By Tara Mastroeni
November 16, 2020 | 5 min read
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Too often in interior design, we see wall art treated as an afterthought. It’s what gets dealt with last, long after the final coat of paint has dried on the walls and all of the furniture has been artfully arranged, if it gets dealt with at all.But, we’re here to argue that by relegating wall art to the side lines, you’re missing out on an amazing design opportunity. When chosen thoughtfully, the right wall art can provide for the entire room. Dare we say it, but we think wall art matters most in interior design.However, if you’re a little nervous to give wall art such a prominent role in your design plans, don’t worry. Use this post as a guide on how to accurately choose pieces that will mesh with your existing space and you will have a harmonious interior.
It Provides An Instant Color Palette
Choosing a color palette can be one of the most daunting facets of designing your interiors. The amount of varying shades of paint that are available at your local home improvement store can seem absolutely endless. It can be difficult to narrow down the possibilities into the colors that best fit your vision for the space.Our best advice is to leave the paint chips behind and focus on searching for wall art instead. Once you find a painting or wall hanging that you absolutely love, you can use that piece as the inspiration for your your room’s eventual color palette.Your first step is to pick out two or three shades from wall art that you’d like to incorporate into your decor. Choose the dominant color, as well as a few additional shades that you’d like to pull out as accents. Then, look for those colors in the items you use to decorate your space. If you need extra help, you can use an app like ColorSnap, which will let you match those colors to corresponding shades of paint.
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It Creates A Focal Point
One of the the most basic principals of interior design is that every room needs a focal point, or a single design element that will instantly draw the eye into the space and give the viewer a sense of what to expect. It goes without saying that a great piece of wall art could easily fulfill this position.Imagine your favorite artwork hanging above the mantle of a fireplace in your living space or standing proudly above the bed in your master suite. Alternatively, a creative gallery wall could easily spice up a more traditional dining area or a few hanging tapestries could as a cozy feel to a seating area.When choosing a piece of wall art to be a focal point for your space, the most important consideration is size. An artwork that is too small will get dwarfed by the surrounding furniture and a piece that is too big will look as though it is spilling over. Make sure to take measurements of the wall space available, so you know how much room you have at your disposal.
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It Brings A Sense Of Texture
Remember that not all wall art is created equal. While some pieces may be two-dimensional paintings or something similar, you should try to find art in a variety of different mediums to help bring a varying sense of texture into the space.In addition to paintings and prints, you should consider pieces like sculptures or shadow boxes that can add some depth to the room. If your style is more avant garde, you could also consider doing a small mixed media installation that includes screens and digital art.These extra bits of texture can help add much needed visual weight to your interiors, which which help determine the tone of the room or how it feels. Consider that rough textures are more likely to make a space feel intimate and grounded while smooth textures bring a sleeker more aloof tone to the room.
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It Makes The Room Appear Finished
Think about some of the less-than-put-together interiors that you’ve seen. Perhaps a college apartment or a first adult space after finishing school. Odds are that these spaces felt a little rough around the edges and a little unfinished. Odds are that they also had mostly white walls.Wall art is that finishing element that can help pull a space together and make it feel complete. It is that little extra touch that can take your space from simply looking functional to appearing as if it should grace the pages of an interior design magazine.The key is to choose a piece of art or another wall hanging that fits in with the decorating style that you’ve already chosen for the room. After that, it’s all about choosing decor that you love and will be happy seeing hang on your wall for many years to come.
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Wall art doesn’t have to be the last piece of the puzzle when you’re decorating a new space. In fact, it shouldn’t be. In our minds, wall art is most important when it comes to interior design. This is because when it’s used properly, your wall hangings can provide an excellent framework around which you should be able to plan the rest of the room. Take the above post as a guide for how to properly select and incorporate wall art into your interiors and you’ll end up with a design that looks like it was professionally put together.How much importance do you put on wall art when decorating a room? At what point in your design process do you usually select your art? Let us know in the comments below.
