Dwellers … We all have been there. You move into a new place and immediately think what’s first… PAINT!! Definitely Paint. It’s the least expensive, biggest impact home improvement you can make. It sets the mood, transforming the blazay beige to a serene spa retreat. It can be creative, it can be bold and it can also be subtle. But where do you start? You slip on the sneaks and search for your keys hiding somewhere under the last pile of mail you sifted through. Jump in the car and then the first decision starts … where do you go? Most start at the closest and most convenient Big Box store. Usually greeted by an associate you find your way to the intimidating display of one million, expertly coordinated tiny paint chips and proceed to concentrate. After 20 frustrating minutes you walk away with twenty samples and remain hopeful they will look as good in the house as they did in the store. It doesn’t have to be so serious. It’s not a science. This should be fun and if you follow these steps we’ll make it through together.
Come with a Game Plan. Take a few minutes and do a little research. Look around your house. What do you have to work with. Amazing Architecture? Furniture choices? Accents? Art work? Do a quick inventory of what you have. Check out magazines, the Internet and even your family/friends/neighbors homes to see how they have expressed themselves. If you like write it down.
Step 2. Shop
Head out for an initial “go.” Grab an arm cover from your sofa or your favorite object for inspiration and bring it with you to the paint store. Maybe your painting Kitchen? If that’s the case take one of your display dishes, a sample of your granite and the sample of your cabinetry. It will prove most useful, I promise. Take a gander and try to be selective. Don’t grab one hundred paint samples. Try and limit yourself to the top 10 lucky samples that beg to be taken home. *SHAMELESS PLUG: Working with a Designer can take the head ache out of the selection process. It’s our job to search within you and bring a handful of samples that generally one you’ll love, one you’ll hate and one that’s perfect. Most Big Box stores will offer sample mini jars of your color selection that you can paint on the wall to see a larger version. It’s better than those tiny rectangular swatches that look dramatically different when you are surrounded by it. But it’s still not great. Why? Because you cannot remove that sample, it can confuse, complicate and cause frustration if it wasn’t quite what you expected. Designers have working relationships with various manufacturers and can usually order large samples (as many as you want) and tape them together essentially painting your wall in removable samples. Best part … they are FREE! I should mention again that they are removable so if they are indeed not what you were thinking you just pull them off and put the next sample up.
Step 3. Decide
Take your time. Think about it. Live with it. Examine how the lighting changes the color and how the color interacts with it’s new roommies. More importantly how does it make you feel? Is it what you expected? At this point you can make any necessary changes. “Like what?” You might ask. Maybe you won’t. Maybe that one color is it. But for some people your self expression tends to be … well … slightly more complex. Let’s look at the room one last time.
- You have your walls. Check. Are all walls the same color? For some of you that is just fine and you don’t need to push the envelope any further. For you other Dwellers maybe something bold like an accent wall is in order. A punch of color creating a focal point is way more your speed.
- Look up … Ceiling (Hopefully). Check. what types of details does your ceiling have. Possible exploration here too. But we’ll get into decorative ceilings and it being the fifth most overlooked wall in a later post.
- Look down … Floors. Check. Are they wood, carpet or something else. I’m currently working on a project for a child’s outdoor playhouse. The client’s don’t want to spend too much money but would like a “WOW” impact. We painted the floor with four colors and an intricate pattern transforming an unfinished plywood platform into a child’s dream room.
- Trim… Check. This includes casing, baseboard, doors and architectural embellishments. Are you painting these items too? Side note: if you are painting your walls dark, I would recommend your trim go light for contrast. And yes it’s absolutely ok to paint wood.
Step 4. Basics
Ok… So now you have an idea of what you want to do and what you want to paint. How much is it and how much do you need? Here’s the skinny:
Wall area = Perimeter x Height of ceiling
Trim area = sq ft of doors (approx 21 sq ft ea) and windows (must measure)
Ceiling = Length x Width
If your trim is a different color than the walls subtract that from the wall area.
Divide each area you’d like to paint by 400 (1 gallon of paint) to see how many gallons or quarts you need.
1 gallon of paint = 1 coat on 400 sq ft.
1/2 Gallon = Buy 2 Quarts
1/5 Gallon = Buy 1 Quart
Ok… Get our your wallets. A typical Gallon of paint can cost anywhere from $15 to $35. Speciality finishes like metallic, suede or other faux finishes obviously could vary and could cost much more.
TIPS and TRICKS:
Rules are Meant to be broken. It is a wives tale that dark colors create caves. Not always. Tom Verwest, who is the principle of my company and brilliant, cutting edge designer once painted the walls in a small Powder Room all Black. It was GORGEOUS and beyond unexpected! So what’s the story Morning Glory? Dark colors receed and if used in the appropriate way with the right furnishings and accessories can actually enhance the mood you are going for.
Ceilings should be white. Wrong. I cannot tell you how many times I have been shot down by clients to paint their ceilings different colors other than bright white. I’m not saying they need to be polka dots, but a slighter color than the walls or in contrast it could be a very bold color. Painting your ceiling a different color than white can create more height in the room, create a focal point around the ceiling medallion the light fixture is mounted to or in some cases create an awning that encourages your child to be creative and express themselves in their rooms.
When it comes to rules … Rip them up and throw them out. It’s just paint. Get your samples. If you don’t like, it’s just paint. Paint over it.
Creative Paint ideas: Use paint color to create focal points. They help give order and interest to rooms. Experiment with techniques. If you can’t do them hire a professional. Trust me, it’s worth it. There are many types of techniques and finishes either in fauxs, textures, stripes and shapes. I’ll save examples of these for another blog later. You can also play with color schemes. You seem examples at the store. These manufacturers are trying to make it easier for you. They have color cards with suggestions based on trends in the market. Sherwin Williams is very good at this and even have a magazine named STIR that explains the latest and greatest. All are based on Color Theory and are easy to follow. In the next few weeks i’ll explain the difference between Analogous and Monochromatic and pros and cons of each.
Would love to hear your feedback and see your painted projects. Please shoot me photos of things you are working on and maybe we’ll blog about them soon. Dwell Well out there.