• Tips & Ideas

    Want your room to look bigger?

    Then switch over to the dark side! It’s true. Dark colours recede and that makes a room look larger. Of course, there are exceptions. A room that is already dark due to lack of windows will look bigger and darker with dark paint. And black, navy and the like are really dark colours, perhaps best left for either one accent wall or in a room with tons of white trim.

    Love purple?

    It’s a trendy colour these days, but royals have loved it for centuries! Still, a room with too much purple is overwhelming; it’s not a subtle colour. So, by adding other colours, preferable neutrals, you can get the lush look you want while retaining some dignity. Add various shades of grey and accents in metallic silver to punch up a room and create a magical statement of elegance and power.

    Why are ceilings always white?

    They’re not always white, but white is the preferred colour for ceilings. Its ability to reflect light (natural and electric) is the main reason that white is used aloft, and it also provides a clean look, but white, opposite to black, protrudes rather than recedes and can make a ceiling look lower than it really is. Most 8-foot high ceilings look better in a shade the same as the walls, but just a few shades lighter. Dark ceilings can be very dramatic, and they definitely make a ceiling appear to be higher, but they’re not for everyone. For a twist on a pretty ceiling, try painting your laundry room ceiling very light blue and use sea sponges or cheesecloth to create clouds with a wash of white paint.

    I can paint; why should I hire a paint contractor like Women in Rollers?

    There’s painting and then there’s painting. You’ve invested your good money in your home, so why risk its equity by painting at anything less than perfection! Most people (not all) can roll paint on a wall, but few except we professionals know how to adjust the pressure and stroke in accordance with the quality, and even the colour of the paint. On top of that, when you’re painting a light colour over dark, or vice versa, different techniques apply.

    Rolling is only the big-strokes part of painting. Most people think it’s fun and it is the point at which you see the transformative effect of paint. But what counts most is the tricky, painstaking part: cutting in. Almost anyone can cut in a right angle corner (again, not everyone; some people just run the brush down and forget or don’t bother to feather the edges, causing dripping and other paint faux pas). A professional painter (we are born with steady hands and tend to avoid caffeine!) will leave clean edges, and perfectly straight cut-ins in areas like where the wall meets the ceiling, around windows and doors and across baseboard tops.

    We encountered a situation recently in which the homeowner eschewed the paintbrush and did all his cut-ins with a roller. It was a tremendous mess; the baseboards, door and window frames, and ceiling were all marred by wall paint. And it was painstaking (read: expensive) to fix because his paint bled all over the natural wood trim.

    DIY painters tend to dive right in because they are so excited to see that dramatic change of colour on the walls. In doing it that way, they fail to prepare properly (yawn; that’s the boring bit) and painting over damaged or pitted walls results in… Damaged or pitted walls in a different colour. Patching and sanding is an essential prep for a good paint job. It’s as important as removing all those “invisible” cobwebs, that are actually black and leave marks when painted over…

    Besides, we know you have the best of intentions and are really busy. Will it ever get done when it’s on your “honey-do” list? Probably not. Save your marriage and your sanity, and hire Women n Rollers to get the job done cleanly, and on time.

    Using Yellow Judiciously

    Lots of people love yellow, especially in the northern hemisphere, and they think it will cheer up a room, but there are pitfalls to yellow, and we have to tell you that while we seldom repaint because a client didn’t like the colour, yellow is the culprit perhaps 75% of the time. Why? Yellow is intense, and it does not go with everything. People have asked us to repaint their choice of yellow paint (from light to bright) for many reasons, including:

    • “I thought it would be nice to wake up to in my bedroom, but it’s blinding; I wake up agitated; let’s go with a pale green or blue, instead.”
    • Many people have old yellow paint on their walls and other than pink, it’s the hardest colour to paint over, especially bright buttercup yellows, so it often costs more to repaint.
    • Yellow is a centre-stage kind of colour and overpowers all else in its path; we find that clients who use it judiciously are generally happier with the result. For example, one yellow accent wall in a room, or on the exterior of a house, using dark gold for the front door and black for the shutters. Toning down yellow usually makes people more at ease.
    • Yellow is a hot colour and when used in places that are warm, such as kitchens, bathrooms and sunrooms, it’s just too much. In such cases, where our client insists on yellow, we always recommend a pale lemon (think the fruit’s interior, not the rind) yellow.
    • Yellow is not a neutral. We can’t recount the number of times clients have said, “I want a nice neutral, maybe yellow.” Neutrals include: white, back, grey and beige/brown. They also include peripheral shades like taupe, putty, off-white and even sometimes the palest green or the darkest purple. None of the “hot” colors (red, yellow, orange, or any of their lighter or darker versions such as pink, peach, rust or burgundy) in the colour wheel can be mistaken for a neutral.
    • Yellow makes a grand statement. Most people find that an entire room painted yellow is just too much colour saturation. When clients ask for that to be done, we suggest starting with an accent wall, or to incorporate yellow in accents such as throw pillows, Roman blinds, tablecloths, or the like.

