Tuesday, January 26, 2010

10 Tips for Picking Paint Colors

Hi Friends,

Take your interior from drab to fab with help from an expert, Barbara Jacobs.

Why do we find one place appealing and are uneasy in another? Why are we attracted to one product over another? Color—whether architectural or in products—accounts for 60% of our response to an object or a place.

The "buzz" about color is usually called "color psychology." But the effects of color are subtle and significant; physical and psychological. Color use is not something that results in a definitive equation between "color and our moods," as is a currently popular expression. Wherever we go we respond to color, but the importance of color is often underestimated. Color use is important to us personally in our homes and in the places where we work.

1. Start Small
If you're not sure where to begin with color, experiment in a powder room or bathroom, a small hall or area between rooms, or an accent wall. If you're doing your own painting, pick an area that's quick to do so you can see your results sooner, and be happy with it or change it. Look at the process as an adventure.

To get started, select a favorite color drawn from artwork, a rug, dishes and an accessory or furniture piece as a main color or accent.

2. Think About Your Mood
When selecting a color, consider the mood of a room. In a bedroom do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a quieter feeling while stronger colors are for drama.

Do you want a dining area to feel sociable and stimulating or appear formal and quiet? Warmer, contrasting and somewhat brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere; deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance.

Do you want kid's rooms to create an active and exciting energy or an orderly and restful feeling? Be careful not to overstimulate your children with intensely bright hues. You may not know it, but some brighter colors can lead to unrest and irritability.

3. Pay Attention to Lighting
The reason why paint stores have light boxes for you to test paint chips:

* Natural daylight shows the truest color;
* Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows;
* Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone.

So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.

4. Learn the Color Terms
It helps to understand the terminology used to describe color.

* Hue is what we call a color. Red is the hue; blue is the hue.
* The value of the hue is how light or dark it is.
* Saturation refers to how dominant the hue is. As we go from red to pink, the red hue becomes less dominant.
* Intensity is the brilliance of the color. The pure colors such as red are more intense than the combined colors such as yellow-green. A stronger intense color usually has a more dominant hue.

If you want a more active space, consider introducing stronger, more intense color. Even if you want a light-colored room, choose colors that are slightly more saturated than off-white or light pastel. Very light color can feel bright and stark when it appears on all surfaces in a room. However, two or more medium-light, closely related pastel colors can create a luminous effect when used in the same room.

5. Test Your Color Choice
Boost your confidence by testing colors on poster board or large areas of a wall. Don't be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone: Consider strong, vivid colors or soft, deep neutrals like chocolate brown or olive green as main or accent colors. Or add drama with a stronger color on the ceiling. Tinted ceilings can dramatically change the whole look of a room.

6. Add Depth With Decorative Finishes
Transform flat, dull walls into interesting and personal spaces with subtle or dramatic visual texture and broken color. Burnished mineral/metal finishes and layered colored glazes add depth. Some examples of softly reflective metals are mica, copper, pewter, bronze and, of course, antiqued silver and gold.

7. Walk Into Another Room
Consider walls as planes of color, and see how they interact when viewing one next to the other in adjacent rooms. Approach it like a composition: You're in one room, but you're going to see a piece of another room through it. So as you're choosing colors, consider how they will flow from room to room to create your picture.

8. Follow the Color Wheel
A small color wheel is a great reference tool for modifying and intensifying two or more colors. For example, red and green, which are complementary (opposite) colors, are most intense when used together. You may be surprised at how many combinations function beautifully together, and you may even become attracted to entirely new color palettes. The color wheel also illustrates the visual temperature of a color. Draw a line from the yellow-green mark on the color wheel all the way down to the red-violet; you'll see that all the colors on the left are warm and the colors on the right are cool.

9. Play Up Monochromatic Schemes
Think one color is boring? Create bold or subtle variations within one color group with contrasting paint finishes. For example, use closely related colors, or try a single color in different finishes, for walls and trim in one space.

For an accent color, select a warmer (more toward reds) or cooler (more toward blues) color to complement your main color group. For a quieter ambience, make sure your colors are not extremely bright. White or an off-white tint can be a striking accent when used as trim with a monochromatic color group.

10. Choose Different Paint Finishes
A single color used on walls and trim takes on new significance when applied in different finishes. For example, wall and trim colors can remain the same hue, but use an eggshell (matte and less reflective) finish on walls and a satin or semigloss on trim. The color will appear slightly different on each surface. It's a good way to create a cohesive look in rooms with many windows and doors, and relatively little wall area.

Check back for more decorating ideas. Happy Painting!

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Live well,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Create Paneled Walls

Hi Friends,

Give your walls a two-toned panel effect with these easy step-by-step instructions.

Tools and Materials:
wall trim molding
wood glue
finish nails
paint and paintbrush
miter saw
nail gun
measuring tape

1. Cut molding to size. Start by cutting the wall molding to the desired size. Using a miter saw, cut four pieces of wood into two equal sizes (this will make one design), making sure the ends are cut at a 45-degree angle.

2. Lightly mark the walls. Decide where you want the molding placed on the wall and measure out the designs to make sure each rectangle will be evenly spaced and symmetrical. Then, using a level and a pencil, mark the walls so that you have a guide when attaching the molding.

3. Attach the first piece to the wall. Starting with the bottom piece of wood, apply wood glue, line up with marked guidelines, and press against the wall. Secure into place using a nail gun.

