“To the walls, Batman!”


If you are looking to impact your space in a dramatic way without super-heroic effort, my advice is to work the perimeter.  Forget the stodgy old rules of paint etiquette; time to embrace the cornucopia of options the world has to offer.  Here are a few tips to give you the most powerful buck bang that can resuscitate the drab with pizzazz.


Fair warning – you will encounter the askance glance from the traditional painting crew when you tell them you want a splash of something somewhere, but power through the judgment, even the most curmudgeonly craftsman has come to the light of color with the final reveal. I LOVE using color on the ceiling. I don’t care for a heavy hand, though I have seen it work, just a little pigment to bring the whole shebang together. Here are a few ways this can be successfully achieved. If using a more saturated color, travel 1-3 steps up on the color card (or a few numbers up). Ask your paint pro to mix your color at a percentage, say, 25%, of the wall color to achieve the essence of the hue. If using a light tone you can use the same color on the ceiling but in a flat finish  ( always use flat on the ceilings to cut out any reflective quality).  The walls will still look surprisingly contrasting due to the way the light hits the different planes.


Always. No Exceptions.  Especially when cutting a color- sometimes the formulas will reduce into an unexpected way, you want to make certain that everyone one plays nicely together.


A “feature wall” refers to painting a single wall a varying hue from the others. This can work using a dramatic contrasting color (either dark or light) or a subtle shift in hue or tone to create just a bit of movement. (If using a color cut on the ceiling you might bleed that down one wall). Which wall to feature really depends on your space, but you want to use the color to direct visual energy. Your pop color will show off your artwork or furniture, so best to choose a blank wall (not a lot of windows or doorways) to maximize the impact. Also take a thoughtful look at your space to uncover unexpected areas to bring a little drama.  Built-in cabinets are a fantastic canvas.  A shift of the wall color for the cabinet itself, or a crazy pop color on the backboards will elevate your room to styling.


Wallpaper is amazing.  AMAZING. The medium has been on trend for quite a while now and the availability of incredible designs is staggering, however, the problem remains that it is a real commitment, so, for many of us, the prospect is daunting.  Some options utilize the “feature wall” but with paper instead of paint.  This will give you opportunity for a really graphic paper that will not overwhelm and will be less intimidating to install.  For great papers take a trip to Adlers. Investigate the new lines of Temporary wallpapers that are appearing in the market.  These are along the lines of contact paper in application, but some companies have elevated the material to a viable option for renters and commitment-phobes.  Fair warning – despite what the instructional video says, the application is not a relaxing, wine sipping event.  There will be cutting, cursing and possibly crying – but it gets easier and the results are great.  My pick for best choice is Tempaper.


Wall decals.  This industry has emerged with some subtle, beautiful designs that enable you to apply a creative, one of a kind wall treatment that looks polished and professional.  The beauty here is that you have the options to choose color, size, and direction of the image and the application is left to your own creative vision.  Additionally, these decals are incredibly affordable and the install, though not simple, is manageable and allows for a bit more “wiggle room”.  If I were going to pick favorites here, I would say Stickerbrand, but Etsy has a huge selection of vendors with great products as well

So there you have a wall primer to get your creative juices flowing.  Remember, all these ideas are temporary, affordable, and within your technical grasp.  Have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labors!