Tag Archives: paint

Choosing The Right Paint Color for Your Home

It seems that whenever I pass by the wall of paint chips in any home improvement store there is always at least one person staring blankly at the seemingly endless wall of color samples. One hand typically holds a fanned out array of color swatches while their eyes methodically scan the wall hoping for the “the perfect color” to leap out… this time.

Choosing the right paint color isn’t easy, and I’d bet that there’s enough “mis-tint” paint stashed in basement corners across the country to paint the White House 100 times over.

So how do you choose the right designer paint color for your room? Here are a few tips from long time industry pro with a passion for color (and painting):

Dark Paint Colors

Don’t Whimp Out! If you want a deep rich color on your walls check your conservative hat at the door. There is no halfway or safe way to be bold, if you want Red pick the darkest shade in the colorway otherwise you’ll end up with pink. Or a rich Chocolate will end up looking like watered down coffee with cream and so on… if you’re going to do it, be fearless!

Designer White Paint Colors

You may think that decorators are just being flamboyant when they drone on about the billions of shades of white out there, but, I’ll stand firm, the right white can make all the difference in the world. The subtle undertones can either create a soft, clean, cozy feeling in the room or it’ll end up looking the the inside of a liquid paper bottle. When choosing a white paint color the best advice that I can give is to consider the other colors in the room; for example if you are decorating a room with warm brown or beige colors be sure to stay away from whites with a blue or cool grey undertone (it’s probably the biggest rookie mistake).

Helpful Tips!

Never Ever make your final selection under the fluorescent lights of the home improvement or paint store, always take a few samples home to see what it’ll look like in the room with your furnishings.

If you’re not sure what the undertone of a paint color is, place the sample on a white piece of paper, having a neutral background will usually make the undertone jump out (even if you don’t have a lot of experience choosing colors).

There is so much more to say on this subject but I’ll have to save that for anther blog post. So for now I’ll close off by saying, never be afraid to try a new paint color, it is by far the most big-impact,  budget-friendly decorating tool available and the results may astonish you. If you’d like help choosing the right paint color for your home try using our paintIT e-decorating plan, it’s an affordable way to get a designers paint color recommendations, customized to your home. Because, in the world of paint, practice makes perfect and we’ve had lots of practice!

Have any great painting success stories, comments or tips to share? Post a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Ask IT: How Can I Bring My Grandmother’s Condo Into the 21st Century?

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I recently inherited a condominium from my grandmother, including all its contents, and I’m considering putting it up for sale. While it is very large and well-maintained it has a definite “old lady” feel to it. The furniture and color scheme are quite dated and the entire place just doesn’t have a fresh feel. Adding to my concern is the fact that the real estate market where I live is still very sluggish, so I may end up living in the condo for a while until it sells. What’s my best game plan for updating it for future sale?

Chris

Naples, FL

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for the question. Wow, your inherited condo looks like a perfectly preserved set from The Golden Girls. But, never fear, you’d be surprised how easy it will be to bring it into the new century, both for you to live in in the interim, and for you to sell once the real estate market improves.

First you will need to get rid of most of the dated furniture and accessories. You can definitely keep a few family heirloom pieces or anything that has a personal connection to you, but the rest can be cleared away to make room for some fab new stuff. You can either hold an estate sale to get rid of everything at once, try to sell it piecemeal online, or donate it to a local charity or thrift store.

Whitall Brown: HC-69

Once it’s cleared out, the first thing we would recommend is a bold, contemporary new paint job. In order to create a dramatic change we suggest going quite dark. Try a rich smoky chocolate tone like Benjamin Moore’s Whitall Brown (HC-69) for the walls, baseboards, and trim (painting the trim in the same tone as the walls will also help to make the space look more modern).

Next, replace the pink carpet with either hardwood or laminate (in a natural walnut grain and finish), or with a neutral oatmeal-colored Berber broadloom, depending on your preference and budget.

