Brush Strokes

Hot painting techniques to make the interior of your home sizzle…

Hot painting techniques to make the interior of your home sizzle

Selecting colors for your home’s interior should be effortless, yet for many homeowners it can be a daunting task. Fortunately, many San Diego painting professionals are ready and willing to help you choose the perfect hues to make the rooms in your house really stand out.

The use of color in a home is a good way to create a certain kind of atmosphere. Color has a strong link to a room’s mood, so when choosing a palette for your interior, be sure to take into consideration the activities that will happen in each space. For kitchens, stick with ‘food colors’ such as berry reds, melon orange, sunny yellow or leafy green. These shades will effortlessly create an inviting eating atmosphere. Avoid colors not normally found in food, such as blues and purples, as these shades tend to create disharmony in a kitchen.

Blues and purples will, however, create a calming effect in other rooms of the home. These shades are perfect to use when creating a bathroom retreat or a soothing bedroom oasis. Reds and yellows tend to be invigorating – perfect not only for kitchens and dining rooms, but also stunning in entertaining spaces. For a contemporary look, accent a room with fresh bright colors including grapefruit pinks, sunny orange,Trompe Loeil lemon yellow and even lime. Even if sticking with a muted palette on walls, using bold slices of color in pillows, rugs and drapes will create a positive energy-filled space.

When using any strong color, application in heavy proportions can become overwhelming. The key to using bold color is to choose one dominant shade and another more muted, understated supporting shade. This will create a synergistic accord in your home. Using dark with dark and light with light can work well with similar intensities of different colors. However, mixing and matching light values with dark accents can oftentimes create a more harmonious color scheme.

Striving for this harmony, many homeowners will choose to paint only one accent wall in a bright, bold or dark shade. Patrick Schneller, owner of San Diego painting company Everything But Art, says that choosing a darker or bolder color for one wall “can really make furniture and accents ‘pop’.” To create an accent wall, first choose a comfortable base color to match the more permanent furniture in the room. Schneller has chosen colors for his customers that will compliment a couch, a special painting or even a grandfather clock. Then he will choose a complimentary darker color and apply to only one wall to really set off the entire room.

Martha Stewart Colors is a high-end label offering a wide variety of gorgeous hues for the most luxurious homes. With their line of 350 colors, there is bound to be one for every type of homeowner. According to the Martha Stewart Colors team, “If you’re not ready to commit to a bold hue, maybe a mix of colors is the solution. [There are a] variety of ways in which you can strike a balance between bright color and subdued neutrals.”

If solid colored walls seem too ordinary for your home, you can now choose paint with a mixed-in faux finish at any local paint store. Ralph Lauren is another high-end label that offers a variety of do-it-yourself paints to help you create magnificent faux finishes. For example, Ralph Lauren’s Suede is created to emulate the look of this brushed leather and is available in 44 hues. The designer also makes a Candlelight topcoat which creates a soft glow when applied over a base color. River Rock looks like washed pebbles, and Regent Metallics adds a lustrous shine to your walls, both also available from the Ralph Lauren line.

Schneller notes that using a paint like Ralph Lauren Suede is a wonderful way to add depth to a smaller room. Being accustomed to working in high-end interiors, the painter says that although many homeowners are of the do-it-yourself variety, the trend is tending towards professional faux finishing. “Faux finishes add a distinctive twist to any home,” Schneller comments. And he should know – the painter has 15 years of experience providing his customers with striking interior surfaces.


Faux finishes on interior walls will quickly make visitors revel in the homeowner’s taste and style. One popular application is Venetian plaster – thin layers of plaster applied with a trowel and then polished to create a flat finish. Although smooth to the touch, Venetian plastered walls create a look of depth and texture. Many painting companies are well-versed in applying Venetian plaster, and the top coat can be purchased at most paint stores.

Color washing is a forgiving faux finish that is easy enough for beginners, but can also be expertly appliedPaint Brush by painting professionals. This is a glazing technique whereby multiple colors are diluted then painted over a dry base coat, creating a unique freeform finish.

Rag rolling is another glazing technique that creates a visually textured look while remaining smooth to the touch. To use this technique, simply twist or ball rags and liberally roll over a wet second coat to reveal the basecoat underneath. Schneller notes that rag rolling should be done in a “consistently non-consistent pattern.”

Two French painting techniques can help create realistic scenes on the walls of your home. Faux Bois, literally translated as “fake wood,” is a painting technique used to imitate exotic wood varieties. Also known as graining, Faux Bois employs a special thick brush called a mottler to make layers of paint resemble wood grain. The second technique is called Trompe L’oeil, or “trick the eye.” This French method is used when painting realistic murals and architectural details such as pillars and molding.

Another popular faux technique is marbleizing, where glazed walls create the appearance of real stone. Or to create the look of fabric on a wall, use Strie. Yet another French technique, Strie employs brushed stripes of color to emulate a fabric’s unique weave.

Everything But Art (EBA) has its own faux technique which many of their customers are choosing. After layering an off-white basecoat, the painters at EBA scratch shapes into the paint and then fill them in with another, darker color. After rag rolling a glaze on top of both coats, they polish the wall to create a smooth yet textured finish.

Schneller notes that painting a typical bedroom will cost from $275-525 depending on the room size and colors chosen (as darker colors may need more coats for optimal coverage). Professional painting teams like EBA charge from $55-75 per hour, which many times will include material costs. If homeowners have prepurchased painting supplies, a company will generally give a percentage discount.

Remodeling the interior of a home can be frustrating for even the most flexible homeowner. So the painters at EBA strive to make their customers comfortable in their own home while a project progresses. A typical condo can be painted from top to bottom in about three days, but Schneller notes that his employees will be sure to move all of the furniture back into a comfortable living arrangement after completing work each day. “That way, other than a few mismatched walls, the customer won’t notice that work is going on in their home,” he says.

Whether using a professional painting team like EBA, or enlisting the help of your friendly paint professionals at places like Loewe’s or Home Depot, choosing a paint color can now be easy and fun. Adding a faux finish to any room in your home will also take your painting project one step further, making your interiors the envy of your neighborhood.

By Kelly Cochran

San Diego Premier Vol 17 Nov/Dec 2007

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