Archive for September, 2012

Paint Color Suggestions, Listed By Color

Ready for a list of best paint colors (that usually work)?

I hope the recent posts with tips here and here as well as Painting 101 have helped so far.

Picking a paint color isn’t as easy as you may think.


No matter how good you are at color, there’s no one perfect color that will do the trick for everyone’s lighting conditions and existing elements – you have to try several in that color family until you find just the right one.

Color is complicated.  The best color for you will depend on how it looks in the actual room, with the actual lighting, at various times of day, what color you are putting it on top of, what other colors are in the room, and even in conjunction with your existing finishes.

I thought I’d share my most common paint color suggestions.

Young House Love did a very similar post in 2009.  We have some common suggestions and many different ones.  A few of their selections are no longer available since it was a few years back.  But, nonetheless, it’s a good additional resource.


Note:  There are blog posts specifically on Greige and White for even more information.

Basic Color Rules:
1.  Balance bright saturated colors with lots of white.
2.  Kids rooms tend to take the more clean and saturated colors best while adult rooms require a slight muddiness to them and lighter tones, as a rule.  (Muddy or muted colors have a hint of brown or gray and progress to more of a neutral as they get more muddy.)
3.  In general, keep clean colors with clean colors and dirty (or muddy or muted) with other dirty colors.  Clean refers to colors that are more saturated and crisp. Dirty colors are more muddy or muted meaning there is a gray or brown tint to it.
4.  Wall colors are trending to the lighter tones.  They are also trending away from beiges and browns, and more towards grays and greiges (mix of gray and beige).
5.  Don’t forget ceilings.
6.  When choosing a white, make sure it works with the fixed white in your home – sinks, cabinets, or anything that will not be changed.  Is that white crisp, warm, creamy?  Does it work with the other neutrals as well – what are their undertones?
7. Compare different shades of one color to begin to see the undertones.  Placing them beside white also helps.
8.  Use primer if going from light to a dark saturated color.  Other tips like this can be found on my Painting 101 post.

Neutrals are listed first, then colors in rainbow order.

For most colors, I included the chip number and a quick description after the paint name, so you can easily plow through the suggestions based on your project.  The colors are in alphabetical order under each color, by brand.  Enjoy!

Note:  SW = Sherwin Williams, BM = Benjamin Moore, * = my most favorite

White (12) - *Behr Swiss Coffee 1812 (Warm Creamy White, swiss coffee is found in most brands though it will vary a tad from brand to brand), Behr Ultra White (crisp white), Behr Cascade White, BM Atrium White INT RM (fairly neutral, slightly creamy), BM Chantilly Lace OC-65 (crisp white), BM Decorators White IN RM (crisp white that is slightly gray), BM Simply White OC-17, BM Swiss Coffee OC-45 (creamy white),  SW Alabaster 7008 (warm but crisp), *BM Cloud White 967, BM Collector’s Item AF 45 (warm crisp white), SW Dover White 6385 (creamy), *SW Pure White 7005 (crisp white).

Cream/ Off-White (6)- *BM Cloud Cover 855 (warm, slight gray), BM China White INT RM (creamy, slight greige to it), BM Cocoa Butter 1023 (light beige), BM Muskoka Trail 974 (light beige with gray undertone),  SW Creamy 7012 (warm, slight gray), BM Subtle AF 310 (pale creamy beige).

Light Greige (9)  Greiges have warm undertones, usually a green undertone is best. - *Behr Sandstone Cliff 750 C-3 (light to medium greige), BM Baby Fawn OC-15 (beige/ gray with gray undertones), BM Gray Mist 962, BM Halo OC-46 (fairly neutral), *BM Hazy Skies OC-48 (light to medium, slight green undertone), BM Jute AF 80 (pale greige), BM Overcast OC-43 (slight green undertone), *BM Pashmina AF-100 (very gray, but still warm),  BM Winds Breath 981, Pratt & Lambert Lambswool 11-30 (more tan than gray).

Medium/ Dark Greige (6) - BM Copley Gray HC-104 (darker warm gray), BM Rockport Gray HC 105 (dark moody warm gray), *BM Senora Gray 1530 (warm medium gray with good depth), BM Stingray 1529 (medium greige with slight warm undertone), BM Tapestry Beige OC-32 (medium, a little more brown than most), *Farrow & Ball Hardwick White (wonderful medium greige).

Light Gray (11) There is less brown in grays than greiges.  Gray undertones are generally cool, though I mixed some warm ones in below, that are technically on the greige side, but barely.  So, most would still see them as very gray. - *BM Apparition 860 (fairly neutral light gray), BM Ashwood OC-47 (light warm gray), BM Classic Gray OC-23 (light gray), BM Edgecomb Gray HC-173 (pale warm gray), BM Gray Wisp 1570 (light gray blue), BM Iced Marble 1578 (blue gray), BM Silver Chain 1472 (fairly neutral light gray), Quiet Moments 1563 (blue undertone, light),  *Martha Stewart Zinc (medium charcoal color), SW Agreeable Gray 7029,  Valspar Oatlands Subtle Taupe 6005-1B (light to medium warm gray).