Pasadena Sofa: $1481

Finally, choose furnishings that will look fresh and modern in the space, but also ones that will travel well into your next home too. A simple off-white track-arm sofa and glass coffee table will make a great start, then you can add a bit of pattern and color with your accent pieces (occasional chairs, end tables, lamps, etc).

With just these few simple changes you can have your place market-ready in no time.  You might even find you like the new look so much you want to keep it for yourself!

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If you have a decorating question, send it to us at: AskIT@decorateITonline.com. If we feature it on our BLOG we’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to use in the DIO STORE!

Trend Alert: Milk Paint


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With all the recent press surrounding environmental issues as of late we’re finding that more and more of our clients are asking about more eco-friendly products and processes when it comes to decorating. Traditionally, paint has been one area where finding friendlier alternatives has been difficult. Many paint manufacturers feature “eco” lines that offer lower emissions and fewer chemicals, but none are completely organic. There is, however, one alternative that we’ve recently fallen in love with:

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Milk paint has been used successfully for thousands of years, but only recently has it enjoyed a newfound popularity in the interior decorating community.

Milk paint, as its name suggests, is composed of cow’s milk mixed with lime, often with organic pigments added for color. Borax may be added to the in addition to lime in the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative.

Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic. There is a slight milky odor when it is applied, but it is completely odorless when dry. The paint is safe for children’s furniture and toys, and can also be used for interiors of homes of people who are allergic to modern paints.

Brought to North America by early settlers over 250 years ago, the tradition of milk paint continues today using the same basic ingredients. This environmentally-friendly decorating product leaves a beautiful finish in the same way that it did for our ancestors.

This paint will last for generations, with its absorptive properties ensuring an attractive and lasting finish that will never chip or peel. Milk paint is suitable for either interior or exterior use and must be used on porous surfaces, including, but not limited to:

– Plaster

– Wood (including uneven and weathered wood)

– Masonry

Milk paint dries very quickly (in approximately 30 minutes), resulting in a breathable surface with natural mold and mildew inhibitory properties.

It will produce a solid color or a stain/wash depending on the amount of water used when mixed. Simply pick your desired finish and mix the powdered paint with water to the proper consistency – it’s that easy. Different milk paint colors can also be mixed to create custom shades.

Milk paint is available in powdered form online from several different manufacturers and at retail outlets in many major cities.

For all the latest tips and trends from the world of interior design, subscribe to our daily Blog posts! And for help choosing the perfect color scheme for your space, check out our $69 paintIT decorating package!

Happy Decorating!

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5 Quick Fixes That Will Make You Love Your Home Again

As is true with most relationships, once the glow of the honeymoon phase is over it’s all too easy to take your home for granted. Assuming that it’ll always be there to lean on, an ideal companion that never complains, and simply exists on a diet of bare-essential maintenance.

Is it possible to rekindle the flame? Experience that jump out of bed, miss you when we’re not together, can’t wait to re-connect feeling again… with your home?

YES YOU CAN! With a little bit of effort, the following do-it-yourself, budget-friendly, quick-fixes may ultimately be the thing to kickstart a happier, more rewarding life with the biggest investment you will likely ever make… Your Home!

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Here are a few designer secrets that are the biggest bang for your buck DIY projects:

A New Coat of Paint: Just like the iconic Tom Waits song, a “New Coat of Paint” holds within it the promise of a fresh start. Paint is an instantly rewarding project and the right paint color can not only transform the look of a room, it can also add personality, giving style and vibrance to bland interiors!

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Add Fresh Artwork: There are thousands of ways to decorate your walls, from designer mirrors to unique 3-D wall-mounted sculptures. For instance, grouping smaller items like family photos together is a great way to make a big impact without breaking the bank. To further increase the WOW factor of any wall decor be sure to choose a paint color that will make whatever you put on your walls stand out and get noticed!

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Cozy up with stylish Toss Cushions: Nothing is more welcoming than a grouping of colorful throw pillows casually tossed in the corners of a sofa. They invitingly whisper: “come cuddle with me”!

