I Know Color


When we bought this house, like most first-time homeowners, we saw nothing but potential.  We saw the tall original windows, the large rooms and convenient (for us, for others it’s a weird maze with too many doors) layout, and our brains automatically overwrote all the ugly because we were certain that it would all be “easy enough to fix.”


Heh.  Tiles are not a small issue.  Also, in case it ever comes up in your life: a pink bathtub is not a small issue.  Nor is the pink sink and the pink toilet that go with it.  I am not even kidding about these things.  And then they leaked.

money pit tub falling

Shown: a disaster with more square footage.


The people who owned this house before us, herein always referred to as Ward and June Cleaver, seemed aware of only two colors: blue and pink.  Everything is either blue or pink – except for the carpet, which is either blue or white – and every room had a different ugly wallpaper in some (usually floral) theme that was either mostly-blue or mostly-pink.  I used to like both of those colors, but after staring at them constantly – and being financially unable to get rid of the vile blue carpet, what with one thing and another – I’ve come to genuinely hate blue.  And there’s blue everywhere


The outside of the house is blue, the shutters are blue, the carpet, the walls, the goddamned curtains she left behind… all of it blue. 


I am determined to paint every inch of this house a color that is not blue. 

 paint all the things


After months of deliberation (and some struggles getting the paper off the walls safely; I don’t ever want to know what they used to stick that shit, but I got sick every time I started peeling and would end up in bed for a few days) I settled on a bright, sunny yellow for the foyer, stairs, and upstairs hallway.


Problem: I hated every color from that year’s paint chips. 


Did you know paint was seasonal, like fashion?  Yeah, they put out new colors every year; the really popular ones, along with some classic basics stick around from year to year, but 90% of what you see when you walk into your local home improvement place is new crap that they made up by slightly altering an existing formula.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that they actually go out and hunt down “new colors” from nature or some shit: they just slightly alter the formulas from last year and release a whole new batch.  And they don’t even play around a bit, looking for something good – it’s all done by a computer with the aesthetic sensibilities of… well, yeah.  Your toaster could do worse, but your phone could do better, essentially.


paint samples

All wrong.  All of it.


Naturally, I found a better method.  Being a generous sort, I will share it with you.


How to Find the Ideal Yellow Paint:

Step 1 – Collect stacks of paint chips from every store for 50 miles.  Discard these, they’re crap.

Step 2 – Go to Home Depot.  If they don’t know you already, they will soon.

Home Depot cashier

“Every time you walk through that door, a piece of my soul dies. What can I help you find today?”


Step 3 – Enter paint department.  Encounter aproned employee who asks if you need help, then lags behind as you start the conversation while walking away.  Coax this one in, you’ll need him.

Step 4 – Describe your ideal color using words that have absolutely nothing to do with the numbers and terms that are actually used to mix paint.  Point out that all sample cards are too orange, too green, or too “dead inside”.  It is important that the employee agree with you on this last point, and he will do so readily if you’ve managed to convert him during the course of this conversation—this is accomplished by lots and lots of talking and enthusiasm for your imaginary, sunny but not over-the-top, yellow.

Step 5 – Leave helpful husband out of the conversation now, because you’re building a relationship with Paint Guy, who is totally malleable.

Step 6 – At this point, Paint Guy should suggest starting with a white base and slowly adding drops of only pure yellow until you are happy.  Agree to this plan, then decide that you’ll need several samples of various stages in this process.  Your goal is to break the spirit of all paint department employees.

Step 7 – When you have three samples of three different lovely, sunny, bright, happy, not-at-all-orange-or-green yellows, ask for a color you saw in that one store, by color name.  No need to recall the brand or the store you saw it in; these are professionals.

Step 8 – Grab a bunch of other chips and promise you’ll be back soon for more of the same fun.  Take your samples home with you.

Step 9 – Test each of the three perfect yellows on every wall of the room, changing your mind several times as to which is the ideal.

Step 10 – Go back to Home Depot, the next day if possible.  Everyone will recognize you, and ask which color you’ve decided on. You are now totally famous!


nb: Repeat these steps for enough rooms (my moment of triumph came after I asked for something “like the color of lilacs, but if they were made of glass”) and they will eventually reward you with a giant fan-book of aaaaalll the paint colors, ever.  Your husband may tell you that they’re doing this to make you go away and leave them alone, but trust me: this is a sign that you are now a member of their exclusive club of People Who Are Super Serious About Color.

 anteater artist


So the walls were painted the perfect, sunny yellow.  As mentioned above, the process for creating this yellow involved a white base and yellow pigment.  And nothing else.


Do you see what’s coming? 


I’m in love with my sunny foyer, and every morning I leave my (sweet Jesus, why is it pink??) bedroom and am immediately revitalized by the color in the upstairs hall, which remains bright and cheerful even when the light is dim.


Husband swears it’s green.

 (screams internally)


ME:  There is literally no green in that paint.  And we thoroughly covered up the blue, you said so yourself.
HIM:  It looks greenish!  You should’ve added a drop of orange –
ME:  NO!  That would have made it too orange!  We went over this.  All of the ones with even a little orange were too orangey and it was gross!
HIM:  Okay, but it looks green.
ME:  You’re blind.
HIM:  We can always touch it up…
ME:  Don’t.  You.  Dare.
HIM:  Fine.
ME:  It’s yellow.  Everyone compliments this color.  It’s a lovely, cheery, not-too-bright yellow.
HIM:  That’s sort-of greenish.