Medium to Dark Gray (9) - Behr Ashes (medium to dark gray), BM Flint AF 560 (dark gray), BM Gray Mirage 2142-50 (medium green gray), BM Kendall Charcoal HC-166 (dark gray), BM Light Pewter 1464 (pale gray), *BM Revere Pewter HC-172 (very neutral, very slight warm green undertone), BM Stonington Gray HC-170 (medium blue gray), BM Templeton Gray HC-161 (moody dark blue gray, can read blue), *Valspar Woodlawn Colonial Gray 6004-1B (medium slightly warm gray).

Tan (9) - BM Alexandria Beige HC-77 (medium tan), BM Bleeker Beige HC-80 (soothing tan beige), BM Camouflage 2143-40 (green tan), BM Coriander Seed – AF 110, BM Grant Beige HC 83 (medium tan), BM Hush AF 95 (light tan), *BM Manchester Tan HC-81 (light tan), Pratt & Lambert Lambswool 11-30, *Valspar Arid Plains 6007-2A (medium taupe brown), Valspar Oatbran 6006-1B (a hint of gray in it).

Brown (6) - *BM Branchport Brown HC-72 (dark chocolate brown), BM Chocolate Candy Brown 2107-10 (dark chocolate brown), BM Elk Horn – AF 105 (brown tan), BM Plymouth Brown HC-73 (lighter brown), *Farrow and Ball Mouse’s Back (dark chocolate/taupe brown), SW Cobble Brown (dark brown).

Beige (8) –  BM Adams Gold HC-18 (creamy light beige),  BM Berber White 955 (light beige tan), BM Carrington Beige HC-93 (medium yellow based beige), BM Cream Fleece 233 (light creamy beige with slight yellow undertone), BM Elmira White HC-84 (light beige), BM Flawless AF 320 (light beige), BM Shaker Beige HC-45 (yellow toned beige, light to medium), Valspar Lyndhurst Mushroom 3007-9C (medium beige).

Red (8) Red has either orange or purple undertones. - BM Caliente AF 290 (deep wine red), BM Currant Red 1323 (deep barn red), BM Ladybug Red (a fairly true red), SW Heartthrob 6866 (deep red), BM Poppy 1316 (saturated red with ever so slight pink tint), SW Real Red 6868, BM Moroccan Red 1309 (deep red orange), Valspar Bright Red 1010-2 (very saturate bright red).

Pink/Coral (9)Pink has either purple or red undertones.  Coral has either orange or red undertones.  - Behr Cream Rose 160A-1 (soft pink), Behr Coral Mantle (medium coral),  Behr Silk Sheets 150-A1 (soft pink with slight coral undertone), BM Glamour Pink 2006-40 (rosy muddy pink red), BM Pink Harmony 2013-60 (pale basic pink), BM Starburst Orange 2010-30 (pink orange, nice coral that is a little darker), SW Animated Coral (saturated coral), SW Impatient Pink 6854 (deep hot pink), SW Comical Coral 6876 (pale pink with a coral tint).

Orange (5) Orange has either red or yellow undertones.  - BM Beverly Hills 180 (bright yellow orange), BM Fiesta Orange 084 (muted orange), BM Lion Heart 306 (citrus orange), SW Mandarin 6891 (true mandarin), SW Osage Orange 6890 (true orange).

Yellow (4)  Yellow has either orange or green undertones.  Yellow quickly becomes too bright and overwhelming.  Always choose lighter and softer than you think you want. - BM Hawthorne Yellow HC-4 (medium neutral, bit of orange gold tone), BM Lemon Sorbet 219-60 (light yellow, soft not too jarring), BM Weston Flax HC-5 (lighter yellow), BM You Are My Sunshine 302 (pale yellow).

Green (13) Green has either blue or yellow undertones.  - BM Central Park 431 (medium green with a hint of yellow), *BM Dune Grass 492 (pale green yellow), *BM Georgian Green HC-115 (muddy muted green that is historical), BM Hillside Green 495 (dark muddy olive green with hint of yellow), BM Rosemary Green 2029-30 (slight yellow undertone, medium, saturated), BM Sullivan Green 560 (vibrant kelly green, great for a cheerful kid’s room), BM Sweet Pear 389 (yellow green), BM Wasabi AF 430 (yellow green), Mythic Autumn Bloom 79-4 (yellow citrus green), SW Springtime 6708 (pale lime), SW Impetuous 6916 (light springy citrus green), *SW Paradise 6720 (dark basic green), SW Direct Green 6924 (true saturated green).