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When it comes to decorating your walls, no trend is more timeless than the gallery wall. Whether you love photographs, concert posters, vinyl record album covers, paintings, or a mix of all of the above, putting together a wall full of beautiful art can really complete a space and make it feel homier. And while it’s always nice to add completed pieces to your ever-growing art collection, buying art can be pretty expensive. That’s why learning how to paint your own gallery wall art has become such a huge trend in the DIY community.
Even if you don’t consider yourself artistically inclined, there are easy ways to create your own completely customized artwork to make your home feel more personalized. “Painting custom art for a gallery wall is a great way to add color and uniqueness to a room,” says lifestyle blogger MaCenna Lee. “I love creating my own art as it’s my stamp of uniqueness in each room of my home and I know no one else will ever have the same look.”
Painting my gallery wall in my home office kept me occupied for a weekend of quarantine life in Los Angeles, and it has become one of my new favorite hobbies. There’s something so therapeutic about being able to display work that I created on my walls, and when people are finally allowed to come visit my home, I know that the wall will be a huge point of pride. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but take it from someone who knows: Once you get started, you won’t want to stop. Here are a few tips and tricks for DIY-ing your own gallery wall art.
DIY Wall Art Tip: Cohesiveness Will Play A Big Part In How Successful Your Wall Is
The most obvious way to make your paintings cohesive is to play on similar themes, like line work, abstract blobs, or anything else. But cohesion actually goes beyond just the subject matter of each painting. “Color plays a major role in cohesiveness,” explains artist and illustrator Sabina Fenn. “Some colors are a match made in heaven, while others will change the whole mood and maybe veer it away from what you’re going for.”
She continues, “You can use websites such as Pinterest or Adobe Color to get some inspiration on color palettes that work. Once you have your color palette, making sure those colors are evenly distributed throughout the gallery will create balance and harmony.”
Lee also advises picking one paint color that’s incorporated throughout the gallery wall, whether it’s a background in one, an accent detail in another, or the frame color of another.
DIY Wall Art Tip: Acrylic Paint Is The Easiest Medium To Start With
“If you’re just getting into painting your own art, acrylic paint is a great medium to start with,” says Lee. “[There are] loads of color options at an inexpensive price. What I love most is if you don’t like how your painting is turning out, just paint over it with white acrylic and begin again.” Fenn adds that acrylic works best on a canvas, and you can choose whether you prefer a stretched canvas or a flat one.
If you want to work up to working with watercolor paints, be wary that they’re a little finicky. “Watercolor is a wild medium that does what it wants and it’s very hard to correct mistakes when they happen,” says Fenn. “With acrylic, you can paint over it very easily and you can also hide your pencil sketch much better.”
DIY Wall Art Tip: Beginners Can Try Painting A Few Easy Shapes
For me, the easiest things to paint are abstract blobs. It’s virtually impossible to mess them up because they’re already meant to look uneven and random. If you do a collection of paintings with similarly colored abstract blobs on them, they’ll automatically look cohesive and the paintings can be interpreted in so many different ways.
Lee painted smudged watercolor lines for the art in her kitchen, which is also relatively simple. Other options include splatter paint вЂ” which is so much fun вЂ” paint drips, and so much more. The sky really is the limit, so don’t feel obligated to paint something super lifelike.
DIY Wall Art Tip: Make Sure Your Art Matches The Vibe Of Your Room
It probably sounds obvious, but the colors and themes you pick for your artwork should match the room they’re going in. According to Fenn, the easiest way to do this is to take a couple colors from the existing decor in the room and incorporate those into your paintings.
You also want to pay attention to the mood of your room when you’re painting. If you want the room to feel more playful and bright, pick themes that mirror that, like sharp geometric shapes in bright contrasting colors. For moodier, more mellow rooms, something more abstract and in a neutral color palette will probably work better.
Now that you have all of the tools you need to paint your own gallery wall, get to creating! And if you need to stock up on supplies, check out some of my recommendations below.