And so ad infinitum. 


What, you don’t believe me?  After all we’ve been through together?  Fine.



Shitty and unedited, because I have nothing to hide.  Except that gross carpet.




32 comments on “I Know Color

  1. weebluebirdie says:

    Yup. Colour is a fickle thing. I loathe those paint adverts which show someone going to the Paint Shop carrying, say, a scrap of fabric which is the colour they want; which will be reproduced by the Magic Paint Machine. NOT TRUE. IT’S A MACHINE AND IT DOESN’T UNDERSTAND COLOURS. Our house has the opposite problem to yours – it’s painted completely white. Why would you do that? White is never white, the light will always make it a shade of grey. Anyone who tells you there are subtle shades of blues and lilacs in the shadows is wrong. Colourful shadows are a thing made up by artists – and I should know. However, I have grown to like the Clinical White more when I realised it made the colours in my stuff look brighter.

    PS. Your yellow looks like the yellow I never got round to painting our last living room 🙂


    • I hate the one where she gets a match off a spool of thread. THAT’S NOT EVEN HOW THAT MACHINE WORKS! Filthy liars.

      I love my yellow, and will happily share the formula for both shades (note that there is a slightly darker color below the chair rail if you’re still considering it in the new place. Yellow is the correct color for happy front-rooms. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lambsauce says:

    It’s totally yellow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this sounds like my last house, except everything was green. This included the toilets, carpets, walls, and counters, and the mailbox which was ACROSS THE STREET from our houise. And totally not pretty green.

    Our new house is entirely gray inside. Every single room is a oh-so-slightly different shade of gray. Some colors are of course called grEy, because…fancy. WHY DIDN’T THEY PAINT THEM THE SAME COLOR SINCE THEY ARE ALMOST THE SAME??? They helpfully left us behind 15 half empty gallons of paint (some of the rooms have an upper wall gray color and a lower wall gray color).

    Never trust men on color. Hubby always talks about his brown jacket, which is totally green.

    it’s yellow. NO green. I am in a business where I have to refine color (childrenswear). All day long I tell people it’s “too blue” or “too green”.


  4. JenS says:

    I wonder if he is picking up yellow due to the carpet. Light bouncing off the blue and creating a greenish cast on the walls. Plus, of you didn’t use a primer on the blue, the yellow will pick up a small greenish tint.


  5. Pink bathroom fixtures are the bane of my existence. I would gladly return to the weird all-in-one shower/toilet/sink freak show of lavatorial engineering I had to deal with in UK student housing than ever have to use a pink toilet flanked by a pink sink and a pink bathtub EVER AGAIN.

    Your walls are yellow. I know this because I like green and I don’t like yellow (sorry). Granted, you’ve gone for an admirably inoffensive shade of yellow, but it is definitely yellow.

    And if you’re wondering why I’m sick of yellow, talk to whoever painted every kitchen of every goddamn house and apartment I have ever lived in. Apparently I am destined to live forever in a pink-bathroomed, yellow-kitchened, beige-living-roomed hell with no calming cool tones to mellow me out. There’s a good chance I might go completely nuclear from chromatically induced stress before my husband and I manage to purchase a dwelling we’re allowed to modify.


  6. I RECOGNIZE THAT CARPET! It’s exactly what the Hubbit’s last wife smeared all over the house I had to live in for a few years before I got my own one. It’s evil! It taints everything! Pull it up, put down wood, and your yellow will be glorious. And if your Dearly Beloved doesn’t see it? Well, much easier to push him down nice slippery wood stairs…


    • We’ve pulled it up where we could so far, but what’s left is large areas that will be costly and the stairs, which Husband is resistant to redoing because he thinks we need something thick and squishy and full of dust mites and pet hair to cushion our tread. Apparently. I find all carpet revolting, but these people pulled up the original pegged hardwood in some areas to install the stuff, so there’s a lot of waiting and prioritizing our budget. Stupid grown-up life, where’s that magic checkbook I was promised?


  7. Ronnie says:

    Our first house was ALL PINK. including the carpet. I remember thinking it would be cute. Did you know high gloss pepto bismal pink paint requires like three coats of anything else to cover it? sadly I do.


  8. Ritu says:

    Definitely yellow!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lutheranliar says:

    I lived in a falling-down house with a pink bathroom once. And once was definitely enough. Moved out before I could change it. Because the ceiling fell down on my while I was ironing. I took it as a sign.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yellow. For def😊 my husband thinks we painted all of our interiors yellow. He doesn’t do shades…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. MindOverMeta says:

    Looks yellow to me 🙂 your kitty is sitting there as though to say “Do you not like this lovely blue carpet??” Good luck with making your mark on the rest of the house 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, him lubs the carpets. We’ve encouraged them all to have a go at the carpets; saves on scratching posts, and every time I hear them clawing at the hideous carpet I feel a little thrill of satisfaction. I like to think it suffers—spiritually, if not physically.


  12. Still laughing Chase 🙂 We have renovated a few homes and I know what it’s like!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my word! That carpet is exactly the one I lived with in the house the Hubbit’s previous wife decorated. Fortunately we were still in the honeymoon period back then! I eventually told him I detested the blue carpet, and he informed me that it wasn’t blue, it was gray. Etcetera.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s