Light to Medium Blue (13) Blue has either green or purple undertones.  Check out some of the gray blues as well for a soft blue tone. - BM Azores AF 495 (medium with a smokey tint), BM Bali 702 (grayish blue that is soft but still clearly blue), BM Beach Glass 1564 (soft blue), BM Blue Haze 1667 (slight gray and green undertone, light), BM Blue Ice (soft and subtle, great for ceilings, gray tone), BM Catalina Blue 703 (soft blue, more saturated than bali), BM Gray Wisp 1570 (light gray blue), BM Healing Aloe 1562 (pale soothing blue), BM Iced Green 673 (light blue green), BM Palladian Blue HC-144 (pale blue with green undertone, can seem sea foam green in some lights),  *BM Wythe Blue HC-143 (soft blue with slight green undertone), Mythic Adanna Aire 51-2 (green blue good for a child’s room), SW Comfort Gray (grayish blue).

Medium to Dark Blue (10 ) Blue has either green or purple undertones. - Behr Grand Rapids 530-D7 (dark blue with some green in it), BM Calypso Blue 727 (more saturated with a green tint, great for doors and shutters), BM Dark Teal 2053-20 (dark blue with green undertones, very pretty), BM Fiji AF 525 (medium with hint of green),  BM Kensington Green 710 (medium green blue that is still soft), BM Silver Pine AC-21 (soft, subtle dark blue gray with a hint of green), BM Varsity Blue 756 (saturated medium blue), BM Wedgewood Gray HC-146 (medium blue with a slight smoke to it), Farrow and Ball Drawing Room Blue (deep saturated indigo which is a purple undertone), Mystic Turquoise Tear Drops 42-5 (medium turquoise with slight gray).

Navy Blue (11) Blue has either green or purple undertones. - BM Champion Cobalt 2061-20 (almost neutral, but slightly on the green side and muddy, a bit like a slightly faded dark denim), *BM Marine Blue 2059-10 (deep true navy, a lot like ink in the sample size, but the gallon size is different in color), BM Lucerne AF 530 (a bit of teal), BM Hale Navy HC-154 (dark gray navy), *SW Indigo 6531 (slight purple tone), *SW Loyal Blue 6510 (subtle hint of green, love this color), SW Naval 6244, SW Regalla 6517 (a slight smoke to it), Valspar Azure Jazz 4011-6 (muddy blue with slight green undertone), Valspar Deep Sea Diving 5001-8C (nice dark blue, slightly muddy), Valspar Indigo Cloth 4009-7 (deep purple blue), Valspar Newport Gray (dark blue with a gray muddy hue).

Purple (6) Purple has either red or blue undertones.  - BM Iced Lavender 1410 (light lavender), BM Kasbah AF 640 (muddy medium purple), BM Kalamata AF 630 (medium plum), BM Purple Hyacinth 2073-40 (medium lilac type purple), BM Sanctuary AF 620 (pale lilac), BM Violet Pearl 1451 (soft muddy purple).

Black (3) – BM Blacktop 2135-10 (soft black), BM Graphite 1603, Valspar Dark Kettle Black 4011-2.

Please add to the list in the comments section.

Suggested steps when searching for a paint color:

1. Google the color you are considering and see if you can find it in a room.  This is a good starting point.
2. Get a sample of all colors under consideration at your local paint store. One store can usually give samples of other brands, if they have the color on file.
3. If you prefer, start with painting a foam board.  Hold it up to see how it looks.
4.  Then, if you like the color, paint the samples that you are considering on every wall in the space.  I suggest 2 ft by 2 ft squares.
4. Look at the color at different times of the day to see what undertones become dominant. Give it a few days. Hold other colors next to it.
5. Decide on a color.

I hope that helps you get started.  I also recommend buying a fan deck from the brands that you prefer.  It is a time saver when it comes to trips to the store.  That way you can look at any swatch in your home prior to buying a sample.

What are your favorite paint colors?  What other color wisdom do you have that you can share with us?


Choosing the Perfect White

Upon request, after doing a series on greige, I have created a post on white paint.  I promise my blog is not just about paint.  Paint is just on my mind lately.

The post includes tips on when white is a great choice for walls as well as tips on finding the right white.  But, you’ll have to hop on over to Cassie’s blog, Primitive & Proper, to read it!


Cassie is a fabulous furniture painter and sells her stuff in the MD area.  She shared her furniture painting tips on my blog not too long ago!    And, later, she participated in some fabulous Q&A on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint here.  Check out one of her painted pieces below.  So great!  She’s also sweet and friendly.   If you don’t know her, check out her blog!


