8 Tips for Painting A Room Red. Or Purple.

Text Message from Amy to Mr. P Monday, December 7th, 4:16 p.m. "If u beat me home do not b alarmed." (Husbands love text messages that begin like that.) "Am not painting the walls the color of cement." ******************************************** I painted my kitchen last week, covering wallpaper that I've never liked and determined I would cover up as soon as we moved in. That was in 2004. But the day had come. For bloggy reasons I no longer recall, I took a picture of my kitchen and when I downloaded it and saw the fruit walls, that was IT. I was seeing it with fresh eyes, and hating it anew. The fruit was going away before the end of this year.


After much deliberation, I choose to coat my walls in a fine Pinot Noir, the most expensive of all reds. Perhaps a lovely Central Coast Pinot, with subtle violet perfume, damp leaves and earthy spices for flavor, leather tones for richness. You know, purple. I went to The Home Depot for paint. The paint man looked like a Santa that successfully completed the South Beach Diet. I handed over my paint sample square (Deep Garnet from Glidden) and told him I needed one gallon. Then I added, "You know, I'm painting over a patterned wallpaper. Do you think I need a primer?" He looked at me and smiled in a nice but slightly condescending you poor dear clueless woman way, and said that yes, an oil-based primer coat first, otherwise in a year the fruit will possibly begin to show through. Oh no no no! I want the fruit gone. Scan me some primer! He helpfully added, looking pointedly at me, that the reds - just like with hair color - are the most difficult to do. (OK, he didn't say the hair color part, but I know it's also true of hair color.) He mentioned that I would need more than one coat, even after the primer. He looked at me with that smile again. Was he trying to warn me...? You don't scare me Skinny Santa! Hand over the Pinot Paint! Later that day I sent the text message above because I had done this:


I was exceedingly happy. Even cement gray looked better than fruit walls. This was going great!

Now, I'm a fast painter. I don't waste time and I don't like to take breaks. In our "open plan" kitchen/eating area/great room, there were only 2.5 walls with fruit, and most of them covered in cabinets. I gave myself 2 days to finish, since I had to add this primer coat into my timetable.

So, I started on Monday and finished on Saturday morning.

Touche, Skinny Santa, touche.

Here is what I learned about painting in the dark red family of colors:

1. If you are covering any sort of pattern, you do in fact NEED primer.

2. Have the paint mixer add black to your can of white primer, making it gray. As Skinny Santa pointed out, nothing is more awful than painting red (or dark purple) over white. Easier coverage if you've tinted the primer.

3. This color was unforgiving in every way. Any blemish on your wall will show more than with a lighter color. Your brush and roller marks show more. (I spent a lot of time smoothing the last coat with the most "fine" and "smooth" foam rollers money can buy.)

4. Painting with wine colored paint around ultra white cabinets and woodwork - also unforgiving. Any small mistake is more obvious, so I had to go much slower than usual.

5. Even with a gray primer coat, it took 3 coats of wine paint to cover. The darker the color, the more coats you need. (What kind of world works like that? I thought I'd stepped through the looking glass into Bizarro World, or Counter-Intuitive Land. I hate Counter-Intuitive Land.)

6. General Painting Tip: It's a pain to clean out your rollers and brushes each time you are stopping for the day, right? You don't have to! Wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. They stay soft and are ready to go back to work when you pull them out.

7. My Last Painting Tip: Don't use that blue painter's tape. I'll never use it again. I've used it successfully before, but the kitchen is now the second time that I've had it pull paint off when I went to pull the tape. I had to use a steak knife and score the line between the tape and the paint all over the kitchen and pull very slowly, and still had to take a small art brush and touch up areas where the new color pulled off and left me with gray primer.

8. My Actual Last Tip For Painting Your Room Red or Purple: Hire a professional to do it.


I do love it though.


Don't you want to lick my walls? Um, wine!


Michelle Smiles said...

Looks amazing! I love color but stay away from the reds for all of the reasons you mentioned. Closest I've come was a wonderful tera cotta in a kitchen 2 houses ago.

mo.stoneskin said...

The older I get the more I'm becoming a firm believer in paying other people to do any jobs in and around the house. I look forward to the day - if it turns up - when I can actually afford to pay them!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Wow I'm impressed!! It's gorgeous, your kitchen looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's beautiful. You took decades off your kitchen!

We used a similar color in our "dining room" (It's supposed to be the dining room, adjoining to the formal living room, but we made the formal living room the dining room and the dining room a sitting room). My son is always ramming the wingback chairs up against the wall, revealing chips of white, because we didn't use colored primer.

OHmommy said...

Amy... it looks AWESOME. Kudos on your paint job!

Sincerely, Jenni said...

I feel your pain! We painted the living room in our old house a dark cranberry color (and it was a 14' x 22' room), and it took forever! We painted over white walls, and it was the worst experience of my life.

