Make dramatic home changes with paint

Lisa's Tips:


Paint is by far the easiest, least expensive way to make dramatic change in your home. It can add color and character, and can even give the illusion of space.

With that said, you know that chirpy little person who tells you, "Hey! It's only paint! If you don' t like it, just buy some more!"? Well, that person has no intention of helping you repaint.

Seriously, I would like to address that theory. Painting is a huge pain in the ass. Who wants to go through life repainting rooms? We've all been there, that moment right after a long day of painting, when you look up in horror to discover the paint on the wall looks nothing like that stupid little paint chip in your pocket. Friggen agony, that's what I say. Pick the right color the first time, and be done with it.

Finding an inspiration piece:

This is really the only reliable way pick a color, so it's the only way I'm going to address. Use a multi-colored textile, like an area rug, drapery, throw pillow, or duvet cover as your "inspiration palette".

You'll be safe selecting a coordinating paint color from the background of the print. Use the deeper or brighter tones for accents throughout the room or in adjacent spaces.

Most paint stores now offer a "color-matching" service. You can bring in just about anything, and they will match the color perfectly.

Commitment Issues:

Live with the color before you commit. Instead of buying an entire gallon of a color that could be wrong for your room, purchase several small samples of the colors you're seriously considering.

Benjamin Moore, Glidden and Devine Color offer samples, usually for around five bucks. These inexpensive samples will cover about a 2' square.

But here's the trick: Don't paint the walls. Instead, paint a poster board from the craft store. Tape the board to your wall and live with it for a few days until you have a strong sense of how the color will look in the room. If you don't like it, just rip the poster board off the wall. No commitment; we like that.

FYI: A big mistake people make when choosing colors is going too pastel with their choices. I had a girlfriend who called me once in a panic. I made a "house call" only to discover her in a puddle on the living room floor.

She'd picked three paint colors, and proceeded to paint her foyer, living room and kitchen. The foyer was mint green, the living room was baby blue, and the kitchen was soft pink. It looked like the Easter Bunny's house.

She had no idea what she'd done wrong, but knew enough to know it was really bad. When you're looking at those paint chips, don't immediately opt for the paler colors. Work your way down the chip to the more intense hues. Choose more muted colors that contain brown or grey undertones for the best results.

The Slacker Chic Paint Job:

Now that you've chosen a color, you want make sure the paint job looks professional (note that I said "looks" professional). Here are a few of my favorite tricks and shortcuts you can use to get it done fast.

  • Opt for a quality paint: You may pay a few more bucks for the paint, but higher quality paints are thicker. This minimal investment can save you the agony of having to paint a second (or third) coat.

  • Use a tarp: Everybody thinks they can get away without a tarp. You almost always end up dripping. It takes more time to fuss over your drips than to drag a tarp or old sheet out from the garage. Save yourself the trouble.

  • Get a good brush: Purdy brand is my favorite brush. These brushes have such a precise edge, that I never need to tape anything. This is a huge time-saver.

  • Stay away from dark tones-especially red: These colors take way too many coats. You will see spots you missed for years.

  • Never paint a ceiling: I know, they say you can make a room more spacious by lightening up the ceiling with paint. Unless your ceiling is Navy Blue or stained, it's usually not worth the effort. f you really need to paint a ceiling, use a tarp, a ladder and a roller with an extension bar. Try to match the ceiling color to your trim color (that way you don't have to tape it off).

  • Paint barefoot: That way, if you step in a drop of paint, you will feel it before you track it through the house.
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