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Project: Refresh a wall with paint and art

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Project: Refresh a wall with paint and art
Refresh one wall, change the whole room! Tips and ideas for a mini makeover

Refresh one wall, change the whole room! Tips and ideas for a mini room makeover

Confession time: I made a classic decorating mistake. Even though I had heard the advice dozens of times. Even though I had seen the bad results in older family members’ homes. I am guilty, and I lived with my decorating sin for years, which is punishment enough. I … I …

[gulp] [deep breath]

I used the nails in the wall from the previous homeowner to dictate where I put my own wall art!

[Cue ominous music! Dun – dun – DUN!!!]

It was only one wall. But it’s visible from the front door where people enter. And it’s right by the back door. It’s where my family eats meals, where my kids do homework, a place that often functions as an office and a family buffet area. Yeah, it’s only one of the most important areas in the house! Our “breakfast nook” (which you can see is really an “everything nook”). And I neglected it.

The art never really fit or worked on the wall, which is rough wood paneling that has been painted over and over, which my husband has always hated. And what was there to love about this wall? Nothing. See for yourself:

Blah walls are a waste of space!

Blah walls are a waste of space!

One day, I decided to change that.

I can overcome!

[cue victorious superhero-y music]

And the result was fantastic. With a fresh paint color and rearranging wall art a better way, the entire room — actually, I would say the back 25% of our home — looked like it had a makeover.

If you need a wall makeover in your home, here are my meager tips.

Take off all the art and clean any really egregious spots on the walls. I had to evict a little spider too.

Remove the outlet and switch plate covers too. Lefty loosey, tighty whities. I mean righty tighty. This is a good time to wash them, change them or cover them with decorative paper.

Remove any switch plate covers or outlet covers with a simple screwdriver before you paint

Remove any switch plate covers or outlet covers with a simple screwdriver before you paint

Gather painting supplies. For any wall, I recommend a paint roller extension pole to help you reach more of the wall without getting on a ladder or chair. I also recommend paint with primer in it so you don’t have to paint in two steps. I also like the low-VOC paint if you can get it, which doesn’t give off fumes you get with regular paint — better for indoor air quality and the environment.

Gather your supplies before you're ready to paint

Gather your supplies before you're ready to paint

Then put down a tarp or newspaper to protect the floor, and dive in and paint that wall.

Paint doesn't have to be perfect around outlets and switches -- that's what cover plates are for

Paint doesn't have to be perfect around outlets and switches -- that's what cover plates are for

Like the color? I found it in one of my art pieces.

Use a roller on a long handle to paint the majority of the wall, leaving a margin for a smaller paintbrush to fill in

Use a roller on a long handle to paint the majority of the wall, leaving a margin for a smaller paintbrush to fill in

I decided to leave the trim the same color so it would match the rest of the house. I think this helps make the new color pop.

The wall is painted -- time to hang the art

The wall is painted -- time to hang the art

Let the paint dry for a day — this may be difficult with small children around — and then prepare to put your art back up.

I looked at what art I had already put on the wall and decided to get rid of a couple things and replace them with two new canvases. They are small and from Target, so it was an easy and inexpensive design move, I guess you could say.

There are many, many ways to hang and display art on a wall. After reading sites, magazines and books on the subject, I’ve learned it all boils down to this: Do what you think looks good.

Experts recommend tracing the outline of your art on a large piece of paper first. But I didn’t have large paper. And I don’t like to waste paper. So I laid out my art on the floor.

Lay out your art on the floor first and try different arrangements until you like what you see

Lay out your art on the floor first and try different arrangements until you like what you see (or until your cat moves in for a photobomb)

You can see I keep this part of the house kind of whimsical.

I believe in the power of a second person to help you when putting art on the wall, even if you have measured. Especially when you have two angled walls acting as one wall, like my breakfast nook. And two people might find that what looked great on the floor, or on paper, doesn’t exactly translate to a wall and move things around for the better. Go for it.

With fresh paint and a better art layout, this casual breakfast nook is more inviting

With fresh paint and a better art layout, this casual breakfast nook is more inviting

Updating a wall is an easy project with big impact. Not only does it look so much better, but now I can let go of my decorating-sin guilt.

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