The most effective way to add this vibrant splash of color to a space is to co-ordinate the pillows with your room’s color scheme, and for maximum impact don’t be afraid to try something bold!

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Re-arrange the furniture: One of the most powerful and dramatic changes you can make in a room is implementing a new space plan. Try bringing furniture away from the walls; it’s a cheap and fabulous way to create intimacy in the space. It even makes the room appear larger. Don’t be afraid to try a few different configurations; finding the right placement may take a few tries if you don’t possess the ability to visualize the space in your head.

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Set the mood with lighting: A great lighting plan will influence the ambiance in a room. While overhead lights are great for functionality they can create an institutional feeling in the space, so turn ‘em off! The best design plans incorporate multiple points of light, that, when used in the right proportions, can actually be more functional and comfortable than overhead lighting. Try placing table or floor lamps near the sofa for great task lighting, and directional lighting strategically positioned to highlight the features of a room.

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Weekend projects are a great way to reconnect with your home, and decorating doesn’t have to be a chore. With just a little bit of planning, and by implementing a few small changes at a time, you will discover how rewarding a beautiful home can be.

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So, if you need some inspiration to get you going check out our DESIGN PORTFOLIO or BLOG for more great ideas to make your home the showhome you’ve always known it could be!

Happy Decorating!

The decorateITonline Team

The Power of Paint: 5 Hot Room Color Schemes to Make Your Space Sizzle!

Get inspired to decorate with these trendy new color palettes from our fabulous DESIGN TEAM:

Inspired by nature, this earthy palette adds a warm glow to transitional and contemporary spaces. Featuring Split Pea (2146-30), Grizzly Bear Brown (2111-20), and Gold Mine (2155-20)

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Modern and dramatic, this high-contrast palette looks fabulous in a sleek, urban setting. Featuring Steel Wool (2121-20), Iced Cube Silver (2121-50), and Caribbean Blue Water (2055-30)

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This cool pastel combination is perfect for kids' rooms, tropical themes, and 1950s retro spaces. Featuring (from left to right): Splash (2059-60), Fresh Cut Grass (2026-50), and Gentle Blush (2084-70)

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This neutral palette provides a sedate backdrop for colorful art and accessories. Featuring Natural Cream (OC-14), Clarksville Gray (HC-102), and Cromwell Gray (HC-103)

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For a more traditional space this classic combination radiates timeless elegance. Featuring Maple Leaf Red (2084-20), Vanilla Milkshake (OC-59), and Rosemary Sprig (2144-30)

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To find a color combination that works perfectly in your space try our $69 paintIT decorating package and get it right the first time!

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How to Paint Your Home like a Pro

A professional looking paint job for your home can be a do-it-yourself project if you know what you’re doing. Here are some painting tips from a professional painter of 25 years, follow this simple advice and you’ll get an even coat of paint on your interior walls. These  tips will help you get the job done quickly and eliminates common problems like light areas, roller marks and built-up ridges.

First, start by choosing the best equipment and materials for the job. You can pick up professional-quality equipment that will last a lifetime for just a few dollars more than cheap, all-in-one roller setups.

    • Start with a good roller cage.
    • To extend your reach and give you better control, screw a 4′ wood handle or extension pole onto the end of the roller.
    • Invest in a good roller sleeve (also known as a roller cover). It’s tempting to buy the cheapest sleeve available and throw it away when you’re done, but cheap roller sleeves don’t hold enough paint to do a good job. It’ll take you twice as long to paint a room and the results won’t be as good. Use a 3/8″ – 1/2″ nap for flat paint on walls and ceilings, 3/4″ nap for rough surfaces like textured ceilings, and 1/4″ nap for satin or semi-gloss paint.
    • Roller trays work well for smaller areas such as bedrooms where a single gallon of paint might be all that’s needed. Cleanup is also easier with roller trays. A disposable tray liner makes cleanup even easier.
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Brush paint around the edges first: This step is referred to as “cutting in”. Since rollers can’t get tight to edges, the first painting step is to brush along the ceiling, inside corners and moldings. Only “cut-in” on the walls you will be rolling immediately, rather than doing the entire room at this point, to avoid noticeable differences in finish. Use the least amount of paint necessary to cover the old color, and make sure to smooth out any ridges or brushstrokes before you move onto the next step.

