Monday, October 28, 2013

What is a living room for anyway?

Our house came with all white walls.  Not a bit of paint anywhere.  So we’ve been working our way through our blank canvas and are left with the last white room on the first floor.  The living room.  That kind of pointless room in the front of your house which is the first thing everyone sees, no one ever goes in, you don’t have any furnishings for (or worse you’ve inherited some) and you don’t know what to make of.  Should it be a sitting room?  No one ever sits in there.  Should it be a home office?  I use a laptop, my lap is my home office.  Should it be a play room?  I really don’t want the first thing everyone sees in my home to be the playroom explosion.

We opted for the sitting room.  We have tons of books from my husband’s years working in the publishing industry and for a bookstore.  I wanted to display those books and have a nice place to read and extra seating when we have parties. 

This project is a work in progress.  I always try to do rooms as inexpensively as
I can.  We have a relatively new home and it's a lot to fill.  So to start this room we not only had blank walls, we had no furniture.  This is what we started with: 


To begin, I painted all the walls with the same wall color that’s in my entryway.  The spaces are open to one another and that just made life simpler. 

I did want to have one wall make a statement.  Stripes make a great impact and don’t have to be hard.  Since I’ve painted stripes for a while, I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  I’ve tried creating the stripes with pencils and chalk, different kinds of painters tape, rulers, erasers, etc.  I think I've finally worked out the kinks.   

1. First, I painted the entire room with wall paint color I picked out, which also would be one of the stripe colors.  

2. Next, I measured the height of my wall and decided how big I wanted the stripes.  Since I could evenly divide my wall by five, that's how many stripes I chose.     

3. Once I knew the width of my stripes (21.5”), I then measured that distance from the bottom to the top and marked a short line where every stripe would be with a pencil.  *Note:  It’s better to rough out where the stripes will be with a short line just in case that width doesn’t work out.  You don’t want to have lines the length of the wall, only to start over! 

4. After the stripes were roughed out, I used a 3 ft. level to draw my line from one end of the wall to the other (try to use your pencil lightly).  By using a large level, it ensured my stripes were straight and not drifting up or down.  A shorter level could certainly be used, but this large one makes the process go quickly.

5.  Once the stripes were drawn, I used painters tape to mark off each line just outside the pencil mark.  *Note: Some recommend chalk, instead of pencil, because it can wipe away.  I’ve had better luck with pencil because it makes a neat, thin line that doesn’t rub off while you’re working.  Have both on hand and see what works for you.    

By placing your tape just outside the pencil line you can paint over it.  This is easier than trying to erase pencil marks outside of your line later.  *Note: If using a light color paint, your pencil lines may show through the paint.  Been there, done that and it’s hard to fix.  Draw lightly with your pencil.

6.  After your tape is in place, lightly paint over the tape between your stripes with the wall color to seal the tape.  You don’t have to fill in the entire stripe.  This step just prevents paint from bleeding or feathering through the tape.  Once this layer dries, you can fill in your stripe with the paint of your choice.  I chose a dark brown because I like the impact of such a dark color and wide stripes.    


Paint a couple of coats of your stripe color (brown in this example). Be sure and give it plenty of time to dry before CAREFULLY peeling off your tape. 

This room is still a work in progress.  Next blog book shelves and some accents.



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