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How Many Times Can You Paint The Same Wall?

Author: Lauren Coleman

I think I’ve mentioned my Dad is a painter and decorator. With James away in New Zealand this week my parents have been staying with me. They’ve done a sterling job of helping me with a very long to-do list, one of those jobs being the starting of the nursery project.

My go-to white paint is always Supermatt White from Dulux. You can see the results from the first time I used in it in the header image above. As the name suggests it’s a flat, matt paint with a true white appearance. The plan was always for my dad to paint the ceiling with my favourite white leaving the walls to be done at a later date leaving me plenty of time to choose a shade.
Forgetting my dad is a professional, he finished the ceiling in about an hour and was then sat twiddling his thumbs. Paint choices take me AGES and the prospect of nipping off to B&Q to get 2.5 litres of paint unresearched was quite daunting.

My usual process for choosing paint goes as follows:

  • Scour the paint charts, taking into consideration where the swatch sits. If you’re planning on getting a shade mixed and have to choose from hundreds of clour chips then pay attention to where it’s been placed amongst the rest of the range. If it’s a grey that sits amongst the blues then it’s likely to have a blue undertone.
  • Trawl Pinterest and Google to see the shade in use. I always try to delve a bit deeper to find out which aspect the room has as it can dramatically alter the finished appearance of the shade
  • Consider existing furnishings and carpets to check the shade complements them
  • Buy testers and paint large sheets of paper moving them around the room to see how the light is cast/

Luckily I had a half day so after a minuscule bit of research I narrowed it down to two selections; Dulux White Mist and Dulux Polished Pebble both recommended for their very subtle grey hue.
Testers went on the wall and paralysis struck. Polished Pebble looked perfect in a small swatch but would it be darker than I wanted when the whole wall was smothered in a couple of coats? Let’s go for White Mist. Or wait, should be it be Polished Pebble? Yes, that one. Actually, no.

In the end I went for White Mist and truth be told, it’s too flipping pale. If anyone is looking for a super subtle whisper of grey I can highly recommend it. The room looks really fresh but I was hoping to have a greater contrast between the walls and my favourite feature of the room, the quirky sloping ceiling. My general rule of thumb is to go lighter than you actually think to make the space seem larger but in thi,s case I shouldn’t have taken my advice.

I think my record for room painting is three consecutive applications. It was my first foray into grey and I ended up with a lilac. It was not a good look.
I remember talking to queen of the dark side Abigail Ahern a couple years ago. Her view was what’s to lose? If you don’t like it, simply paint over it. In this camp though that’s a bit of a pain in the bum and can result in death stares and a bit of expense too. I think I’ll wait for James to get home and have a gander before I make a decision on whether to change to a different paint tin.

How many paint times have you painted a wall before you’ve been happy with the colour? How do you go about choosing a shade for your room? Any paint dramas you’ve got yourself tied up in? If you’re planning on doing any painting then do check out our archives for guides and tips.

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23 thoughts on “How Many Times Can You Paint The Same Wall?

  1. We went Polished Pebble in our lounge and I love it. It can have a slight hint of lilac from certain angles (mainly because it’s a north facing room so very little natural light) but overall I’m happy with it. My parents have also chosen it for their lounge and it’s their first foray into the greys – they normally go for yellows!

    I don’t do much research into paint – I tend to stick to lighter shades rather than dark, pick a handful of swatches and samples and see what suits. My decor is fairly neutral although I did go bold on a fireplace surround and that did take a lot of time and energy to find the right shade of dark green. Dulux came through in the end though and I love it against the off-white/cream walls.

    1. Jo G, it’s a really lovely colour. I couldn’t see the lilac in our testers but I think it’s because the room is a south facer.

