Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Choose Gray Paint Colors

 We have five different gray colors in our home...
Silver Fox
Coventry Gray
Boothbay Gray
Stonington Gray
Duxbury Gray

Needless to say...I love gray walls! I pretty much always gravitate toward interiors with gray walls, white trim and light furnishings. But with about a million different shades of gray out there, how do you decide which is best in your home? Here are the tricks I used when I was picking colors for our house.

1. Consider the Undertones
If you've worked with grays at all, you know they can really quickly turn blue, green, purple, brown, etc. This is because most grays have an undertone of some sort. When you're choosing a gray, think about the undertone you'd like to have. In our living room, I knew I wanted a "griege" or French gray - so I intentionally chose a gray with a strong taupe undertone (Silver Fox by Benjamin Moore).

{Here you can see how Silver Fox reads gray in the foreground, but more taupe in other parts of the room}

But in our hearth room and kitchen, I wanted a "clean gray" with little to no undertone. So I chose Coventry Gray, which does have just the slightest - slightest - bit of blue in just the right light, but mostly is a very true, simple gray.

 {Coventry Gray in our kitchen.  It's also used in our hearth room.}

2. Look at Its Neighbors
The paint's neighbors, I mean, not yours : ) When considering a color, I look at the darkest color on the strip from the paint store. That probably means those are the undertones that will be found in the lighter shade on the strip. If the bottom color is a rich blue-gray, the middle and lighter tones are most likely going to carry that same blue. 

{Boothbay Gray - a blue-gray - in our master}

3. Look Up Colors Online
If I found a color I thought I liked, I would search the color on Google Images and Pinterest. This just helps me see how the color looks in real life and in different homes/lights. This isn't absolutely fail-proof, but I decided against several colors I was strongly considering from the swatch alone once I saw variations in photos. I found it very helpful!

{I fell in love with Coventry Gray after seeing photos of it in other beautiful rooms.}

4. Use Swatches, Not Samples
When we were buying our paint, the man at Benjamin Moore told us not to bother with those little sample pots. The reason is, to get an exact tone may take only a few drops of a color per gallon of paint (two drops of black or navy or something), but you can't replicate that in a tiny container (there's no way to get an eighth of a drop of color, if that makes sense). Some people swear by sample colors and trying them out, and there is certainly nothing wrong with it. But we ultimately did not sample any colors because of this advice, and I thought it was good to know! We did use large sample swatches (bigger than the little strips) Benjamin Moore let us borrow and held them up in the light of day in the space. This really helped. 

 {Stonington Gray in our hallway. I LOVE this color, but used it in our two bathrooms, office and hall, none of which are camera ready right now. Sorry I don't have a better photo! Beautiful painting by my talented grandfather Ed Pointer, who is a faithful reader of my blog. Hi Papa!}

5. Ask Your Friends!
I recently asked for favorite shades of gray over on Instagram and got so much great feedback! Top picks were Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore (number one by far - and probably an always-safe choice no matter your room), Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore, Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams and Stonington Gray. Ask around and see what your friends have's always great to get a second opinion!

{Last but not least, we used Duxbury Gray in our TV room...which is not a room I show on the blog as it's the man cave, but here you can at least what a dark, rich, slate-colored gray it is.}

 What are your best tips for choosing paint colors? And what are your favorite grays? Please share!

Click here for all products used in our house, or shop a few below

Monday, January 26, 2015

A New Rug {Progress in Our Master Bedroom}

Hello friends! I've been slowly chipping away at a mini-redo of our master bedroom by adding some layers and a few new pieces. Nothing very drastic, just finishing it off a bit. (You can see where it started here.)

One thing I had been trying to make a decision on for close to a year was the rug. I wanted something elegant but not too girly, and something with pattern but that would remain neutral. And of course budget was a factor, especially since I needed an 8x10.

After narrowing it down to five or six top options, I decided on the Fables rug by Jaipur. The deciding factor was this gorgeous room by A Thoughtful Place. It was just too stunning to pass up! She has the taupe version, while I ordered the gray.

