The benefits of painting a room

June 20, 2012

Creativity

The pouting during the painting.

I rented an office space. That’s another story. This story is about the room in my house that got freed up as a result.

My dining room has served as an all-in-one office, library, study room, workout facility, guest room, generally cluttered, not-too-pleasant-to-look-at space. After moving out my office stuff, and some great advice from an interior designer friend, it’s time for a re-do.

I’m painting it myself, including miles of trim and moldings and the highest ceiling of any room I’ve ever painted. It’s incredibly labor-intensive, and I certainly could have hired someone to do it in 1/10 the time, but here’s why I think it’s good to get your DIY on and paint your own room.

It focuses the mind.

This morning, as I was putting a second coat on a long section of the chair rail, I was also developing ideas for a logo design for a new client and thinking about some branding options for my own business. Keeping the strokes smooth and even meant my brain couldn’t be running in too many directions. The pleasant satisfaction of laying on a slick coat of rich color and digging the look seemed to lead to all sorts of other positive ideas and feelings.

It fills you with the feeling of possibility.

The change from Builder Beige to Gauntlet Grey is transformative. Having a matte, charcoal grey room makes me feel like I have a different house. It’s sleek and modern and cozy at the same time. What else will happen with this room, I’m not yet sure, but it’s certainly not taking back the clutter it held before. I envision clinky cocktails and intriguing conversation.

It’s physically demanding.

OK, so part of this is my fault. My ladder is too short; my roller handle is too short; I am too short. My P90X jump-training has come in handy for reaching those last 4 inches at the ceiling and my calves are dead after one million trips up and down the ladder. But I’ve slept really good the past two nights.

It’s tangible.

We spend lots of time creating things in the virtual world. It feels good in a different way to make something physical. Something with texture and dimension. Something I can stand in the middle of and be surrounded by and say (to the dog), “This is good.”

When I was younger and poorer, I painted pretty much every room in every place I lived. When I bought this house, my first new house, it had a fresh coat of Builder Beige throughout. It seemed wrong, or at least unnecessary, to paint over something so newly finished.

So I haven’t painted a room in eight years and I’ve been submerged in beige for five. Today, I think that was a mistake. I love this room. I made it and now I can do anything I want to with it. I’m almost finished and, even though my dog will continue to hate me, rather than put away the ladder, drop cloths, rollers and brushes, I may just move them into the next room.

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2 Comments on “The benefits of painting a room”

  1. ThisHandcraftedLife Says:

    I agree, there’s a lot to be said for tangible work. Looking forward to seeing how this room evolves. By the way… adorable dog!

    Reply

  2. stacey Says:

    Gretchen – I’m LOVING your outlook on life! Keep it coming!

    Reply

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