The first time my husband and I ever painted a room, we decided we should tackle our unfinished garage as a test of our abilities. We went to the home improvement store, bought a couple of gallons of white paint, and started rolling. And we rolled. And rolled and rolled and rolled. We couldn’t figure out WHY the paint was being sucked right into the walls. Well, it was because we didn’t use any primer on the exposed drywall.
Eight years and (what seems like) miles of painted walls later, we have pretty much mastered the science of painting a room. Tape the trim. Cover the floors. Prime the walls and ceiling. Paint the ceiling. Tape at the ceiling. Paint the walls. Pull the tape. Bask in the glow of a newly painted room. We’ve done it time and again, and sometimes I feel like we could do it in our sleep.
Perhaps it was some sort of painting “seven year itch,” but last year I decided to kick it up a notch. We were no longer going to be just painting. Instead, we were going to start painting patterns on one to two walls in a room. My husband, bless his little heart, agreed to my scheme, and we painted chevrons on two walls in the bedroom. It took many hours over many days, but the finished project was nothing short of amazing.
The next project I tackled was transforming the small half bath used mostly by visitors to our home. It was tiny and needed some oomph, which I achieved by way of a wall stenciled with a very modern design. When I started stenciling, I was unhappy with the way it was turning out, so I just painted over it and started again. This bathroom now puts a smile on my face every time I walk past the door.
If you are excited by a great focal wall and want to attempt doing something like stripes or stenciling, don’t let fear get in the way. At the end of the day, it’s just paint and the walls can always be repainted if you don’t like how it turns out. You can start out by reading my tutorials on how to paint perfect stripes or how to stencil on a textured wall, or you can learn as you go like I did.
But, if you are a little too anxious to do something quite so bold, remember that a great paint treatment doesn’t necessarily mean giant stripes on the walls. In my daughter’s nursery, we used two colors of paint with great success by painting a lighter color on the ceiling and top half of the walls, and a darker color on the bottom half of the walls. We transitioned the break in color by hanging chair rail molding painted in the darker color. The result is largely the same visual impact as stripes, but not quite as tedious and nerve wracking.
My personal design philosophy involves two key components: bright, vibrant colors and one or two focal walls. Both of these components are easily achieved through paint, and they are even easier to undo once I grow tired of them due to the wonders of primer. Primer is a magical thing. I wish I had realized that years ago when we were sweating in the garage.