Interiors: Paint for company

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceJuly 14, 2014 

Is there a special occasion coming up in your near future when you are planning to have guests over for festivities? Perhaps a wedding is near? Or a special birthday or anniversary is happening? You know you are going to plan the meals and the gifts all way in advance, but what about sprucing up the house? After all, a welcome isn't complete until the house feels welcoming.

So what can be done to spruce up the house without a ton of trouble and a ton of cost? Ah, paint: easy, inexpensive and very effective. Simply paint the dining room walls a shade bolder than they are already. Or just paint one wall in the dining room a shade darker than the other three walls.

That bathroom that all the guests use will need a little attention. Refresh the wall color. Paint it the same as it is now to just clean it up or paint a new color for a new look. You're the boss so the decision is yours.

Often the baseboards and trim around doors get banged up with vacuum cleaners or dirtied up with grimy hands. A fresh coat of paint will clean it all up.

What if you want to put on a totally new color of paint on the wall? What color should you choose? First of all, you probably already have an idea of what color you want, or you wouldn't be interested in changing what is already there. But there are so many shades or each color - even white - so a sample on the wall is the way to go. There are 4-ounce cans of paint available for you to experiment with. Paint a 2 foot-square sample on the wall and live with it for a day or two before deciding. You can paint several different samples on the wall at the same time if you wish. Seeing the color in the different light that is in the room throughout the day might surprise you. A peach color might look pink instead of peach in some lights.

Well, this is a lot of talk about paint, but how much paint will you need? Actually, it is easy to calculate. It is simply a matter if coming up with the square footage of the area. Measure the width and height of each wall to be painted, then multiply width times length for the square footage. One gallon of paint covers anywhere between 200 and 400 square feet. And, yes, that's a lot of gray (no pun intended) area. Each manufacturer gives different advice on how much square footage their gallons will cover, and that information usually can be found on the manufacturer's label.

What if you have a triangular or sloping wall or your ceiling is vaulted? Multiply the length of the base of the triangle by the height at the highest point and divide by two. To be sure you have enough paint, do not subtract any square footage for windows and doors unless they are significantly large.

Happy painting.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color." For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at

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