A white room!

December 10, 2010

Hello there!! First of all, WOW, you Squeezies have some beeeeautiful Christmas trees!! There are 445 linked up so far – and you have till next Thursday to include yours. That has to be the prettiest post I’ve ever seen. :)

I’ve been working on some BIG changes in our den over the past week, and I couldn’t resist showing you the progress!

I mentioned last week that, in the middle of Christmas decor madness, I decided to finally take on the painting of our den. I know. I am a special kind of crazy. Fruit loop. Cuckoo!

When we built our house, we never had an overhead light installed in the den (bangs head against wall), so it’s always been darker in that room. I decided to go with that cozy feeling, and painted the walls a pretty brick red long ago:

den before

It was cozy, but wow…it was just so dark. I know – it’s brick red Sarah, what do you expect?! So…when I found the inspiration for this room in the form of beautiful new fabrics, I knew I was ready for a change:

UGH…I. love. them. Beautiful!

Because I was going to have to prime the whole room to start the redo, I kept putting it off. And off. And then off some more. And then off for a couple more months. And then again. For about eight months. Or so. :)

But then the crazy hit and I just had to do it NOW. In December. Yes, my husband is a saint.

I started with some supplies, thanks to True Value:

I normally use an old sheet as a drop cloth, but I got to splurge a little bit and got an actual plastic tarp. Awww yeah…that’s the good stuff.

Thanks True Value -- double thump on the chest at ya! Yo.

I chose to prime because I was covering a dark color. Since I’m using white on most of the walls, it was absolutely necessary. I don’t usually prime if I’m painting a new color over another color – even though the experts say I should. :) But when covering a dark color with a light color, it’s necessary. (You will thank me.)

It took me three hours to prime this room – it was NOT the most fun I’ve ever had, let me just tell you. Keep in mind I had to prime the ceiling as well, so that added to the FUN. :)

I only did one coat of Kilz primer, and probably should have done two. But if you don’t know by now – I am incredibly impatient. I’m like a five year old, seriously. I just want to see the final result SO BAD.

I used Dutch Boy paints for the first time on the farmhouse table I found as my new desk. I used it again for the white on the walls -- that awesome pour spout had me at hello:

Oh…I LOVE it. You may notice I use semi gloss for the white over the primer – I know the thought of a gloss on your walls gives many of you the heebs. But I’m adding molding to that part of the wall, and semi gloss over everything makes it look more custom, more authentic. It does in my little opinion – I use it with almost all of my molding projects. (To see what I mean, click here or here.)

I also went ahead and got a new Purdy brush, because I am now obsessed with Purdy brushes:

I was SO excited because I found the coolest painting tool I’ve ever seen while at True Value – a big, huge, honkin’ paint roller:

It rocked my world!! I was so excited about this baby – thoughts of finishing up the room in 45 minutes were swimming through my head.

But…I quickly realized I didn’t have a paint tray large enough to fit the honkin’ roller, and that was a big problem. I headed back to True Value and they had just sold their last one (made specifically for that roller) just hours before.

Curses!! Shakes fists in air!

I got an extra large tray and it just didn’t work – I couldn’t get the paint on evenly enough. So it was back to the regular roller -- but I will use the honkin’ roller one day…oh yes. I will. :)

What did work was this simple little paint brush comb:

IMG_2245Be. still. my. heart. This thing rocks. I think it was $5, and I am quite sure it will save me hundreds in paint brushes. Really.

I used the comb on the brush on the left after priming and painting. The one on the right…well, it’s pretty obvious I didn’t:

Can you believe it? The one on the right has been used more than two times, but still – you can see the difference it’s going to make. I won’t be without it from now on!

So, after one coat of primer on the whole room, and two coats of semi gloss white around the bottom 2/3 of the room, this is where we stand now:

white and bright!

Holy LIGHT Batman!! :) Yahooo…I love it!!

You know what’s weird? At first, after I painted over the brick red, the room seemed smaller than before. You know how everyone says dark walls make a room smaller? Sometimes I disagree – they also make the walls recede and kind of disappear in a way.