White is really making a comeback in the design world.  Here are some of the pretty pictures from the post today, so I hope they encourage you to head over to Primitive & Proper and read the post!

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What are your go-to white paint colors?   Have you painted any walls white?

I mentioned Wednesday that we had a crew of 7 painters at our house finishing up the common areas.  We’re covering the builder’s beige (SW Kilim Beige) with a greige.  They finished up in one day!  All other estimates were for 2.5-3 days. I’m so impressed. That included an entry (20 ft ceilings), hallways, office nook, and game room walls PLUS ceilings in all the common areas except the family room as well as the half bath ceiling.   Great attitudes, clean, polite, on time, and hard working.   Great price as well.  If you are in the Austin area, I am happy to pass along their contact information.

Now to spend a day soon cleaning up all of my tiny splatters off of the floor from the areas I personally painted.  Thank God for Goof Off.

I was wondering if anyone out there would be interested in a post on how to choose a painter.  And, maybe share a horror story that I heard from a reader.  Let me know.

Also, very soon, I’ll have a list of suggested paint colors by color for a quick reference and starting place.  There will be more white suggestions there!

If you are still here reading, it’s time to go check out the post on white paint!

Then, if you haven’t, be sure to enter the giveaway for $100 in throw pillows.  It’s super easy.  You don’t even have to be a follower of my blog.


20 Things You Can Paint in Your Home

I seem to be on a paint kick lately.  I hope you don’t mind.  I guess painting is just on the brain.   A crew of 7 painters is in my home right now finishing up the other half of the common areas that we didn’t finish ourselves.

So, in addition to wall painting tips, I wanted to share other things you can paint.

Do you have a limited decorating budget?  Paint is clearly the best bang for your buck when it comes to decorating.  Whether it’s spray paint, wall paint or acrylic paint, rest assured that you can find a project that makes an impact in your home.  And, chances are, you have some sort of paint just laying around.

Here are 20 things you can paint in your home.  Click on the images to be taken to the source where you can learn more.

1.  Stenciled Wall.
Get the look of wallpaper with a stencil.  My two favorite stencil makers are Cutting Edge Stencils and Royal Design Studio.  Here are some of their examples.

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And, here is a stencil in my last home.


2.  Lamps.
Like the shape, but hate the color?  Use spray paint to give them new life.

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3.  Floors.
Is there an old floor that isn’t worth re-finishing or replacing?  Paint it.

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4.  Light fixtures.
Do you have ugly brass fixtures?  Though they are coming back into style, maybe you aren’t ready for that.  No problem.  Paint them.  They make metallic spray paint also if you prefer to just move from one metallic color to another.

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5.  Furniture.
This is a fun and easy way to update furniture and give a traditional piece a modern flair.

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6.  Brick.
Use a high-heat enamel paint to give a fireplace new life.

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7.  Stairs.
Yep, you can even paint stairs.  Why not add a whimsical touch and make them fun?

If you are painting over existing paint on stairs or trim, be sure to check to see if it’s oil based or latex (water based).  To do this, use denatured alcohol.  If it removes the paint, it’s latex.   Then, be sure to use the same type of paint over it.

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8.  Frames.
Paint your photo frames.  In fact, Rub N Buff works great if you want to turn them a metallic color.  It’s even easier than spray paint.

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9.  Chalkboards.
Create a chalkboard with paint.

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10.  Appliances .
Try Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel paint on appliances, and countertops.  It gives a brushed-stainless look that is as durable as an automotive-grade finish.

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11. Sink fixtures.
Just like you can paint appliances and light fixtures, you can also paint sink fixtures.  It’s much less expensive than replacing a faucet.  Rustoleum makes a fantastic oil rubbed bronze paint.

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12.  Upholstery.
Well, this one is obvious if you’ve ever been on my blog.  I painted an upholstered chair.  That’s right – the fabric.  I used a mixture of water, fabric medium and latex paint to an old wingback chair a new look. I did it not once, but twice.

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And, on my chairs page, you can see many, many other examples, as well as other methods.

13.  Plastic furniture and toys.
Don’t like the standard color of your plastic lawn furniture or your child’s play house?  Krylon now makes a spray paint called Fusion that is made specifically to adhere to plastic. Erin Loechner at DesignForMankind.

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14.  Jars.
Consider painting jars.  The paint can just be for a label or can cover the entire jar.

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15.  Curtains.
Below are all simple white panels that got painted!

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16.  Rugs.
You can even paint rugs.  These rugs started out white.

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And, a few more just for good measure.


17.  Doors.
I recently did a post on boldly painted doors, but here are a couple.

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18.  Art.
I recently posted about a painting that I did and tried to describe the process so you could diy it.


