It was the summer of '93 when I first realized how a can of paint can transform a space.
Finding myself in NYC for a few months, a dear friend opened her doors to me. And what doors they were. Located on the upper east side, her building was outfitted with a starched doorman, swanky lobby and fast elevators. Her apartment was spacious (for Manhattan). But for everything it had going for it there was one thing that just wasn't right. The stark white walls left you cold.
So, while Tanya was off to Oslo, I picked up a brush and a few gallons of butter cream paint and over a long weekend her apartment was transformed into a space that was warm, inviting and simply delicious!
I haven't put down a paint brush since. My father swears the only thing holding my house together is layers upon layers of paint. He's probably right. In fact, I am currently interviewing three neutrals (see below), with the winning one being the new color on my walls.
Paint not only transforms spaces, it is perfect for fixing flaws. Check out how you can use paint to your advantage.
1. Make a small room look larger
Paint is a master of optical illusion and can appear to increase a room's square footage. Painting the walls and ceiling the same dark color blurs spatial lines and makes the room's smallness less noticeable.
2. Make a dark room look brighter
Paint is the go-to source for style in a can, but the right color and finish can also add light to a cavelike room. "A high-gloss oil-base paint can be almost as reflective as a mirror," says interior designer Miles Red. One caveat to consider before you pick up your brush: the paint job has to be pristine, since a high-gloss finish will highlight any imperfections.
3. Camouflage an eyesore
Ever wonder what the builder was thinking when he placed a radiator on the only wall that would allow art or in the most conspicuous spot in the room? Painting the wall and the radiator the same color helps to make art pop and the appliance to recede.
4. Give floors an update
If your wood floors can't withstand another round of expensive refinishing, or if you can't bear the look of stain for another minute, consider painting them instead. You'll need to rough up the boards with sandpaper, damp-mop, cover up with a few coats of porch, floor or marine paint, then seal.
5. Give cabinets and bookshelves a lift
Add a shot of color to any room by painting the backs of cabinets or bookshelves. The boring white backs of these dining room cabinets got a rousing shot of aqua. I love how that ties in with the dining room chairs.
Until next time,
la chasse au bonheur
Special thanks to Tanya Lochridge for introducing me to paint 30 years ago!