The white is without a doubt BRIGHTER. I know – duh. But it had me thinking – could I live with an all white room? Initially, I loved the crisp, clean, bright feeling so much, I thought maybe I could.

But with time, I know I need some warmth and a little bit of contrast – both of those will come with a color above the white, the beautiful fabric I showed you, and some art I can’t WAIT to show you.

I haven’t started any of that yet, but I can see it in my head and it looks ahhhmazing!  ;)

So…what do you think? There some absolutely gorgeous all white rooms out there – stunning! Could you do all white, or do you crave some color like me? This room almost made me a convert…almost. ;)


*I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.*


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  1. just love your description of this blog haha. had a few laughs along the way but im sure the outcome was just what you wanted :)

  2. Oh be still my heart! I LOVE it Sarah!!!!! :) At our new house that we're remodeling, I'm going with lighter colors and loving it! Can't wait to see the finished product because I adore your fabric choices!

  3. I am so craving an all white room!!! I love all white rooms! I add color in other ways!! The owner of the house we are renting is a man... with horrible eye sight apparently because he picked out beigy pink dark for his walls.... I swear one day I am just going to paint them white and then repaint them when we leave since I know what color he used... hmmmm.... oh goodness!

  4. Sarah,

    I vote color, any color but white. My daughter had a really colorful room as decided she wanted to go all white for a rest. Well we never like it and ended up going with a grey that we just love! Go color!!!!

  5. I know just what you mean Sarah. White looks lovely in photos, but when I tried to lighten up a bit in my new house, I suddenly had the urge to WARM things up again! Especially once Fall came. I think you can have both, though, lighter and WARMER with the right warm accents! It is going to be lovely!

  6. I am in love with the fabric....gorgeous. Worth changing the whole room for.

  7. Wow this is going to be good! can't wait to see it! I do love me some color : ) but I think it was a great move to go away from the brick red. I have had that color on the walls in two of our homes and although I love red, I am over it for awhile on the walls. The white looks fresh and clean.

  8. I love it! I always go for warmer colors because it matches the rest of my house, but I love the crisp, clean feeling of cooler colors and would LOVE to incorporate them more into my house.
    I re-decorated my bedroom in cooler colors and actually, I think the fabric on your lamp shade is the same fabric my bedspread is made from! I love that fabric!!!
    Can't wait to see the finished product!

  9. My sweet hubby painted over our dark red dining room walls and ceiling AND our bright yellow living room walls and ceiling last year (2 coats of Kilz primer all around and he never groused *outloud* to me about it, what a saint!). We didn't use white, but we did use a very light cream and I love love love it!!! Especially during these darker winter months.

    I love the look of all white rooms, but after having been renters for so many years I can't imagine having white walls by choice. That's not to say I won't change my mind about that in 5 or 15 or 25 years ;-). I've come to discover I *do* like light colors, but, for now, I prefer white as an accent color (ie, kitchen cabinets or shelves).

    Thanks for the info about the paintbrush comb, and also about the extra-wide roller and paint tray. My "woman cave" used to be my hubby's home office, and it's bright green, walls and ceiling. I keep putting off repainting it because (a) the ceiling will have to be primered too, and (b) did I mention I'll have to cover bright green?!! But it'd go lots faster with an extra-wide roller, and I'd even do it myself rather than asking the hubbers =).

  10. I just painted our master bath all white. But it lacks a little something. Without doing a major wall treatment are there any ideas out there?

  11. White rooms are so modern, clean and open! Can't wait to see the finished results YAY!!=)

  12. Hi, I'm brick red Angela! My sofa has been brick red ultra suede for a few years now. It's at the upholstery shop for a makeover. We're going neutral. YIKES!

    I look forward to watching your progress. I'm sure it's going to be beautiful!

  13. I'm headed to True Value to get one of those roller brushes, and I'll be sure to get the tray to go along with it too. I love the white by the way.

