Sunday, November 29, 2009
Christmas decorating is easy, right? Lots of red and green!
Maybe not. Not, for example, in your room with sky-blue walls, or the one with mauve wallpaper. Depending on the colours of the room, traditional red and green can be a terrible choice.
What are your alternatives?
If your room is red....
... you can go with red and green. Just be sure to check the shade of red. If your room's reds are more toward the blue side, don't rely on tomato red for your decorations. Not all reds go well together. If you feel that more red would be excessive -- if for example your walls and soft furnishings are mostly in this shade -- bring in lots of white and gold for contrast.
If your room is yellow...
... red and green will look great. This makes a festive yet balanced combination.
If your room is blue...
... blue makes a great Christmas colour. A heavenly blue with evergreen, or a royal blue and purple combination, can look sumptuous. Sparkly silver is also wonderful with all shades of blue. Just go easy with the red.
If your room is green...
... it depends on the shade of green. Yellow greens can look poisonous with traditional Christmas green, and with bright red, too. Pink can be surprisingly versatile for Christmas, though, and gold and silver make a good holiday look with any shade of green.
If your room is purple...
... you can use green, or blue, with strong doses of white or silver to keep it from looking too somber.
If your room is orange....
... traditional green can look summery and fun, or it can look loud. It depends on the precise shades you're using. Play it safe with lots of gold.
Any room can look its best for the holidays. Just be ready to step away from the obvious.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
We don't recommend that householders paint their own homes. We know that experts can do it better, faster, and with superior results.
But whether you're doing it yourself or choosing a professional, we still think you need some basic knowledge about painting. You'll be better able to choose the right painting contractors, and better able to judge the quality of the work being done, if you know more about the job.
If you're ready to try DIY, take these pro tips and good luck to you.
Here are the essential tools for your toolkit:
- masking paper and dropcloths You'll need to remove all the furniture you can, and cover all the surfaces possible. While we at Courtney & Wise always clean up thoroughly, and you should plan your job to allow time for that, it's best not to have spills and drips to clean up if you can avoid it.
- tapes, taping compound, and taping knife; caulk and caulking gun; spackle and wood filler Preparing the surface includes filling and fixing all cracks, holes, and spaces between differing surfaces (such as plaster and wood). Glass and wood should also be taped where it meets the surfaces to be painted, to keep a crisp line at the edge of the painted area. Using the right tools and materials at this stage gives you a much better result when you've finished.
- sandpaper, sanding sponge, masks Any filling of holes and cracks will require sanding, and some other kinds of surface prep may call for it -- keep the tools on hand in case you need them. Masks are a must for sanding, and a good idea for painting, too.
- tack cloths, sponges, and cotton rags All surfaces must be completely clean before painting. Otherwise the paint will adhere to the dirt and dust, not to the wall under it. Cotton painter's rags also let you do quick cleanup as you go along - much simpler than going back afterward to catch stray drops after they've dried.
- paintbrushes Even if you use a roller for much of the painting, brushes are still a must for fine work, trim, and cutting in. Your professional painter should have a selection of sizes, both angled and flat, and the brushes shouldn't show any stiffness.
- rollers, roller sleeves, extensions, and trays For large surfaces, you may choose to roll on the paint rather than brushing it. Good quality rollers make a difference. Roller sleeves, with different levels of nap depending on the type of paint being used, will go over the rollers to hold the paint. Metal paint trays are less likely to spill, but plastic liners make cleanup easier.
- paint conditioners, texturizers, etc. You may not need these, depending on the type of paint you're using and the effect you're after.
The saying goes, "It's a poor workman who blames his tools." While this is true -- making excuses is never a sign of a good worker -- a good workman also makes certain to have the needed tools and to keep them in good order.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Here are some of the secrets to success with wall stencils:
- Choose a stencil that's within your range of ability. We can admire complex stencil work, but elaborate multi-coloured stencils are really only good choices for professionals.
- Use a nearly dry brush. This one tip will make all the difference for you.
- Use a pouncing motion with the tip of the brush, not a brushing motion.
- Lift the stencil away from the wall very carefully to avoid smearing.
- Line the stencil up very carefully when making repeated designs.
- Let walls dry completely in between colours.
at 2:36 PM