Painting the Dining Room

This is what the Redken artists say to themselves when they’re working on a hair style/color/look, and it’s a little weird at the halfway point…”Trust the process”…to remind themselves that if they follow all the steps, in the end, it will turn out well.

That’s what I’m saying to myself about my dining room. I am taking Christopher Lowell‘s advice and Painting! With Color! The dining room is so big and stark that I haven’t been able to make it cozy and welcoming. Lowell says in his book Seven Layers of Design, “We hide behind white because we think it’s safe. To compensate for lack of color, we spend thousands of dollars on upholstery, rugs, drapes, and accessories to keep our interiours from looking cold and sterile. You will forever be fighting to make your rooms look warm and inviting if you don’t paint with color!”

When I interviewed him at High Point in October, I asked him what renters could do about painting. He said, “Let me give you a formula. When we polled – we’re so lucky, we just get to talk to everybody all the time about anything we want to – we polled renters about how long they found at an average they were in an apartment. And the minimum average was three years. Take three years divided by six gallons of white paint. It comes down to less than 2.4 cents a day. Okay? Have a ball. Paint everything in sight. Because the reality of it is, your landlord shouldn’t be holding you hostage, no matter where you live. And anybody who’s rented…and they can’t paint, they got a very bad deal.” Basically, paint whatever you want and then if the landlord doesn’t like it, just paint it white again when you leave.

So I am Having A Ball. I’m hoping that The Process will turn out well once I’m done. It’s a little worrisome partway through… This is the effect I was going for. But I think I picked the wrong color. It’s not so much a moss green as a fern green – it has blue undertones rather than yellow. I thought it would be more soothing than an olive green, but right now it just looks very…GREEN. (Hey, Wal-Mart has a very limited color selection…but you can’t beat $9.44/gallon!)

Gwyn and Amy came over yesterday to help me paint, and we got the first coat done, then after they left I did a second coat on two of the walls. Then I ran out of paint. (Sighhhhhhhh…) So I will go get more paint on my way home tonight, finish the walls, and then paint the ceiling. (I think I will really like the ceiling color…it’s a light green called “Pesto.”) Painting the ceiling is part of The Process. In Seven Layers, Lowell says, “Yes, do paint the ceilings. Introducing rich color on the walls while leaving the ceiling white will make your room look as if you’ve spread a big bedsheet over it. The ceiling will actually seem lower if left white…paint the ceiling two shades lighter than your wall color…By using two shades of the same color for your walls and ceiling, the light will now reflect evenly throughout your room.”

Even though I’m a little worried about how it’s going to turn out – most of my accessories are olive-brown-bronze-based green – I keep repeating to myself Lowell’s advice: “Don’t make judgements about your color choices until all references to white are out of the room. Only then will you have a clear vision of what the room will look like.”

And as Gwyn reminded me, I can always add a faux finish to tone down the color. (However, one of my favorite lines in Seven Layers concerns faux finishes: “…paint your room first and give yourself the option of whether you want to proceed. Introducing wonderful color into a room might do the trick on its own. Ask yourself, ‘Does this newly painted room really need that extra little hoo-ha?’”)

(And moving on to Layer 3: Upholstered Furniture, this week I also hope to reupholster the seats of the dining chairs – I got a really nice medium green jacquard at JoAnn Fabrics on Saturday on sale for $2.78/yard.)

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  • gwyneth

    that’s a lot of green.

    and a lot of gwyn.

    AND, gwyn is totally wearing a green sweater today.  and green socks.  that’s sooo greent.  (like, great.  uh…it was supposed to be more obvious what i was doing there.)

  • rachelboo

    Saving the thousand dollars is just step one.  All the steps are in Dave Ramsey’s book “Total Money Makeover.”  He’s really good.  You can find him at  I listen to his radio show through the internet.

  • africaflyboy

    Yeah, I think I missed something in the process there. I moved out, I didn’t get married. Hmmm. Then again, I didn’t have a little brother trying to kick me out either.

  • fentzypoo

    where did you learn to reupholster? wonderwoman you are.

  • whomhavei

    You should paint the wall with the windows a lighter color to disuade people from jumping out.  That’s what they do here.

  • hannahbarton

    Christopher Lowell is so fabulous!

    And I too noted your reference to Fresh! Crisp! button-downs.

    Hmmm… yummy, chunky green, eh? I like the olive tones more also.

  • IssyExley

    Color is a must for any home to get that cozy feel. I give you mad props on your taste of color and design.

  • lemonmeringuedog

    That’s so funny! Just might have to do that…..

