Monday, September 13, 2010

Painting Walls: Stuck on White?


by Kate

For decades I had all white walls in my house. I added color to my rooms only through paintings, throw pillows and rugs. The reason for that stemmed from a mistake I made back in the Time Before Children, when I painted our bedroom pumpkin orange and had a pumpkin-colored print bedspread and drapes to compliment it. After a year of living inside my self-made giant pumpkin, I HATED color so much, I vowed to never do that again.

So I lived with white walls -- or off-white when I was really feeling daring -- for decades. Then I discovered HGTV, DIY, and the myriad decorating/house hunting shows that were all transforming plain white walls into glorious shades of gray, tan, green, and blue (noticeably absent was pumpkin.) Always one to jump on a trend years after it begins, I finally painted my family room a soft taupe. But while it was going up, I panicked and had the painter stop until I consulted a decorator friend. She assured me it would all work just fine.

Well, once the paint was up, I was still freaking out. It was all wrong. It was too dark, too taupe, too olive, too non-white! But then the furniture and area rug came back in and the paintings went up and -- I loved it! Since then, I’ve painted the living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room and two bathrooms in soft colors and so far I’m loving them all. Now I wonder how I lived with boring white for so long.

Are you a white wall person or a colored wall person? How bold would you go?

24 comments:

booklover said...

The older I get the more color I want!!!!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I've had white or off-white walls all my life, but was thinking of going colourful the next time I decorated. After reading your post, I am not so sure.

Anonymous said...

I am a colored wall person but like it to be soft colors - and pumpkin would be about the last color I would choose.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to include my name in the anonymous post above.

Pink would probably be my fist choice.

Helen Kiker
hdkiker@comcast.net

tonya kappes said...

Bold Bold Bold! I have a wall in my family roon that is called pickle green. The other three walls are called paper bag brown. I love it. My dining room is a steel grey, my office is red and my kids...they love electric colors:)

Sheila Connolly said...

Actually, I like wallpaper, which I can do myself. Since I've lived in Victorian houses for a total of 23 years now, I try for an "authentic" look. Yes, sometimes that means giant roses and the like. I'd love to use (reproduction) William Morris wallpaper, which is gorgeous, but I'd need another mortgage for that.

Susan said...

I've been living in apartments for WAY too long and CANNOT wait to get into a house so I can start painting!! I'm so tired of white walls and beige/brown/cream carpet!!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Color all the way for me. Of course, the hubby likes white walls, so lots of discussion here!

MJ

Linda Leszczuk said...

After decades of pale/neutral colors on the walls, I've discovered I love for deep colors, especially when set off with bright white molding, trim, doors, etc. I like doing different colors in the same room (on different walls or split upper and lower with chair rail). Sure, I'm likely to get tired of a bright color sooner but when it happens, I just pick something different and paint again. This is the great advantage over wallpaper which is too expensive/time consuming to change on a whim.

Debra said...

Love color. Someone once told me to go with a color one shade lighter than you think you would like. And it works! My kitchen in buttercream i.e. pale yellow and I love it. But,my son wanted dark blue with glossy white trim in his room and bathroom and it works for him.

Heather said...

Sadly, I am a life-long apartment dweller and most places don't allow you to paint, or only allow light colors. I am sooo not a pastels person. I think my walls were once white, though it's hard to tell after a decade of dust, grease, etc. Unless I hit the lottery, I'll never own walls of my own.

Lover of Books said...

Our walls are taupe and white. Though I have had a white room that had green accents at the top at my parent's house then one of my other rooms when I was little was all peach. I LOVED it and my mom wished she could have had it. lol

Krista

Dru said...

my walls are in the beige family but on my next painting job, I want bold colors - well except for one wall that needs to be white.

Kate Collins said...

Booklover, I think you may have something there. Life is short, so why not color it up?
Rayna, don't let my past mistakes scare you away from color. I LOVE my house with it's rooms of living color!
Helen, you are a wise woman! Pumpkin is not a color to take, well, lightly. :)
Tonya, it'll be interesting to see if your kids follow your lead, or if any of them prefer "boring" when they are adults.
Sheila, it wouldn't work in my home, but giant rose wallpaper is gorgeous in your style of home.
Susan, I'm excited for you to be able to make the leap and start living it up, color-wise!

