Paint is magical. It can take a room from drab and uninspiring to bright and fun. Or relaxing. Or sexy.
With the 50-year-old carpet out the door and pretty wood floors staring up at us in our 1960s house, the next step was painting EVERYTHING. Here are the colors we chose and what happened when we painted our old grasscloth wallpaper.
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Paint the Ceilings First (Boring but Important)
Most people don’t walk into a room and notice the ceiling, so it was tough to put off the instant makeover of painting walls in favor of getting the ceilings done first. But it makes a big difference in these older houses and it’s a step you don’t want to skip.
We had some dingy ceilings that we painted with Benjamin Moore White Diamond ceiling paint, instantly brightening up the house.
Now the Fun Part: Walls!
I went to the paint store a few times a week to stare at paint samples.
During the house-hunting process, I saw a bunch of mid-century modern homes with each room painted a different bold color: a kitchen that was lime green and aqua, or a bedroom in bright yellow next to another in blue. It seemed to work in those houses. I later tried to emulate the look with a mint green craft room (worked great!) and a blue guest room (not great!).
Luckily we stuck with a neutral, unregretted palette for most of the house, because we’re going for a modern lodge look.
- Benjamin Moore Fallen Timber
- Benjamin Moore Waynesboro Taupe
- Pratt & Lambert Shadow Beige (This taupe color is always the right choice. Everywhere I put it, it makes me happy.)
- Benjamin Moore Timid White
- Benjamin Moore Robin’s Nest
- Pratt & Lambert Bee’s Knees
- Pratt & Lambert Flushed Cheeks
- Pratt & Lambert Mint Glamour
We used Shadow Beige in the living room and dining room, with Timid White on the southern wall connecting them. My Uncle Ricky was a huge help in getting the house painted in a hurry.
Meanwhile, I stocked my first liquor cabinet in the dining room.
So Here’s What Happens When You Paint Grasscloth Wallpaper
Our house has grasscloth running down the hall, through the living room and around the dining room. It’s a lot. We gave it a light washing with a damp sponge to brighten it up, but it still needed to be scaled back a little.
I wanted to keep the texture but refresh the color, at least in the dining room section. This left me searching Google to see if I could paint wallpaper. A lot of people said no, that’s just lazy; tear it down, sand the wall and paint it right. But they didn’t know about the cool texture that I wanted to keep.
So I just went for it in spite of the advice, and I painted right onto the textured wallpaper. Here is my grasscloth painted in Fallen Timber on the left wall.
See? I do more than stock liquor cabinets.
I love how my painted grasscloth turned out, with some caveats. The texture creates shadows that make the color look darker. Fallen Timber is a chocolatey medium brown, but with the texture it looks darker on the wall. I had originally planned to paint all my grasscloth in Fallen Timber to lean into the lodge look, but after this experiment I decided one wall was just right.
To complement the dark brown wall, I painted the grasscloth around the liquor cabinet in Timid White (see the middle section behind the light in the photo below). That was enough to rejuvenate my grasscloth without having to paint the rest of it in the living room and hallway.
The last caveat is just that it took three coats of thick paint, and the coats had to be very even. That texture sucks up a lot of paint, and it was obvious when one section had less paint than another. The end result is worth it, but I probably wouldn’t want to paint a lot of real estate with this method.
If your wallpaper’s more of a shiny vinyl, then I wouldn’t recommend painting it. But you can paint your wallpaper if it has a nice rough texture that you want to keep, and you’re prepared to give it multiple coats. Paint can completely revitalize old textured wallpaper.
Now time for a drink from the cabinet?