Painting The Pantry


I noticed something serendipitous while the paint was going up on the walls in the pantry yesterday. Do you see it there, too?


That’s our (50% lightened) Gray Owl paint on the wall space between each shelf, but it almost has a “paint strip” effect because of the different light and shadows in there, doesn’t it? So fun!

Ooh- and speaking of paint strips, some readers were wondering why we lightened our Gray Owl paint by 50% and “didn’t just go with the next lighter color on the paint strip?“.

Well, according to the folks at our local Benjamin Moore, each color on a paint strip is exactly that: each a different color. Every paint strip is made up of colors that coordinate…not one that has been gradually lightened from the bottom to the top of the strip. They’re all mixed up using different formulas. For instance, we used the color Simply White on all of our doors, shelves and trim. Here’s the paint strip it’s featured on:


Again, according to the folks at our local Benjamin Moore, if you lightened the color Camouflage by 25%, 50% or 75%- you would not end up with the colors, Old Prarie, Moonlight White, and Simply White. They’re all made up by mixing different amounts of different colors together.

We chose to lighten our Gray Owl by 50% because Gray Owl was the exact shade of gray we wanted to use (undertones-wise)…we just wanted it a little brighter. Except for in the pantry. We’re crazy about the (serendipitous) variations in there!

Hope that helps and happy weekend!

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  1. Jeanna says

    Thank you for that! I had always assumed that it was the same color on the strip, just lightened. You have helped me so much :)

  2. says

    I love Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, it is what I use for the base coat of many of my signs. I am hooked on their Natura paint, no fumes in my studio while I paint.
    I do not normally like gray but I am a convert, the Gray Owl is a soothing color without being boring and depressing. (my usual reaction to gray)

  3. cindy says

    While I love the paint colours, I’m drooling over the “plug” you have in the pantry, what a great idea!!!

  4. SJ says

    Holy cow! I almost peed my pants when I realized this post was in response to my “pretty please” request! :) Thanks for the “now” pic! I always love your decorating choices and paint colors. I dig the Gray Owl 50% … really brightens up the space. Can’t wait to see the living room come together in the weeks and months ahead. Thanks again for the post!

  5. Shelley from Northern California says

    Thanks for explaining that! I’m ALWAYS looking at paint strips. Didn’t know that. Ya learn something new everyday!! Thanks Layla!

  6. says

    Layla, I am so loving seeing you transform each new room of your new home. It is already AMAZING! I say like a broken record, paint is the best invention ever. The rooms are so totally different looking and even more importantly the feel is completely different.
    I love going on your journeys with you and Kevin. Have a beautiful weekend. Geri.

  7. says

    Aren’t the folks at Benjamin Moore amazing? We have a store near our house and used them when we remodeled. We used Manchester Tan for our entire house and a 75% mixture for the ceiling. My husband and contractor went in most of the time but I had to buy paint a couple of times and they were so helpful and knowledgeable. In the past I had always used the big box stores and just felt like a number! At first I thought you meant the plug. We uncovered a plug in our pantry when we were doing work!

  8. Cindy Chapman says

    I thought y’all had painted each wall section a different color and was thinking that I would be doing well to get mine painted at all, much less a different color on each section.

  9. Angie Rice says

    I just painted my bathroom gray owl but at 100%. I had thought about doing the 50% lighter but decided not too. However the full strength looks very light on my walls and not sure why?? Also can you tell me what color that is on your kitchen walls?

    Thanks. Angie

  10. says

    I thought you painted the spaces between the shelves those different shades on purpose. That’s so cool! And thank you for the information about the paint strips. I had no idea each shade is actually a different color. We learn so much from you, Layla!

  11. says

    We learned something today! Being furniture designers, we aren’t as schooled in a lot of the ins and outs of interior design as we probably should be, so thanks for the lesson on paint! The color looks great. Did BM work with you to find the right %?

  12. Kristin says

    Thanks for the info! We just had some work done on our house and I asked for a color 50% lighter. Apparently our contractor, painter and the people at the paint store had no idea what that meant (though they did guess correctly, and I got the pretty color I wanted, only lighter!). So this post makes me feel much better. Confusing all the “professionals” is not the best feeling!

  13. vamom2 says

    This may sound silly but I didn’t even notice the paint variance. What I did see though is the faint shape of a cross, starting at the bottom, of course, and ending just above the top shelf….maybe a blessing bestowed on your new home?

  14. says

    Hi, I love seeing what colors you use in your home and I had always wondered about the colors on the paint strip, if they were lighter versions of the same thing I didn’t understand why people were lightening them now it makes sense. I can’t wait to see your finished pantry. I just posted mine today and it’s always fun to get new ideas.

  15. Rizza says

    hey Layla,
    Thanks for this! We’re planning on painting the walls in our house and I can’t make up my mind on some of the colors…not sure if its the right shade I’m looking for and not having a vision for the color in each specific room. I’ve also wondered if I should lighten some colors up…but this post is really helpful! Making a paint 25%, 50% or 75% is not a lighter version of the color before on that paint strip, but its the brighter color of the shade you picked. I’m getting it. Thank you for breaking it down. I may have to read this over again so I really understand!