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Interior Design: commit or quit?

August 15, 2011

Erin L. HubbsI’ve got a bit of a confession to make: I can accessorize and style a clothing wardrobe in my sleep. I regularly weed through my shoe collection and purge, donating unworn pairs to Goodwill. But when it comes to my home, I have commitment issues.

My Goodwill find!

I’ve been reading more about interior design lately, and have come in contact with some fab bloggers who embrace thrift without sacrificing style — ahem I’m looking at you Emily A. Clark, The Nester and Matters of Style. I’ve been so inspired by these incredibly creative women, I decided to take some of their collective expert advice and get to stylish thrifting in my own home.

Bubbling with enthusiasm, I ran to the Goodwill in Cornelius. There, I snatched up brass lamps ready for spray paint ($5 each!), and some oversized candles sticks ($2 each)…but this is where I lose steam. Short of painting everything white and or kelly green, which is my favorite color at the moment, I don’t know how to proceed.

My dark, wood paneled family room

I like to blame my ability to commit on my my giant, rectangular knotty-pine-paneled family room. It has been virtually untouched for seven years.

There’s plenty of natural light (one wall is windows) but the room is crazy dark because of the paneling. I wanted to paint the paneling but was chastised by folks more in the know than I who said it’d be criminal to alter such beautiful vintage paneling.

Then I thought I’d paint the brick of the fireplace, but I was freaked out by the permanence. What if it doesn’t look good? What if I do it wrong?

What do you do to stay motivated when you’re considering an interior design project?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 1:01 pm

    I totally understand! From my perspective, I think the following: 1) Regarding your Goodwill finds…just paint them what you like NOW–you can always change them again later. And 2) as for the family room, I understand your reluctance to change that knotty pine. If you want to preserve it, definitely paint the brick (in a color that complements the paneling…black?). Again, you can always change it. A neighbor painted her knotty pine paneling a taupe/sage color and it looks very clean and nice. Maybe if you saw something like that that you liked, you’d be inclined to do the painting. Personally, I like your paneling better than the multi-brick of the fireplace, so I would opt with painting the brick. Just do it! 😉

  2. August 15, 2011 1:29 pm

    JP – We totally agree. Especially with such great deals at Goodwill, you can afford to try a bunch of different options and paint colors! Thanks for the input.

  3. August 15, 2011 2:17 pm

    Commit! You can do it! 🙂

    I get burned out when I’m working on my own house. I hate to say it, but usually buying a new accessory (or two) gets me back in the mood to press on.

    (And, I would seriously consider painting one or the other–probably lean toward the brick. I think it would be a great starting point.)

  4. Robbie permalink
    August 15, 2011 2:52 pm

    Go to Just a Touch of Gray blog. They whitewashed their panels and painted the fireplace. A totally new living room. It’s stunning!

  5. Karen P permalink
    August 15, 2011 3:14 pm

    Spray paint away, you can always change the color. I had a ginger jar ceramic lamp that was painted so many time in 20 years that it probably was a 1/2 inch larger just from paint layers!

    My daughter and I painted our dark brown chimney (all four sides are exposed) by dry brushing shades of tan, cream and brick red on the individual bricks because my husband was freaking out about painted brick. It made a HUGE difference to the room, and made him realize what an improvement paint could be. Try that on your fireplace & hearth.

  6. August 15, 2011 5:34 pm

    LOVE your post b/c it’s SO true of so many of us, I think.
    I love the potential in your room. We had a similar room in our house and we just went for it! I was scared to change everything at first, but I’m really pleased with how the built-ins and fireplace turned out.
    You can see it here if you’d like:

  7. August 15, 2011 5:43 pm

    I so understand how you feel. However, I’m a bit of a risktaker as I get older. Your space has a lot going on and it’s probably not giving you that peaceful feeling. First of all, it’s your home. The decorating police won’t show up at your door & haul you in. It sounds like you’ve been contemplating change for a long time. As crazy as it sounds I would paint both. I have painted paneling in my livingroom and it absolutely looks fabulous & fresh. I also have a painted brick fireplace & I love it! I know it feels like a big step but you will be so proud of yourself for making the leap. I think painted brick & paneling look absolutely charming. Just my 2 cents! Good luck with your decision! Just remember that your opinion matters most:)

  8. Fiona permalink
    August 15, 2011 6:38 pm

    Oooh! Oooh! I stayed in a B&B that did a whitewash on the knotty pine. It looked awesome. The wood showed through, but it was toned down. I vote yes on painting the brick. That might inspire you to do more.

  9. Fiona permalink
    August 15, 2011 6:42 pm

    Here’s one of the cottages. The whitewash doesn’t look as light here, but it will give you an idea.

  10. Elizabeth permalink
    August 15, 2011 8:05 pm

    Totally paint the panelling. We had original knotty pine in our home and were dead set against painting it–it would have been criminal. We could not have been more wrong. About a year in, I got sick of the room being so dark and painted it all. It’s so much, much brighter in there now, plus it still has the textured charm of the panelling. Go for it! (And as for painting tips, prime with Kilz and no sanding is required.)

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