My new house was my pride and joy. Just a little two-bedroom, one-bath brick, but it was all mine (and, of course, the bank’s). There were just a few things I needed to do to make my own statement. Knock out a wall between the kitchen and dining room, rip up some carpet to show off the hardwood floors, and paint, paint, paint. Now, I’m no idiot (I thought), so I hired a top-notch contractor to knock out the wall, and he did a fantastic job for a reasonable price. I got rid of that horrible carpet, and to my pleasant surprise, the hardwood floors were beautiful. My little house was beginning to reflect my tastes. All that was left was the painting, and I could do that myself with no problems, right? Yeah, right.
The color on the swatch was so pretty. A nice sage green that looked soothing and added just enough color to be fun, but still remain neutral enough to go with everything, including the brand new custom-made sofa I’d just purchased. And the price was right … discontinued, so it was discounted enough to fit the tiny budget I had left after down-payment and closing costs.
The first thing I did was to painstakingly paint the unfinished entertainment center. It was a tough job, since I needed to paint the insides and all the little crevices to make it look just right. In fact, I spent so many hours gnarling my body to fit inside those shelves that a Cirque du Soleil gymnast would have marveled. At last, I was finished. I stepped back. Hmm. Not real crazy about it, I thought. Maybe it’ll look better after I paint the walls.
So, I painted all the walls … and I mean all the walls. Living room, dining room. I even textured the walls in the sun room. I stepped back and assessed after every wall was finished. Still not crazy about it. But what was I to do? I owned more than half a dozen cans of discounted paint in a discontinued color that couldn’t be returned, and I had no money left to buy any more. Maybe when the sofa comes I’ll like it better.
The sofa looks horrible! It’s nothing like the color I’ve painted the rooms! And the whole disaster was nothing like the color of that tiny 3-inch swatch!
So how did I fix this fiasco? I watched every DIY designing show I could find, and I bought beautiful house magazines by the gross. I learned how to turn design disaster into design delight with accessories … rugs and runners, curtains and cornices, trinkets and treasures. I must say, when it was all finished, my little house looked quite lovely. And it only cost me double what I had intended on spending. Yep, that’s right. That 3-inch swatch, that discounted paint, and my pig-headed refusal to admit, every step of the way, that I needed to make a swift U-turn off disaster drive, ended up costing me twice my budget. In the words of People’s Court’s Judge Marilyn Milian, “Lo barato sale caro” … The cheap comes out expensive.
My negative experience doesn’t have to happen to anyone else. These days, many companies, including Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, have websites where you can test out paint colors in different rooms of the house right on your computer. If I’d had this tool 15 years ago when painting my house, it would have saved me dozens of hours, hundreds of dollars, and a host of headaches.