Friday, March 30, 2012

painting tips and secrets for first timers

It's Friday. Tomorrow, Saturday, you're going to paint a room, right? The kitchen, living room, a bedroom, the mud room, any room. You're dying to paint. I can tell.

Sherwin-Williams: Exuberant Pink and Mindful Gray Sherwin-Williams HGTV Colors
A little Exuberant Pink makes a big statement.

But you've never painted before? Congratulations! You are about to embark on a journey of personal discovery culminating in the satisfaction of a job well done and pride in your workmanship.

Like any journey, guides are helpful. My personal painting tips and secrets are gleaned from years and years of hands-on DIY experience. For first time painters, here are my 5 tips and secrets.

HouseBeautiful's April edition is all about color. The COLOR ACROSS AMERICA article asks designers what is their color that evokes a sense of place. Mimi McMakin on Pratt and Lambert's Monet Moonrise: "This is a luscious, fruity color, like a Florida cocktail at sunset."

1 You need help. Not the psychological kind. The sensible and willing assistant kind. Recruit your spouse, partner, mother, sister, brother, roomy, whomever fulfills these requirements. Potential candidates may not share your excitement and enthusiasm; be fully prepared to offer bribes. Now you can head to the paint store. Have your assistant drive. You'll be too distracted as you visualize your room in its fabulous new color. Safety first.

Monet Moonrise looks fabulous with white and blue. Use this tablecloth fabric, "Lyford Background" for throw pillows. Go to Quadrille Fabrics' website for more luscious fabrics and wallpapers.

2 You must delegate. Now that you're at the paint store, have your assistant get the spackle, primer, brushes, rollers. You thought s/he drove solely for safety? This is where your assistant's sensible side is crucial.

Because you'll be tempted to skip all but the brushes and rollers, that's how excited you are to get back home and get started! Besides, you're impatiently tapping your nails on the counter while the paint clerk (moving at sloth speed) mixes the color you've been dreaming and stressing about for weeks.

Gary McBournie loves Benjamin Moore's Sailor's Sea Blue. " just feels like Nantucket, where you're in the middle of the ocean and there's blue all around you. It makes me think of sunshine on water and sailboats and mermaids and good times at the beach."    

3 You must wear clothes you wouldn't be seen dead in. Like any civilized person, you're well dressed and that's how you went to the paint store. Upon returning home, some of us with poor impulse control are likely to burst through the door, pry open the paint can, dip in the brush and start slapping on the paint. Put the brush down. Exchange your hot jeans and top for ones you are willing to part with. This is your first painting project and you have yet to experience the magic of paint invisibly transported to you, your clothes, your hair, your dog. Yes, I know you are meticulous and careful, that's why it's called "the magic of paint."

Don't paint in this ensemble. Love these Yves Saint Lauren jacquard jeans in teal, purple cross-over top. Bergdorf Goodman

4 You must eat. Have lunch delivered. Everyone will be glad you did. Imagine how lovely lunch would be sitting in Mademoiselle chairs at a small round table.

Mademoiselle chair from Kartell. The blue would look great in an orange or pink room. I can see the red-orange chair in a gray setting.

HouseBeautiful did not interview me (too busy) but had they done so, Sherwin-Williams' Silverpointe is New England's morning fog. It looks would be a great gray for the red-orange Mademoiselle chair, and looks smashing with.... 

Yellow! from HouseBeautiful again. Pratt and Lambert's Old Linen is Napa Valley's hills in late summer for Stephen Shubel. "Warm yellows with a hint of brown make you feel as if the sun is setting in your room."

5 You must allow more time than you planned. No doubt your friends who have been painting for years are cheering you on, "oh, you'll get that done in a day!" Positive reinforcement aside, their first experience is deeply repressed. Anything bigger than a broom closet will not, repeat not, be finished by cocktail hour.

5A  Cocktail hour starts immediately after, not one second before, the lids are on the can. Wrap your brushes and rollers in plastic wrap and they will be ready to go in the morning. Don't worry, you will be finished for Sunday brunch...

Happy painting! Do you do your own painting? Do you struggle with choosing a paint color? 

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

if you'd like color advice, contact me!

N.B. I receive no compensation from the paint companies mentioned, HouseBeautiful, Kartell, Quadrille Fabrics, the members of the Romsey Modelling Club, definitely not YSL, and not Tito's Handmade Vodka although we would be happy to receive a sample and publish a review.


  1. Linda, great post and thank you so much for including the Kartell Mademoiselle chairs. They feel as wonderful as they look!

  2. Linda @ a design snack5.4.12

    Eryn, thanks for stopping by. I love that chair.

  3. This was such a kick to read. You give great advice and so amusingly.


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