ETA: I’ve gotten so much great feedback on this project since it was featured on Apartment Therapy that I wanted to add an updated glamor shot in the decorated space. Seven months later, it’s still one of my favorite things in my apartment!
I painted this section of wall in an hour or so on a whim this past weekend, and I am so pleased with how it came out!
These walls. There’s a whole lot of them, but a rather disproportionate amount of surface area in comparison. My small collection of art objects sit on the few surfaces, dwarfed in comparison to the swath of grey above them. Post move, my budget is so tight it squeaks, so I’ve been trying to brainstorm creative ways to decorate without spending much.
On Saturday, I sat on the couch after breakfast, staring at the wall next to the table, when I could see what I wanted to do there. Some projects take a while to come to fruition, but every so often, the ideas come suddenly and imperatively, and those are my favorite. I was going to paint an ombré starburst pattern on the wall.
I had purchased 6 sample sizes of paint recently for a slow-to-progress project that I decided to use right away for this new project. They were four shades from one Behr color card: Duchess Rose, Juicy Passionfruit, Wet Coral and Fire Island. I learned the hard way, from painting stripes on my wall in my last room, that the sample size goes a long way for decorative accents, and buying full quarts is overkill. I still have a couple nearly-full quarts left over from that project. There was a buy-2-get-1-free sale on samples happening when I purchased these, so I bought 2 extras of the mid-tones and spent $8 on paint with leftovers.
I measured out my rectangle, 6″ in from all sides, and taped the design in 1″ painter’s tape. It took a couple re-tapings, after stepping back and deciding an angle wasn’t right, but once I had it set, I went over the edges with a credit card. A lot of stripe tutorials seem to recommend sealing the edges with wall color paint before starting, but I always skip that step and haven’t found it to be a problem.
And then the paint! I decided that the darkest color should sit in the corner, to go with the light on the wall. The next lightest shade was painted on either side until the lightest shade was reach opposite the darkest. In this pattern, I needed 5 colors, so I mixed some of the lightest with some leftover white to get the lightest shade. It would have been easiest if I had 5 small rollers and 5 paint trays, but I didn’t, so I used one paint brush that I thoroughly washed between colors. Each section was painted with two coats.
I put the fan facing the wall for 10 minutes until it was dry to the touch, and then peeled off the tape. Peeling off painter’s tape is one of the most satisfying things. I love revealing the crisp lines underneath.
And I love the way this project came out. It’s exactly what the space needed, a huge splash of color and visual interest. Add in the cost of the $5 roll of painter’s tape, and the whole thing cost $13. I’m thinking about ways in which I can do similar things in other parts of the apartment without overdoing it. I have my eye on the wall above the fireplace next!