Paint By Numbers

Hey there all you paint-happy people!  After  our renovation was featured last weekend on Young House Love I got bunches of emails from you guys asking about the paint colors that we used, so I decided it’s high time for me to finally spill the paint-covered beans.  So hold onto your paint stirrers ’cause here we go!

1.   What brand of paint did you use? Our original plan was to use Behr from Home Depot, simply because that’s what we’re familiar with (and there’s a Home Depot about an inch from our house).  But it turns out that painters in our area recommend Pittsburgh Paints like it’s going out of style, so we went ahead and gave them a whirl.  Turned out pretty darn well, if you ask me!!  The coverage is awesome (not too runny or thin) and they have tons of awesome shades to pick from.  (My personal favorite is Toasted Almond, but more about that later).

Paint by Numbers

2.   Did you use all latex, or did you use some oil-based? We actually used a little bit of both.  All of our drywall was painted with a flat latex paint – flat because I typically think shiny walls are a big no-no and latex because the cleanup is so easy, the paint dries in a snap, fumes aren’t as bad and drywall typically doesn’t need the tough finish that oil-based paints provide.  However, all of the wood surfaces in our house were painted with an oil-based semi-gloss paint that is super-tough and dries super-smooth.  When  you’re dealing with wood surfaces like trim or cabinets that are really smooth, you want a paint like an oil-based that will dry without any streaks or brush marks or else all of your hard work will wind up looking kinda funky.  Oil-based paint also adheres really well to wood so it helps prevent all of your nice woodwork from getting scratched and nicked over time.  And we used a semi-gloss because I love it when wood has a subtle sheen – it makes your woodwork stand out and get the appreciation it deserves.

We wound up going through tons of that oil-based semi-gloss on all of our molding, doors and cabinetry throughout the house, as well as the wood paneling in our den:


3.   How did you decide what paint colors to use? Ahh, picking paint colors.  I was tempted to fib a little and tell you that it was easy breezy picking colors for this house, but let me tell you – it wasn’t.  At first I was all gung-ho about the thought of picking out colors for each room – I got out our trusty paint deck each night after work, picked out colors and discussed the pros and cons of each color with my husband.  We had the entire house picked out in no time.  And then it came time to actually commit to the colors.  And I freaked out.

How was I supposed to pick out paint colors for an entire house when I couldn’t even look at our furniture or bedding to figure out which paint colors would look best with our stuff??  That’s right, all of our stuff was still in storage when it came time to paint – talk about scary!  So after I freaked out a little, my mom and I went to the paint store and picked up a whole bunch of those little pint samples of the paint colors that we liked and went to town – I swear, our house must have looked like a disgruntled painters’ union ran through it.  But in the end, that’s the best thing we could have done – spending just a little money on those samples saved us a ton of money in the long run because as great as those paint decks are they can never really tell you exactly what the paint is going to look like on your wall.  So here’s my earth-shattering tip that we all know but try to ignore – try it out before you buy it!  And as an added bonus, you’ll have all of those little paint samples left over for touch-ups or DIY projects down the road.

Paint by Numbers

4.   What colors did you use? After all the drama of picking the paint colors was over, we wound up with paint colors that we absolutely love.  Some of them I know I’ll use in my house forever.  Here’s the list:


Trim, cabinets, den walls                Atrium White, 523-1 (oil; semi-gloss)

Office                                                       Balsam, 510-4 (flat latex)

Entry                                                       Toasted Almond, 414-3 (flat latex)

Dining                                                      Toasted Almond, 414-3 (flat latex)

Kitchen                                                    Toasted Almond, 414-3 (flat latex)

Craft Room                                             Graceful, 452-3 (flat latex)

Laundry Bathroom                             Subtle Blue, 452-1 (flat latex)

Laundry                                                   Subtle Blue, 452-1 (flat latex)

Hallway                                                    Antique White, 516-2 (flat latex)

Second Bedroom                                  Tradewinds, 453-2 (flat latex)

Third Bedroom                                      Antique White, 516-2 (flat latex)

Jack & Jill Bathroom                           White Sage, 410-2 (flat latex)

Master Bedroom                                   Toasted Almond, 414-3 (flat latex)

Master Bathroom                                 Toasted Almond, 414-3 (flat latex)

All closets                                               Ceiling White

All ceilings (except den)                   Ceiling White

Den ceiling                                              Atrium White, 523-1 (flat latex)

Hall Bathroom                                       Felicity, 453-3 (flat latex)

You can see most of the colors in action right here (and the rest are coming soon).  But for those of you that need instant gratification, here’s a quick visual breakdown of our colors:

Paint By Numbers

Paint By Numbers

Paint By Numbers

[Keep in mind that these colors are only as accurate as your computer monitor.  On my screen, the Jack ‘n Jill bath looks blue when it’s actually green.  Weird.]