Kate Collins said...

Mary Jane, your hubby can have a white man-cave, right? But the rest of the house...yours. :)
Linda, you are right, white trim really makes a colorful room pop!
Debra, that's great advice. When the big walls are painted, they can be much more intense than a little paint sample.
Heather, sorry to hear you are limited on paint color, but hopefully you've found a way to use colors and patterns in fabric to add some zip.
Krista, those soft colors are easy on the eye but still not white. Sounds very nice to me!
Dru, I will be cheering you on when you decide to repaint all but that one wall. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

I've been like you, Kate. Off-white or beige walls, then used colorful accents and especially art. I have a LOT of art on all my walls---paints, watercolors, etchings, mahogany primitive masks, metal work, painted silk. I've deliberately kept the walls neutral because of that. I don't know how a bright color woud go. But---I did have the exterior of my house painted this sunny----a sunny warm yellow-beighe with brick-mahogany trim on shutters & gutters. Looks great!

Andrea C. said...

I am a total colored wall person - I hate white walls and don't have single one in my house! I am pretty much fine with any color - the only one I don't have is pink b/c it doesn't seem fair to my husband!

Kate Collins said...

Maggie, it sounds like your walls are the perfect canvas for all the lovely art and decorations you display.
Andrea, you are a kind and thoughtful wife! So, I suppose fuchsia is out.... :)

PatV said...

Our house has had beige walls for years - we've begun with a bright lemon yellow in the kitchen and painted the dark cabinets white with yellow trim. Then sage green in the bedroom, blue in the next bedroom and dark blue in the bathroom with bright white beadboard and trim. Now we're debating on the entry and living room where most of the artwork is. Color is fun!

Vickie said...

Due to living in rental apartments or Air Force dorm rooms, I lived in white rooms with color added with linens and art and pillows.
Moved to the current house, lived with white-ish walls until DH decided we had the budget to get some walls painted. YAY! We did it in two sessions about a year apart. Master bedroom is a Tuscan yellow, bathroom is Celery, one of the spare rooms and kitchen painted Rain a sort of gentle blue, family room and upstairs hall and landing is White Raisin, another spare room is White Raisin above the chair rail and Sage below, my bathroom shared with Lady K is Primrose and the best room is Lady K's....Daisy, a very bright gorgeous yellow. We also have an accent wall above the fireplace, Chili.

Kate Collins said...

Wow, Pat and Vickie, your room colors sound so appealing! Pat, you said it...color is fun! Vickie, even the names of your paint colors sound yummy. :)

Michele L. said...

Hi Kate,

I love your Orange room! Ha, ha! Hey, it probably was rather the "in" thing at that time. Remember the Brady Bunch and the orange in the kitchen?

I love color too! I have a peach bedroom, blue bedroom, pink tile with black accents in the bathroom, southwestern colors in my livingroom, i.e. soft pastels of grey, peach, teal, orange, with very light grey walls. All my painted colors everywhere are very light with light grey and white added to them. For an added affect I have used drapes that are light weight almost like gauze and drape over rods instead of heavy fabrics. It transforms the room into an airy atmosphere to create the look of a bigger space since my house small. Paint can really work magic in rooms!

Linda McDonald said...

We have white walls in our kitchen and bathroom, but the rest of the house have colors. One room is green, one a light blue, one an "oatmeal" kind of beige, and the rest of the house different shades of beige. We also have a patio room that I painted a darker blue....it is our "island escape" room with tikis, island accents, etc. I love it, and the blue color makes me feel like I am at the ocean.

Laineshots said...

Wow, Kate, is this ever timely for me. I am currently wrestling with color chips, having just decided to paint the entire house after living with white walls for the past 12 years. And you know what? It's tough! I want colors--but which ones?? How about if you all come to my house and advise me? :)