thank you, sherwin williams.

10 samples. 10 samples, and one false start. It’s embarrassing, but that’s what it took. My best friend laughed at me. My children thought I was crazy. But my husband, who knows me better than anyone, simply waited. Waited until I found the right color. You may remember the white paint dilemma that took place over 60 DAYS AGO. Well, you will all be happy to know that I have finally made a decision. After 10 samples. And 2 gallons of the wrong color.

I really wanted a light gray that would translate as a white when it was up on the walls. I had no idea how difficult it is to get GRAY. I thought I had found the perfect color (6 samples in), and bought 2 gallons to cover the walls in my soon-to-be office/living/crafting area (Bay Waves, by Valspar). But when one wall was completely done, I looked at it, then looked at Ed with a stricken face and said, “this is blue!”  The color had just a hint of blue that made it look like a baby boy’s nursery. Totally NOT what I wanted. So Ed put down his roller and calmly told me that it was okay, we’d go get the color I wanted.

The problem was, I couldn’t find it. Every gray I tried was either too blue, too green, or too pink. I couldn’t find just a plain GRAY. Yes, I realize I’m using a lot of caps today, but I’m trying to illustrate my frustration with something that I thought should be completely simple.

I realized I needed help. It was time to forgo the DIY superstore approach and go to a paint store. A store that sells nothing but paint. Lots of paint. With professionals. Turns out there’s a Sherwin Williams right down the street – even closer than the Lowe’s to which we had already made 3 trips.

I walked in while Ed was at work, and stared with fear at all the paint chips. The saleswoman came over to me and asked if she could help me. I said, “I sure hope so!”  She smiled and began to show me some different variations of gray that they had. I explained what I wanted, and she picked up a color and said, “I think this is what you’re looking for.”  The name of the color was On the Rocks. It was fate! I loved it immediately. I bought a sample. But I had already been burned, so I bought samples of 3 other colors as well. I was hoping that the saleswoman is used to customers like me, and I’m not the only crazy paint lady. 4 hours later, when I decided that she was right and On the Rocks was exactly the color I wanted, I sent Ed to go pick up 2 gallons of her suggestion. When he placed the order, she asked if he was the husband of the crazy paint lady who was in earlier. Well, I’m sure she said it with more tact. She remembered me. So maybe I am the only crazy paint lady. Oh well.

I am happy to report that half of the room is completely painted! I was a bit afraid to walk downstairs this morning and face my decision. Like it may have turned blue overnight. But my fears were unfounded. I am still in love with this color, and love it more each passing hour. I can’t wait to finish!

Thank you, Sherwin Williams.

On the Rocks Paint Chip by Sherwin Williams

I realize that every monitor is different, so this photo probably does not do the color justice, but it looks pretty close on my computer screen. I failed to get a before picture, but I’ll be sure to post an after picture. Would anyone be interested in progress photos as the room develops? I’ll be happy to post updates if that would be interesting to anyone out there.

But for now, I’m going to go stare at my beautiful walls.

Here’s to admitting defeat. And seeking professional help. And a paint name that was made for me. Cheers!

24 Comments
  • marci lambert
    Posted at 14:11h, 18 January

    dude. i painted my bedroom what i thought was grey (Tinsel Beam) and it’s basically lavender and i hate it. still haven’t repainted, though…

  • Kate
    Posted at 13:40h, 28 September

    I have been in your shoes. With my previous house I drove myself crazy. I am now the proud owner of over 20 paint sample cans. (what to do with them all now?) I lived with a patchwork quilt of paint colors in my dining room for almost 3 months. (hey, I have small kids, so I do have some excuse, right?) So for my new house I was determined not to have the same problem. So far, I have gotten through painting the foyer and I only bought one test can before committing. With that, I got pretty confident, so when I went to paint my son’s bathroom a light gray (we are doing a shark theme), I thought after one sample can of gray paint, I was Ok with it. Painted the first coat. It was blue. clashed with counters and floors. So I went back and got a sample of “On the Rocks”. I feel really confident that it is the right gray! Love it! I’m glad to know that I am not the only crazy paint lady!

    • Amy
      Posted at 18:16h, 28 September

      I’m so glad I’m not alone, Kate! Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  • Molly
    Posted at 10:38h, 07 April

    I am going through this same thing right now!!! Trying to find the perfect gray is impossible. My fiance and I just bought our first home so we are very new to all of this. I’m so glad I came across your post! I would love to see process photos! Or even just some of your final product with “on the rocks”. Thanks! Molly

  • Melissa
    Posted at 17:34h, 08 March

    I just picked up On the Rocks too! I too am wanting a light light grey! I hope this does the trick!

  • Michelle
    Posted at 15:46h, 11 May

    um I have bought many samples and come home with about 4,000 chips of color. I just got home with On The Rocks and Light French Grey from Sherwin Williams. Yes, they all know me there now….I googled on the rocks SW and this blog came up. I laughed all the way through it! I feel like I finally found my color! MY husband will be so relieved!

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:01h, 12 May

      Haha! Thanks for sharing your story, Michelle! I’m so glad I’m not the only one!!