Here’s a little floorplan of our house so you can visualize where the colors go:

Picture 1

5.   Do you like all of the colors that you picked?  Yes.  Toasted Almond and Atrium White are my total faves – they are glorious.  However, if I were to do it all over again I would not pick so many shades of the same colors.  At the time I thought that it was important for each room to be slightly different so that the house wouldn’t feel monotonous, but in the end I basically wound up picking the same colors over and over again.  It turns out that I like blues, greens and tans and they all work in the house so there was no point in me trying to reinvent the wheel for each room – next time I will just pick a shade of each color and stick with it.

So that’s it!  The paint colors for my whole house in a nutshell.  What do you think?  Has picking paint colors driven you batty?  Any tips for picking the perfect shade??

Check out Apartment Therapy for a few tips on choosing paint colors for your home from Farrow & Ball.

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  1. Tonya says:

    Thanks for the paint 101! I love the choices you all made! They look so warm and inviting. Like you, we have an open floor plan (on a much smaller scale), so I wasn’t sure whether to paint the kitchen and living room the same color or complimentary colors. I ended up going with beige in the living room and breakfast nook, then a light green in the kitchen – I was so happy with the way it turned out! The great thing about paint – it’s easy to change if you hate it!

    Thanks again for the great website!!!

  2. Liz says:


    You are so right, open floor plans can be really tricky. However, as long as you have a natural division point in the room (such as a turn in the wall) then you can definitely use more than one paint color in the space, keeping in mind that you will achieve the best effect with colors that are complimentary in tone and hue. Sounds like you’ve already got it down!!

    When you don’t have a natural division point or you want to keep a unified color palette throughout the space, a great way to distinguish between the different areas of the room is through accent colors and the use of focal points. In our kitchen and den, which are open to one another, we used a mossy green glass backsplash as the focal point in the kitchen, and our huge stone fireplace provides a focal point on the opposite wall in the den. Works like a charm!!

    ~ Liz

  3. christy says:

    Love the paint colors you’ve chosen – and I’m impressed by how well they all go together! Bravo! And how organized you are to have them all to share!

    I love our paint colors too – we only kept 2 rooms the same color as the previous owners, because we really like them – our red kitchen and our sage green living/dining room combo. All the other rooms in the house, we’ve painted. Oh wait, one more we kept – our daughter’s nursery – it’s two tones of caribbean blue with a white chair rail and we just love it. We girly’ed it up by adding a pink/orange/white flor tile rug, and all girly decor.

    Great post!!

  4. Nicole says:

    I really enjoy those colors! Many of our rooms still have the old owners’ colors of choice (after 2 years). I think I’ve kept them because I wasn’t sure of what colors I watned. The more I look, the more I enjoy the softer tones…I’m kind of an earthy gal anyway! ;-)

  5. Liz says:


    Go ahead and take the plunge!! Like Tonya said in the comment above, paint is the easiest and cheapest thing to change in your home, so go ahead and give it a whirl! And it’s so easy to make sure that you’ll like the color by buying a small pint-sized sample of a few different paint colors (most brands offer them now). Just paint a few squares on your walls to see them in action and all the guess work is gone! And the earthy tones that you like are perfect for accessorizing through color – you won’t have to worry about a room looking plain or impersonal because you can always jazz it up with colorful pillows or artwork.

    ~ Liz

    P.S. Keep us posted on what you decided to do! And I love pictures . . . :)

  6. Lindsay says:


    You replied to me via email but I just had to say THANKS again for the paint info! These colors are absolutely beautiful and look so crisp, clean and classy in your home!

    Thanks again for the info! I’m going to take the plunge VERY soon and start painting away. I’ll be sure and let you know how it turns out!


  7. chris says:

    Following your advice here in, I trotted to my local Pittsburgh Paints to purchase Toasted Almond. It was something like $32 a gallon for latex. I asked if there was any was to get a discount. The paint man said, “Sure! It will be $21 a gallon.” I was surprised and asked what he needed for me to qualify. He took my name, address, and phone number. He said he would not give my name or contact number to other sources. He swore that anyone could ask for and receive the huge discount. Then I paid the reduced sum and trotted home to paint! TRUE STORY!
    I suggest you all at least try it, so we can see if he was angry and getting revenge on his possibly dreadful boss. I was a happy girl, and am definitely going back!

  8. Liz says:


    I am so jealous of your Pittsburgh Paints story!!! Thanks for the great tip, hopefully it will work for the rest of us. Great job on getting such an awesome deal!


    I’m so glad the info helped!! I can’t wait to see pictures of your transformation. :)

    ~ Liz

  9. chris says:

    What I really want to know, is how did you create that fabulous actual diagram of your home’s floor plan with actual possessions realistically located? This is beyond cool.

  10. Russ says:

    We followed your transformation from the thisyounghouse blog. Imagine our delight to see a ranch house that looks just like ours, wood paneling and all! We love all your updates. We are working on ours on a much smaller and slower scale. We were curious, you mentioned that you had considered not painting the paneling… Have you found any inspiration ideas for wood paneled rooms and/or did you have any ideas of your own? We’re trying to find a way to keep the paneling, maybe turning it into a big, formal/English library-ish room, but we’re stuck, especially flooring and colors.

  11. Liz says:


    So glad you found us! I’m going to answer your questions in tomorrow’s post, so be sure to check it out!

    ~ Liz