How to paint with an accent

Okay, grab your paint brush and start replacing your A’s with R’s, now you’ll… wait, I went back home to Maine for a moment, wrong accent article. Let’s start that over.

It’s time to change the feel of your living room, but you’re running a bit short, short on time, short on money, short on creative ideas. I have four words and a comma for you: Don’t panic, accent paint. Accent paint, like accent furniture, adds a small amount of style in strategic places around the room to create a whole new different look and feel. The beauty of this project is you don’t have to repaint your entire living room to change the style which saves you time, effort, and money.

Before you start your project, figure out what you want and what you have to work with. Want to go for a lighter, brighter, coastal look? Easily done. Got a lot of old furniture that needs to be either resurrected or retired? Great! Your new furniture is still coated in protective plastic sheeting? No problem. It’s best to go through your living room with a check list of what can be repainted or replaced and what cannot be altered or removed. Once you have your new theme, style, and tone figured out it’s time to start painting with an accent.

The easiest way to add accent touches is just replace your current accents, such as side tables, small chairs, and sofa tables, with accent furniture in a color that matches your new color scheme…but that wouldn’t make for a good DIY article which is why I’m going to tell you how to apply a simple coat of paint a few lines down. Now what you paint is rather important because you don’t want to overwhelm, or take too much time, painting. Also, from personal experience, the larger an area you are painting, the higher the possibility of mistakes, uneven brush strokes, and dripping rivulets of paint which will stick out like a sore thumb. Pick accent furniture you want to, and can, paint. This will not be the family heirloom or finely polished mahogany side table,

Above: A Seven Seas Accent Table from Hooker Furniture. Not a table to paint

But will be the $5 table that looks atrocious in natural light.
Above: A table you can, and should, paint
You can also paint on small, naturally bordered sections of the wall, such as the ends of bookshelves or on pieces of molding, as long as you follow these helpful painting instructions.

  1. Buy the paint you need. There are many different types of paint, such as latex and oil based, which will require different drying times and conditions. Paint also tends to come in glossy (really shiny) satin (semi shiny) or flat (no shine at all) so keep that in mind. Ask a paint expert before you buy the paint, just to be sure if it’s what you need. Also remember to get the brush sizes you need, a large brush for a small job will cause problems and a small brush for a large job will cause headaches.
  2. Prepare to paint. Painting on the wall or painting furniture, you will always need to prepare your surface. Remove any wax or sealant with sand paper or a striping agent. Wash and dry your surface. Also remember to put down plastic paint sheets and painters tape on any surfaces you do not intend to put paint on, elsewise Murphy’s Law dictates that paint will get on those places.
  3. Paint! Dip the tip of your brush into the paint, don’t submerge it up to the handle. The bristles will naturally wick the paint up the brush and give you enough paint to work with. Apply smooth, even strokes with the brush to your surface. Be gentle, a little goes a long way. Smooth over any bubbles or raised brush strokes. You will only want a thin layer of paint to ensure even drying, uneven drying will cause discoloration in your paint job which will make you curse the world in the end. You can always apply additional layers to get a darker or richer color. Painting takes some time which is why you’re only painting a small section of your living room. And remember to paint in a well-ventilated area and follow any manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Clean up!
Above: Words to live by

WASH YOUR BRUSHES. Wash off water based paint (it will say on the paint can) in water and oil based paint in mineral spirits or other paint thinner. Wash your brushes even if you’re putting your brush down for twenty minutes, elsewise you’ll need another brush as the bristles will get gummed up with dried on paint.

It’s really that simple. With a few painted accent pieces your living rooms tone and feel will change. Painting doesn’t have to be a pain and painting with an accent will be a relatively small and easy project because you don’t need to paint an entire wall, just a few square feet. And if you really want to paint with an accent, replace all of your A’s with R’s and think of the rugged Maine coast as you paint your accent furniture.