  • Tara
    Posted at 15:30h, 18 August

    crazy paint lady here as well, I am up to 17 paint samples at the house and no end in sight. It is relieving to hear that there are others out there like me. We should form a support group. lol

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:56h, 22 August

      A support group is a great idea, Tara! The good news is that I’m still in LOVE with the color! So the hassle was worth it 🙂

  • Marianne
    Posted at 06:00h, 08 April

    Love it, you’re all my kin, cut from the same cloth.

    I too found On The Rocks and. Any edit to use it in our gutted hall bathroom. I’ll post before & after a.

    I thought SW Latitude would’ve done the trick but that’s way too blue.

    See you round the less crazy side once this Reno is complete 😉

  • Donna Woods
    Posted at 10:25h, 24 April

    I guess I’m a crazy paint lady too. I painted my entire house with Sherwin Williams Repose Grey and Mindful Gray except three bedrooms. I couldn’t decide what colors to transition to for each room so I decided to paint them all the same color. This decision came after purchasing about 20 samples (you can’t give me too many choices…lol). I decided to go with SW On the Rocks in all three bedroom. The Master is Repose Grey (tray ceiling and master bath Mindful Gray). My upstairs hallway is Repose Grey. I thought about making those rooms Repose Grey as well but wanted something a little lighter but still gray looking. The Repose Grey is more of a greige in darker area (upstairs hall) but in lighter areas it’s a very light gray (very nice). Well, needless to say, I want to catch the 40% paint sell at SW (last day is today). So, I hope On the Rocks is the look I’m going for. The painters will be coming back to paint those rooms. I hope this color work, if not I’ll have have to pay them to come back and re-paint. I’ve never had to go through this before. This is my first home.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 21:31h, 29 April

    I felt like this story was about me. After being steered down the path of cool grays by the big box ‘expert’ I got back on track for Greige. Agreeable Gray and Repose Gray are my favorite chips but my sister prefers OnThe Rocks. Next stop, more samples. FYI, I was told Habitat for Humanity takes paints samples.

  • Jk blank
    Posted at 22:18h, 26 March

    I’ll join the support group going thru all this now and I’m in tears I get home with my samples and I paint it on the white boards and think I found it but when I put it on my toape walls it’ looks like a different color. Most of the samples look white from misty grey to rock candy, if not white it’s blue…… right now I don’t care care what color these walls get painted I’m tired of looking…..

    • J H
      Posted at 19:41h, 21 June

      Crazy paint lady here , A patchwork quilt of 27 paint samples all over my condo. They all seem too green , blue purple , pink..Losing my mind .
      A couple years ago when I bought my first home I painted my bedroom grey just before I moved in and I hate it . Its blue. Cant wait to get rid of it.
      Need to stop all the crazy and finally decided on On the Rocks . I’m letting the pros do it this time.
      I’ll let you know how it goes.
      I’ll join that support group . Think I need it. Lol
      I hear habitat for Humanity takes paint samples.

      • Amy
        Posted at 14:25h, 22 June

        Haha! So glad I’m not the only one! a few years later, and I’m still enjoying my On the Rocks. I won’t say it doesn’t change color throughout the day, but it does always stay GREY. Thanks for the info about Habitat for Humanity! I didn’t know that! Good luck!

  • Elisabeth
    Posted at 14:41h, 13 April

    Can you recommend other greys that go well with On the Rocks? We painted our entry hall On The Rocks but I’m trying to figure out what to paint the living room and kitchen since they have adjoining walls. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:35h, 23 April

      Hi Elisabeth! I’m actually getting ready to repaint our living room so that it will go better with my office that has been painted with the On the Rocks. It hasn’t been painted in years, and it clashes so badly! I’ll let you know what I decide!

      • Elisabeth
        Posted at 06:33h, 05 June

        Thank you for your reply! Been looking at “Repose Gray,” among others.
        Really love your blog, Amy..

  • Karen Neumann
    Posted at 15:09h, 22 February

    I was up to 27 samples of gray paint. I had Behr, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin Williams. We ended up using SW Zircon in the kitchen. We just put in white cabinets on two walls and a dark blue island (SW Dress Blues). We have north facing windows in the kitchen and the paint is a beautiful gray color. It is not reading blue at all.

    We then put the SW On the Rocks in the dining room. It is a lovely light gray that reads a true gray (imagine that). We intend to paint the living room, family room, and adjoining halls with it. I’m thinking of using something a bit darker in the office and the bedrooms. Maybe SW Knitting Needles.

  • Tracy Twyman
    Posted at 13:40h, 22 September

    I got sample of on the rocks yesterday! I want to know if I need to paint where there is a lot of natural light or it really doesn’t matter? I also wanted to use it all through my home, or should I mix it up a little for my master bedroom and office?

  • Margaret Lowe
    Posted at 22:46h, 24 August

    Did you do the ceiling the same as the walls with on the rocks?

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:35h, 25 August

      Hi Margaret! No, we like our ceilings bright white, so we did not paint those.

  • Kay
    Posted at 08:17h, 19 December

    Having the same problem…I bought 6 samples of what I thought was a perfect gray…Well after putting a samp,e on the walls it ended up to dark, to blue, to purp,e, just not GRAY!!!! I’m going for 2 more samp,es of SW Ice Cube and On The Rocks….Does anyone know which is lighter with less blue, purple, undertones???? Just not finding the light gray I’m searching for….