    We don’t hate yellow, we just advise clients to work with it carefully, especially when you are giving your house a fresh coat of paint before putting it on the market for sale. People (sadly) lack imagination, and something as powerful as yellow in any room might out off a prospective buyer; go neutral when painting for the purpose of selling your home.

    What’s the best use for yellow? We find it works well in a French-style setting. The classic French country combination of a cheery yellow in tandem with dark or royal blue and white is excellent. The blue cools down the heat of the yellow and the white gives contrast to both. This works well in kitchens and breakfast nooks, as well as bathrooms.

    Make countertops sing with zing!

    DSC_0541_webHere’s a fun project that takes time because it needs to dry between layers, but doesn’t involve a lot of hands-on effort. It’s more a case of imagination than sweat! We took a vaguely blue/grey, pretty boring countertop, that also serves as a breakfast bar, and gave it new life.

    Step One: we applied (using a brush to cut in and a 4″ micro-fibre roller to roll) a specialty primer called “STIX”, aptly named because it does just that: sticks. We were careful to cover the entire countertop surface and edges and then gave it about four hours to dry thoroughly.

    Step Two: we applied Benjamin Moore’s “Black Satin” colour in a satin finish (the product was “Ben”) and let that dry, and then about 2 hours later applied a second coat; we let that dry overnight.

    Step Three: for the colours, we used a few tins of Moore paint we had left over from other projects; the colours we used were “Raspberry Truffle”, “Dark Lilac” and “Delphinium”, all in an eggshell finish. Benjamin Moore dealers sell sample-sized paints for roughly $7 in small tins, so if you don’t have paint lying around that will work, grab a few of those (make sure they’re fairly bright shades so they stand out on the black background). We added a bit of orange and green from our paint collection to add more variety. These colours were applied with tiny artist brushes and using wooden bamboo skewers to drizzle the paint, usually in pairs. We let our imaginations run free, making abstract images and random patterns, and then using the red to create more definition. If you’re doing this with your family, assign one person to each colour and play!

    Step Four: give this coat a full day to dry, and then apply  (with a brush and small roller) one coat of Moore’s “Stays Clear” in low-lustre finish. Let that dry thoroughly, and apply a second coat. When applying Stays Clear, be sure to use a light touch and don’t worry when it looks milky because it will dry clear. If you paint a countertop in this fun, dramatic way, leave it at that. Let it be the star of the show; over-doing such creativity will take the focus away from one piece of brilliance! Have fun!

    Clean Cutlery on Your Bucket List?

    Yeah, we hear you. It’s a drag when you empty your freshly washed dishes from the dishwasher and find knives still spotted with peanut butter or forks with baked on egg yolk. Take a tip from the “dish pigs”, the people who work as dishwashers in restaurants. What do they to to help ensure cutlery comes out clean the first time? You’re soaking in it! That’s right, they soak (dirty side down, handles up) cutlery in a container full of good old hot, soapy water until it’s time to run it through the machine. What could be simpler? We’ve seen residential uses like old yogurt tubs, but why not glam it up a little. Pick up a couple of brightly coloured, children’s beach buckets at your local dollar store and use those. Fun, functional and helpful!

    Avoiding Trends

    Every year, the major paint companies announce their colour of the year. For this year, Benjamin Moore’s choice was their “Simply White”. It’s a gorgeous, crisp white with enough warmth to not leave you shivering, but white commands a detailed and nuanced set of furnishings and accessories, or it looks boring. White on white can be downright chilly, especially on a grey winter day. Or just scream too brightly in a sunny locale. Will this trend last? We’re still in the throes of the grey trend, and that, again, depending upon if the shade of grey is cool or warm, can make a room inviting or bleak. Trends usually last 5 to 7 years, which is roughly how often most people want to repaint and freshen up anyway, but be leery of trends. Purple became trendy about 7 years ago, and it’s waning, but still popular for accessories (and clothes). If you want to anticipate colour trends, find out what the leading car manufacturers are planning for their next few years. Having said all of that, here is how to make the most of a trend, be fashionable and current, but not break the bank: stay neutral with your walls and let your accessories and art speak to the trend, or even the season. On our reception room, we have black chairs; in the spring and summer, we use light-coloured painters canvas drop cloths to make them light. Instant uplift for about $60. The walls are always the same (or a slight variation thereof) taupe, and with that backdrop, we can add anything we want on a whim.