benjamin Moore’s American Cheese. Although who in their right mind—not that anybody in the midst of a home decor project is in their right mind—would cover their walls with something suggestive of Velveeta? “Some dogs I know,” Ed said. “My nephew. Your friend Clark.”

Because Wyndham Cream sounded so lovely, we bought the little jar of it, as well as a jar of Asbury Sand, Crowne Hill Yellow, Hathaway Peach and a couple of others. Only when we got them on the wall did we recognize the colors for what they actually were: Caulk, Jaundice, Band-Aid and Cheap Drugstore Foundation.