  • stforever

    When you are done can you come paint mine? He he….. We desperately need some color in our home too!

  • hannahbarton

    Ooh.. and big props on the great buy at JoAnn’s!

  • benbarton

    That is pretty cool sounding. I am not one to oppose interior decorating moguls, so I won’t say anything else. lol as far as the girls here, it kind of depends what you are talking about. A lot of the girls here at USAFA are true shemen in every sense of the word. However, if that is not what you are talking about, I’m sure it depends on the guy. I have a very high respect for girls, and I try to show that at all times… anyway, tell me what you mean…

    On another note, Daniel sits right in front of me in Chemistry. It’s a lot of fun. His desk mate is a projector though since the prof in that class doesn’t believe in technology like Power Point. lol Take care.

  • karlitacat

    Our walls are white, white, white.  And not even “crips” white - it’s rather drab, like it’s dirty.  I’ve been wanting to add some color for a long time now, and Philip finally got some paint for me!  And guess what color – green!  Well, shades of green, anyway.  I don’t want to do anything too dramatic but, as Philip points out, if you don’t like it you can always paint over it (it’s just more work!).  I picked three different shades of green (had them matched where my husband shops) – one called “Gull” for the bathroom (it’s kind of a light to medium sage), a much lighter shade called “Secluded” (where do they get these names?!) for backsplash tile in the bathroom (it’s not actual paint, but it’s the color I want), and one called “Rain Drop” for the bedroom (it’s more grey-green; eventually that will be the guest bedroom, and since it has hints of other color, I felt it would go with many accent colors, such as blue and purple).   

    I had originally thought of doing the bedroom and bathroom in red and beige, and doing some sort of colorwash.  I love that particular paint effect (depending on method of application and types of paint), and would like to incorporate it.  Maybe in the eventual dining room – where I want some sort of cheery yellow.  I think the living room will end up being a dramatic green, or a blue-green colorwash.  So many possibilities!  My project room will be a rainbow of colors, for cheer and inspiration – so who knows what will happen in there.  But it’s not like it will be done anytime soon, so I have lots of time to think about it.

    I can’t wait to accessorize, too!  Just thinking of all the bold curtains and rugs and pillow, etc., that I could get to complement the colors. =sigh=  I cut out lots of pictures with ideas I like.  Every once in a while I’ll go through them and re-evaluate my decision.  It’s fun. 

    And no, I’ve never seen… whatever that is you asked about.  Hehe.

    PS – Colorwashing, and silimar effects, are supposed to be great ways to tone down a color (especially if you use a similar shade).  And if it’s not perfect, it doesn’t matter!  That greatly appeals to me and my clumsy tendencies. 

  • karlitacat

    Hehe… what the heck is “crips” white?  Maybe are walls *are* “crips white.”  That should be a new shade!  Anyhoo… see if I can get this right… it’s supposed to be C-R-I-S-P. 

  • daniellehanley

    We are picking out shades of green for our bathroom. The tub is a scary hunter green and the tiles are an institutional seafoam, so I can’t go too yellow, but I want to warm it up. I’m leaning toward a warm sage. My biggest fear is painting the ceiling green. Painting ceilings is not my favorite and I don’t want to have to do it over, but I think CL’s point makes a lot of sense. So hopefully you’ll post some pictures of yours.

  • BethanyNLove

    Hey. Thanks for stopping by my site. Check out my site when you can. I updated..on what I’ve been up to lately.

  • weimes

    I’m impressed! Can’t wait to see pictures.

  • Marciaran

    Color…? What is this color you speak of???

    I’d love to see pictures when you are done.

  • fentzypoo

    ahhhh you are so nice..many thank you’s! i did a lot of writing when i was younger…and my freshman (in college) english teacher told me i had something BUT that my grammar was embarrassing….good ol’ Indiana public school education. :)

  • simply_nikki

    About a year ago, my Mom painted my parents’ bedroom a cool sage, I guess you’d call it. She absolutely loves it, and I think it looks great. I think I have a pic of it. I’ll post it on my site.

  • simply_nikki

    If you are still thinking of repainting, I can ask my mom the number of the color. :)

  • mmmattress

    Yeah, I was really wondering what “crips white” was. I thought it was Crips Blue…

    As for Christopher Lowell, I think we should call him “Blessed Christopher Lowell.” After all, that is what Catholics call a person who is one step short of sainthood. At that point, you may worship him openly. “Well, as it says in SLoD, Chapter 7, Verse 3: ‘Colorful paint is warm and fabulous.’”

    I have to admit (albeit begrudgingly) that the green (errr, Pesto) looks good. And is also yummy.

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