I knew I shouldn’t do it. After all, I realize that I have a touch of OCD blended into my personality; once I latch onto an obsession, it’s hard to let go. (It’s how I get so many books written!)

But in a burst of autumnal energy I’d painted the dining room . . . and the foyer . . . and my master bathroom. And since I was thinking real estate and wondering if a new house lay in my future, the purchase seemed innocent enough.

And think of all the time it would save! Instead of running to the Depot or to Lowes every time I wanted to examine a color in the light of a window or next to a piece of furniture, I could simply whip out my purchase and avoid a trip.

So I did it. Looked them up online, found several, found one on sale at Benjamin Moore. The sale is what did me in—not only did I buy one, but two.

They arrived the next week, sweetly packaged in a little cardboard box. Two fan decks—paint chips, organized by color family and tone, coordinated and named and numbered.

The second fan deck actually has interior colors on one side and exterior colors on the other. All matched with accent colors and trim colors. Ahhh.

There’s such a psychology to color–red makes people want to eat (bad for dieters in dining rooms), yellow makes people want to spend money, blue is calming, green is soothing. Hmm. Maybe I should have a green kitchen and a blue office.

So lately I’ve been walking around the house, fan deck in hand, pondering the difference between Robin’s Nest and Quartz Stone. One is just a shade bluer than the other, a difference nearly indiscernible with the naked eye, but I’ve stared at enough paint chips to see the difference now. I see beautifully painted bedrooms in magazines, then I whip out the fan deck to identify the color in the photo. I see ads that combine fonts and colors in a pleasing display, and then I’m frantically trying to identify each color by name and number: Eucalyptus. Peacock Feathers. Sea Isle.

I have discovered that dog Babe is Straw Hat, and Charley is Almond Bisque. My desk is Great Barrington Green, a color I have been trying to identify for seven years.

So for the next several weeks, at least, I’ll be looking at the world through narrowed eyes, trying to figure out if the color of that rose is potpourri or milano red.

Wonder if they make these things in a more portable size?



  1. Mocha with Linda

    Paint cards make me crazy. There are waaay too many options available with miniscule differences!

  2. Deborah Raney

    Being married to an artist/graphic artist, I have access to the Pantone color fans/wheels, but those colors have boring names like 198-PC. I’ve always envied the people who get to name the new paint colors! We helped our son paint his new townhome a couple years ago and it was such fun slapping rich colors like “Chipmunk” and “Happy Trails” on his stark white walls. : )

    Have fun with your fan decks, Angie! : )


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