Your kitchen looks gorgeous though, so all your work was worth it!

Anonymous said...

That is gorgeous! I'm truly impressed that you did it yourself. The reds are so hard to work with, but worth it IMO. We found that out 5 years ago when we did J's ladybug room. We only painted the bottom half of the walls red ("Ladybug" by Martha Stewart) but I think we also ended using like 3 gallons of paint as well (2 beyond what we had budgeted for, ugh.)

And by "we" I mean my husband. I was rather pregnant when we did this project. Nesting, much? lol


Amy said...

Michelle - I considered terra Cotta as a color option. Very pretty.

Mo - Totally should have paid someone. I would have a week of my life back, and it wouldn't have cost that much.

Frau - Thanks!!

de - I know! The fruit was so 1990. And if anyone touches my walls now, they lose a hand.

OHMommy - Thanks honey!

Malia - a ladybug room sounds so cute!!

Amy said...

Jenni - Cranberry could be the name of this color as well - it's very pretty, and lighter or darker depending on the time of day. But it is indeed a TON of work to get that paint up there.

I do suggest a tinted primer. In fact, I recommend asking for tint very closer to the color of your paint. When Santa said gray tint, I was all - sure, makes sense. But now I see I should have asked him to color it the same as my paint.

And hey - The Home Depot - why didn't he know to suggest that?

Managed Chaos said...

LOVE it! I'm a huge fan of color...if only I could convince my husband that it's OK to paint walls something besides off white and taupe. And the blue painters tape is the worst...I used it once and never again.

the sandwich life said...

GORGEOUS....it looks much more like you than the fruit.

and God...I hate Counter-Intuitive Land too....

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

Beautiful! I have a thing with red kitchens, and painted the kitchen in our previous (rental) place. We definitely should have done a third coat, but I was lazy and it was a rental. Fortunately, the next renters liked it so we didn't have to paint it white again when we left.

Rachel said...

It is absolutely gorgeous. gorgeous. gorgeous. gorgeous.

I am a painting queen. I have now painted 5 houses. Everything from white.. to the deepest darkest blues to greens and reds and all things in between.

I have to tell you. The new Behr with Primer in it. My new Best Friend. EVER.

Tinted Primer, rocks. YAY!!

You did awesome honey.

Burgh Baby said...

It looks fantastic! Good job.

Also, I'm totally seconding what Rachel said. I covered a similar (but far more hideous) color in two coats with the Behr plus Primer stuff. IT'S MAGICAL.

Jordana said...

I love it. It's very similar to my Bing Cherry Porter Paint dining room color. I second all your recommendations.

rubbish said...

My Wife changes her mind every year with regards to the colour of each room. I've painted so much I guess each room must be about 100mm smaller now.

Mommy, I'm Home said...

Wow! What a huge improvement!

evenshine said...

Loverley. I could SO have saved you some time by telling you about the red. It turned out amazing, though, and it was worth it!!

mudmama said...

Good tips. Looks yummy! :)

Sarahviz said...

I like how it makes the white cabinets POP! Gorgeous.

Amy said...

Rachel and Burgh Baby - I asked about the Behr with primer, but Skinny Santa said I needed an oil based primer and a latex paint, and he indicated the paint with primer wouldn't cut it.

That better have been right.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

It looks awesome! Want come paint my khaki (blech...blah...boring) kitchen? I would pay you in wine. ;)

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Your walls looks beautiful! And I'm so jealous of your white cabinets!! (My husband has this *thing* against painted wood. The nerve!) Said husband actually worked as a professional painter years ago and is great at it (even if it drives him crazy), but if we do red again, we might break down and pay someone, too!

Michele R said...

As someone who searched for a while to find a good contractor to paint the outside of our house and do a bunch of other work and realized you can't control everything they do and the mistakes they made were unbelievable.....I say you did the right thing by doing it yourself.
It looks great!!

Brigid said...

Love it Amy! It looks like a while different room. I love that a little elbow grease and a couple of gallons of paint can change things so dramatically.

Lori said...

I LOVE IT!!! I can't wait to see it in person. What does MR.P think?

Amy said...

Brigid - Thanks!

Lori - He's ok with it. He likes it. I don't think the fruit bothered him, and this is so different it's a bit of an adjustment, but he's fine.

Allyson/HBMomof2 said...

Love it! The color is fantastic. I love me some white cabinets too. One hint on the tape. Try the newish green Frog Tape. It is less harsh on your paint and the lines are much cleaner with less bleeding. I can't imagine that you are going to be doing any painting any time soon, but thought you should know that this stuff is awesome.

Karen Hartzell, Graco said...

Well with my latest obsession with the Wonka movie I would have licked the fruit on your walls...now not so much! lol

You did a beautiful job! I love it! From another owner of an all white cabinet kitchen you have just given me just cause to paint in the future. And I will be hiring a professional. I sooo could NOT do it as well as you! :-)

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