Breakfast Room

A Gray Paint Color That I Actually Like! (Plus, White Curtains Inspiration)

Last Updated on October 6, 2017 by Kristi Linauer

Thank you so much for all of your suggestions on yesterday’s post about light neutral wall colors! I wrote down all of the Benjamin Moore colors and headed to my local Benjamin Moore store yesterday afternoon to take a look. I honestly thought most of them were very pretty, but most just weren’t quite right — green undertones, purple undertones, too dark, etc. I wanted a barely-there light neutral, and I’m pretty sure the one that perfectly fits the bill is Classic Gray. I didn’t have time to get the breakfast room painted yesterday (but I did make great progress on the peninsula and trim on the walls), but here’s a peek at this beautiful neutral in a few other rooms.

A photo posted by Studio McGee (@studiomcgee) on

Of course, it looks a little different in each room depending on factors like light, but the large test swatch on my wall looks so very pretty. I hope to get all of the trim and walls finished this weekend, and also get the door painted, so that I can move on to my two fun projects for the month — refinishing the dining table and painting and reupholstering the dining chairs.

And so that I’ll be ready for next month’s projects, I also want to go ahead and get my fabric ordered for the breakfast room draperies.

I have my heart set on white. White linen, to be exact.

That seems a bit out of character for me, right? I know. But it’s not completely unprecedented for me. When I was getting ready to put the condo on the market, I used plain white curtains in the living room…

condo living room with white curtains

…and while I never actually lived with them, I do remember thinking how I loved the simplicity of the white and wanted to use them in a room I’d actually get to enjoy. And those were just super cheap curtains that I made out of inexpensive drapery lining. Linen draperies will be much prettier.

But I do love trim, too. I really liked the curtains I made for the condo bedroom.

condo bedroom with white curtains

Those were also made with inexpensive drapery lining and paint. Yep, I just painted those edge details right on the fabric with leftover Behr paint. (More on that here.)

But of course, that was the condo. Cheap was the name of the game when decorating the condo. Here at the house, there will be no painted curtains made from inexpensive drapery lining. 🙂 But I’d love a chance to take that idea of white curtains with simple embellishments and take it up a notch with better fabric, actual trim (rather than paint), and well-made draperies.

Something like this has a simple, uncluttered look, but can really give a customized look to a plain white drapery panel.

white linen drapery panel with edge trim, via Home Bunchvia Home Bunch

Anyway, I’m not quite sure yet what trim design I’ll use on my white draperies (if any), but I just want this room to have a very light and airy overall feel to it when it’s finished. It’s a small room, and could very easily become cluttered and busy, so I want to keep things simple. But don’t worry. There will be color. 🙂 I’m not turning into a neutral house person, I can assure you.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Theresa P
    February 10, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Love the paint color! Love the airy drape inspiration with the subtle trim! Yay!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Love the neutral wall color and white drapes. With your kitchen cabinets being a bolder color, the adjacent breakfast room in neutrals won’t compete. And I know there will be splashes of color thrown in the breakfast room to add a pop. Love it all!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I love your ideas and have a question. What kind of lining could you use on drapes, that I have yet to make, which will go up two-story windows? I am so scared to take on this task because of the weight. You suggested a cotton blend for the fabric. Now my question is about the lining. Thank you for all your information and recommendations.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 10, 2017 at 9:52 am

      As long as you stay away from blackout or dim out lining, you should be fine. Any kind of medium weight cotton lining would work, and wouldn’t add a great deal of weight. I certainly don’t envy you having to make those draperies! I made 22-foot-long lined dupionni silk draperies one time. ONE time. It was crazy. I hope you’re using a face fabric with some body to it. I’d highly recommend staying away from thin, crawly fabrics like silk or silk-like polyesters. Good luck!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 10, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Lived in a home with a lightweight DIY’d 20’+ curtain (by in-law) on a motorised pull. Here’s our notes…It did wonders on temp control and kept the room from getting white washed, even without a liner. The difference from warm-cold was suprising for the 2 story curtain. It was sand colored with wide darker horizontal stripes to hide horizontal supports for the windows were. The stripes also hit where you would’ve had to put a seam because, we used pre-made curtains. It took about a week of focused work to create. Over the next few years we lived with them they streched so much the stripes almost were mis-aligned (stayed straight). Be ready to hem them a few times as it settles in but it’s worth it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Laura L
    February 10, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Oh my!I am worried – you do not really like gray! But … then again … you never know what will work in the long run. Good luck! I cannot wait to see how it turns out!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I like the idea of the grey paint and can hardly wait to see how it works out. It should go well and make the white trim and draperies stand out light and crisp. Great for a breakfast room!

    Simple white draperies sound very nice. You always come up with great trims so another thing for me to look forward to.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Love the paint color. Can’t wait to see it.

