I have just finished decorating our lounge, which could only have been described as bland and non-descript (amazing woodburning stove and gorgeous square bay window aside), with the hope of creating a nurturing, cosy and luxurious family room. For the last few weeks (which have been spent in a cloud of dust, amongst piles of DIY paraphernalia), I have worked hard to make a space where my family and I can enjoy cosy evening in, whilst looking around and silently saying ‘wow’ under our breath!
I have been absolutely privileged to work with fantastic furniture store, West Elm on my living room – they have generously gifted me lots of incredible items to make this room perfect, but I’ll talk more about the items I chose in the next post.
Today I want to talk about paint. And how this one simple thing can absolutely change not only the look of a room or piece of furniture, but essentially how a room feels, its ambiance and its grandeur.
In my last house, which was a Victoria semi, I decided to move away from my usual light décor style (it’s no secret I have a penchant for white walls) and incorporate some dark decor into my living room. I used Farrow and Ball Railings with Cornforth White for contrast.
Despite the room feeling quite cosy, this combination just didn’t float my proverbial boat, and I kept dreaming of the day that I could again wield my paintbrush and roller and re-decorate it. So why, in our new living room did I choose to again combine two colours, one which is Light Blue by Farrow and Ball – a sludgy green/grey/blue shade and then Downpipe, a deep dark grey? I have to be honest, it was a last minute and quick decision (this is fairly normal for me – I was never one to dilly dally) as once I’d painted on the light blue, I felt I wanted a deep contrasting colour around the fireplace to create a stunning focal point. I thought to myself, that if I once again felt uncomfortable looking at dark walls, it was only paint and I could easily reverse it.
That is the truly amazing thing about paint, it is SO easy to change. It’s the one thing that you can be really brave and experiment with. I know it would cost a little to paint over, especially if you are using an expensive brand, but in the grand scheme of things, it would be a relatively inexpensive mistake, should you feel you had made an error of judgement!
Onto the cost – there are loads of ways to save money these days when decorating a room. With regards to paint, if you are on a tight budget, you can colour match a shade from an expensive brand onto a cheaper base. I have done this a fair bit, and in my living room, the Light Blue is colour matched, simply because the shop didn’t have the real deal in stock and I was impatient to get it done. I used a Johnstone’s matt base and it painted onto the wall like a dream. It was thick and creamy and it only required two coats. The Downpipe, however was actual Farrow and Ball paint, which was a lot thinner and more difficult to apply and took three coats. However, it does have a beautiful rich tone to it. Some people feel colours aren’t quite the same if you have them matched but when I held up the paper onto which I had painted the Light Blue from a sample pot, it was identical to the wall, so I’ll leave that decision up to you…
The upshot with the lounge is that I couldn’t be happier with it. The chimney breast which before was painted a kind of mushroom brown, now looks so rich and luxurious, and when the wood burner is lit, the room gives me all the cosy winter feels!
It also feels more opulent and grand in there. When I posted a photo to my Instagram feed, it quickly skipped up to over 2k likes, so I’m thankful all you lovely people are fans of the colour scheme too. Dark décor has the power to make such a statement, especially when combined with gold accents and soft ambient lighting.
I also painted the woodwork with dark paint, including the double doors that lead in from the kitchen. They were also transformed from blah to bold and beautiful with the use of paint, and I now feel nothing is safe from this colour… I am even considering painting the windows on the exterior of my house dark, as I love how the doors look so much!
Paint has the ability to completely revolutionise spaces, especially if you go from light to dark, or dark to light. Don’t be afraid to really go for it. It freshens up tired walls, and can revive woodwork or a piece of furniture that is looking beaten up or worn. It can modernise old furniture, or completely change what your home exterior looks like – taking it from average to something really wow. Grafikclub kindly did a few mock ups of the front of my house, with the windows painted in different colours. You can see from the images below how much going from light to dark changes the feel of the property.
I absolutely love paint and it will always be the first element that I consider when designing a room. I enjoy getting those sample cards out and pouring over all the beautiful shades available. My favourite brands have to be Farrow and Ball, Paint and Paper Library and Little Greene, although there are some amazing up-and-coming smaller paint brands with stunning shades too. Graham and Brown also have some gorgeous options and I have my eye on their ‘Notte’ paint, I just need to find a room to use it in!
So far in the three months I have lived in this house, I have refreshed my porch area by painting the brick work in a lighter shade to give a more modern, clean look and by painting my door a welcoming shade of pink. I have taken a tired spare room, painted the walls half white and half warm grey, and created a cosy guest bedroom. I have painted over a garish purple wall in my dining room with some soft green chalk paint which looks beautiful against all the trees and plants outside the window. I have transformed our master bedroom, painting the walls a fresh white, eradicating the icy blue which made the room feel cold and uninviting. Now our living space is dramatic and cocooning – I wonder what could be next!
So, I encourage you to pick up those brushes and make a decision. If you’ve been chewing over a hundred paint samples and you keep going back to one, but you’re nervous about actually purchasing that 5 litre tin, go for it. Try it. Chances are that your gut instinct is right, but if not, then you can paint over it again and go back to the drawing board. It won’t be the end of the world. You never know, you may just end up with the room of your dreams…
Until next time,