How To Lighten (Or Darken) Paint

We’re up to our eyeballs in primer today, but since we had a few questions about why we decided to lighten our Gray Owl paint by 50%, and what it meant to lighten paint, I wanted to publish a quick post about that here today.

We decided to go with the 50% lightened version of Gray Owl because we like the way it looks and it seems to flow nicely with the Gray Lake-painted walls in our sunroom next door.

A commenter named Cami (Hi, Cami!) asked if we could post a photo of the lightened Gray Owl next to the regular Gray Owl, so here’s another shot of the current kitchen paint colors (Manchester Tan and Algonquin Tan), and the ones we’re switching to (Simply White and Gray Owl lightened by 50%) next to regular Gray Owl:

 photo Lettered_Cottage_Kitchen_Paint_Colors_zps48eea236.jpg

You can see the biggest difference in the new trim color up at the top of the window trim. We’ll be painting the baseboards, crown molding and doors Simply White as well. After that, we’ll swap out the off-white switches for bright white ones at some point, too. Ooh! And to the commenter named Sarah (Hi, Sarah!) who asked if we’ll be painting our kitchen cabinets- the answer is yep! We’re going Simply White on the uppers and lowers on the stove side of the room, and a shade of green on the island.

As for the paint lightening process, we asked a friendly fella at our local Benjamin Moore store to break it down for us and this is what he said. When you mix a paint color, you start out with a can of white base paint, and you drop a certain number of other colors into it. He gave us an example of a paint color being 10 drops of yellow, and 10 drops of black. To lighten any color by 50%, you would cut the number of drops in half. For example, you’d only mix 5 drops of yellow and 5 drops of black into the white base paint. You’d do just the opposite to make a paint color darker. Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s one more pic of the lightened version next to the regular strength version of Gray Owl:

 photo Lettered_Cottage_Kitchen_Paint_Colors_1_zpsc1c9492d.jpg

There’s not a *huge* difference, but it’s just the intensity of Gray Owl we were looking for, so we’re gonna roll with it! #literally

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Wonderful Waiting Kids
Gray Owl And Simply White

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  1. barbara zenker says

    can you show me how to darken the paint. I have a benjaming moore Grant Beige that I’m using for my walls. I want to use the same color but darkened for the trim.

    How do I darken the Grant Beige.

    • Layla says

      Hi Barbara!
      You’d have to talk to the folks at Benjamin Moore about darkening the formula when they mix it. Happy painting! :-)

  2. Erica B says

    After reading this blog post I had my paint store mix a half-formula gallon of BM Edgecomb Gray. It turned out great!

    The small bedroom I needed to paint did not have as much light as another part of the house painted Edgecomb Gray. The half-formual version brightened it up just a bit without compromising the color.

  3. Leanne Marquis says

    Thank you for this. :) I am sorry I didn’t notice the option to click. This mama was covered in wigggly toddler love while reading your blog so thank you for being gracious. <3

  4. Michelle says

    I love this because I’m having the worst time trying to pick a paint color for all our living spaces. We have an open floor plan, so everything has to flow. I have samples of BM Camouflage and Hazy Skies and while I like both, the intensity of each is a bit much. I may see if a BM store will make a sample of each of those at half strength and I can see if those will work. This blog post was incredibly timely for me! :)

  5. Cynthia Harmel says

    Hi Layla,
    Are the walls in your home textured or smooth? Mine are all textured (orange peel looking) and wondering if yours look so much MORE spectacular if they’re on a “smooth” wall. Besides that, everything you do looks SPECTACULAR!! :)

    Cynthia (in California)

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