Gray paint

A painter applies a coat of gray paint to a wall.

Fifty shades of gray. I’ve seen them all.

No, I’m not referring to the socially irresponsible series of books and films that essentially puts a stamp of approval on sexual and domestic violence — ironically, in a day and age where #metoo has taken center stage.

Really, I’m not. I’m talking about paint. In fact, when it comes to paint, I wouldn’t hesitate to profess I have seen well over 50 shades of gray.

The question really is not what color to paint the walls, the questioan is, what shade of gray? You’ve got your Mindful Gray, Summit Gray, Repose Gray, Mineral Deposit, San Francisco Fog, Dusky Dawn, Mirror Mirror, Moonshine and Storm. And then we start into the copious shades of animal colors — Whale Gray, Seagull Gray, Owl Gray … you get the idea. It begs the questions if it is someone’s full-time job to think of names for colors. If so, is this the same person who gets to decide if a Crayola crayon is Dandelion, Inchworm or Light Chrome Green? What about nail polish? Is this the same person too? Last time I had my nails done I picked Fire Fire Pants on Fire. I couldn’t resist. I’m pretty sure this is the color of success.

A few weeks ago I spent several days with a client from out of town who plans to move here at the end of the month. After a couple of days of house hunting, we had gotten to know each other pretty well and found that we have that same sarcastic snarkiness. As a result, each time we would approach the front door of a “newly remodeled” home, before opening, we would each forecast what we would find. It wasn’t a stretch to predict gray and white as the primary color palate throughout. We were spot-on 100 percent of the time.

Nothing is wrong with the gray. Personally, I have yet to run into a shade of gray I haven’t liked (with the exception of the book/movie series, which I can’t say since I haven’t read/watched). In fact, I wouldn’t mind if the walls of my own home were painted one of these shades. I would probably go with Elephant’s Breath, just because I love the name.

When I moved into my home, a little over three years ago, I had the whole interior repainted. It wasn’t something I had initially planned to do. I really didn’t notice the paint until I walked into the empty home with the first of many boxes. It was only after the seller had moved all their stuff out and the home was empty did I notice that the walls were peach; Soft Salmon, to be exact. I couldn’t live with it. We moved our stuff into the middle of the rooms and started picking up paint swatches to choose from.

At the time, the best-seller was 50 shades of beige. I chose Basket Beige. I think I was on the tail end of beige rage at the time, but I was desperate. Had I waited less than a year, I would have seen that the newest trend was gray and then my digs could have been “lit” and I would have been hip. Oh well. I’ve never really been lit or hip, so it probably would have felt awkward anyway.

For now, I’m still embracing Basket Beige. It’s a safe color. Although I wouldn’t say that I live my life in the safety zone, it’s nice to come home to it. However, if you are looking forward to the next new color trend for your walls, pay attention to the auto industry. We tend to follow their lead with paint colors. Or you could always opt for the Behr 2018 color of the year: In the Moment T18-15; it’s supposed to be the color of disconnecting and being present.

I would try it myself, but I’m too busy. Let me know how it works.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or

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