Home Decorating & Care

A Room with a HUE!

Painting TIP

Always roll paint on with one smooth, uninterrupted motion. Spinning the roller at the end of a motion will cause paint to spray in places you don't want it to.

.....more painting tips

It’s the little things in life, and sometimes turning your eye to the smallest items in home décor can make the biggest impact. If you are in the mood for a room transformation, but don’t have the time or budget to completely redecorate, try focusing on smaller portions of the room and creating focal points. You can still achieve a dramatic transformation with attention to detail and minimal effort.

The simplest and most cost effective method to create a mood with color, of course, is to repaint the room. But if painting an entire room is out of the question, try highlighting certain areas.
Walk into the room with fresh eyes, as if you are seeing it for the first time. Really notice the overall effect of the room as you enter, and what your eye is drawn to.

Archways, doorways, even the opposite wall can serve as an appropriate canvas. Painting those types of surfaces a contrasting color to the overall room color can create interesting visual patterns. Examine specific architectural features of the room. Are there windows, mantels or other trim details that can be highlighted?

If the room itself does not have a lot of features, you can create focal points. “Take a favorite piece of furniture, a desk or cabinet, and place it against the wall. Then you can paint the wall area around the furniture, visually framing it,” she says.

Using a stencil to create a painted border around a doorway, window or piece of furniture can also create a visual frame. “Stenciling is a way to bring subtle elegance to a room, and you can choose a pattern to work with your upholstery, rugs, or window coverings to bring cohesion to various elements within the room,” Van Allen adds.

For these types of small projects, you won’t need much paint.  A quart container is the perfect size for smaller jobs such as furniture, trim or accent areas.

Some other ideas for accenting a room include:

  • For a sophisticated look, paint walls in a light neutral color, and paint a mantel, trim and picture frames in either a darker shade of the same color or a contrasting color.
  • If you are painting your walls a medium to dark color consider a second color for the trim. White is a classic choice but you could also use a light gray or beige.
  • Don’t limit yourself to four walls -- consider the ceiling as an additional area for color, as well. A dark color can create an intimate feeling in a dining room, for example. Or a sky blue will open and lift the ceiling of a bedroom or porch.
  • A creative way to highlight and bring together a collage of photos on a wall is to frame them with a single color block painted behind them.
  • Personalize a bland room with a favorite quote either painted free-hand or stenciled around the perimeter of the room.
  • Artist canvases come in a multitude of sizes and can be painted to create moveable and easily changeable blocks of color for a room. They can all be painted a single color, or you may vary the mix with different shades of the same color. A mixture of colors could even become a work of art in itself and could be a tool for bringing together different colors within a room.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix multiple patterns in similar colors to create interest, but make sure you use a bright enough color to make a statement. Choose varying patterns for room elements such as wall borders, accent pillows and upholstery throughout the room.

Once you have decided on the color accents and the techniques you want to use, you need to choose your tools. Picking the right tools for the job initially will save you time in the long run. For sprucing up trim, you’ll need a trim brush. Trim brushes are typically two inches or two-and-a-half inches wide. Look for brushes with well-tapered bristles, avoiding brushes with bristles that are all the same length. Foam applicators may be used for small areas, or fine work such as stenciling, but brushes work best for larger jobs. For any trim work, you will need to tape off the walls, and protect the work area with drop cloths.

Once you have accented the room with wall color, you can echo that theme through accessories such as throw pillows, pottery, or an area rug.  You can even paint furniture!  Look at yard sales for old charming paintable INEXPENSIVE pieces.  Turn them into treasures! You don’t need to match color exactly; instead, try various shades of the same tone to create a finished look.

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