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Written By Chelsea Greenwood Lassman | 9.7.18

E. L. James might have had a big hit on her hands with “50 Shades of Grey,” but I have a bone to pick with the bestselling author: There are more like 50 millionshades of gray. Don’t believe me? Just trying picking a gray paint color for your home.

That was the dilemma facing me when buying our first home two years ago. I wanted to move in as soon as possible, which meant getting the house painted (while empty) ASAP. So, during that seemingly endless period between our offer being accepted and the closing, I was spinning my wheels, trying to figure out a way to pick the perfect warm gray paint color before getting the keys to our house. (I typically don’t rely on those pre-made paint swatches provided by paint companies because they have led me astray in the past.)

One day, I was at Michaels buying some craft supplies when I walked by the aisle with the paint canvases. Inspiration struck: A small blank canvas was the perfect portable way to test different paint colors in various lights in various rooms, both at my current apartment and at my future home.

I bought a cheap canvas, measuring about 11 inches by 14 inches or so, for $6. Then I picked out pint-sized samples of four different gray paint colors from the hardware store. I swatched them on the canvas and spent the next week or so gauging how my husband and I liked the different options in different lights.

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