  14. Back in September we changed our red room to white also. The transformation has been amazing. So much lighter and brighter! I was told to use drywall primer to cover the red and it worked wonders. One coat of primer and two coats of paint and we were done. Looking forward to seeing your finished room.

  15. I love that moment...when you step back after putting on primer or paint and look at a room to see what difference white makes. It already looks beautiful...well, you can see it's going to be beautiful. I love that little plank table, too.

  16. Girl, you are so brave to be painting right now. You must have gobs of energy and your husband is so sweet to help you. The fabrics are gorgeous, can't wait to see how it turns out.

  17. LOOOOve the white! It's very peaceful and calm. The new fabric will give it all the color it needs. I think the light you have added is perfect!

  18. I think you will love it when all the fabrics are in place. It will be crisper, maybe even a winter and summer feel. You know, the cool of snow, gray skies, etc. But also summer because of the sand and sea colors in the fabrics. I think it's going to be quite versatile!
    My fave room in my house is GG's bedroom that we did over in a spa blue color. With the Swedish white furniture the room is so soothing. I.Love.it.

  19. I LOVE those fabrics, Sarah! I'm thinking that when we down-size I would love to do a creamy white room, not white white, but something kind of creamy ~ maybe like an Heirloom White.

  20. OK! FIRST of all....WHAT IS THE NEWS you had to UNpost earlier this week????????? YOUR KILLIN me ova herrrre!!! I have an Interior Design Business and blog...Im a COLOR gal FO SHO! However, i see these gals all over blogland with White , Crisp, Romantic rooms or FULL ON Homes...and I have White envy! I LOOOOOOVE lookin at them but not sure i could LIVE in them...FOR 3 reasons...
    1) a 10 year old names Kolton
    2) a 7 year old named Brogan
    3) a 45 year old Hubby....HA! Just Kiddin on the Hubs...KINDA?!
    3) I LOVE COLOR and Warmth!
    I am a BRICK REDS, Tuscan Golds, Chocolates GAL!
    SOOOO! Good luck on choosing..THATS a TUFF-ee

    cant wait to see the FINISHED Room!


  21. I cannot *believe* the difference a color can make in a room! You should post the two "scene" pictures side-by-side. I kept scrolling back-and-forth, amazed at the transformation!
    I've had two brick-red dining rooms and have been *itching* for about two years to add some white to the room. . .you are inspiring!!!

  22. I loved the brick red! We have that color in our kitchen, but I hear ya on the big roller. We have one and painted our bedroom with it and seriously, it took like 45 minutes to paint it. Our room is 17 x 22 so yea....it rocks. You have every right to be excited!

  23. Me, I'm a COLOR LOVER! I like to save bright white for trim and then softer shade for the walls.

    And gloss . . .only when I need to scrub like a mad woman, or boy does it show the flaws in the construction!

    But, I say . . ."be brave, be bold, or get off the pot"

  24. That big long roller is da bomb! Too bad you couldnt use it:( Im loving your transformation thus far. Cant wait to see the finished product:)

  25. Oh my what a huge change....I just did a similar thing...my daughter had BRIGHT Orange on 2 walls and Turquoise on the other 2 and then she wanted a creamy white to go over that! I wasnt' so sure about that myself as I too am a color girl but I went ahead and let her pick. We used the VALSPAR Primer/Paint and bought 2 gals for a cost of $65 because I did NOT want to paint twice and guess what? this paint WORKED...it covered GREAT and we only had to go over spots on the walls even with a lighter going over those bright colors. I was VERY impressed with this paint. We even did her cielings and had a 1/2 gal left and her room is about 13x13'. I would HIGHLY recommend this paint to anyone covering over bright colors...and I must admit I like the creamy white she has on the wall now. My daughter decided to use darker furniture and royal blue sheers with black accents...cool for a 19yr old college girl!

    I just wanted to let others know just in case they are wondering about some of those primer/paints...in my case it worked. I do need to blog my finished progress but schools gotten in the way of it being decorated completely..but stay tuned.

    I cant wait to see what you decide to do.