Other diy painted art projects include:

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19.  Faux Headboard.
Use paint or vinyl decals to create a faux headboard.

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20.  Cabinets.
The most popular kitchen trend right now is to paint cabinets white or gray.  In addition, consider an open cabinet with the back painted a different color, or an island painted a different color than the cabinets.

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Do you have plans to paint something in your home?  How have you used paint creatively?


Pillows By Dezign Giveaway!

There is no better or easier way to update a room than with beautiful designer throw pillows!

Today, I am teaming up with the folks at Pillows by Dezign to host a fabulous giveaway! They are generously offering one of Hyphen Interiors readers an opportunity to win a $100 gift card.


The company was founded by designer, Marian LaFrance-Silverman.  She and her son created the company to allow people to decorate affordably with custom designer fabric pillows. “As an Interior Designer, Marian LaFrance-Silverman has always said, ‘Decorative Custom Pillows are the jewelry that completes the outfit.’”


Here are some examples of the awesome things you will find on their website!

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I want them all!!  They have a great selection.

Here are the rules to enter.

Terms and Conditions:
1. This giveaway is open to United States and Canada residents only. (My international readers, sorry.)
2. Only ships to the current continental US (48 states). If the winner lives in Hawaii or Alaska or Canada, the winner must pay the additional fees that may incur.
3. A special code will be given to the lucky winner and it can only be used once.

To Enter:
Simply visit Pillows By Dezign and leave a comment telling me which pillow you would buy with your $100 gift card if you win.

For additional entries (one extra entry for each of the following):
1. ‘Like’ me on Facebook and leave a separate comment here on the blog.
2. ‘Like’ Pillows By Dezign on Facebook and leave a separate comment here on the blog telling me you did.
3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a separate comment here on my blog telling me you did.
4. Blog about this giveaway and leave a separate comment here on my blog telling me you did.
5. Mention this giveaway on your Facebook status and leave a separate comment here on my blog telling me you did.

The deadline to enter is 5pm on October 1st. The winner will be chosen via and announced on Tuesday, October 2nd.

Good luck, everyone!


Finding Unique Items

What’s the best way to find unique items?  Antique malls and flea markets.   What about industrial and rustic items?  A touch of mid century?  Maybe something that brings back memories?  Something old to give a sense of history?   Something with personality?  Yep, an antique mall or flea market.


So, when you get ready to polish off your space with accessories, be sure to check these places.

I wrote about Austin Antique Mall here, as it’s a great resource for such items.  Check your local antique malls.  I’ve found some are expensive, yet others are reasonably prices, so you have to get to know which ones are worth frequenting.


This next week, in Texas, is the 45th annual Round Top fall antique show.  Round Top and cities surround it, like Warrenton and Carmine are attracting sellers from all over and putting on a show – mostly done Oct 2-6.  It attracts buyers from all over the nation and sometimes world.

So, if you are looking for unique items, this is an excellent resource.  Miles and miles of antiques and vintage items.  I have not been to this one before, but now that I’m living in Texas again, I am going to hit it up this year.

One of the places I’m interested in seeing is Marburger Farm.    It seems a little more upscale and designer oriented.

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However, I like the in the field type places as well.

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Images above found at Flown the Coop featuring The Seed Box Antiques and Fundustrial.   I love those industrial shelves in the first image.

Tips -

- Bring a list of what you need.

- Bring a measuring tape.  Bring measurements for ideal sizes.  For instance, if you need a night stand like I do, before you go, tape off the ideal size and bring those measurements so there is no guess work.   Believe me, if you are shopping for lots of things or clients as well, this can get overwhelming fast.  It’s tough to keep everything in mind while taking in all the amazing stuff there is to offer.

- Bring cash, comfortable shoes and be ready to get a little hot.

- Lodging fills up months in advance.   So, you need to live nearby or plan ahead.

- Go early for the best inventory and late for the best deals.

Are you going to Round Top?  Do you shop these places for finishing touches?


One of the Biggest Design Obstacles…

What holds people back the most when designing spaces?  Holding on to things.  Letting those items that they are not willing to part with boss them around and dictate the design of the space.

Now, before you get worked up, this does not include true family heirlooms, but everything else is fair game, no matter who bought it for you or what memories it brings back.  We’re also not necessarily talking about things like tile that are attached to the home.  We’re talking furniture and accessories.

We all have this problem.  We get attached for one reason or another.

I’m not much of a keeper of things in general.  I’m really just the opposite.  I get rid of things pretty fast.  But, even though I’m not a huge keeper of things, even I still run into this issue from time to time.

For instance, I did part with my old bed because it was a little too “cottage” for what we were doing in the new house.


I loved the bed, but needed to part with it in order to go the direction that I want to go with the space.  I wanted an upholstered headboard.  I couldn’t find just what I wanted and time to make one was not on the horizon.  So, I got this new bed from Four Hands two months after selling our other bed.

