Amazing What a Little Paint Can Do…..

So I had this wacky idea for the last couple of months.  I wanted to  do a stencil on my living room wall to liven up the space.  I originally had envisioned this totally modern vinyl stencil that would be a deconstructed take on a dandelion.  So I scoured the web and found the perfect peel-n-stick piece of artwork for the wall.  

Cute Huh?

Photo Credit: www.Chiasso.com 

I ordered the stencil and waited for it to be delivered. 

And waited. 

While I was waiting, I decided to paint the wall knowing that the paint would need to cute for up to 7 days prior to application of the stencil.  I went to Home Depot and decided upon the perfect shade of grey.  I know many people think grey is not really a color that screams warmth, but you would be surprised.  Grey is one of the few neutrals that I feel can read as both warm and cool depending on whether it has a brown or blue base to it.  I chose a grey with a brown base to coordinate with the warm wood tones already in the room from the furniture, rug and hardwood floor.  

Glidden Seal Grey in Eggshell was my partner in crime that morning

I was in love how the paint job turned out ….well more like how well my edge work turned out cause nothing annoys me more than a messy paint job.  Crisp lines and no bleed are the name of the game.  I know everyone is crazy over Frog Tape but since our Home Depot doesn’t carry it, I went with what I had.  I went with a tip I have read on several blogs and used clear nail polish.  I used a bottle of $0.99 nail polish and painted the edges of the blue tape.  I let it dry for 5 minutes and then started to paint and it turned out  close to perfect with about two minor touch ups.  

With the wall painted, I waited for the stencil.  I assumed that the stencil would arrive in the 7 day window which the wall was drying.  So I waited for the stencil to arrive.  And waited.  And waited.  I actually waited for 3 months for the stencil to arrive.  It never showed up.  After repeat phone calls and emails with Chiasso, they admitted the stencil order was misplaced and it would arrive shortly.  Enter month #4…… 

See I am not a patient person.  I like instant gratification.  Tangible rewards.  I like stuff done now.  So four months of waiting for a stencil had me edgy and pensive.  It also gave me time to think and I realized that the stencil I had ordered (and that was now on its way to my house) was not the look I wanted for the living room.  The stencil seemed too funky.  Too slick.  Too busy to go behind the TV. 

Crap.  So I panicked and scrapped the idea.  So now I had a blank grey wall and a 6ft stencil en route to me – neither of which I particularly liked in and of themselves.  Should I repaint the wall?  No, the grey color had grown on me but the wall seemed flat….almost as if it was swallowing the light in the room.  I needed something reflective to bounce light around.  A mirror was the obvious choice but one behind the television would be just as busy as the original stencil.  I contemplated for a few more days and ran across a story on Apartment Therapy about stenciling your walls with paint. 

It was like a bell went off and the heavens sang.  I could still do the stencil but with METALLIC PAINT!  Duh!  I did a quick internet search and found a stencil from Royal Design Studios called Moorish Trellis.  It was instant love.  I love me some trellis and even better, I love me some BIG TRELLIS!  From what  I could tell from the pictures online, the stencil for the Moorish Trellis was the perfect thing for my living room wall – big bold pattern and a large (and easy) repeat.  I  mention the last part because the since there was 6 trellis patterns per stencil, it would allow me to work quickly over a fairly large area of wall.  I was set.  Ordered.  And unlike the other stencil, this one arrived in 5 business days.  

While I waited for the new stencil to arrive, I went back to Home Depot to look at colors for the stencil.  As I said before, I knew I wanted reflective/metallic but wasn’t sure how to get the effect I envisioned.  Mistake One was thinking I could just buy the same color paint as my wall but in gloss to achieve a shiny almost “ghost effect” on the wall.  Didn’t work out.  Second try was to purchase a quart of Ralph Lauren metallic paint called “Iron Gate” and it was right on the money!  I loved the soft grey sheen to this paint and on my test board, it looked stunning next to the base grey paint for the wall.  

I had my paints and my stencil – I was ready to tackle this project.  I  was giddy with excitement, so much so, that I woke up at 7:30am the morning after receiving the stencil to start painting.  I dragged the TV console from the wall and covered it with plastic.  I measured the wall and found its center point and aligned it with the center point of the stencil, to ensure I ended evenly on both sides of the wall. 

Center row of stencil done.....looks pretty good so far.

I knew that I wanted the final product to look like wallpaper, so I opted to roll the stencil paint on rather than use a brush.  Using a roller makes me even application and a uniform finish.  I also used a spray adhesive to help me hold up the stencil as I rolled.  The stencil came with pre-marked “navigation points” to ensure you were aligning the design properly.  I also used a laser level to ensure I wasn’t going astray with the design.  Once I got the hang of it, it went pretty quickly with the accent wall taking about 3.5 hours in total to finish.  The whole project including set-up and clean-up took about 5 hours, so by 1pm that afternoon, I had the wall done and the room back in order. 

Completed Accent Wall

And what do I think?  I think the wall is perfect.  Wonderful.  If it was edible, I would eat it.  In other words, I am really pleased with the outcome, so much so that I am looking forward to doing a whole room in Imperial Trellis very soon.  

As for the original stencil, it did find a home after a bit of playing Goldilocks, but that is for another post.

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84 thoughts on “Amazing What a Little Paint Can Do…..