  26. Well, you KNOW I'm a huge fan of white rooms- but I'm ALSO a huge fan of colorful rooms too! :-)

    Can't wait to see it all come together....your fabrics are GORGE!!!


  27. Can't wait to see the finished project!! I'm REALLY hoping you do a tutorial on how you recovered that lampshade. I just got one just like it from my late grandmother's house which was in pretty "old" state, and everyone just looked at me like, "WHAT ARE YOU SMOKIN???" But I knew it could be beautiful with a little tlc :)

  28. I honestly don't know if I could live in a room that bright white, but I LOOOOOOVE looking at them and love them in other people's homes :) I think if you have enough art or other accessories on the walls then it will be fantastic. It really does look amazing, but I am just not real fond of white walls for our house. I think you will make it perfect though. The rest of your house is so gorgeous, I have high opes for this room :) I can't wait to see the whole thing!!!!!!!!

  29. I LOVE it! The fabric inspiration is amazing!!! Can't wait to see the finished results! I know it will be fabulous!

  30. It's looking fantastic! Looks like you painted the ceiling already. I love the fabrics and I am a sucker for some paisley. Love it on the shade.

  31. its looking amazing! Cant wait to see the finished product! You amaze me everytime you do a new project!

  32. OH it's dreamy already. That chandy is amazing covered in that fabric. I love the moment when you realized the roller wouldn't fit in the tray. That is so me. so excited to see it come together.

  33. Oh, we are all about white walls over here with really colorful accessories. Love it!

  34. So far loving it, can't wait to see the finished product! And can we just say that priming is the most boring job ever, especially because all you ever want to do is see what the actual paint will look like! I completely agree!

  35. I love the white! Okay that said you and everyone else are going to think I am insane but I love it EXACTLY as it is right now... The primed part reminds me of old whitewash plaster walls which I absolutely adore! When I was a young child we lived in an apartment several stories up via a tiny circular stairway in AN OLD CHURCH. I loved the texture and color of the walls (my mom HATED it!). To this day I love the imperfect texture and paint in those walls.

    Your room is going to look lovely once completed!

  36. You will not be sorry! when we moved into our home 3 years ago I painted the dining room a beautiful cranberry color. It made for a very rich and cozy room. But our furniture is dark wood and over the 3 years the room was starting to bother me. So this fall I primed and painted the lower 2/3rds of the walls white and added board and batten molding. The upper third of the walls are now a pretty green, Sherwin Williams Clary Sage, SW 6178. I am so happy with it, I'm sure you will be too. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  37. I love this look. I also have a red room that I want to lighten up and I love the gray and white together. It is very clean and organized looking. Thanks for the post!

  38. LOVE the colors! I'm thinking about painting two of my dark rooms and I would love to have that fabric. I wish I could recover my entire living room set with it!

  39. Holy light batman...lol, whew you got me laughing like crazy with that one...I can not wait to see this room done, everything you do is so awesome! Those fabrics, and colors are gorgeous!

  40. It looks to me like someone else loves the fabrics you use! See the refurbished wing chair here dated 12/3/2010:

  41. What is the name of the fabric you used to cover the shade above your table/desk and where did you get it? I love it and it would make perfect throw pillows in our family room.

  42. Have you seen the favorite color that the designers at Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Ballard Design use.....WHITE, and they manage to make the room feel warm. Have no doubt you will be able to recreate a warm room with white walls. The rooms looks so refreshed! Good luck.

  43. This is gorgeous & it isn't even done yet!! love the fabrics. You are going to be very happy!! hugs, Cathy

  44. I think your room is going to look amazing! I think white can look great, (although ALL white rooms give me the HEEBIES!)

    Our entire house is Behr toasted cashew, a pretty beigey color that looks pale and lovely during the day and warm but not dark at night,with the exception of our bedroom which is a darker shade called toasted wheat (looks amazing behind our african masks) and an accent fireplace wall that's pretty much brick red (no, there's no brick in the fireplace!).

    I say, use what you love and change it when the mood strikes! Dark colors can be serene and white can be warm and cozy, it's all about texture and accents.

