Paint a Kitchen Wall for Free. (Aka: Stall Tactics)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yes, I'm stalling on the first floor bathroom.  Yes.  Yes I know.

When I'm feeling stuck or unsure or, well, when the path is not clearly envisioned, I tend to procrastinate, shift gears, divert my attention to something else while I wait for the big "AH HA!" moment to arrive.

Such as to something that has been mildly bothersome for some time but not so much so as to do anything about it.  Until, heh, it's time to uh redirect from a project!

What I'm reading (finally) is that it's no use in salvaging the drywall, it shouldn't be drywall anyway (a mere half inch thick too, jeez louise, why bother!!), it should be cement board and special screws and mesh tape and and and (which yeah I knew but my bank account is mad at me), rip out old, replace, then re-tile.

This will not be a speedy nor small project.


But maybe my idea is actually more cost-friendly than I thought by exposing the brick.  Plus I'll be busy.  Mmmm hmm.

La la la la la la, oh look shiny!

custom mixed paint color using paint on hand

As part of the first round of Mass Paint Color Eradication in the house, I had painted the kitchen in a color called Gravel.  It was a veeeerrryy light tannish creamy color tinged with yellow.  Boring.  I always knew it was temporary.  Because again, painting walls to me is like changing clothes -- do it often.

kitchen wall before
I know, we've seen this bleak photo a million times.  1,000,001.
This time I felt it important that I walk the walk for you all.  That I do something I profess to be a great idea.

So I did:  I mixed my own custom color for the kitchen thereby spending no new money to repaint therefore I painted for free.

mixing up paint with leftovers
Hey hey, mix-your-own day!
What did I use?  The Baltic Brown from the hall bedroom, the five gallon mis-mixed blue oops paint I used on the basement, and a smidge of plain ol' cheap flat white.

leftover paint on hand
Fascinating imagery of paint buckets in the wild.
What did I end up with?  I suppose I ought to come up with some kind of whack-a-doodle-do paint name for it.  Mike is good at that; I'll ask him.  It's like a darkish taupe-y color.

Finn overseeing mixing of custom color with leftover paint
"Oh dear me Mommy, what the hell are you up to now?!  Can't you just sit still for once?"
As I mentioned, when mixing colors together, be sure to test it first in the actual room you plan to use it!, on several walls!, be sure to let it dry!, and check the color at various times of the day!  Light, and lack thereof, has an impact on how color will read.

Typically, colors mixed with white will dry darker; colors mixed with black tend to dry lighter.  Seems anti-logical but shrug it's true.

Right, darkish taupe-y.  Not something I might ordinarily pick but oddly a version of this has been insistently stuck in my very weird brain ever since I a.) finished painting the cabinets, b.) coated the walls in paper, c.) installed the backsplash and d.) started drawing up ideas for this area.

Now, how could I land on such a non-color-y atypical (for us) color based on everything else that I've done in the room and nearby?  Black, black and white, white with blue, nickel, blue (holy crap, ack staging photo hahaha omg, terrifying!) living room, gray dining, navy office, bathroom TBA (squirm in my chair).

Huh, right, that may seem odd.

Here we go:

1.)  Not that the black cabinets nor the black and white wallpaper read as cold, they don't but the kitchen did need a warmer color to string everything together.  In interior design, as in life, opposites attract and create cohesion.

2.)  Stuck in my craw in the back of my mind is the nugget that we may not ever get to change the floor tile and/or countertop.  Despite all the grout flying out of the floor.  Eye roll.  While those are both goals, definite we'd-love-to's, it is a possibility that they may not happen.  As such, this warm taupe-y color pulls tones from the floor and the countertop, ties each other aesthetically and dovetails the room into accord.  I hardly notice the counter anymore.  (Whew)

3.)  The Gravel color was much too light.  It was in evil cahoots, it intensified the floors and counters as sore thumbs when I want the focus on the black cabinets, the wallpaper.  The too-light color also provided no anchor -- the wall was pulling focus off into free-floating formless ether.  The darker color anchors, defines the wall and the narrow room, cozi-fies (cozifies™, heh) the space.

4.)  Based on where my ideas are roaming, taupe-y will accentuate the butcher block counter-to-be along with the other elements um, uh, yet to be determined but that are swimming in my head.  Keep calm, trust the designer.

5.)  Darker is better.'s a dark room and why fight it.

6.)  Tones and values.  Similar tones and values of colors typically always blend well together plus keeping a narrow value scale creates harmony.  Ahhhh.

using leftover paint to mix a custom color finished
Hey!  Different color!
Yeah, sorry, no photo of the dried test swatch for ya.  I mixed the paint, spread it around a bit, decided to just go for it as I had a whole quart in my hot little hand.  I can always repaint if necessary.  Heh.

showing new custom mixed from leftovers against other wall color
Goes quite well with the two shades of blue, if I do say so myself.
Iiiiiitttt's a little "new-construction-Chicago-condo" but I like it, it's definitely better than before.

view into kitchen and newly painted custom color wall
Looks good at night, especially with a large lounging lapdog.
But see?  Paint is pretty amazing, all the things it can do, even if your photos suck.  Such a simple thing, color, can have more impact that one might suspect.  Go forth and paint, my friends.

