Before you get out the blue tape and roller, be sure to take a look at these clever ways to create designer effects in your own home (and save time and money while you're at it).
It doesn't take many colors to energize a room; good use of one or two can do the trick.
Pick a dominant hue you can repeat in accessories. The lavendar wall here is the keynote, picked up by the "Concord Blue" plant on the night table. The framed print reinforces the color, giving both the print and wall more impact. A butter yellow wall softens the power of the bold purple.
The subtle stripes in this dining room resemble costly wallpaper, but the designer made them with paint.
First she gave the room one coat of a creamy off-white matte paint. After letting the paint dry, she marked off vertical stripes at 18-inch intervals with painter's tape, then used a clear glaze on alternate stripes. The result is understated and elegant.
DESIGN: Laura Smith Blair, San Francisco
Color consultant Jill Pilaroscia encourages people to view the ceiling as a fifth wall. "If you use a color on your ceiling, you can make a room feel taller or more intimate or more interesting," she says.
Lighting and wall colors help determine the effect of a ceiling hue. To judge the impact of a color, paint just part of the ceiling first.
To lift a ceiling, select a pale tint of a cool hue such as green or blue. To create an intimate space, try a dark, warm tone. For peaceful settings, use a darker or lighter version of the wall color.
Use an architectural feature as a focal point. The light yellow on this fireplace acts a spotlight, bringing it forward from the darker wall behind it. The dark blue trim in the small window above the plant enriches the composition without dominating it. Repeating the same blue trim in the fireplace niche would diminish the effect.
Always try out the paint in the room where it will be used. Paint a square of the color opposite a window wall and look at it in different kinds of light.
If you hate that "new paint" smell, consider one of the 1,320 shades in Rodda Paint's new Horizon line. Among its environmental attributes: There are no volatile organic compounds; it's odorless; it's free of any chemicals shown to be cancer-causing (one of the reasons Green Seal, an environmental watchdog, gave it a stamp of approval); and it contains a mold and mildew inhibitor. Pictured: clockwise from top, City of Atlantis, Blue Sky, and Peaceful Pond.
From $22 for 1-gallon can. For retailers and mail-order sources, visit Rodda Paint.
Always patch any nail holes and cracks with good spackle before you start. If you have done a lot of patching, use primer on these spots to prepare them for the smoothest coverage.
First "cut in" the corners and edges with a brush, then finish the rest of the room with a roller.
Try the time-saving "skip" technique: Dab the paint on with a brush or roller in several blobs near each other, then work across them to spread the paint evenly.
Invest in a lamb's-wool roller for a few dollars more. You'll have less stipple (the pattern created by a roller). Remove lint from a roller by rolling it over masking tape before applying paint.
To apply more paint at once, don't use a paint tray. Dunk your roller into the paint can itself for more saturation, and use a roller grid to take off the excess. Pour about 2 gallons of paint into a 5-gallon can, and hang the roller grid inside the can.
To avoid wasting paint by washing your brush or roller, wrap it in foil and place in a zippered plastic bag, then put it in the freezer. Bring the brush out the night before you plan to resume painting, and it will be wet again in the morning.