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No matter how many interior designers create revolutionary trends in home decor, one trend will always remain timeles: the gallery wall. Gallery walls are an easy way to put together different pieces of art to create a statement wall, whether it’s paintings, photographs, vinyl album covers, posters, or even a mix of all of them. But art is expensive—especially if you want something custom-made for your space—so DIYers everywhere are embracing a new take on the trend: painting their own gallery wall.
I know, I know. Painting your own art sounds way too intimidating, particularly for people who don’t consider themselves artistically inclined. But painting your own cohesive gallery wall actually isn’t as hard as you might think. Sure, you probably won’t be drawing up the Mona Lisa anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create something beautiful and special for your home. And because social distancing and safer-at-home orders are still in place all over the country, you might have a little extra time to kill (instead of binging yet another show on Netflix).
Read on to learn more tips and tricks for painting your own gallery wall art.
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Look for inspiration
Find inspiration artwork that gets your creative juices flowing. Scroll through shops on Etsy or artists’ Instagrams so you can figure out what vibe you’re going for. Depending on what you want the room to feel and look like, you might gravitate towards sharp lines and rigid geometric shapes, or you might prefer abstract blobs or scenes of nature.
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Get started with the basics
“For those who are picking up a paint brush for the first time, Pinterest has DIY brush stroke tutorials to help with technique,” says Larkin Brown, user researcher and in-house stylist at Pinterest. “Whether you are using acrylics or watercolor, these Pinterest tutorials can help determine the best medium for the look you’re trying to go for.”
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Cohesion is key
For anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Project Runway, you’ve probably heard Tim Gunn say, “Cohesion, cohesion, cohesion!” Though you’re not sewing a collection of couture clothing, the same principle applies to your gallery wall. Cohesion of your gallery wall can come in many forms. For the most part, you’ll want to stick to the same color palette throughout the paintings so that they all match. There should be a commonality in the themes of each painting, whether that’s abstract blobs, haphazard brush strokes, or anything else you choose. And finally, you’ll also need to find cohesion in the paintings’ presentation.
“Try and either match the type of frame you use, or match the type of mat you use in wildly different frames. This brings any eclectic look together,” says artist Kyra Kendall. “If you’re handy, you can precisely measure out the size of mat you need for your frames and get mats cut professionally to put in your frames you already have. It saves you money but will make your wall look professional.” (For painting novices, the mat is the border around the painting that separates it from the frame. This applies more to watercolor paintings that are on paper and need to be framed, rather than acrylic paintings that typically go on stretched canvases, which don’t have to be framed.)
Brown adds that even the placement of each painting really has an effect on the wall and overall room, noting Pinterest’s “gallery wall placement” search page, as well as the addition of other wall decor elements to play off of the actual paintings. “We are seeing a specific rise in searches for creative art ideas like these more minimalist ‘triangle wall paint’ with 12 times more searches, and ‘accent wall dots’ with over 14 times more searches,” she says.
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Painting fabric for wall art lets your creative inner muse play with vibrant paint colors on an expanse of fabric. Whether you plan to paint a complete picture on one piece of material or intend to cut up the fabric and create a collage, the key to a successful artwork on fabric is taking the time to use gesso as the first layer. From there, you can build your personal work of art.
Place plastic sheets over, around and under your work space, and wear old clothes; painting fabric can be a messy job. Place old towels on your work space to dry brushes and clean up spills, and have two plastic containers of clean water handy. Collect brushes and other tools for paint application — consider foam brushes, rollers, sponges, old credit cards — because each will create a different paint texture.
Place the canvas on the work surface. Smooth it out so there are no wrinkles from the plastic sheet underneath. Using a large brush or credit card, brush a thin layer of white gesso completely across the fabric to form the base for color. Leave it thicker in some places and draw patterns and designs into it with a comb or fork or the pointed end of the brush. Leave this to dry thoroughly, overnight if possible. Wash and dry the brush thoroughly.
