Thursday, 14 May 2009

the paint train

There's lots of painting going on at the moment...Ciara at milkmoon has plans, Zee at homebug has ideas and my friend Agnes in limerick is repainting the garden furniture for her cottage! Anyhow, I'm on the paint train too - I've been gathering paint swatches and tester pots all week for a wall in our bedroom as (a very small) part of the big push to get this house finished!

Once our house was freshly plastered last year, Martin gave it a big lick of white paint all over. It transformed the place, making it really bright, fresh and spacious. I love my colours too much to leave it white though, so the intention was always to paper and paint in places.

To add some colour to our bedroom we decided to work on the wall at the head of our bed...yes, it's down the somewhat dated 'feature wall' route but because our wardrobes are blingin' gloss white and down one whole wall, I think some walls have to remain white so they don't stick out like a sore thumb. I drooled over wallpapers but just couldn't make my mind up and so decided on a plain simple paint colour.

wall of white wardrobes

the royal suite

I think our choice of colour was decided upon as it is quite regal and so fitting for our King & Queen of France bed! I love mixing and matching clashing colours and so have been gathering soft furnishings, furniture, lamps and picture frames in red, white, pinky purples and blues (some already in those colours, others to be updated to this space) to help marry the room together. However, the exact choice of paint colour is definitely the next step before making final choices for everything else in the room.

There really is so much choice of paint out there. Besides the usual suspects like Dulux, Crown, Farrow & Ball and here in Ireland, Fleetwood and Color Trend, other paint makers include The Little Greene, Designers Guild, Laura Ashley, Sanderson
and organic and eco friendly brand, Auro, to name a few. Find your paint online or in your local DIY store or paint shop (obviously we are spoilt with MRCB paints here in Dublin).

Paint comes in a huge variety of finishes depending on the intended purpose. Oil based glosses are prefect for wood, while water based emulsions are best for walls. After that you can choose your finish: gloss, satin, egg shell or matt. And not forgetting primers, undercoats, fire retardant paints, stains and varnishes to name a few! (Will save more details for another post!).

When choosing a paint colour the first point of call obviously is to check out swatches, either as colour cards, inside brochures or online. (The room set photos in brochures are usually pretty inspiring in showing what colours go well where and with what other colours). Stick the colour swatch to your wall with a little blu-tack and check it out in day light aswell as artificial light at night time. Look carefully at how it might blend in with other colours in the room, sticking it just behind items if it helps to see how they work together. Remember there are lots of shades of the same colour (not just between different brands but within brands also). Several light blues might appear to look the same but looking closely and holding them against colours in your room you will see different tones of green, navy or grey in them. Bearing this in mind will help you eliminate colours and get down to the chosen few. Read more about harmonising here and contrasting here.

Don't even think about buying your paint based on the colour card (unless you don't mind being disappointed or aren't really fussed). Next, purchase a paint test pot of the colour(s) you fancy and a small paintbrush (synthetic brush for emulsion or natural fibre brush if an oil based gloss), about 1" wide (Dulux sample pots actually have a little brush attached to the inside of the lid).
Don't forget to protect the area around where you are painting with a dust sheet or newspaper. Paint about a 30cm square of each paint on the wall you will be painting, giving it 2-3 coats of paint (obviously allowing it to dry between coats). Don't forget to wash your paint brush really well (in water for water based paints and in whitespirits in oil based paints).

my test patches came out completely different to how they
looked on the cans...they definitely looked more alike but
quite clearly they're not so well worth testing.

If testing more than one paint then don't forget to label the patches so as not to forget which is which! then sit back and allow them to dry completely (while praying hard your favourite one will be the cheapest!!). Allow the paint samples to grow on you, checking them out in daylight and again at night, before making your final decision (hopefully, unlike us at the moment, you'll agree on a colour!).


Ciara said...

EEEE! I love your bed!!! Where did you find that!

Ah yes, choosing a colour... and then of course I have kids-with-their-own-opinion-and-ideas... and boy do they want to be heard!

I'm kind of holding off on that for now. Hopefully we'll be able to come to some sort of agreement!

Paula said...

Thanks for the tips Sharon, I am at the paint choosing stage for the living room and was going to just go for white but you've made me re-consider...again!. I just love your bed - where did you find it?

Niamh said...

I just love the shades of pink that you have there, we had two walls in our bedroom painted in that lovely deep pink when we renovated in the last five years and the floorboards painted in a very pale off white with a slight hint of green - sounds terible but it looked great. I had to have the pink made up as it was not off the shelf. Alas we had to tone it down when we put the house on the market last Sept, to cream. But with all the colour around now I'm tempted to get the pink out again. Its not as if there was lots of viewings taking place anyway!

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you'll see this but I really like your wardrobes and was wondering where you got them?