Oh, and don’t worry – we don’t have that ugly carpet anymore.  Our new house has wood floors in the master bedroom.  Yay!


I love it.  Nailhead and tufting – two of my favorite things.  But… the color isn’t exactly what it seemed in the store, though I love the men’s suit look to the fabric.  It’s a tad more brown in the bedroom.  However, it is well made and I just bought it in May.  So, I have a hard time parting with it.   We all have our reasons, this is mine – this time.

But, the deal is, IF the color doesn’t work well with what we end up doing in the master bedroom, I can either just force it and keep it and design around it, or I can choose to not be attached to it.   Am I going to let it boss me around as I design the space?

I hope I won’t.  (We do not yet have the space fully planned out.)  I try to be flexible and realize that a bed can be sold or moved to another room.  If it impedes a great design and vision, it is fair game for being sold.  Don’t let one or two items boss you around.

What makes you hold on to things?    Maybe reasons like these:

- It was an expensive piece at the time.  (I spent a decent amount of money on my dining table, desk and hutch and a few other pieces in my last house.  Just having spent that money a few years before makes me less eager to part with the piece.  It’s a psychological thing.  But, they are now all sold.  And, to be honest, it was a relief.  I sold them just to transition away from black furniture.   I’ve also found that if I can buy things on Craigslist, I don’t feel this way.)
- I can’t afford another piece.
- I don’t want to deal with changing that out.
- My bff’s firend’s grandma gave it to me, what if she sees I don’t have it anymore?
- I used to love that piece.  It was so popular in the 80s.  It made me feel cool then.
- It is still new.
- Memories are attached.

The Decorologist highlighted a dining room before and after recently.  This is the before shot.


Oak Windsor style chairs, matching sets…  What if the owner let the furniture, which is nice but dated, boss her around?  What if she was attached to it and not willing to part with any of it?  My how that would impact a design!

Here is the after. She kept the table. Everything else is new.


What a difference, new chairs, china cabinet and paint colors made!  She was flexible.

I have had clients do this with dining sets as well as with sofas that have undertones that are difficult to work with, or an item that is dated but that paint could remedy.  I am often surprised by what clients say MUST stay in a room.  I think they feel that parting with things just adds to the price tag.  It doesn’t have to.

Instead, keeping things due to feelings of guilt or fear can greatly limit what can be done with a space.  Be fearless.  And flexible.

Having said we should all be willing to part with things that are not family heirlooms or the like, the thought that is likely going through your mind is we don’t have unlimited budgets.  We can’t all just jump up and buy something new every time we decide that something we own does not work.  Right?  I know I cant.  We can still be flexible.  We just have to get creative.

- Use the items in another room.  Does it go with your overall style, but just doesn’t work in that particular space?  It may be a good candidate for another room.
- Sell it on Craigslist and use the money earned to purchase something new (or used).   In an ideal situation, no money is lost.  It’s like a trade-in.  But, you will have to be patient in both buying and selling.
- Be willing to paint items that can take paint.   Don’t let the tone of wood or color of metal dictate the design.
- Is there something from another room that you can pull in?
- Focus on one room at a time so it’s not too costly or overwhelming.

One of my clients started with this room in her beautiful home, which isn’t bad.  But, because she was flexible and not attached to anything, we were able to come up with a fun and exciting new design for the space.

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She knew some things could go in other spaces, some to another home they have and other things could be sold and new items found on Craigslist, which helped with maintaining a reasonable budget.

Here is the new design story board that hasn’t been implemented just yet.  We’re still ironing out details.


When I buy things, I try to ask myself a few questions.

- Can I find this on Craigslist?  If you purchase something on Craigslist, there is a good chance that a couple of years later, you can sell it for almost the same price and tada, no money lost, yet you got something new!
- Can the item be used in more than one space?  If the items is pricey, I like to have flexibility and know it can be used in more than one specific space.  If the item is less expensive, no worries.  Or, if the items is extremely unique, no worries.
- Can I resell this for at least half the price and find something used in it’s place without spending more money if I don’t like it?
- If it’s a large item that I will potentially own for a while, is it neutral and classic?  Will it stand the test of time?
- Can the item be returned if it doesn’t work?

Be patient and find that just right item.  Don’t settle or be bossed around by pieces that you own.

What is holding you back? What pieces are you not parting with that maybe you should?   And, why?  Because they look dated?  Because the color is off?  Because the style is all wrong?  What makes you hold on to things?


The Next 10 Painting Tips

Two days ago, I shared all the things you must know in order to paint walls.  Yesterday I shared my first 10 tips.  Today I am sharing tips 11-20.