Create your color scheme by pulling colors from the decor and furnishings of your room. Alternatively, use contrasting colors, such as black and white or purple and yellow, that will help make your fabric wall art the focal point of the room. Take into account the color of the wall the art will hang on. Choose your paint depending on how soft you want the fabric to feel after painting. Liquid fabric paints, which you can apply directly from the jar, will leave a softer finish than acrylic paints. Acrylic paints come in liquid acrylics or heavy-body acrylics from tubes that you mix with gloss medium or fabric medium to make them easier to apply. Place each color on a separate paper plate.
Draw your design on the gessoed fabric lightly with a pencil. Apply your first color with a paintbrush or alternate tool, painting all the areas where you want the color to appear. If you want sharp edges between colors in your art, mask off each area with masking tape first. Wash the brush well in clean water and dry it on one of the towels, being careful to smooth the hairs into place. Wait for the first color to dry, and then apply the second color in the same way. Repeat this for all colors, changing the water when it becomes too dirty.
Add details to your fabric wall art with a small artist’s brush, using dark or metallic colors for contrast, Use colors slightly darker than you chose to add shadows or lighter colors to add highlights. Feel free to paint a new picture on top of part of the background. Let the fabric dry completely before hanging it on the wall.
How to paint a wall properly using a roller and a brush for a professional finish – fast. Plus, how to not get paint anywhere else.
When you’re painting a wall yourself, it’s crucial to carefully prep your surroundings and know exactly what you’re doing to get the professional finish that you want.
Streak-free walls, an even coat of paint and a space that’s free from unwanted splashes elsewhere other than the walls themselves (think small blobs of forest green on those nice floorboards or on the ceiling) are what makes the difference between a sloppy DIY job, and one that’s tackled like an expert decorator. When you know how to paint a wall properly, you’ll realise that it’s an easy task and in no time at all, you’ll be able to upgrade your skillset to create ombre and other types of feature wall effects too. As one of the most essential parts of painting a room entirely – we’re going to show you the best way to do it.
1. Think about the overall finish you want to achieve
Deciding on the paint ideas you like is vital to help you choose a color scheme and the best wall painting technique in the first place. Either you want one block color, or something more adventurous, say if you’re upgrading your kids’ bedroom or going maximalist.
If you want to paint an ombre wall or a feature wall you’ll need two/+ different shades and a few additional tools also.
2. Choose the right wall paint for the job
There’s more to choosing paint colors than meets the eye. And this will come down to personal preference and as we just mentioned, your project.
It’s time to make the call on all those color swatches or to go into your local hardware store to color match a paint to a soft furnishing or other detail you love and that will be present in the room – as Laura did in our how to video above. You’ll then want to consider paint finishes. As a rule, you will either use: matt, flat matt or silk emulsion on walls.
The paint you use for walls is emulsion paint. This is water-based but may have vinyl or acrylic resin added for durability. This can affect the breathability of a wall, so if this is important (for example if you live in a very old property with potential damp problems) choose a claypaint that allows the walls to breathe and water vapour to escape. Many claypaint manufacturers now offer special hard-wearing, washable paint options that can be used in kitchens and bathrooms too.
Matt and flat matt: As the name suggests, these offer a matt finish with no shine. It is the perfect choice for disguising imperfections in the wall’s surface and offers a very uniform finish for color. You’ll find many of these are the best paints for kitchens in particular.
Silk: Silk emulsion creates a mid-sheen finish that reflects some light for a polished look. It can be wiped down easily making it a good finish for high-traffic areas such as hallways and the stairs.
3. Gather the rest of your materials
This is a list of must-have tools when painting a wall yourself. Of course, you might need to add in more materials if you’re going after a different effect.
4. Prep and protect
You want to either remove or cover any furniture in the room with dust sheets. Use dust sheets again or newspaper to protect the floor around the area also. Anything hanging, picture frames, plants and the like should be removed. Then, carefully cover skirting boards and any moulding, windows, switches and sockets with masking tape.
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5. Clean your walls
This is a vital step to ensure a professional finish when painting walls yourself. It’s likely that you’re painting over old paint, which is fine, you simply need to gently sand the wall to smooth it, then clean it with a sugar soap solution. Next, use filler to smooth any cracks and bumps on the walls. Sand over any areas you’ve filled when dry and give those spots a final wipe down.