4. Attach the subsequent pieces. Next, attach the side pieces.

Apply wood glue to the molding. Line up the mitered corners and follow the marked guidelines.

Attach to the wall by pressing and secure with nails. Repeat this step for the rest of the rectangle.

5. Allow the glue to dry. Once all four pieces of molding have been attached to the wall, let the wood glue dry for about 2 hours.

6. Apply paint. Using a small paint brush, paint the molding your desired color.

Finally, paint the wall space around the molding a different color so that the design stands out.

Check back for more ideas and enjoy your new walls.

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Cover a Brick Fireplace With Stone

Hi Friends,

Fireplaces are the perfect focal point to any space. Unfortunately, an unsightly one can be the thorn in your side. Update with a new stone facade and slate hearth. The instructions below will turn an impossible task to realization.

Tools and Materials:
cultured stone product
mortar mix and mortar pan
2x4s for bracing
metal lath
masonry nails and hammer
plywood for hearth
lumber for the mantel
wood glue
nail gun and wood nails
grout, grout float and sponge
grinder or saw with diamond-tipped blade
square and level
masonry trowel
table saw
Before: Falling Apart


1. Remove any loose bricks. If you choose to replace a mantel and hearth as well, use the mason’s hammer to break up and remove the pieces.

2. Nail metal lath to brick with masonry nails and hammer, keeping clear of edges.

3. Take measurements around fireplace where new stone is desired. Create a template or outline on a wood board or table with painter's tape.

4. Lay out cultured stones in a tight pattern that fits the template. This will insure proper spacing and color distribution. Make cuts in the stone with a grinder or saw with diamond-tipped blade, then break off excess pieces along the cut line with a mason's hammer.

5. Mix one bag of mortar mix in a mortar pan with water until you have a thick soup-like or cake batter consistency.

6. Begin installing stone at the hearth, by applying mortar with a trowel to the backside of each stone. Do not mortar all sides like laying brick. Work around the firebox.

7. When you get to the top of the fireplace, cut three wood frame pieces with 2x4s to support lintel stones. Nail the top piece to either support leg. (Lintel stones are the ones that span the top of the firebox.)

8. Continue laying stone with mortar to the mantel. Let dry. Apply mortar with trowel to any large cracks between stones.

9. To build a new wooden hearth, measure the area desired next to the fireplace and cut a wood frame using plywood. Cut 2x4 wood pieces and attach to the underside of the plywood with wood glue and nail gun around all edges. Place the hearth against the stone and lay the slate the hearth frame with mortar.

10. When mortar dries, apply grout in spaces between stones with a grout float. Use a wet sponge to wipe away excess. When grout has dried, it’s recommended to apply a sealer between the slate pieces.

11. To build a new wooden mantel, measure the length of the fireplace and the desired width. Cut the base using chosen wood. Cut a wood piece the length of the fireplace and six inches in width. Attach it with a nail gun to the underside of the mantel, so that it'll be flush with the stone wall. Add a design to the outer edges by using a router.

12. Attach mantel into the wall with nail gun.

Check back for more ideas and enjoy

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How To Install Hardwood or Laminate Flooring

Hi Friends,

It's not only trendy but environmentally friendly to convert to wood flooring versus carpet. An expensive undertaking but you can save tons of money installing it yourself or with the help of a friend. Repurposed wood is an excellent option to new wood flooring and it lessens your carbon footprint on the Earth. Another great options is the clearance section of your local home improvement store. If there is not enough of one finish, think outside the box and mix finishes. Unorthodox, maybe, but you will be surprised with the overall look and the amount of money you save for a look that is all yours.

Dramatic options for your space can be casual, comfortable, sophisticated and inviting. You overall goal is to create an interior that is big on style. Gone are the days of matching furnishings to carpet. Mix and match, not only styles, but colors. Combine vintage with modern, a myriad of possibilities awaits. Dress up your space or think about the casual philosophy on life in decorating that special room.

Welcome the opportunity to change your space seasonally with throw pillows, centerpieces and pictures; a new look for minimal cost. Neutral backgrounds (walls and furniture) lends a blank canvas to punch it up with color.

In closing, recycle whenever possible and have fun laying your new flooring.

Materials and Tools:
protective eyewear
measuring tape
rubber mallet
circular saw
tapping block
underlay pad
hardwood or laminate flooring
quarter-round shoe molding
Lay a protective barrier under the laminate boards.


1. Remove any baseboards in the room and take measurements of the area where you wish to install new flooring. Tip: When buying flooring, make sure to purchase approximately 10 percent extra, better to have it on-hand should you need it rather than have to run out mid-job.

2. Put on protective eyewear.

3. Install the underlayment. This will level the floor, give a cushiony step and protect against mold and mildew growth.
Start laying boards on the longest wall.

4. Begin laying the hardwood or laminate flooring along the room's longest wall. Leave a 1/4-inch gap between the hardwood or laminate boards and the walls on all sides, this allows for expansion and contraction due to seasonal humidity and temperature changes. If necessary, use 1/4-inch spacers.

5. Lay hardwood or laminate flooring away from the wall, staggering the boards so the seams don't match up. Use a mallet to tap each board into place.

6. For a tight fit, use a mallet and tapping block to secure the boards together. Once the entire floor is in place, reinstall baseboards.

7. To cover expansion gaps along the wall, quarter-round shoe molding may be installed. Attach the molding with a nail gun, being careful that the nails don't go through the new hardwood or laminate flooring.

Check back for more ideas and enjoy your new floors.

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,