From the BlogSubscribe Now

How to Choose a Paint Color: the Thinking Tube Method

Interior designers will tell you the proper process for choosing paint involves finding an inspiration piece and pulling the paint color directly from that piece. It involves buying paint samples and applying them all to the wall to decide which works best in different light. They will not tell you the truth:

it’s really all about the thinking tube.

Remember we are redoing our office by adding a wall of built-in bookshelves that will look (something like) this:

From the beginning I knew I wanted to do something different on the back wall behind the shelves instead of just painting them white. I thought about wallpaper:

via Samantha Pynn inc

But decided I want something that felt a little calmer, so we settled on paint. I was torn between a deep blue-green and navy, so we got paint chips for every possibility within that range, took them home and propped them up on the shelves:

Then we checked out each chip at night and in daylight, with our snazzy undercabinet lights on and off, gradually eliminating one paint chip after another, until we got stuck.

We couldn’t decide between the last four, and that’s when


Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce “The Thinking Tube” (patent pending). Some people might think it’s just a play tunnel for small children:

But the truth is that it has magical clarifying properties that allow you to make prompt decisions. In the middle of our paint color-choosing dilemma, Andy said excitedly, “WAIT a second. I need a moment in the thinking tube.”

Suddenly overcome with knowledge and decision-making abilities, he knew he couldn’t keep it to himself. He gave me a spin in the thinking tube too:

Thinking tube bonus feature: its figure-flattering properties completely disguise a 7-month preggo belly!

With new abilities to see color in depths and shades previously unknown by man, we were able to promptly select this color, Brigade by Olympic:

Now let me say that I’ve been a die-hard Valspar paint fan since we repainted almost our whole house. It covers better than everything else we tried – including more expensive brands like Benjamin Moore. But this time we went with Olympic and were excited to find that it’s low-odor AND low-VOC. Thumbs-up to you, Olympic. Well played.

Time to get painting! Usually we’d pick up some paint tray liners but we decided to try a new method: grocery bags.

It actually ended up working pretty well, though next time we’ll probably tape the bag to the paint tray to keep it from sliding. Score one for thriftiness!

We used a combination of small paint roller and this little paint tool that we’ve had around forever, since most of the painting was just edging inside the shelves.

Check it out, buds! Paint is happenin’!

Now I promise I’m not trying to be a complete jerk – I REALLY wanted to show you the whole wall painted. But we still have a little touching up to do, so it’s coming soon. In the meantime, please feel free to place your orders for thinking tubes in the comments section.

Let's connect


  1. I’m sure it’s going to look great! Love the thinking tube, by the way, haha!

  2. You are too funny! For the record, I wish you would show us your 7 month belly! I love the color. It’s going to add so much drama!

  3. you made the right choice…. clearly i need a thinking tube. 🙂

  4. Oooh, bold color. Can’t wait to see it against the white.

  5. Love the color choice and perhaps I need to buy a thinking tube as the flesh colored laundry room needs a new paint color and I have no idea what to pick. Plus I think it might be more of a flattering look for me after all the eating of cream cheese and sour cream laden dips from yesterday. Where did you get the Olympic Paint from?

  6. You’re too funny. I think the thinking tube could be belted and worn as a fashion statement as well!
    Love the blue. Navy, peacocks and dark blues in general are making such a comeback….I’m so excited!

  7. Bahahahaa!! I just love your blog. You are so funny! I’ll be placing my order shortly. 😉 But seriously, that’s a beautiful color and I’m excited to see!

  8. Holy cow! That’s amazing! Where has the Thinking Tube been my whole life? Do you think you could get double the thinking power if you put a Thinking Hat on whilst standing in the Thinking Tube? On a more serious note: your built-ins are looking ridiculously good!

  9. Haha. Does it come in other colors?
    I can’t wait to see it finished. And genius move w/ the plastic baggies too.

  10. No wonder Weston is so smart, he plays in that tube all the time. And I thought it was just great genes.

  11. Awesome!! I might need to invest in one of those!! (not to mention I think Abby would like it a lot 😉 I love the choice of blue, it’s similar to what we’re thinking of for the basement… if that project ever gets finished…

  12. If I was in your house right now, I’d whistle. Assuming you were still in the thinking tube, of course. Otherwise, it would obviously be weird.

    Love the color choice!

  13. That’s it! That’s it! You have solved one of the great mysteries of the universe!

    brilliant my friend!

  14. Thinking tube. Genius. Does your husband know his photo made the blog? 😛

    I am debating painting the backs of my built-ins but I’m such a commitment phobe. I can’t wait to see how yours turn out.

  15. Haha The Thinking Tube- I love it!! and I LOVE the color you chose!!! I can’t wait to see the whole thing!

  16. bwahahahaha! Oh my goodness that tube is pure awesomeness/hilariousness. And let me tell you- at seven months there was no way I’d fit in that tube- yeah, my belly was redonk. But I definitely needed a thinking method at that point because I could barely remember my name. You think I’m kidding? So not.

  17. Isn’t “that little paint tool” the best? I used one when I painted the inside cabinets of my butler’s pantry. I actually didn’t even bother to use a roller, I just slid the edger all around and it worked perfectly. Yeah, if there’s a shortcut, I’ll find it.

  18. I’ve never thought of using plastic bags! Brilliant! Thanks for the great tip!

  19. Anna Ellis says:

    I absolutely love the colors and the tube is a great idea! I sure wish our apartments let us paint!!

  20. Great minds do think alike! Recently, I suggested a client to paint the back of her bookcases and now I see this! And your thinking tube is fabulous! I can always trust you to come up with the funniest and the most original idea!

    P/S: I am hosting a fab giveaway so come by and enter a chance to win a $50 Kirkland’s gift card if you like!


  21. Haaahaha.. thats hilarious… love the tube! I need to get me one of those…


  1. […] system ever: Chose some pretty cabinet hardware: And selected a paint color using our patented Thinking Tube Method: Which all led to this: It’s fresh and new and built-in. Custom. Andy did a fabulous job. […]

  2. […] great ideas like this. You can also check out our trick for cleaning paint rollers and my favorite trick for recycling paint trays (Hint: use a grocery bag! Total […]

Speak Your Mind


Back to top          Privacy Policy          Copyright © 2013 View Along the Way. All rights reserved.          Contact Me