6. Prime the walls for a professional finish
Priming is not essential if you’re making a gradual color change. However, if you are going from a very dark color to a very light one, then it’s best to prime walls with a mist coat or two of basic white paint for a professional finish.
Fresh plaster will need priming with a mist coat because standard emulsion is too thick to adhere to the surface properly. When you water down the paint, the water is absorbed into the surface which allows the paint to bond.
If you do decide on priming then this will need a couple of hours to dry before you move on.
7. Start in the right place
If you are right handed, you will want to start in the top left corner of a wall and work to the right. If you are left handed, go in the opposite direction. This means you avoid brushing against the painted wall.
- For more advice onhow to paint a ceilingsee our guide.
8. Cut in
Cutting in paint is just the process of using your paint brush to start at the and corners of walls for a really neat finish. You can then fill in the majority of the wall with a roller.
9. Paint in a V
Once you’ve cut in, you can start to fill in the rest of the wall using a roller. For the best coverage, roll in a V-shape then infill.
Top tip: Never overload your paint brush or roller. This will lead to drips or a bobbly paint texture. If you do get too much paint on the roller, keep rolling to spread it out evenly.
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10. Clean your rollers and brushes
This last step is vital if you plan on tackling other rooms in the house and therefore need to keep your tools in top condition. You can use white spirit or soapy water and our guide on how to clean paint brushes and rollers will even help you tackle dried on paint.
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Looking for some wall painting ideas for your living room, hall, or bedroom? These DIY wall paint design ideas with tape are easy to do yourself, even if you don’t think you’re creative.
If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to update a room, painter’s tape and paint make a great combination.
It’s easy to create wall painting designs yourself that look beautiful even if you don’t think you’re artistic.
We’ll go from simple designs to more complicated ones so you can decide just how much effort you want to put into it.
Keep reading to find 10 wall paint design ideas you can do with tape.
1 | Color Blocking
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Color blocking is the easiest way to paint walls using tape.
Since it involves big sections of the wall being painted the same color, there are a lot fewer masking tape lines required than some of the other techniques.
For open concept rooms, painting a vertical color block is a great way to create a visual divider without actually breaking up the space.
Chelsea and Logan from Making Manzanita created a similar two-toned effect only using a horizontal line.
They have some great tips on making sure the lines are straight with clean edges, so be sure to check out their tutorial.
For a more subtle effect, choose colors that don’t have as much contrast. Like this blush pink and white wall design.
2 | Triangle Pattern
If you’re looking for a simple wall painting design for your living room, this triangle pattern may be just the thing.
It takes a little longer to complete because you have to wait for each section to dry before putting up the tape line for the next one.
But you end up with a really cool tape paint design. And I think it’s worth it!
3 | Vertical Stripes
With a little more effort, you can use painter’s tape to create stripes on your wall.
Vertical stripes draw the eye up, and can help to make a room with a low ceiling feel taller.
If you choose bright or contrasting colors, your stripes will make a statement in your room.
Like the purple and gold ones in my mother’s bedroom.
For a more subtle approach, paint the whole wall with flat paint.
Wait until it is completely dry.
Then put up the painter’s tape and paint on the stripes with clear glaze.
This creates a sophisticated stripe that is most visible when the light hits the wall the right way.
For more impact, continue painting the stripes all the way up onto the ceiling.
4 | Horizontal Stripes
The technique for painting horizontal stripes is basically the same as for vertical stripes. But with the tape going around the walls rather than up and down them.
This is a great pattern to help make a narrow room feel wider.
This bathroom uses stripes of the same width in coastal colors that feel very bright and airy.
Try varying the width of the stripes to add more interest.
Like this wall with the paint version of pin stripes.
Painting horizontal stripes using different shades of the same paint color creates an ombre effect.
To make the room look taller, start with the darkest color on the bottom and work up to the lightest color on top.
