With all the construction going on at our house, it was nice to get away for a day and help my mom update her bedroom. I don’t have any before pictures, but basically she and my dad had simply never gotten around to painting their bedroom. He was the one who decorated the rest of the house, so she was feeling a little overwhelmed by taking on the responsibility of making those decisions.
I think a lot of people, regardless of their situation, feel overwhelmed about making these decisions. Knowing that I’ve renovated a couple houses, people will ask me questions about how they should update a room. I think you have to consider what the function of the room will be, and find some sort of inspiration to guide you as a design starting point. My mom had already found a bedding set at Target, so we based everything around that.
Once you determine your design starting point, it’s pretty easy to find similar items at stores, or even around your house. Using items you already have is free, and it’s fun to hunt around for things that match your inspiration. It might be a picture frame or candle from another room. It could even something like a book or plate that happens to have the same colors in it.
Choosing a paint color can be another intimidating part of the process. She wanted her walls to be the color of the coral accents. I felt that, like in the bedspread, her walls should be closer to the color of the background. The white in the design would be picked up by her trim and ceilings. Her accents throughout the room could be coral, the same way the color is used throughout the bedding set.
Of course, there are a hundred different tones of beige at the hardware store. Another important consideration is that the lighting in the store likely be different than the lighting in your house. The lighting at the store is bluish white, where the lighting in your home is more likely to be warmer and more yellow. A paint chip that looks grey-ish and washed out in the store will look warmer and richer in your house.
If your inspiration item is small enough, take it into the store with you. You’ll see both items in the same lighting, and be able to make a better decision. You may also be tempted to hold the paint chip flat, parallel to the floor, to look at it. You will never be seeing your paint like this (unless you are painting the floor). Hold it up perpendicular to the floor, like it will be on your walls. The light will hit it in a different way, generally making it seem a little darker.
She wanted me to just pick a color for her, but I shared these tips and encouraged her to pick a color for herself. She was a little surprised how different the color was as we painted it on, and felt like it had a tinge of purple that she didn’t notice in the store. I should probably mention that my mom is an art teacher. So, even for someone very knowledgeable about color, painting a room was still intimidating.
Painting can feel like a gargantuan task, but in my opinion preparing to paint is more work than anything else. We had to take down all the pictures, blinds, and curtains, and do a little patchwork over one of her doors. She has quality, solid wood furniture (not like what we have), which we had to push to the center of the room. She thought we would have to leave everything away from the walls until it completely dried, but baseboards usually keep furniture from actually touching the walls anyways.
With the painting done, we got out all the new stuff! The room feels calm and relaxing, exactly what she was going for. It’s amazing how fresh and new the room feels. Having done a lot of the work and decisions herself, I think she feels more accomplished and capable as a result. She’s still looking for something to go over her bed.