11. Don’t start a brushstroke on already-smoothed wet paint.
You can overwork paint and create brush strokes.  Paint starts drying right away, so when you start a brushstroke on an already smoothed area, you are creating a big issue.  already coated zone.


Instead, brush your paint on an unpainted area first and brush toward the already painted area.

12.  Shield furniture with plastic or Press n Seal.
Sherwin Williams and other paint stores sell rolls of plastic that unfold to cover large areas of furniture.  We protect anything that stays in the room while painting with this.  If it’s a smaller items like a toilet, you can just use Press n Seal.

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They even make plastic sheeting with tape on one side so you can tape it right to the wall.  I covered my mantle with this while painting.


13. Use a broomstick to extend your roller and save your back.
Tired of bending up and down over and over while rolling paint on to the wall?  Extend the reach of the handle.  You don’t need to buy a special painting stick.  You can simply unscrew any average broom handle and screw it right on to the end of the paint roller handle.


14. Cover paint to keep it fresh.
Paint dries fast, even paint in your roller tray. If you need to take a break for more than 10 minutes, cover the paint.  Place a lid on your gallon of paint or a cloth over your small paint container. You can use aluminum foil to cover your roller tray. If you don’t, the film that forms on top of the paint may end up on your walls.

15. Store leftover paint in jars or tupperware.
Paint can keep for 1-3 years when stored in an airtight container.  If you don’t have much left in a gallon or the gallon isn’t closing well, pour the paint that is left into a jar or container that has a lid.


16. Keep stir sticks for a quick reference.
It’s sometimes hard to remember the paint names that you used.

Let stir sticks help you.  You get paint all over them anyway.  Just take it a step further and keep them.  Let them dry and lable them.  Drill a hold and keep them together on a ring for further organization.


17. Check the oops section at the paint store.
On a major budget?  Did you know it’s possible to get a gallon of paint for as little as $1?  Yep.  Check the oops section.

Most paint stores have an “oops” section where they sell incorrectly mixed paints for cheap.  They are usually between $1-$5, depending on the store.  The downside is that it’s unlikely that you will ever find the exact same shade again if you need more. If your paint store doesn’t have one, ask them at the counter.  This can work especially well for furniture painting and other small items that can carry a unique color.

18. Clean brushes well.
Wash brushes with latex paint in hot, soapy water, then rinse and let dry.  Mineral spirits is good for cleaning oil based paint off of brushes.

19.  Can’t find the right shade?  Mix it.
Yep, that’s right.  Just mix two colors or more together and see if you can create the right shade.  Then, have it matched at the paint store.  It will never be a perfect match, but I’ve found that Sherwin Williams tends to get it the closest.

If you are afraid to mix paint, ask the paint person to alter the color a bit for you.  Similarly, if you like a color, but it’s a little too dark or light, aks for it at 50% lighter or darker (or any percentage you want…  take it all the way down to a white with that undertone).  They can do that.

20.  Calculate the paint you need.
The pros recommend 1 gallon per every 400 square feet.  So, a room that is 10×10 and has four 10 ft tall walls would be 400 square feet, if you are not painting the ceiling.

If you missed the first two installments of this series, be sure to check them out as they also contain some great tips!

Now that I’ve shared all of my best tips.  What are your best tips?


Ten Painting Tips, 10 More Tomorrow

Yesterday I shared Painting 101 information – all the must-knows.  Today, I thought I’d share some of the best tips that I’ve learned over the years.  I’ll share 10 today and 10 tomorrow.

But, first, I wanted to link to a great post over at the Decorologist on how color selection can make a space look dated.  That way, if you are choosing color while choosing paint, you can get extra guidance.

Back to the tips.   They are targeted at wall painting though I touched on furniture painting yesterday.  If you are all interested, I can do a post on just furniture…

1.  Buy a Purdy 1.5 or 2 inch angled paint brush.
A good quality angled paint brush can make all the difference when cutting in at edges.  I used Purdy brand.  Wooster is also good.  They cost about $10, but if you take care of it, it will last for a very long time.   A real estate agent that I was doing a paint color consult for the other day went and got me a brush so I could put some paint I happened to have with me on his wall.  I was like, oh a new brush!  I mean, still in the package, perfect condition.  He said it was 7 years old!  I was so impressed.  I have to admit, my month old brush doesn’t look as good as his, but it’s still in good shape.

Brushes come in natural and synthetic bristles.  In general, paint brushes with natural bristles are meant for oil-based paints.  Synthetic bristles were designed for water-based or latex paints, but can be used for anything.

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The brush is so important for the next tip.  You won’t be able to cut in without a good brush.

2.  Cut in.  Don’t tape.
Don’t you hate taping off a room?  You don’t have to.  You can just cut in.

What is cutting in?  It’s when you do not use tape around the edges of the room and instead paint a straight line without the guidance of tape.

