The reason I’m always painting

Door painted in ‘Light Peachblossom 3’ by Little Greene.

I have banged on about the transformative power of paint for years. And for us, we have found it to be a hugely cost effective part of our renovation journey. I’m not sure I’ll ever be a fully fledged painter and decorator and I will probably never be able to hang wallpaper but basic painting? That I can do.

If you follow us on social media, chances are you will have seen myself and Chris painting a LOT. And there is still a lot more to do (I generally only show the finished bits here but there are rooms and all of the outside to tackle still!), but we really enjoy it, too. There are a few reasons I am obsessed:

‘Hague Blue’ by Farrow & Ball.

1. Paint can have a huge effect almost immediately. We moved into our house with a lot of half used tins of paint, and friends and family even dropped round old tins of white paint they had leftover in their house. Needless to say: it all got used. Our renovation project was a big one and we had to decide pretty early on which room could be tackled first, the one which needed the least amount of work and maintenance. That was our living room (as the tenant was still using that room only), so we got to work and painted the floor and walls within a few days (with a lot of pulling up carpets, clearing mouse droppings and installing radiators in the meantime). It went from a dirty drab room to a clean liveable space almost immediately. And it didn’t cost us anything.

We used leftover Dulux ‘Pure Brilliant White’ from friends to paint our living room walls, and leftover ‘Downpipe’ floor paint from our last flat by Farrow & Ball.

2. Painting is one of the few areas within our renovation whereby I am confident of my skills. Although it took us over a year to paint our hallway, we saved so much money by doing it ourselves and by taking that little bit longer, it allowed us to save and buy paint and tools as we went rather than shelling out for everything at once. I can’t lay a floor (although Chris did do it in Peggy’s room!), build any sort of furniture but I can paint to my heart’s content.

3. Painting is one of the few times I actually switch off. I find I have to be really distracted to be away from my phone, work and emails. But there is something about painting which really keeps me focused on the job in hand and relaxes me. I am a total busybody and find it really hard to switch off without doing something with an end goal: and physically climbing up a ladder engrossed in painting seems to work. Perhaps the reason I love painting so much is that it quietens my mind as well as gets something ticked off my list.

We painted our fireplace in ‘Royal Concerto’ by Valspar a few months ago (it was part of a paid project but this post isn’t sponsored in any way).

4. Pretty much anything can be transformed with a lick of paint. It is so good for upcycling, too. I have painted the frame of a mirror I found in a charity shop that wasn’t quite right, my nan’s old cabinet, inside of drawers on another vintage cabinet, picture frames (in fact, the burgundy frame in the image above is from an old tester paint sample I had lying around), as well as bannisters on our stairs for a pop of colour. Basically, anything that doesn’t move: I am on it!

I love the vibrant colour Erica Davies has added to the table legs in her kitchen:

Table legs of a vintage table painted in ‘Charlotte’s Locks’ by Farrow & Ball. Image via The-Edited.

We have used a lot of Farrow & ball in our house, and I think this was probably due to lack of experience and knowledge. We had used a few of their paints before and loved the colour and quality – it wasn’t cheap cheap but spread out over a few months, it worked out as okay. All the paints are water-based so much easier to clean than with white spirit. And our reasoning was that a designer paint must be better quality. This isn’t always the way though.

We used Estate Emulsion on the walls which has a matte finish (but beware finger prints!) and Modern Eggshell on the woodwork which to us, has a nicer finish and is easy to use. We love the paints we have used but I would say I probably have enough confidence to think outside the box and there really are some lovely paint brands out there, some with interesting stories:

Valspar

We used Valspar paint for our fireplace earlier on in the year and were really impressed by the quality (and they have sorted the smell of cat wee in their products!). They can mix together any paint colour in B&Q and the price is really reasonable, so worth checking out. We might use this for our front door paint.

Little Greene Paint & Paper

I am going to be honest, I didn’t have a nice experience instore when I first went in. But I decided to let bygones be bygones as I love the ethos behind the brand and the colours. Our bannisters were painted in ‘Light Peachblossom 3’ Intelligent eggshell using one tin and we had enough leftover to paint the inside of our bathroom door, which I am so happy with. The brand is environmentally friendly and all manufactured in the UK, and their paint tins are made using 50% recycled steel and can be recycled again.

