Repainting two of my living room walls, from pure white to charcoal grey, was just the boost my home and myself needed. So, what have I learned from painting my walls?
1. I should have done it earlier when I had the idea about a year ago! I wait way too long before I do something in my own house. Part of that reason is that I get bored quite easily so I feel that I really need to be in love with the new look before I commit to it – but don’t we all feel like that?
2. I share my home with a husband (fortunately, he leaves all interior choices up to me!), a five-year old daughter (that has quite an opinion on ‘pretty things’) and a dog, better known as demolition-dog (a 16 month old very bold pup).
3. The interior choices I make, needs to be hardworking and wearing – no white floors, fluffy rugs or Kartell Ghost furniture for me, thank you very much!
As with many things in life, now that I’ve painted the living room walls, I wish I’d done it sooner. It has also become apparent how badly the rest of the house needs a re-paint, next job on the DIY list, so watch this space.
BELOW, The ‘Before’ Walls:
Although I’ve always liked the white walls with my aubergine velvet sofas and colourful gallery of paintings, I felt this room needed a change. There was only ever one wall colour in the running – charcoal grey, but finding the right tone of grey, took a lot longer. Until I came across the Valpar ‘Wetbar R1E’, charcoal grey paint. This shade of grey matched the rest of the room perfectly. Other greys that I’ve considered, tended to show up either too mauvey-purple or too blue, but this tone worked perfectly in this room.
Top-Tip: It is so important to test your paint swatches in the room you are planning to paint. The colour might look perfect on the card or in the tin but appear totally different on the walls in the chosen room because of light reflections and the existing furniture and accessories.
BELOW, The ‘After’ Walls:
SORTING THE COLLAGE, Below:
I knew that re-arranging the paintings would be quite a job. Before I painted, I filled in the holes and prepped the walls to get a good finish as I knew I needed to re-arrange my ‘gallery’. If there was ever a fire, apart from grabbing the living creatures in my house, some of these paintings would be the first on the list. Not because they are valuable, but priceless in terms of sentiment. Some are vintage finds from here and abroad, an antique one my parents gave to me, and a few lovingly painted by my sister Nelia. My favourite has to be beautiful big dahlia one in the middle that I got on holiday in France, I adore it so much.
Knowing that I wanted the big one in the middle, I started to lay them out on a flat surface. Once happy with the configuration, I took a photo of the layout and started to replicate the layout on the wall. Starting with the big one in the middle and flanking it with two on wither side, completing the bottom row and working my way up. I didn’t measure the gaps as I don’t mind that the don’t all line up perfectly, as they all differ in shapes and size anyway. This might drive some people mad, so it’s up to you how perfect you want them. Measuring is a good idea if you do a collage creating a perfectly symmetrical pattern. In my case, as they differ so much, I just wanted them to look balanced and loosely symmetrical – and besides, I like a bit of imperfections!
By the way; if the idea of hanging pictures in a collage style seems a bit too daunting, fear not, Ikea have this super cool system where you buy a template called Matteby (£2.50) with four different collage options. All you do is stick this template on the wall, it shows you where to mark for the nails. Then hang your frames to this guideline template. As it’s by Ikea, they cleverly suggest which of their frames to use too, making it a perfect pairing – but I’m sure you can just improvise by using your own pictures – genius! Why have no one thought of this before?
Feature, Styling & Photos: Theoda Solms Iles