The first time or two is always tough, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll not do it any other way.  So, take the time to learn it.

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To cut in, first load the brush with paint. Then be sure to wipe most of the excess paint off by gently scraping the bristles on the edge of the can. Unload the brush a bit more on the first swipe by starting in an unpainted area and dragging towards an area already painted.  Once the brush is unloading about like a pen would, do a brushstroke right at the edge without reloading the brush.  I usually go about a foot or two like this, keeping as steady as I can, looking an inch or so ahead of the brush the whole time.  Sneaking up to the edge is easier than trying to get it perfect on the first try. At the end of the stroke, pull the brush away from the cut-in line and sweep it off the surface.  Drag towards the previously painted area.  Don’t overwork the paint and keep brushing it.  Remember, paint starts to dry as soon as it’s laid on.  So, overworking it leaves marks.

You can hold the brush like in the image above left or almost completely vertical (still parallel to the edge) like the above middle and right.   Whatever works best for you is fine.  I do both at different times.

I used to use a paint edger.  It’s a pad that you load with paint and the pull along edges.  However, I was never truly happy with it.  I would overload it with paint and it’d seep out the edges, or I wouldn’t have enough paint and it would miss lots of spots.  The pads would sometimes slip out and cause a disaster.  It wasn’t good, but I used them for several years as I was afraid to try a straight line on my own.  Now, I like cutting in much better.  No need to tape anymore!

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When cutting in, do the edges of one wall first, and then paint that wall.  This especially matters if you are using a paint with any sheen.  You’ll want the edging to still be damp when painting so it blends.  With a flat finish, it doesn’t matter as much.  Edge when you want with flat paint.

3. Tape horizontals only.

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While I don’t really tape, if you want to tape one thing, it’s horizontals.  Paint will splatter a bit and it will land on anything horizontal.  So, if you have trim or chair rail, consider taping it off.   Otherwise, wipe it off immediately after each coat while the paint is still wet, or you could be picking off one tiny splatter at a time later.

If you do use tape, for stripes or horizontals or anything, be sure to take the tape off while the paint is still wet.  That way, the tape doesn’t pull off some of the dried paint with it.

4.  Use tray liners.
Paint trays are a pain to clean every time you use one in order to roll paint on.  What I recommend is a liner.  For about 60 cents, you can use it to line the tray and later when you are done, just throw it away.  No cleaning.

5.  Feather out the paint where you can’t keep a wet edge.
If you need to come back and finish painting a wall later, yet you don’t want the line where you stopped painting to show, feather the edge.  What I mean is keep going until the brush is dry and the wall is painted in a lighter and lighter coat.


The edges above are feathered.

6.  Get paint boogers out with straining.
You know what I mean – those clumps that get in there when paint starts to dry a bit.  First off, keep the can covered as much as you can to avoid any drying.  Lay the lid on it, cover with a drop cloth, throw plastic over it, whatever.  This will help you avoid clumps.  But, when you do get them, and we all do, you can strain them out!


Pour the paint through a straining cloth to remove the paint boogers.  You don’t want them to end up on the wall or you could have to pick them out and reroll the area.  You can buy a paint strainer at a home center or paint store or use old pantyhose.

7.  Use an HGTV easy drop protection mat.
I just tried this and loved it.  It was easier than a drop cloth and you could move it around fast.  It caught all of the splatters for me and protected my hard wood floors.

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It’s a 2 feet by 7 feet folding mat.  I like that it folds so that I can use it in small or larger spaces.  I couldn’t find many photos of it, so took one of mine.  It slides right up against the wall and into corners.

8.  Prep a dirty surface by cleaning with TSP.

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Paint doesn’t adhere well to skin oils or dirt.  So before painting, clean grimy areas with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner like a trisodium phosphate cleaner (TSP), which is found at home centers like Home Depot. It will get all of the grease and dirt off, thus helping with paint adhesion.

Wipe on the cleaner using a lint-free cloth or abrasive pad.  Be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection.  It’s strong stuff.

9.  Use an extender to avoid brush marks and for a smoother finish.
Floetrol is a paint conditioner that, when added to latex paint, helps to eliminate brush strokes caused by quick drying paint.  It extends the drying time, letting the paint flatten.  That means you should count on a longer drying time when using Floetrol.

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10.  Use a small container for cutting in.

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Since you don’t want to leave a gallon of paint uncovered for long (it could dry out and get a skin or lumps), it’s best to pour a small amount into a container and cover the gallon when cutting in.  Pour paint about 1-2 inches deep into a separate container.  I use old glad containers or old plastic cups.  But, anything works.

I hope all of that helps!  10 more tips tomorrow.  What are your best tips?