(And by the way?  Not interested in mixing your own?  No worries!  Try Samplize* as they're peel and stick large samples, way easy to use, made with actual real paint, delivered overnight, and you're not jacking up your wall with a slew of splotchy blobs.)

Kitchen's gettin' there!

view of kitchen to date
"I look soooo handsome next to this paint color Mommy, thank you."
And so yeah, while it seems at times I do things haphazardly or on a whim, I put quite a generous amount of methodical thought into most everything I do.  Yes, I will shoot from the hip here and there but generally speaking, the Design Thought Mill is in constant motion.  Those poor overworked gerbils, panting and limping, heh.

And right, I know too, how one measly ninety two square foot expanse of wall can turn into a colossal rambling blog post and design lesson....  Ha!

Oh, Mike's response?   He came home, dropped his stuff on the rolling cart grrrrrrr, looked up and said, "did you....did you paint that wall or something?"

"Um, maybe."

"Huh, ok."

"That's it?  No response?"

"You've got me numb to changes, it doesn't even faze me anymore." ...."It's ok, the color's fine.  Sure."

It wasn't as harsh as it reads.  Likely he doesn't like it.  I guess I have to work harder to knock the guy's socks off!

Ok.  Back at the bathroom?  I have to at least get the rest of the tile off the walls.

Oy, I shoulda done the master bath pocket door instead....sigh....

On a side note, my college pal Marcy sadly broke her ankle on Monday.  Ouch, and I wish her a speedy recovery.  She started a blog to complain about it which I suspect will be awesome and I'm looking forward to following along; I linked to it on the sidebar there so check it out.

*The Samplize link is a Samplize affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. In all seriousness, though - Your "procrastination" on some projects saves work over the long run. When my wife and I moved into our house, we immediately worked on a couple of the rooms just to get rid of the awful paint. Just to get something done with them. And then, a couple of months later, we completely redid these rooms again because what we'd done the first time wasn't what we really wanted.

    Waiting until you're sure of what you want to do saves you from doing double work. I think it's smart to hold off until you have a clear idea.

    1. Heh, thanks for the reassurance but indeed, you do make a very valid point. As you did, I rushed to paint and as such, have since repainted several rooms. While it's frustrating and difficult to wait at times, it does save tremendous time, money, and effort and gives one time to really think everything through; I completely agree.

      Thank you for such a fantastic comment!

  2. Sometimes you just don't know how the room will feel until you've lived in it. That's why you noticed your countertops and floor more later on. When I see purple in the mall or other people's houses, I love it. But whenever I've done purple in my own house, it drove me mad.Sometimes you just need to see how it feels for awhile. How did you paint above your cabinets? I am thinking about repainting my kitchen but the high space intimidates me.

  3. Oh, just a thought.... If you repaint your kitchen again, I think Sherwin Williams Naval would look good. It's a very deep blue that can look nearly black at night. I think it would look cool with the blues you have on the other walls and your black cabinets and wallpaper. I think it would take all attention away from the things you don't like too much. I have a Naval living room and I love it to pieces. If you decide to use it, for the love of God don't buy it in cashmere. The devil himself formulated cashmere.

    1. That's true, you're right -- waiting to paint to see how the room feels first is a smart move. At the time I ripped through several rooms, I was in mode so I knew I was making extra work for myself. Originally I did the whole kitchen in Gravel, then the wallpaper went above the cabinets.

      Don't be intimidated -- high spaces take a little effort and carefulness but it'll be worth it. You'll be so glad you did it! I'm a paint pusher.

      But wow, you have now given me the gift of a fabulous new color for the repertoire, omg, it's gorgeous. Holy cow, what a color! Thank you! And I will never buy paint in cashmere either; there's enough devil in this house. Thank you!

    2. You're welcome, I'm glad you liked it. "Paint Pusher" LOL. I'm going to have to use that! I think I'm addicted to paint. I paint everything.

    3. I love paint too, hence being a paint pusher. And please, feel free to use "paint pusher" all you want! :)

    4. I'm just finding you website and really enjoying it so far! On the Naval paint color, I used a different brand in my living room, but it's virtually the same color and I LOVE it with the white trim I have. I'm not a big fan of too much white. I almost did the floors white, but I ended up choosing a silvery gray because if the cleaning factor. (I live in an apartment with painted wood plank floors. Thankfully my landlord doesn't care much what I do with the place, as long as it's an improvement!)

    5. Thank you so much! I am definitely going to find a place for that color somewhere now with two ringing endorsements! I imagine a white floor would show everything all the time and be a tremendous amount of work. I've always wanted a wide planked floor -- must be great and it sounds like you have the coolest landlord ever! Congrats!

  4. I like that! I think mixing paint for painting on canvas is fun, I need to try it for wall paint too! :)

    1. Thanks! Same principles, so sounds like you'll have a good grip on it! Good luck! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  5. I love the before and after pictures that show progress along the way of your remodel. I find them very encouraging. In fact, I should probably get off the computer right now and get started on remodeling our bathroom, like I have been talking about doing for about three years now. There's no time like the present! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Delbert Powers @ Minute Man Intl

    1. Thank you very much for your super kind words! I'm thrilled you find them encouraging! Best wishes on your bathroom remodel!

  6. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!


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