It's so nice to have something soft under our feet in the morning.

Rugs USA had the best price on this rug, but of course it was sold out in this size forever. So I used Joss and Main credits I had been saving up to order through them. Many of the other online retailers like Wayfair, etc. carry the Fables rug if you're interested in looking for your own.

I had also purchased this gray paisley duvet set from Joss and Main a few months ago, and picked up some throw pillows at Home Goods and TJ Maxx to warm things up.

I'm not sure if I've shown the new nightstand on Matt's side of the bed here on the blog yet. I love this mirrored piece and it adds so much glamor to the space!

 I simplified the decor on the dresser a little. It probably won't stay like this long (not sure I just love it) but I was craving something fresh for the new year.

Here you can see the variation in the rug - I ultimately picked it because it has some silver to it that can read just a touch blue, which is how the wall color, duvet and pillows read too. I love how it came together!

I also updated my bedside table with my new lucite tray and a few fun finds from TJ Maxx. I still need to work on hanging wall art, painting the closet doors, changing the ceiling fan for a chandelier, and a diy wall installation project I have planned. But it's getting closer to being finished!

Wall Color: Boothbay Gray by Benjamin Moore
Bed: Haverty's
White Bedding, Lamps, Lucite Tray, Curtains, Vase: Target
Gray Bedding, Rug: Joss and Main
Trellis Pillows: Home Goods
White Throw Pillow: Bed, Bath and Beyond
Gray Velvet Pillow, Picture Frames, Floor Mirror: TJ Maxx
Mirrored Nightstand: Pier1
Wicker Trunk: Ikea

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Loving Lately...

With the new year, I've been freshening things up, looking for a few new accessories, and trying out new beauty products. Here are just a few goodies I'm loving lately...some decor related, some just fun items I use and enjoy!

Kelly Wearstler Bengal Bazaar Pillows I have been drooling over these designer pillows for months, and I think I'm about ready to pull the trigger, despite the price tag. There's just nothing quite like that print!

Abstract Art I've been stalking some fun abstract art pieces on etsy, and right now this piece by Chris Loves Julia is my fave!

Lucite Tray I picked up a lucite tray for next to nothing at Target the other day and am loving it. I couldn't find the Target version online, but this one from CB2 is perfect.

Gold Striped Candles I bought these gold stripe candles from World Market at Christmas and love what a fun yet glamorous touch they add!

Cute Mugs I've become obsessed with sipping my coffee from cute printed mugs after receiving a gold polka dot one for Christmas.

On the Mark Necklace Another Christmas gift that was a huge hit! I wear it daily.

Tea Tree Cream I think this antiseptic cream has finally kicked my hormonal acne to the curb! Hooray!

Geometric Blanket Tarjay does it again! I snuggle up with this pretty throw on a daily basis.

Coconut La Croix I haven't had a sip of pop since I was 12 years old, but I love a bubbly drink. My daily treat is a sparkling La Croix...coconut is the best flavor!

Gold Scissors Currently crushing on the Nate Berkus for Target schears (in stores).

Beach Babe Spray I spritz this beachy spray on in the mornings for a quick wavy hair do perfect for busy work days.

You Don't Know Jacque But if you know me, you know this is my go-to winter nail polish shade!

Chatbooks Have you tried Chatbooks yet? These little photo albums print all your Instagram snaps for instant albums. If you want to try them out, use code CN4KGZZK to get your first one free!

iPhone 6 Case My love affair with Rifle Paper Co. continues with this clear filigree case for my gold iPhone!

Those are just a few of my fun recent finds! What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

7 Tips for Styling Shelves

Hi friends! I have such a fun post to share with you today! While I was off of work on Christmas break, I took everything off our large built-ins in our living room and gave them a total refresh! I LOVE how they turned out! I blogged all about my 7 best tips for styling your shelves over on Midwest Living, so check it out for all the details! I'll be back with some more behind-the-scenes info on our shelves soon, but wanted to let you know the post was live (especially those who followed the progress over on Instagram)!

