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Color Your World : When It Comes to Remodeling, There Is a Painting Technique to Suit Almost Any Taste, Style or Budget


The wallpaper ripped during the earthquake and you have just discovered that the pattern has been discontinued.

You're expecting your first child and have started to decorate the nursery. Somehow, though, you're just not bunny/bear/ducky people.

You bought an expensive sofa only to discover that no wallpaper book in a 20-store search has anything that matches.

You just leased space for your new business and want to give it an unusual, personalized touch.

What to do? Think paint. Think mural. Think graphics. Think rag, faux, sponge. Decorating with paint has moved light years beyond Navajo white or even Santa Fe peach.

The use of paint for decorating is growing steadily and it seems the only limits are the imagination. There is a paint decorating technique to fit virtually everyone's taste, style and budget.

There are definite advantages in using paint to decorate your home or business. You can select your own colors. Paint can be mixed to match any color scheme, any fabric pattern, any mood. You can select patterns, textures, murals, graphics.

Paint doesn't rip. It doesn't have seams. It is never discontinued.

Finally, if you're tired of it, just paint it out. No machinery. No mess.

Before running for the yellow pages, however, you may want to know what the local artists/painters have to say about decorating with paint. And, of course, there is that all important question that anyone planning a remodel is going to ask: What's this going to cost?

Read on.


There are as many approaches to decorative painting as there are artists and clients, but there are some basic decisions that must be made in each case.

According to liquid paper specialist Charlotte Bishelli, of Custom Painting Plus in Camarillo, color is the most difficult decision most people have. "With wallpaper," she says, "the colors are already there. But with paint, you can choose literally anything and that can be difficult."

Color is one of the most important considerations in decorating. Color can change the shape of a room, the size of a room and most certainly, the mood of a room. The psychology of color has been widely studied and is used frequently in business design. Studies have shown that color has more impact in our day-to-day lives than most of us realize.

Fast-food restaurants often use brighter colors that dissuade you from lingering over a meal. Conversely, restaurants that want to invite an unhurried dining experience will use muted colors, creating an atmosphere of relaxation.

It has been found that decorating, inside or out, with blue, can make your home more difficult to sell, and that color preference often varies with income and education levels. Hunter green, for example, is liked most by those with college educations.

It is important that you carefully choose your color scheme. "Blue next to food can make (the food) look gray," says Elizabeth Castrejon of Westlake, who has designed a number of restaurant interiors. "So you have to be careful in selecting colors for each area of the home."

Bishelli, who has attended several color seminars, strongly suggests that a sample be done before final decisions are made. "If a customer doesn't like the color," she said, "the design doesn't matter."

Sherand Palmer, owner of Simi Valley's Murals by Sherand, recommends that final color mixing be done at the site where it will be applied. "You have to see it with the lighting where it will be used," she said.

If you're unsure about colors, the experts suggest looking around for the predominant colors in your house. "I often look at their towels. That's frequently a good indicator of the colors people like," said Bishelli.

Selecting a design is the next most difficult thing, according to artists. Some people have an exact idea of what they want, others have a vague idea, and some have no idea at all.

Nancy Bocash, of Wall Fantasies in Camarillo and a specialist in children's murals, says most of her clients have some idea of what they want. "For newborns, a lot of people buy their nursery bedding first, so I often match the colors and designs they select," she said. For toddlers and older children, Bocash likes to involve the children by finding out their interests. "A lot of the fun for me is seeing the kids get excited as the mural takes shape," Bocash said.

Graphic artist Sheila Webber of Simi Valley, whose specialty is business and residential graphics, spends her first session with a client coming up with a concept. "They rely on me to graphically interpret their themes and feelings, so I try to get a good understanding of their business or personality," she said.

Most artists agree that it is helpful if the client has a general idea of what he or she wants. Castrejon advises her clients to keep an "idea folder" with pictures of design- and color-schemes they like. "This is so personalized," said Castrejon, who specializes in trompe l'oeil, "that I find it helps to get a feel for the person, their likes and dislikes, before I start a project."

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