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Apply the paint to the wall with a sweeping stroke: Start about 12″ from the bottom and 6″ from the corner and roll upward at a slight angle using light pressure. Stop a few inches from the ceiling. Then roll up and down back toward the corner to quickly spread the paint. You can leave paint buildup and roller marks at this step. Don’t worry about a perfect job yet (you’ll be smoothing it out in the next step).

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Reload the roller and repeat the process in the adjacent wall space, working back toward the painted area: Always make sure to keep a wet edge. This is crucial to all top-quality paint jobs, whether you’re enameling a door, varnishing furniture or rolling paint on a wall. The idea is to plan the sequence of work and work fast enough so that you’re always lapping newly applied paint onto paint that’s still wet. If you stop for a break in the middle of a wall, for example, and then start painting after this section has dried, you’ll likely see an overlap mark where the two areas join.

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Roll back over the entire area you’ve covered to smooth and blend the paint: Don’t reload the roller with more paint for this step. Use very light pressure. Roll up and down, from floor to ceiling and move over about three-quarters of a roller width each time so you’re always slightly overlapping the previous stroke. When you reach the corner, roll as close as you can to the adjacent wall without touching it.

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Smooth the paint along the ceiling using a long horizontal stroke without reloading the roller with paint: Get as close as you can. The “cutting in” process leaves brush marks that won’t match the roller texture on the rest of the wall. For the best-looking job, you’ll want to cover as many brush marks as possible with the roller. Do this by carefully rolling up close to inside corners, moldings and the ceiling. Face the open end of the roller toward the edge and remember not to use a roller that’s fully loaded with paint. If you are skilled enough to roll within an inch of the ceiling while rolling vertically, you can skip this step.

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Scrape excess paint from the roller before you wash it. Use your putty knife, or a special roller scraping tool with a semicircular cutout in the blade. A painter’s “5-in-1 tool” is perfect for this task.

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Wash the roller with warm water and a mild laundry detergent: Lather up the roller and scrub the mat with your fingers like you are washing a short-haired dog. The detergent will pull a lot of the paint residue out of the mat and make the next step easier.

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Rinse the roller cover until the water runs clear. A roller and paint brush spinning tool, available at hardware and paint stores, simplifies the cleaning task. Just slip the roller cover onto the spinner and repeatedly wet and spin out the roller into an empty bucket until it’s clean.

  • To minimize shedding, wrap the new roller cover with masking tape and peel it off to remove loose fibers. Repeat this a few times. You can also use a lighter to lightly burn off any “Fuzzies” that you see.
  • An easy way to keep things less messy is to take a kitchen-sized white trash bag with yellow handles (the kind that, when you pull them out, the bag closes up), turn it inside out, and then slip it over your roller tray. Tie the yellow handles around the ‘feet’ of the tray; when you’re done for the day, you can put your paint rollers in the tray and then pull the bag off of the tray, turning it right-side-in, and tie it off. If you do it well, it will keep the paint wet and you can reuse the rollers again the next day. Also means you don’t have any clean-up for the roller tray.
  • Keep a wet rag in your pocket and pick lumps off the wall as you go.
  • Strain used paint through a mesh paint strainer to remove lumps. Five-gallon size strainers are available at paint stores.
  • High-quality wool covers tend to become matted down if you apply too much pressure while painting. Rolling demands a light touch. No matter what roller cover you’re using, always let the paint do the work. Keep the roller cover loaded with paint and use only enough pressure to release and spread the paint. Pushing on the roller to squeeze out the last drop of paint will only cause problems. Start with a large “V” or “W” and fill in between. Smooth with up and down motion. Look at it in a minute or two to make certain there are no runs.
  • If you notice rollermarks (vertical paint lines) flip the roller in the other direction and re-roll it (within 10 minutes for latex).