Here is the before...

And after...

Head on over to Midwest Living to read my 7 tips on styling your bookshelves!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Around the Browning Abode

Hi friends! Are you surviving the post-holiday grind? I have to admit coming back into the real world has been a little rough this year, but it helped that both Downton Abbey and Fixer Upper premiered this week : ) Are you guys watching??

I spent a lot of Christmas break taking down Christmas, cleaning, purging and rearranging. I played musical decor with quite a few things, most of which was spurred on by redoing the shelves in the living room. I'm contributing to the Midwest Living Blog, and this month's topic is how to style your shelves. I had so much fun taking everything off our giant built-ins and starting from scratch. I pulled accessories from nearly every room of the house, and in the end I was thrilled with how it turned out! I can't show full photos yet, but above and below are some sneak peeks. I'll let you know when the whole thing is available over on Midwest Living.

That caused quite the shuffle in the other rooms though, as my usual vignettes had been pulled apart. I had already planned to redo the accessories in the hearth room in the new year, and had purchased several new accessories just for that room.

I feel like this room is always the "step sister" to our living/dining. I end up putting the things I really love in the living room, but the poor hearth room suffers. But in the end, all the new items went to the built in styling, and the amazing sign I bought for the mantel was an inch too tall (woops!). So I just filled up the shelves with things already on hand. It's still fresh and crisp for the new year.

Above is the beautiful Romans 12 sign which I had purchased for the mantel. It looks gorgeous in our kitchen! It's by House of Belonging and Aedriel, two very talented ladies.

The Christmas decor is down, but my paperwhites are still going strong and I'm loving the pop of green in the cold winter days. And you can also see our brand new stainless steel dishwasher...that was an unexpected but necessary purchase a few weeks ago : )

To balance out the sign in the kitchen, I added a new calendar from Rifle Paper Co and other fun accessories. Can you have enough gold in one room?

My favorite vintage street sign got kicked out of the kitchen, so into the hearth room shelves it went!

I kept these shelves super simple, just using decor I had around the house. Again, I'm loving a pop of green right now.

I ordered this fun zinc tray table from Magnolia Market (Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper's store) a few weeks ago and love it tucked into this corner.

The living room stayed mostly the same, but I had to snap some photos with beautiful light after a snowfall coming in.


I found the ikat table runner at TJ Maxx the day after Christmas. And don't you love the gold striped candles?

Well there's what's happening at the Browning abode! New projects, new dishwasher, and lots of shuffling. What are you all up to in these first few weeks of 2015?


Friday, January 2, 2015

HGTV Dream Home 2015

Have you guys seen this year's HGTV Dream Home on Martha's Vinyard? It's stunning! Probably one of my favorites ever! Lots of molding, architectural detail, classic furnishings, crisp lines, and of course - white! Let's take a little peek...

It's a classic Cape Cod style with gorgeous exterior architecture.

The great room is jaw dropping. I love the crisp white paneling against the salvaged beams.


The way they did the dormer windows in the vaulted ceiling is one of my favorite features.

And I'm a little in love with that light fixture : )

A wall of french doors opens right from the living area to the patio.

I have to say the kitchen seems a bit plain or uninspiring compared to everything else, but it's still classic and pretty.

 The curved ceiling in the master bath is to die for.

I LOVE the light fixtures above the vanity, especially pared with the antiqued mirrors.

Wouldn't you love to live in this home? I absolutely would! Although, I did a bit of research about what winning a Dream Home actually means, and usually it's more of a cash/car prize than anything (which I would still take haha)! The taxes/insurance/upkeep/other costs are so exorbitant when you win one of these homes that some winners take a cash prize rather than the home, and most take the home but immediately turn around and sell it. But let's just focus on the "dream" part of the Dream Home, shall we? Because it's simply incredible!


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