Just to shake things up a bit, today’s post is on the topic of decorating. I take after my mother and my aunt who love to decorate, accessorize, and redecorate. (My aunt is infamous for repainting her bathroom every season. My uncle is always thrilled.)

When we built our house seven years ago, we had the foresight to have a large room in the basement finished, which has turned out to be an incredible blessing. At the time, we assumed it would be a typical dark, depressing basement (underestimating the impact of the four large windows) and therefore we went with a pale yellow paint, to brighten it up a little.

Big mistake. The room always seemed cold, impersonal, and (believe it or not) too big. I know, I know, cry me a river. This was, of course, before kids’ stuff filled it up. Anyway, check out the “before” pictures:

Now, to be honest, the too-country plaid slipcovers didn’t contribute to the look I was going for, but the yellow walls were the main problem. After a great deal of research, I decided that red would be the perfect colour to achieve the warm atmosphere we wanted. Many friends and family members thought I was crazy to make such a dramatic change, and that part I have never regretted, but others warned us about the technical issues with red paint. Those people, I should have listened to. On the advice of the Home Depot lady (who also questioned my sanity, and stressed the difficulty we would be facing) we bought a pink primer to start things off.

Although we enlisted a couple of family members to help, painting an 800 square foot room full of windows, doors and a staircase is no quick job. Once the primer was on, my husband (only semi-jokingly) asked me if I wanted to just stick with the light rose colour and wrap things up. But no, I persisted, and we forged ahead with coat number one of  Behr’s “Ruby Ring.” Then coat number two. Then three. And we still weren’t done.

All in all, it took four coats of paint on top of the tinted primer; a long and painful process. To spruce up the rest of the room, we got new black leather couches and loveseat, pared down the accessories, and eventually got a second bookshelf and painted them both black.

Some after photos: (the bottom one is the Christmas look. Red works really well with that!)

Ironically, right after we finished the room, I found out I was pregnant with Frannie and the nausea kept me from enjoying it. Between the new paint and the new leather, I wasn’t able to go down the stairs for over a month!
Since that summer, we have upgraded to a flatscreen and new entertainment unit, and have added countless toys, games and books (a Barbie house, mini-kitchen, easel and basketball net fill a room quickly), but I am proud to say that the well-used treadmill has remained constant.
We absolutely love our dramatic room and receive compliments whenever we have new visitors, but if your heart is not completely set on red, I recommend you run go in another direction.

3 comments on “Red Paint: Not For The Faint of Heart”

  1. I also have a red room…my dining room. It is supposed to be an 'appetite appeasing' colour. I mentioned I was thinking of doing it red and your husband STRONGLY recommended re-thinking. But, we didn't back out. We were brave. It also took 4 coats…and I'm pretty sure I remember crying on coat #3…but now we love it! 'Not for the Faint of Heart' is true…some people just don't get it (like my father who said 'Why would you ever paint a room red?!'). Umm thanks Dad. You're not invited to dinner.

  2. Hey I was watching a show on television Sarah's house and she was painting something red and she mentioned that to get a true red colour to prime with grey not white. Just a suggestion for anyone intereted in painting something red. By the way I think your family room looks amazing.

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