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If you’d like help finding a new paint color for your room check out our styleIT or styleIT 3-D decorating plans.

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Ask IT: How Can I Update My Kitchen Without Spending a Fortune?

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Here’s my dilemma: For the past year I have been living in a house that was built in the early 1990s and hadn’t been updated at all before I moved in. So far all I have done is paint the great room and bedrooms just to give them a clean look. The worst room in the whole house, though, is the kitchen. The cabinets are ivory colored plastic laminate with a “Euro” style oak trim. They are hideous, but right now I can’t afford to change them. I need to figure out a quick and inexpensive way to change the look of my kitchen while still keeping my existing cabinets. What are my options?

Lucy

Scottsdale, AZ

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Hi Lucy,

Thanks for the question. We can definitely appreciate your desire to update your kitchen design and we’ve got a few suggestions on how to create a whole new look without breaking the bank.

The first thing we would recommend is to paint out your cabinets. Because they are a combination of plastic laminate and lacquered oak you’ll need to do a bit of prep first.  First, wash them down with a mixture of water and TSP (tri-sodium phosphate, available at any hardware or paint store) to remove any dirt and grease. Then you’ll need to prime them with a primer designed to go over plastic laminate. Finally, using enamel suitable for cabinets and trim, paint the cabinet doors and trim in the same dark grey or dark brown tones. The reasons we recommend going dark are threefold: it will create the most dramatic and noticeable change, the flat cabinet profile requires you to go in a more modern direction, and the darker the paint the more it will hide any brushstrokes or flaws. Try Benjamin Moore’s Van Buren Brown or Amherst Gray (HC-70 and HC-167 respectively).

Now for those countertops: New laminate countertops can be ordered for a few hundred dollars from most home-improvement stores, but if that’s not in the budget you can also use melamine paint to cover them, just like you did with the cabinets. Plain black will work best with either cabinet color and will also hide any flaws, scratches, or brushstrokes.

Lastly the walls: We recommend staying neutral with the wall color by choosing either plain tint-less white, or a very pale grey (like Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray HC-169). Either color will help unify the new cabinet color with the white backspash and help to make the space look fresh, clean, and modern.

We hope that helps.  Happy Decorating!


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If you have a decorating question for our Design Team send it to: AskIT@decorateITonline.com. If we feature it on our blog we’ll send you a gift certificate for $25 to use in the DIO STORE!



Color Co-ordination Gone Awry

This week’s theme of The Power of Paint reminded me of an interesting experience I had with a client a few years ago while working as an in-home decorating consultant:

The consultation was for a client who was building a brand new home and wanted assistance choosing all of the interior finishes and materials, from paint and flooring to cabinets and fixtures.

When I arrived for the consultation she had already laid out samples of the specifications she liked for each room, for my opinion and approval. Indeed, she had done an impeccable job of matching the color of every single element in the room (paint, trim, carpet, lighting, drapes, furniture, millwork, and accessories). Therein lay the problem. Gold was her favorite color and she wanted to incorporate it into the room, so she chose everything in gold. Exactly the same shade of gold. For everything.

Now, I love a monochromatic look as much as the next decorator, but with everything exactly the same shade of exactly the same color, it becomes not only a design nightmare, but a safety issue as well. How, for instance, could anyone afflicted with myopia find the door in the case of an emergency? Or those with inner-ear problems tell the ceiling from the floor?

Finally, after much explanation about the need for layering and context I grabbed a stack of interior design magazines she had on her bookshelf. We sat down together and I had her look through each magazine and tell me what her favorite rooms were. As I suspected, the rooms she was attracted to all featured gold tones, however, as I pointed out to her, the gold appeared in dozens of varying shades in each room, and was accented by an abundance of neutrals (white, cream, brown, and black). This was what finally convinced her to agree to my suggestions.

