Monday, February 18, 2013

Painting Trim Detail & Fun Patterns

Before I start I want to say thank you to all of you who have emailed saying you tried to post a comment. As it turns out I only had the comments option turned on for members of the blog and not just anyone viewing it! It is all fixed now... I think! technology!!

One of my last posts was about unique trim detail to add interest to a room. Definitely a solid idea....but it costs money and is more a commitment when it comes to redoing a room. So lets go less expensive and much less permanent... Paint! It is affordable, no saw cuts that require God forsaken mathematical equations and no nail gun (which is where the more permanent reference comes into play)! Paint CAN be painted over, so there is no need to worry if you don't love the color or mess up a line. Paint is like the no brainer of decorator basics. You have to use it, it will transform a room like nothing else you can buy and anyone who has set aside a budget, big or small, can afford to use it.

I will show you several projects we have done to replicate the look of trim using paint and also some decorative techniques that can look like wallpaper without the cost.

To start I had the idea to paint my oldest sons room to look like rectangular trim wall frames. The bedrooms in our house are pretty generic, no crown and no trim work. This technique adds dimension and takes time but is easy to do. Here are some photos and then I will describe how to do it.

I can go into more detail if you need me to but basically, you paint the whole room in one color, in my case the lighter blue (Benjamin Moore HC-146 Wedgwood Gray) then you tape a vertical line about 60 inches up for 9 foot ceilings. You want to make sure you have your line somewhere above the half way point (between ceiling and floor) on the wall. If you do it smack in the center it will make the room look squaty. Then you tape off your rectangular boxes, using painter's tape, measuring an equal distance between boxes which will depend on how long your wall is. After all the boxes are taped off, you paint your second color, in my case the darker blue (HC-154 Hale Navy) covering the whole area under your vertical line. Wait for it to dry before you go back and gently peel off the tape. You may have to go back and touch up by hand.

My sister Erin also decided to try it out in her son, George's room. She used a lighter color scheme. It's a more subtle look and closer to a more realistic color scheme if it were truly wood trim.


Also the closer in color the two paints, the easier it is to fix color bleeds or inconsistencies.

I will also be showing off a few of Erin's other rooms. She is a decor maven. Her house is full of character and color and she is very creative and way more DIY savvy than her little sister (although my hands are larger, and so I can decorate large areas faster, jk:) She will be my co-blogger as soon as I get her on board  (we share social media reluctance as a genetic trait). But lucky for you she has sent me her stuff for this post and it is good!!

Striping it not a new concept. I will be the first to say it is not my favorite paint pattern. It can easily look a bit circusy if the color contrast is bold. I can handle that look in small doses and usually stripes of the diagonal variety are better in the bolder colors. For my daughter I wanted the most subtle of shades between stripes as to not compete with her busier eclectic room. I used a Lowe's color called Westchester Tan which is just a very light yellowish color for the main wall and then went back to tape off equal distance stripes. Then I mixed in white to the remaining yellow paint to create the other color, just slightly lighter. I love how this turned out because it looks a lot like a wallpaper. It also adds dimension to an otherwise flat wall.

These next two are examples in Erin's house of how you can make a painted wall frame, like the one you would put a photo in, to frame objects or a letter painted on the wall.

For the awesome ceramic moose hanging over her master bed, she taped off a square around the head. Then she took a plate and drew a semi circle in each corner where the frame curves in. She painted the square using the tape as the guide to keep the lines straight but the curved area had to be drawn and painted by hand. After the white frame was painted she filled the inside of the frame with a light brown paint color.

In the other example, she had a wooden "T" for her son Tommy's room and painted a simple box around it which can add some color and substance to an otherwise small decor object on the wall.

This is one of my favorite paint techniques in Erin's house. It is stunning and looks great in the colors she chose. The design is floor to ceiling on the one wall but only above the woodwork trim on the other 4 walls.

So basically, or not so basically:) She painted the whole wall in a chocolate brown color which is what you see as the color of the diamonds. Then she used painter's tape to tape off the design. At the top of the wall you are painting, find the horizontal center and mark it. From the center point, make a mark every 24" to the right and every 24" to the left of your center mark. Then find the horizontal center at the bottom of the wall and repeat the same process of marking every 24" to the right and left of your center mark. These top and bottom marks will become your guides for your diagonal lines. To make the lines, start at the bottom mark and make a diagonal line up and towards the right to the corresponding top mark. For example, if you start at the bottom mark 24" to the left of your center mark, your corresponding diagonal mark will be the top mark 24" to the right of the top center mark. Once all these lines are made, make the diagonals lines that go the other direction to form the diamond shapes. Now begin taping. We always use Frog tape. For this project, use 1" Frog tape. Each diagonal line you marked will need to be taped on both sides of the line you made. So each line all have two pieces of 1" tape on either side of it. Once you double tape all diagonal lines, you will need an exacto knife to lightly cut alternating sides of the double tape line (picture). This will give you the appearance of independent diamonds. 

The photos below are from George's nursery before the wall squares were done. It is a cute idea for a neutral nursery. It is also a great way to introduce your color scheme without having to do all your colors and pattern in the bedding. I love these colors together!!

She downloaded four different types of alphabet script from the Internet, printed each letter out and enlarged them on a copier. To apply to the wall, she taped contact paper to the wall where the letter would be and then taped the copied letter on top of the contact paper. She then traced the letter with a pen so that the contact paper left a faint white outline for her to hand paint the letters. Only tip would be to measure your walls and plot our spacing first and also to use a level so that the letters are level.

Hope you enjoyed our paint experiments!

Cheers {Laura & Erin}


  1. so glad you "fixed the techno glitch" I love this painting option and want to duplicate. I appreciate you reposting.

  2. I'm glad it's easier to see! Good luck and let me know how it goes:) thanks for following!

  3. Just a moment ago, I was decided in keeping my room’s paint if I can’t manage the galaxy-inspired theme. Then, you served me with all these choices! Thanks a zillion times! :* I’m actually considering the alphabet room as an inspiration. I’d just replace the letters with things which means more to me. :)

  4. Haha! I am glad I could inspire you:) I love to post about paint ideas and techniques. Paint is one of my favorite solutions for transforming a room. Send me pictures if you decide to change it. Thanks for following along:)


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