27 December 2009

Let's paint my living room (or yours)

I have an army man green wall in my living room and I hate it.

I didn't hate it when I painted it of course, but it is time for a change. I painted it a little more than five years ago and I remember the weekend well. It was in the autumn of 2003, and the west coast of Florida was hunkering down for a hurricane warning. This was before 2004's hurricane season from hell. Back then, I never really understood how dangerous and damaging a hurricane could be. Within a year though, Hurricanes Charlie, Jeanne, Francis and Wilma would come along and beat the crap out of us and instill in me a profound respect for  the nightmare scenes the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean can throw at us here in the sunshine state.

So anyhow, in the fall of 2004 we were hunkering down to wait out another storm's passing and I planned to paint an accent wall in my living room to pass the time. Accent walls were all the rage then and the army man green I picked was very much on trend. There was a moment back then when black-greens were the last word. That moment passed about six months after I painted that wall.

I've groaned at the sight of that wall every time I've come home for the last four-and-a-half years and it is time. So how much paint to buy?

Well, I'll tell you. There's a rule of thumb when it comes to paint coverage and like all rules of thumb, it's a guideline more than it is a hard and fast rule.

A gallon of paint will cover 400 square feet of fully prepped and smooth wall. So take the area of the walls to be painted in square feet and divide by 400 and you'll know how many gallons you'll need. So measure the height and width of each wall in inches. Multiply those two numbers the divide the result by 144 and it will give you the area in square feet.

So a perfectly square room where each wall measured 10 feet by ten feet would give you 400 square feet of wall. A gallon of paint would paint a single coat on that whole room. A second coat would mean you'd double the gallons of paint you'd need. Make sense?

So now that I know how many gallons of paint I need, where do I go to get the motivation to actually paint?


  1. As we're renters, this is something that doesn't come up very often for us; though I did paint my daughter's room in one of our previous residences. I found that buying all the stuff to do the job and then leaving it totally in the way of things made me motivated to get the paint on the walls because I couldn't stand having to move around it anymore! Maybe stacking cans of paint in your livingroom would work for you? :P

  2. You know, when my clients get indecisive it makes me nuts. Yet when it comes time for me to make a decision about my own place I can equivocate with the best of them. I think what's holding me back is that I can't find the right color. I like painting believe it or not. But then again, I like to iron too. Once I buy the paint I dive right in. My delay comes in the decision part.

  3. Paul, dahlink. Its only paint. And there are all those nifty little sample "pots" and "packets" these days that are so much more cost/time effective than quart after quart after quart.

    Me? I have to throw up three and live with them for a few days. Cannot make a decision until I've seen it in just about every kind of light, natural and otherwise.

    And another thing (like you need it) I say "Trends shmends." The only thing they're good for is to present possibilities you haven't thought of before.

    Live dangerously! Dab!

  4. I should be painting too - uurgh, so many of my walls need it right now I can't bring myself to start. I wish I only had one accent wall to do - that would be fun.

  5. Finding motivation! Amen to that one, Paul! I've been staring at dingy white walls in my kitchen for a year and a half. I actually had paint and rollers in my hands at Home Depot and cringed at the $40 price tag on paint that is supposed to make my life easier. No way when you have 14' ceilings to deal with. There will come a day, but not terribly soon. I hate being on a ladder.

  6. Nancie Nancie Nancie, If I go out and get some test colors and actually do something about changing this wall color, I'll be depriving myself of something to whine about. I'm enjoying hanging on this cross too much to give it up yet. Hah!

    Sarah: Maybe we can take on dueling painting projects and then blog about it. It would kill two birds with one stone: Painting and then finding a topic.

    B: I'm leaning toward a recreation of your old orange kitchen, only in my living room.

  7. Paul, what you must do first is prep every wall for even the slightest blemish then thoroughly wash them down. (For the latter, I always use a solution of water and T.S.P.) Once you have done both steps and EVERY wall; trust me it will motivate you to 'paint' them. :)

  8. You're speaking my language Brenda. I have a love of trisodium phosphate that borders on the unnatural. It's a terrific wall cleaner before painting of course, but it can clean a kitchen floor with a speed that borders on the miraculous.

  9. Well now shoot. You gave away my TSP cleaning secret! I was going to go to my grave with that one. But, since it's the holidays -- here's another . . . Nature's Miracle. They sell it in the pet stores. Want to take red wine out of a white carpet? Nature's Miracle. Want to take Robitussen out of a white carpet? Want to take grease stains out of linens? Nature's Miracle. It is my go-to cleaner and stain remover for everything.

  10. Did I mention it was ridiculously cheap?

  11. Hmmmm. I learned a new one over the weekend. On Christmas Eve I trotted out my good, white linen napkins for the dinner table. That's a good thing, I love those napkins. Anyhow, I served a beet dish with dinner and every one of those white napkins had beet juice on them by the time it was all said and done. I called my sister and she recommended that I treat the napkins with Tylex the bathroom cleaner. I trust my sister when it comes to this sort of thing so I gave it a shot. It worked and the napkins look like I just bought them. Who knew? I always thought that beet juice was a linen killer but there's hope in the form of Tylex. Woo-hoo!


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