Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Building Your Base: Walls

Building your base is a key component to developing a successful interior. There are 5 different elements to your base - Walls, Ceilings, Floor, Lighting, Architectural Detail. That seems simple enough, right? But there are many choices to make for theses 5 areas. They all relate to the structure of your room or home and when done right, your home will have "good bones".

Unless you have built your home and made selections along the way, you probably have a blank canvas. But some of the elements you are going to feel are unchangeable. But a lot of the elements are just waiting to be transformed. The first and most important step is moving past the builder tan walls. With a few exceptions, this color does nothing for your home. I'm not even sure where the color came from. Even when choosing lighter neutral colors, I've never seen a designer willingly choose this color - yet every builder puts it on the walls.

There are many techniques that you can apply to your walls, you could paint, wallpaper or apply a faux finish. Most often though we are applying paint. The choice of paint can be a perplexing one. When choosing your paint, think of it as the background that should highlight everything else you put into the room. This is just one layer to your room. You also need to consider the mood or feeling of your room. Are you needing to concentrate in this room (warmer colors) or do you need to relax (cooler colors)? If you already have furnishings and drapery in the room - try not to choose a color that "matches" one of those elements. Instead look at the color opposites. If your home has reds or burgundy, try looking at a green based paint. If your home has blues, try looking at a more yellow or gold tone paint (like below). When your furnishings are more neutrally based, you really can have your pick.
There are a few steps that can ensure success when selecting paints. The first is to test, test and test. This is the step that most people want to skip. But here is the reason for testing. The quality of light in your home changes 8 times a day. With out testing, you'll never know if that yellow or green shifts to a less than desirable shade. If the thought of paint swatches all over your home is not appealing, then create sample boards. But they need to be larger, I think 2' x 2' is ideal. And there needs to be two coats of paint. The truest color will be when there are two coats. And unless you are simply refreshing the color on the wall - always plan on two coats.

And as for quality I would recommend at least a Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore Quality Paint. In the age of more awareness of toxins and chemicals, Health Magazine ( published this chart, in April 2008 issue, as a comparison of the different low VOC paints.

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