  2. Ahhh I hate it when this happens! Try Laura Ashley pale dove grey – it’s the BEST soft grey, not too dark not too light and not at all lilac (which I’m not a fan of personally). Ignore the fact that it looks white on the website, it’s really not. I’ve used it twice now and about 3 friends have copied. Good luck! X

    1. Sarah, I used Pale Dove Grey on the gin tray in the snug and loved it. Didn’t know if it would be too light? x

  3. Our living room is in polished pebble, we found it really hard to find a grey that wasn’t slightly brown or blue! I don’t think it’s too dark and it’s quite a dark wall. I’m quite decisive on paint colours, so no multiple changes of could here, but do always try testers on each wall to see how the light affects it through the day. The worst we’ve had to do is cover a bright teal feature wall in the living room – that took 6 coats of paint before I was satisfied it wasn’t peeping through!!

  4. Farrow and Ball ‘Strong White’ might be worth looking at? We have it in our bedroom and love it.
    x

    1. Helen I saw someone on insta with what I thought was Strong White and loved it but when I went back to find the photos I couldn’t remember who it was! Good to hear your vote.

  5. Another polished pebble living room here! As mentioned above it does have a lilac undertone as our room is north facing and there’s lilac 2layers underneath. I wrote the wrong flipping name down for a previous decorator and ended up with a half purple living room! *Facepalm*

  6. We’ve just painted our kitchen/ living in strong white which I love. We wanted a contrast to the brilliant white ceiling and it’s the perfect shade of not too grey/ too white! X

  7. I have white mist in my bedroom and I love it – but it is very very pale which is what I wanted as I have a forest mural across one wall so wanted very muted on the rest of the walls so I totally understand if you wanted more of a contrast then you are questioning your final choice!
    My paint colour choosing goes very much like yours Lauren – loads of research and the swatches on the walls – when i was trying to find the perfect pale pink with underhint of grey for my hallway i bought SO many samples at greaat expense – I never did find the perfect colour – so that went back to the drawing board!! And yes you can paint over it – but seriously who actually wants to have to do that?? 😀

    1. White Mist is lovely. I’d really like to use it somewhere else.
      Exactly! Don’t want to do it more than once!

  8. We have just painted our nursery in F&B Blackened which does have a blue undertone to it. We were going to go for cornforth white as we had this in our living room and absolutely love it, but it looked like a completely different colour in the nursery! Blackened was way too cold for our living room. I have heard good things about Laura Ashley Pale Dove Grey. As you are not the one repainting the wall, I think the question needs to be directed at your dad, how many times is too many hehehe! X

  9. Our nursery is polished pebble below the picture rail, bog standard white above & ceiling. It’s a lovely contrast and not at all stark, and the grey is a lovely true but warm grey (it’s a south facing room, definitely no lilac hues here). It’s a really gorgeous, calm room.

    We painted our dining room an off white which is far too cream really, but there is no way i would suggest repainting now! I can only imagine the exasperated looks that would get!

    1. That contrast is exactly what I was after Katie. I’m using mustard, pink and navy accents so I’d prefer not to have a lilac undertone.

  10. I painted our living room 3 times once, just trying to get the right grey! And this was all done in the space of a few week too…. Hmmm
    Always so tricky getting a colour right. Even if you paint your swatch onto big sheets of paper, you can never tell until the final room is painted and then it depends on light.
    My worst mistake was painting a bedroom in a cheap paint as it required so, so many coats to get a good coverage. I’ve learnt my lesson and always pay for a better brand, such as Little Greene. Mortar is a brilliant grey/taupe colour that seems to work with everything. However Perennial Grey which I painted the living room with originally has way too much purple in the undertones.

    1. I love Little Greene paint – had it in my kitchen in my old house, but was in John Lewis yesterday and the paint chips are completely different colours to the testers?! So confusing!

  11. I’ve only once regretted a paint choice and that was out front door and I only did one stroke to know it was wrong. Was the only time I hadn’t sampled though. I usually go bold and dark and am pretty laid back so don’t get too hung up on if that particular shade of green is too blue or too yellow. My bedroom turned out much dark then I expected but I actually love it more for it

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