Instead we used gold as our base color, and accented it with an abundance of neutrals to really make the gold pop out. Ultimately what started out as a potential decorating nightmare turned into one of the spaces I was most proud of (and even more importantly, the client adored the finished product too!).

The moral of the fable is that even the most perfect color needs context in order to be appreciated… oh, and trust your decorator… they really do know best!

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The Power of Paint: Creating a Fab Feature Wall

Afraid of taking a gigantic leap of faith with your paint color? Why not try taking a smaller step with a feature wall instead?

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A dramatic feature wall is an ideal way to update your room without all the expense and hassle of an entire room redecoration. Rather than having to move everything out of the room, drop-cloth the entire floor, and spend the next 6 hours cutting-in, rolling, and doing touch-ups, a new feature wall can be yours in less than 2 hours, including all your prep time. Also, because painting a feature wall is far faster and easier than an entire room you can update it much more frequently, for an entire new look whenever you want. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

– Go dark: Your feature wall must be a darker shade than your main wall color in order to create the desired effect (lighter feature walls will have the opposite effect and draw the eye to the other 3 walls instead).

– Choose a shade that compliments your main wall color: In order to make sure your feature wall co-ordinates well with the rest of the room stick with the same “tyoe” of color. That’s not to say the actual color must be the same, just the type. For instance, if your main wall color is a muddy taupe tone and you want an orange feature wall, choose a muddy, muted shade of orange rather than a bright, saturated shade.

– Maintain a sense of balance: The bolder your feature wall color, the more important it is to visually balance the opposite side of the room. If your feature wall is dark and your main walls are light, place some of your larger dark furniture pieces on the wall opposite the feature wall to avoid the feeling that the room is leaning toward the darker side.

Decorate with confidence with advice from the industry’s top professionals for less! Online Interior Decorating Services

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The Power of Paint: Getting It Right

Paint is one of the most powerful elements in a room and getting it right can mean the difference between a spectacular room or a space that just does’t work. Choosing the right paint color is more than just finding a color that you like; it’s choosing a color you like that works with the other colors surrounding it. So, to kick off our Power of Paint week I’ll share with you a recent personal experience.

One of my dearest friends is in the process of developing her basement, and I helped her make all of the color selections. So I was shocked when I received a desperate phone call from her the other day, with an uncharacteristic nervousness in her voice: “So… the contractor put a paint sample on the wall today, and… ugh…. well, I don’t like it.

My heart sank.

Most professional decorators/designers will tell you that working with friends, family, or for yourself is infinitely harder than working with clients. I attribute this to the emotional connection and consequently the inability to step back and look at the situation objectively. The fear of getting it wrong for a loved one can often cloud better judgement and for some insane reason working with someone that is close makes me doubt my years of experience and successful outcomes.

We had previously spent a couple of days shopping for flooring and found the perfect cork plank floor in a lovely deep rich smokey-olive color for her bathroom. We paired that with an absolutely fantastic pale blue/green/grey paint color (Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue HC-143) that really popped with the floor. They really were perfect and we were both thrilled with the selections.

So after getting her phone call I had to go check it out. She was right, it looked awful… up against the very cold blue/grey primer. In fact the hideous primer made the lovely paint color look like an institutional minty green color. Yuck. So I quickly grabbed a piece of the flooring and the trim and held them up to the paint sample on the wall (hiding the primer color on both sides). INSTANTLY the color changed, and we both shrieked with joy! IT WAS PERFECT!

We’re dedicating this week to the Power of Paint and everything you need to successfully transform a room, from choosing colors to the tools you need to get the job done right. Don’t miss a word of this essential advice by subscribing to our RSS feed or check back daily to discover everything you need to know about decorating with paint.

Save your sanity, your money, and the environment by choosing the perfect paint color the first time. Our $69 paintIT package costs far less than a few cans of the wrong paint. IT’s the fastest, easiest, and most affordable way to get the right color THE FIRST TIME. And, if you get started now we can have you ready to paint by next weekend!

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