When I first moved into my condo back in 2010 I spent some time picking out new paint colors for most rooms. This occurred just a couple months before I started reading design blogs and discovering a love for interior design. Translation: I had no idea what colors look good on walls nor did I have any concept of my own taste in wall color. So I chose absurd things like bright yellow for the dining room and muddy brown for the entryway and the living room got the honor of half poop brown and half sky blue.
The first room I repainted was the dining room and thank goodness I took care of that back in 2011. After that I focused my efforts on the bathrooms and somehow it took me till now to FINALLY repaint the entryway and living room. I did it very much on a whim too. One Sunday afternoon I was contemplating what to do with my evening and suddenly I just decided that I had to paint. And paint I did. I started with the entryway, which you’ll see is connected to the living room.
And the very next evening I again decided that I somehow had the energy to spend another night painting. It was rough eating up eight hours in two days painting by myself. I watched about nine episodes of A Cook’s Tour the second night so at least I had Anthony Bourdain to keep me company.
Forgive my incredibly messy Before photos. I forgot to take them until I’d already moved all the furniture away from the walls.
I used the same color in both the Entryway and Living Room. No more disjointed feeling from three different colors in such a small space. Take it from me: using more than one wall color in the same room is rarely a good idea. And areas that are connected to each other openly like these spaces should really be the same color. The color I chose is Manor House Gray by Farrow & Ball but no, actual Farrow & Ball paint was not in the budget (that stuff is expensive though worth it I hear). I had the nice folks at Lowe’s color match to Valspar Reserve which was a new-to-me line for Valspar and is the most expensive stuff they sell. What lured me in was the “one coat” claim.
This stuff is supposed to not only be primer and paint in one, but also quality enough that you only need to apply one coat. I asked the Lowe’s paint man if he thought I would really get away with that and he said since I was using a dark-ish gray color that yes, I probably would, but even he sounded not totally sold. Well I’m here to tell you that IT WORKED. I was totally blown away by this stuff. It really only needed one coat even over the dark brown half of the living room. WELL worth the extra $10 or so per gallon when you consider how much less product you need. And time. So much less time. This same project could have taken me six evenings of painting instead of two if I’d gone with a budget paint.
The unfortunate bit that you may notice above is that I was not able to paint the stairwell leading upstairs so it is still the muddy brown color. In order to paint that whole stairwell you would need scaffolding and I’m not about to attempt that myself. The hope is we will be able to hire a painter to tackle that eventually.
Sooooo much better. As you may have noticed, I also decided (on a whim again) to change the art hanging in this room. If you scroll up (or check out this post) you’ll see that I had a gallery wall with a fairly big collection of art above the sofa. I was about to paint that wall, the last wall to go, and after squinting intently at the art for a moment I decided I was over it. So I spackled all the nail holes and painted over them to start fresh.
I opted to go with a simpler collection of three pieces. The one of the left I’ve had for a long time (“Can You Imagine” by Trey Speegle). In the center is a thrifted frame that was holding a different piece that I switched out for “A Bouquet of Flowers in a Crystal Vase” by Nicolaes van Veerendael which I found on The Metropolitan Museum of Art website. Dudes, listen. The Met has thousands of pieces of art on their website available for free high resolution download. Like high enough resolution that you could print them at their original size. It’s really awesome! I am blessed to have a father who owns a printing business; he printed this for me for free and if I want to print something larger he can do it for me very cheaply.
The third piece is “Glacial” by Beth Hoeckel. I have been in love with Beth’s collage work for a long time so I’m so happy to finally own a print. And thanks to Society 6 it was totally affordable.
So I’m pretty pleased with this change. I barely remember what the brown and blue was like. I actually free-handed all of the cutting in without the help of painter’s tape and it’s pretty exciting to learn that I can pull that off. Taping is a pain and takes forever. My only slight qualm is that Manor House Gray is possibly a touch warmer and taupier than my ideal gray. I knew going into it that it was a warmer gray so I’m not really surprised. Next time I will probably pick a cooler gray and see if my suspicion that I would like that better is correct.
Of course there are so many other things I’d love to change about this space still, including but not limited to:
- New (less yellow) shade for the large vintage table lamp
- New furniture: side tables, sofa, TV stand
- Something more to fill the empty spaces on the TV wall, like a big potted tree or another shelving unit.
- Crown molding: not sure if it’s a realistic idea but it occurred to me recently how much more finished the room would look with it.
- More/better light: maybe a nice floor lamp for the TV side and something more substantial to better balance the huge vintage lamp on the sofa side (I’d love to swag a ceiling light, there’s already a hook there!)
But for now I should try to just enjoy the progress I’ve made!
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