Earthborn

I have only come across this brand recently, and as always the way with Social Media – suddenly I see it everywhere! Another eco-friendly brand with approved Safety Toys standard, which means they’re great for kids’ rooms and furniture (and good for asthma sufferers). The colours are gorgeous, too – Jess from Gold Is A Neutral recently painted her daughter’s room using ‘Paw Print’ and ‘Rosie Posie’ and it looks divine.

Image via Gold Is A Neutral

Mylands

I found this brand via 2LG studio, it’s Britain’s oldest paint company – and what gorgeous colours! Kate from Mad About The House used ‘Threadneedle No 262’ in her bedroom.

Annie Sloan

The ‘home of chalk paint’, Annie Sloan created chalk paint in the 90s and it is deemed the best in the industry – the furniture paint also doesn’t need sanding or priming.

Rustoleum

I haven’t actually used Annie Sloan before (but heard good thing!) but we have used Rustoleum ‘Furniture paint’ for a few things (and their spray paint, but that’s another story) and I can really recommend. I did sand and prime first, and used chalky finish ‘Charcoal’ for our fireplace in our bedroom – only £13 for 750ml tin.

 

Saying all of this, I am aware that not everyone can paint their walls, fireplaces etc. But hopefully you find this useful for furniture – be it picture frames, stools, table legs. I also wanted to shine a spotlight on Medina’s ‘How I Rent’ hometour series via Grillo Designs – showcasing beautiful homes within landlord’s restrictions – she also has tons of great DIY tutorials.

20 Comments

  1. I am a novice when it comes to painting but love the effects it has on your house. Do you need to sand down anything first?

  2. Thank you so much, this has arrived just at the right time for me! Any tips on brushes?? Your finishes always look immaculate and I’m also looking for Floor Paint reccomendations just in case I pluck up courage and paint our floor!

  3. A word of caution with regard to Annie Sloan paint.

    It is not the “magic” cover everything paint that is so often talked about. Some wooden furniture needs to be sealed first with a stain blocker like Bulls Eye 123. Pine furniture in particular can bleed through and nasty yellow stains will appear ruining your efforts. So seal the furniture with Bulls Eye first. This can be bought from Brewers or Amazon and is water based. If it eventually thickens in the tin add a little cold water.

  4. Your hall is absolutely stunning! I have been following you on insta for years and enjoy seeing the progress with your renovations. Everything you’ve done so far is really beautiful.

  5. I totally agree – I find painting really relaxing. I’ve almost finished the downstairs of our house and then starting upstairs. It’s a similar age and style to yours so it’s intersting to see what you’re doing and your ideas.
    Little Green scrubbable emulsion is brilliant if you have kids, dogs etc. Almost as matt as F&B, better coverage and you can scrub any marks off. They mix LG paint to all F&B colours in Brewers if there’s one near you x

  6. This is such a different and useful post, thank you! I really like the therapeutic angle, one which I’ve never embraced. Maybe now! Can you do a post or give some advice on the how to bit please?! How do you paint wardrobes from scratch to make them so beautiful?

    1. To be honest I’ve never done too many how tos as I am no expert! We generally just google our way through renovations….we used an electric sander mainly for big areas, handheld for small fiddly bits (we were a bit rough with the bannisters as we were a little over it to say the least!), we always use undercoat as well – that’s about it!

  7. I love living in our modern open plan Danish house, with all the walls the same colour, but when I see your house, and especially your hall I have serious house envy – the way you paint brings all the elements together. The hall always had great potential with the carved details and the tiles, not to mention the stained glass, but the paint pulls everything into focus and sets them off to great effect, it’s crisp and modern but is also so sympathetic to the soul of the house.

  8. Hi Alex, love reading your interior posts, here and also seeing your gorgeous house on Insta. Have you done a blogpost on how you guys chose what part of the house to start with and how you went about renovating? I’m asking as we are trying to sell our flat and buy a house and our budget won’t allow for a “finished” house so we are looking at renovation projects. We have never renovated before, only small bits like painting, so it’s a bit scary!

    1. I haven’t actually but it’s a good point – to be honest it’s different for everyone. We had no money with which to do any renovating so we chose the cheapest option which would make the most difference – the bathroom so we could have a shower! I would say it is important to try and live in it whilst you can to get a feel of how you use the space and really think about what you want from it. And then obviously budget! x

  9. I absolutely love the signature colour on your mantlepiece! I think the point about paint being an easy and cheap way to upcycle old furniture cannot be emphasised enough – such a no brainer for injecting a new bit of character without breaking the bank. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!