5 | Geometric Blocks
If you’re looking for a multicolor wall painting idea, this geometric blocks motif may be the pattern for you!
Have fun mixing and matching to create a color scheme that goes with your room.
6 | Paint A Trellis
Painting a trellis on your wall is a great way to create the feeling of a garden room indoors.
It’s not as hard as it looks.
Use painter’s tape to create the trellis pattern and then paint over it.
Remove the tape to see the finished design. Adding a Wisteria vine is optional.
7 | Herringbone Pattern
For an all-over graphic look, try painting this herringbone tape wall design.
It will definitely create a focal point in the room.
8 | Diamond Pattern
This diamond pattern is another graphic design you can paint on your walls using painter’s tape.
It is a great choice for any room that needs some extra interest.
9 | Argyle
To take the diamond motif one step further, try a full-on argyle pattern.
It can create an awesome look on an accent wall.
Just be ready to use a lot of tape making this design ?
10 | Buffalo Check
The next one of our tape painting techniques is a buffalo check pattern.
This motif really adds a dramatic flair to your room. Especially when it’s paired with a pink desk!
You could also do it in more subtle colors if you want to make less of a statement.
11 | Gingham
Last but not least is this gorgeous gingham wall that totally looks like wallpaper.
It requires some effort to get the tape on with the right angles, but it certainly makes a big impact when you’re finished!
Transform your walls from snooze-worthy to stunning using this simple guide and a hardworking multi-tool from HYDE.
This content has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.
Paint offers one of the lowest cost and least time-intensive ways to perk up a living space. However, all of the time, effort, and money typically spent preparing and applying that fresh face can make the job more of a pain than a pleasure. Whether you’re stripping old paint from the wall with a paint scraper, removing stubborn nails with a drill or nail extractor, or patching up holes with a putty knife, buying—and then mastering the use of—each of these individual tools can drain your energy and wallet long before you even apply the first stroke of paint.
Fortunately, there’s an easier way. With minimal tools—a HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool, paintbrush, roller, and tray—you can complete the job in record time. The secret? Your pocket-size multi-tool performs the role of a nail remover, paint scraper, putty knife, paint can opener, hammer, roller cleaner, and 11 other individual tools, which drastically cuts down on the energy and time you spend rummaging for the right tool for the task. Read on to get the lowdown on how to downsize your toolbox and revitalize your walls with this painting essential from HYDE.
STEP 1: Prepare the work zone and wall.
Don’t want your prized possessions to get splashed with paint? Remove lightweight furniture and window dressings from the room before cracking open the paint can. Where possible, push heavier furnishings to the center of the room, and cover them with a tarp. Cover the rest of the exposed floor with drop cloths.
While you’re clearing out the room, take down wall-mounted shelves, artwork, and any other decor that’s mounted on the walls. You’ll find that it’s a cinch to extract nails from the walls with the nail and brad remover conveniently built into the center of the rustproof steel blade on the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool. You can use one of the four screw bits hidden inside the tool’s handle to remove light switch or outlet covers.
Don’t sweat wall imperfections like old paint build-up, small holes, or shallow dents in the drywall. The beveled side of the angled blade of the 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool makes it a snap to scrape off old paint, while the smooth blade on its flip side spreads spackling compound smoothly over unsightly holes. Because the molded handle of the Painter’s Tool has a thumb stop for added safety, you can maintain a steady hand and avoid accidents while you’re prepping your painting surface.
Mix mild detergent soap and water in a bucket, then wash the prepped walls using a lint-free cloth to remove dirt and debris and diminish grease stains or discoloration. Once the walls have completely dried, apply painter’s tape along the edges where the walls meet the trimwork and ceiling (as well as around any window trim).
STEP 2: Apply primer.
Technically, you can skip the primer if you’re on a budget, but this base coat goes a long way toward improving paint absorption and reducing the number of top coats required. Consider primer a priority, however, if you’re dramatically changing the wall color (for example, from dark to light) or painting over high-gloss paint, new drywall, or a repaired wall.