  45. I'm a color lover; but I do have one white room- my dining room. It's really more of a light cream on white :) The furniture is espresso so I still get my contrast on in there :)

    Can't wait to see the end result! I'm in serious love with that desk!

    xo- Carmel

  46. Very cool! I am getting ready to tear my living room apart after the holidays. I have cruddy off-white wall paper that has probably been up since 1970! You are motivating me to get it done!


  47. HI! I painted our bedroom a WHITE white, and LOVE it! And I have similar blues in the fabrics, and a mix of white wicker and natural wood furniture too. It is cool in the summer and wintry in the winter (huh?) and it DOES seem to work for all seasons. It always feels like a serene room! But I kept our office.....brick red.....:)

  48. LOVE it! I can't wait to see the finished product - I'm sure it will be fab as usual!

  49. I just painted my 13 yo DD's room white with black, silver and fuchsia accents and it's gorgeous!
    Looking forward to seeing the final results of your room.

  50. I just painted my master bedroom white and I love it too!!!! Your room looks fabulous !

  51. I ALWAYS crave color! Can't help it. :)

  52. Nope. Couldn't do the all-white thing. Not if I were getting to choose, that is. I've lived in all-white apartments before, and that was okay. But in my house? No, thank you. I'm a lover of color, and that's that!

    Looking forward to seeing you bring to life that picture in your head! :)

  53. I love the fabrics you chose. I think it's going to look great. I'm one of those people that need color. I think it comes from growing up with a lot of white walls! I agree with you that dark colors don't make rooms look smaller. After painting a couple of bedrooms I had so many comments about how big the room looked! I will be buying one of those combs!!

  54. hello! its me again...just one other thought...if you do THIS room white...is it going to flow with the rest of your home? OR, is it going to drive you nutty and then you find yourself needing to go white throughout? I LOOVE the white, but i love color too....but just a thought as you want the house to have continuity :)
    Cant wait to see!
    AND....IM STILL DYING to hear your news!

  55. I love that Purdy comb, my husband was a professional house painter for many years so we never use anything but Purdy. And he is incredibly anal about cleaning out the brushes and keeping them like new. He'd have a cow if he saw your used brush up there LOL! That huge roller rocks! I'd have been like you, not even have thought about the tray. Sigh. I'm also like you in craving some color. I'm all about color walls (whether they be subtle or bold) and white trim. We just did our kitchen and found an amazing white called Almond Cream. LOVE it.

    And who doesn't like semi gloss on their walls? That's just weird to me LOL! Semi gloss is beautiful, not glossy and so easy to clean.

    I think your room is going to look fabulous. That fabric is gorgeous, can't wait to see the finished product!

  56. I like white when I see it in other people's houses, but for mine it feels too stark. I like really light washes of color. My two favorites I used for my kitchen/dining room and my living room recently are silver sage and manchester tan both by Benjamin Moore. Manchester Tan is the perfect creamy beige that is really light, not too green or pink or yellowy, and looks great in every light. I'm really happy with it. Silver sage is the perfect really pale green/gray. It'll be great to see the finished room!

  57. love it! Where did you get the fabric from??

  58. Loving the change... also did you make your own pendant light?


  59. Oh, I don't know if I could do that. I think maybe after a few more years in the house with color I could. The closest I could do is a bold color on top and white wainscoting on the lower half. For a bathroom, maybe? You are so brave!!!!

  60. The fabrics are DELISH! No wonder you were inspired.

  61. LOVE it! Can't wait to see the finished product! I am so impressed with all your DIY stuff...very inspiring! Although my husband probably wishes I would stop reading your blog so I quit adding projects to his list. :)

  62. One of the guys who paints for our company gave me great advice on how to cover my barn red walls when I want to go lighter (which may be soon:-))...black flat paint over the dark color works as a primer and you only need one coat. There is no bleed through, which often happens with anything with red or orange in it.

    Can't wait to see how your room turns out - getting ready to paint the powder room chocolate...starting small in preparation for the new year!


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