Well, after trips to numerous paint stores, a million paint chips, and a guy at Home Depot handing me a card for paint consulting and saying either A) "In case you need this" or B) "You look like you need this" (I think it was A but it sure sounded like B), we've decided on a color. Sort of. I can't declare victory just yet because we chose gray and, good grief, achieving the right gray is a tough nut to crack.
The above image captures the color scheme we're going for: rich gray walls, warm brown shelf (it's going to be a tall, fairly wide, industrial style shelf), and the charcoal color shown here represents the color of our dining table. The shelf will serve a functional purpose and the wood will add organic warmth to the room.
These walls are a bit lighter than what we're going for, but the shelves are spot on. I like the smoky, muted tones of this combination. Oh, and this is pretty funny — I was admiring this whole set up for MY dining room but apparently this is from Resoration Hardware's "Baby and Child" line. So this is all kiddie furniture? Like what? And more importantly, can I be friends with them?
Working with Gray: I've painted many rooms in my life, but I've never ventured into the realm of gray before. It's proving to be the trickiest by far because of the variety of undertones and the way it can run blue/purple/green/taupe. If any of you are heading down the gray path, here are some helpful articles I found.
The Finalists: Now that we have the general color, it's time to gather samples to apply to the wall. I usually go off the paint chip with success, but due to gray's shiftiness I'm going to apply swatches and check back frequently. Ok, so the first round of finalists are: