A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Seeing Red

Continuing with the staging of our current house, I knew I had to at least paint the ceiling in the living room. Why? Well, I had painted it red. Not cherry or fire engine red. It was a warm red, kind of brick-ish. The walls were red too. Yes, all FOUR walls plus the ceiling. Well, technically 3 walls. The 4th wall had a large opening into the dining room.

red wallsWe spent days working on the walls. We painted a darker faux finish on the bottom half with a chair rail around the room. I had planned to do something with the chair rail, either installing wood or painting a trompe l’’oeil (“fool the eye”) to make it look like wood, but after spending days on the walls, I just ran out of steam. So the chair rail is just solid warm red. The upper portion has some veining to it and then a whitewash over it, so it’’s lightened up.

It drives me nuts when people say, “But a dark color will make the room look small!” It’’s like the buzz phrases in a political campaign. Once it’’s said enough times people just believe it without knowing the real facts. Dark colors make things recede. And according to Benjamin Moore’’s web site:

Actually, contrast, not color, makes a room seem smaller because your eye darts all over the room to focus on various objects within the space. Monochromatic schemes of any color (light or dark) create the illusion of space by eliminating contrast.

Regardless, I don’’t look at every room in my house and think, “’How can I make this room look really big?’” For one, cozy can be really nice. For another, why does everything have to be big? I don’’t want to feel lost in a room. Anyway, the red ceiling created a warm feeling in the living room. On the down side, the lighting wasn’’t the greatest, and I’’m lighting-challenged anyway. I’’m not good with choosing lamps or placing lighting in the proper areas. So on Sunday mornings when we’’d sit down with our coffee and the Chicago Tribune, we’d usually have to turn on a light or two.

I was loath to paint the walls “neutral”, because many people liked what we did, but I know that many other people, probably the majority, are afraid of dark colors AND afraid of paint. The ceiling was another story. I figured there would be few who didn’’t have a problem with it, and I just didn’’t want it to be an issue. Luckily I had some leftover paint, so one day I just buckled down and did it. It’’s now beige, although it looks really white. It took one coat of primer and one coat of paint. Benjamin Moore all the way. I think it pays to use quality paint.

This is the view from the front foyer.
white ceiling

This is how it looked with the red ceiling (I don’’t think I have a “before” picture, so this is simulated).
red ceiling

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