Using the sharp tip of the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool blade, pop open the primer and tip some into a paint tray. First, use an angled paintbrush to carefully paint around the edges of the wall. If you’re dealing with just the odd patch or stain on the wall, you can opt to spot-prime—or cover only the offending areas in primer—to conserve your supply and save time. Otherwise, load your roller with primer to apply a single coat to the wall. Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before moving on.
STEP 3: Layer on paint.
A professional-quality DIY paint job begins with “cutting in,” or painting the edges of the wall to protect abutting surfaces such as ceilings and trimwork from errant paint strokes. Enlist a two- to four-inch-wide angled brush to paint a band that extends three inches in from the edges of the wall.
Here again, with the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool in your pocket, opening a can of paint is as simple as jimmying off the lid with the sharp tip of the tool. Opt for either a latex- or water-based paint in your choice of sheen (flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, or high-gloss); avoid applying an oil-based paint directly over a latex-based primer.
Pour some paint into a paint tray, then load the roller with paint. Starting near a bottom corner of the wall, push the roller upward for a full, comfortable stroke. Then, tilt your hand so that you pull the roller back down the wall without losing contact or compromising your even coverage. Repeat this process until the wall is coated in color, using a ladder to reach the highest points. Then, without reloading the roller, gently back roll over the entire wall to catch uncovered or dimpled areas while the paint is still fresh. Let the coat dry completely according to the paint manufacturer’s instructions. If desired, apply a second coat to achieve more uniform coverage and allow it the same amount of time to dry.
Do you prefer to use a spray gun instead of a roller? Use the two built-in wrenches (the four-sided notches) of the Painter’s Tool to connect a whip hose to your spray gun in a jiffy for a fatigue-free spray job.
STEP 4: Clean up shop.
Your newly painted wall isn’t ready for its big reveal until you tidy up the work space. Remove the painter’s tape from the wall, discard used drop cloths, seal paint cans (just tap the lids on with the hammerhead end of your multi-tool), and wash your paintbrush and tray. As for that extra-absorbent roller cover, the quickest way to get it squeaky clean is to first squeeze out the excess paint over a paint can: Just hold the cover in one hand and use the other to run the large oblong groove of the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool along its edge. Then, go ahead and toss it into the sink to wash it with everything else!
Last but not least, put the finishing touches on your wall by replacing the furnishings and reinstalling removed wall decor. Open up the multi-tool’s handle for access to whichever screw bits you need to reattach shelving, switch plates, and outlet covers. Then, cap the hammerhead end once more so you can drive in nails lightning fast as you rehang all your artwork. Finally, sit yourself down in a comfy chair and admire your completely refreshed room.
If you’ve repainted in the last few years, chances are your home has some gray walls. Mine certainly does. And if you’re feeling like it’s time to move on, you’re not alone. Inspired by the fresh, white walls in a recent Paris vacation rental, I’m ready to swap the many gray walls in my house for clean, classic white — and a quick scroll through Pinterest or Instagram shows that a lot of us are saying goodbye to gray.
But the number and variety of white paints available is overwhelming. To find out where to start, I turned to interior designer and assistant professor of interior design at the University of Louisville Laura McGarity. Currently teaching a class on color theory, she’s studied color for some 20 years (and consulted with me when I renovated my kitchen).
When everything went gray
And to understand where we’re going, we first looked at where we’ve been, and just why gray took over all our homes. McGarity points to the economy. “When September 11 and the stock market crash in 2008 happened there was an onslaught of gray,” she said. “Consumers, they don’t feel hopeful so they were more drawn to gray and if you look back the same thing happened in the Great Depression. Anytime the economy takes a downturn, color trends change.”
But it wasn’t all just cocooning. It’s super versatile. Gray is “almost like a chameleon,” said McGarity. “You can make it do a lot of things and people liked that.” Gray can go warm or cool, and it fit with the move in interiors and design to a more gender neutral, slightly more masculine look, she said. It also let people experiment. Before I painted my kitchen walls black, I painted other rooms increasingly darker shades of gray.