    On the curtain front- have you looked at the white linen curtains from Ikea? I decided to try them after reading a few blogs sing their praises, and let me tell you I’m totally convinced. I have them in 3 rooms and love them. They look every bit as nice as the pottery barn and west elm options that are double the cost for a single panel- and the best part: no sewing required (unless you need to hem them)… at least prior to adding the embellished details you mentioned

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Nice color. I’ll have to check it out since I’m looking for a BM gray for a console. I use white curtains in all my upstairs rooms (bedrooms and bath) because I love how I can change wall colors or bedding easily without having to also change the curtains. The look light, bright, and don’t distract from the rest of the room’s accessories or furnishings. You can’t go wrong with basic white. (Each room’s curtains have different details such as hemstitch edging, a different texture, etc so each room has it own’s look.)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I really like the paint color you have chosen it looks perfect! I got to wondering if the custom headboard and all the things you did in the condo to sell it went with the condo? If I was buying I would insist 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    February 10, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Wait, gray? Surprised but am sure it will look fabulous!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

      That’s what I am thinking! Are you SURE you want gray, Kristi? 😉

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        February 10, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Ha! I know, right? I’m going to make myself see this one through to the end. I think one of my problems with gray is that I never follow through to see it in a finished room. I really believe that if I can get the whole room finished, and not fixate on the wall color when the room is still empty and undecorated, I’ll actually like it. But of course, if I get the room finished, and it still doesn’t work for me, I will give myself permission to change it, and y’all can say, “We told you so!” 😀

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Marianne in Mo.
          February 10, 2017 at 10:33 am

          I think it will read more of an off-white than a gray, since it’s so subtle. And I would NEVER say I told you so!

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          February 10, 2017 at 11:18 am

          I have no credibility to ever say “I told you so.” haha 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 9:49 am

    But…be ready with a lint roller on those white linen drapes. They will attract cat hair!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Just incase you change your mind on the grey you’ve selected, BM Intense White looks the same as the color in photo #1 on the wall with the door and photo #4. Can’t wait to see the room all come together. Thanks.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    February 10, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I like! I know a lot of people are leaning in the same direction as far as wall color these days. I resisted for a while, because so much of my furniture leans towards a “library” look, with brown leather and mens tweed wing chairs. I didn’t think it would work together, but I was wrong. I still kind of feel like I live in a man’s home sometimes though, but I try to bring in curvy things to offset the guy look! It helps! I love the idea of white linen drapery, but I could never keep it clean around my household! Hence, all the browns!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Don’t chop my head off here but have you ever considered “Coral Reef” by Sherwin Williams? It looks fantastic on top of wainscoting. It goes well with all the other colors you have going on, it’s grown up and playful and serious and oh so cheerful all at the same time. Other colors bounce off it with ease.

    Please don’t throw paint cans at me. 😀

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I love a warm gray to the point that I probably overdo it. It makes a great backdrop for anything. It looks beautiful with golden oak floors and gold picture frames and any color scheme. (However, I would pass on the orange sofa in picture #2.) Light gray also provides enough contrast to make white woodwork stand out and add character to a room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Kristi, I love the classic gray color. Great choice! I plan to see if it will work in my DR. Looking forward to seeing pics of the room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jenny @ Words On Wendhurst
    February 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    I would do simple white linen curtains for now. Don’t worry about trim/ribbon etc, leave that until more of the room has come together, and then once you are at the “details” stage, revisit the curtains and see if they need a little extra something. No need to overcomplicate it or slow yourself down at this point! Also, someone mentioned IKEA’s linen curtains, they are very nice and would save you a lot of time. Probably not as nice as something you could make yourself, but you don’t need to make every single thing in your house. Advice I am trying to live by! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mae Linnemeyer
    February 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I buy all my linen fabric at , they have several different weights and an incredible color selection. Hope this is helpful. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I love white! I argue with folks that white is a color, too! And it really becomes beautiful with different textures. And I love how it makes architectural detail and my antique furnishings steal the show! My favorite issues of magazines are the ‘white’ issues! This makes me excited for you! And it looks great with blues, greens, and greys!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheila f.
    February 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I am on excited for you! I love that you will try the gray. It is so pretty. I think white curtains with an unexpected trim is a statement on its own. You are getting close to a finished room that you can share with your sweet husband. What a reward for all of your hard work! You are back in your groove!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I love that curtain with the three-dimensional trim on it! I couldn’t have it in my house, though, because I have a mischievous cat who likes to eat things like plastic bags 😐 and who would either chew or tear that trim off. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon C
    February 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    All I can say is…….this is all getting VERY EXCITING and can’t wait to see your progress each day! Love the floor color too!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Summer Else
    February 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    oops – I posted my comment on yesterday’s post accidentally – this is where I meant to post it. Just painted the bedroom with Classic Gray and love it so much I’m going to do some more rooms. Thank you!! Gray is such a tricky color, but so nice when you get it just right.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 4, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I have never thought about just painting a trim on drapery. Trims can be so expensive, that’s a great budget-friendly alternative.

    I wanted to warn about linen and drapery. I own a Workroom and in the industry we are constantly discussing its use and how to make it behave, not stretch and shrink, etc. Linen, being a natural fiber is really something you want to avoid on windows. You can get the look without using actual linen, so look at the fabric content and be sure to get a blend at the very least.