Like any trend though, gray may have finally played out. “Right now people are moving away from gray, the cool gray especially,” McGarity said. “I don’t think it will ever go away but it’s hit its peak.” And once a darling of realtors, word in design circles is that realtors are turning away from it.
Gray has left the building
Where do we go from here? We’re definitely using a lot more color, said McGarity, as people “want to feel happy, they want to feel warm again.” But crisp, clean white fits our current lifestyle, she said. And we can thank … IKEA?
Think about it. In past generations, people bought furniture in their 20s when they got married, and that’s what they kept for 40 years, said McGarity. Now we have access to design-forward furnishings and accessories that are financially plausible to replace every few years.
“We live in an economy and society where we can have anything we want,” she said. “Now we can have the bright red sofa or the green chair. If you have a blue velvet couch for five years then you can change it.”
Not that this is necessarily a good thing, she added. “I’m not saying I agree. I don’t like that we have a throwaway society. But it’s influenced how we live.”
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And it’s influenced how we paint. The fact is “many of those low price furnishings look better with a white backdrop because it’s clean,” she said. Trendy accessories and the omni-present houseplants pop more against white, and the interior furnishings become the star.
It also works without all the accessories. McGarity points to the movement toward Marie Kondo and simplicity. “When you get rid of things and don’t have stuff everywhere, the white is serene. White . feels like simplicity and clean.”
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50 shades of white
If this is your first leap to white, how do you know if it’s for you, and which white is for you?
A good test to see if you can live surrounded by white walls, McGarity said, is to head to a museum or gallery. They “go one of two ways,” she said. “It’s white walls or the most saturated color you can imagine.” Spend some time in those with a lot of white spaces, she said. While you’re there, consider how it makes you feel. “Comforted and at ease, or anxious like it’s a surgical suite?” she said. Most people either really enjoy the white spaces or think it’s too sterile.
If you fall into the love it camp, now the fun begins. What’s the right shade of white for you and your space? I loved the Farrow & Ball Pointing white in that Paris apartment, but does that mean it will work in my house?
There are several considerations, McGarity said. When people don’t like the white paint in their space most often it’s because it has the wrong undertone. Because of course white is almost never pure white. While undertones are subtle, they have a big impact.
The biggest trick is to assess what other colors you have in the space, McGarity said. So head to a big box store and find the paint swatch with, say, the blue from your sofa. Now go all the way up the swatch to the lightest shade with those undertones to find a complementary white.
Without a color in mind, you can use those cards as clues. “Think of paint decks as sliding scales,” she said. When you’re looking at a white, go all the way down to the most saturated color. Even a neutral has undertones, 100 percent and that’s where most people go wrong. Fun fact: McGarity said the biggest mistake people make is getting a white that has too much pink in it.
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Let the light shine in
Think about your light source, too, McGarity said. And the direction it’s coming from isn’t necessarily as important as how much light you have coming in. “White is obviously very reflective so the more windows you have the more it will reflect and brighten the space,” she said. So if you have a ton of natural light, “get a white with a little bit of color, not a pure white because it’s going to be so bright.”
And if your space isn’t exactly flooded with natural light? That could actually be part of why we see so many white spaces in all those photos of beautiful urban apartments filling our feeds. “With all the people who live in metropolitan areas who don’t have [as much natural] light the whites work well because they’re reflecting light.],” she explained.
Another thing McGarity cautions when choosing a white is to consider any trim in the room. If you have white semi-gloss baseboards and trim around doors and windows, you want to be careful not to get too close to that color. When it comes to trim color, if you aren’t matching the colors exactly with the walls, “make it enough different that it looks intentional,” she said. “You want to avoid looking like you tried to match and miss.”
And don’t forget about adjacent rooms that are visible from the space you’ll paint white. The number one consideration is whether that color is warm or cool, McGarity said. Whichever it is, go with the same for your white, she said. And the more intense the color, the more complex your white should be (colors away from the very top of the swatch).