  1. You have inspired me. I have been looking for a great stencil like that & actually tried to get Kristin (the one who inspired Centsational Girl) to create one! Thanks you!
    Karen

  2. You rock! What a GORGEOUS wall. Thank you so much for your wonderful instructions & for CG’s link. I cannot wait to look around more on your site!

  3. Love this! You did a great job! Can I ask if you used the Moorish Trellis pattern or the Pro Moorish Trellis, I couldn’t really tell a difference between them. Thanks!

  4. Amazing! I love it!!! Here is my question… Why didnt the gloss paint in the same color work? I am *right this very second* waiting for my large dining room wall to dry so I can paint semi-gloss stripes on it… now youre making me think it wont work!!! please please tell me!

    • Megan – there wasn’t enough contrast between the eggshell and the semi-gloss paint for my liking. When the semi-gloss was first applied, it looked fantastic, but as it dried, the sheen became very subtle to the point where I had to stand to the side of the wall just to see the design. I wanted it to be reflective, almost like water and wasn’t getting that result. I wanted more of a “statement” and the semi-gloss was a “whisper” in my opinion.

      However, if I may make a suggestion regarding paint techniques, I always keep an old canvas around that I try stuff out on first before doing them to the walls. It allows me to tweak the design or technique before tackling the real deal. After I do my “test run”, I just paint it back white so it will be ready for the next test run. Pre-stretched canvas runs about $10 at Michaels or Joann’s.

      But I would paint a stripe, let it dry completely and see how it looks before doing the wall. At least if the technique doesn’t work out, you won’t have wasted your time painting an entire wall.

  5. Pingback: Centsational Girl » Blog Archive » More Trellis Awesomeness

  6. LOVE the wall Courtney! Came over from Censational Girl to see your work. I’ve been toying with this idea for a small powder room. I had the same question as Megan (about why the gloss didn’t work). Do you think gloss and not semi-gloss would?

    • Gloss paint should work ALOT better I believe. The semi-gloss wasn’t shiny enough when dried, but the gloss paint may be the perfect solution. you just need to be certain that the color of the paint doesn’t change on the wall due to the reflection of light. If you do go ahead with the paint project, please send me a pic….would love to see how it turns out.

  7. Oh, I just love the result of this!! It looks stunning. Your color choices are perfect, I would love to try this project in my bedroom, I already have a VERY similar grey on the wall so 1 step down!! So you did not trace anything with pencil first right, just straight to rolling paint on? Thanks for sharing this project, and PS. Imperial Trellis will look amazing too :)
    Nancy

  8. Wonderful tutorial! I’m moving to a new house next week and plan to stencil one wall of the master bedroom. You’ve inspired me to try it your way. Seems fast and easy.

    Sincerest Thanks!

  9. I am trying to convince my husband that we should attempt this in our office. His arguement is that the walls would have to be completely smooth and that ours has a slight texture. Can you tell me if your walls had any texture and if so was that an issue with getting the pattern straight? I love what you did. Amazing impact for a small amount of money! Thanks for your input!

    • The look works best with a smooth wall, but the beauty is that if you use a flat paint as your base, you actually minimize the the imperfections that appear. What imperfections that may remain to the naked eye are them masked by the pattern of the stencil. I actually think a stencil is perfect for an uneven wall for all the above reasons.

    • I’ve been wanting to do the exact same contrast in our master bedroom and we have an orange peel texture inour house. I did try and stencil my daughters nursery right from creating my own stencil and I although I did run into the paint bleading problem, finally after a few trai and error I found what worked to prevent it. Just letting the paint dry in the paint tray for 2-3 hrs uncovered caused the paint to thicken just the right amount and didnt bleed anymore. My base was an eggshell and the stenciled color was a satin of a different color. It was so not the contrast I was looking for….should have used mettalic for the stencil…but thats not the point….. You definetly might want to try the dry it out and apply method. I did apply the stencil with an artist brush….cause thats what I had on hand other than the roller.somehow the roller didnt work for me. Think any stiff brush should work

  10. Pingback: A Quilt That Bloggers Built (or Sewed) « Living Life Out Loud

  11. I saw your post via Centsational Girl. Fantastic job! Gray paint is always tricky. My gray wall turned out a bit bluish, but I just adore your shade. Thanks for the stencil link – I’ve been looking for something exactly like this.

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  15. That is actually very nice. Which company does the wall decor belong to? I want to add it to my collection! :) We have a boring navy feature wall in my lounge room and my husbands nagging me for more wall decor ideas. Anyway, thanks for the post x

  16. so, you were featured on my friend’s blog, k.f.d. designs (http://kfddesigns.blogspot.com). you may know already, but just in case you didn’t, you do now. anyway, i want to do this in my hallway, but i’m totally scared to death. easy? intermediate? difficult? you make it sound so easy, but i will destroy everything i touch. promise.

    • Oh cool. Who knew this project would spread :) But honestly, I am not one of those DIY folks who can tackle difficult projects with ease. However, I am a planner. I used two canvases to do a test before I did the actual wall. And honestly, it was easy once I got the hang of it using the test boards. Here are the tricks I found:
      1) Use a dry roller: Put the paint on a foam roller and then roll it off on a stack of paper towels. You want the roller almost dry with a touch of paint.
      2) Start in the center: Measure your wall and measure your stencil. Then you can put both in the middle and start from there. That way you can have the pattern finish on the edges rather than in an awkward area.
      3) You will mess up: It is part of the learning process but also remember it’s paint. You can always paint over it. I did plenty of touch-ups on the wall, with the worst offenses being hidden by a very large TV :)

      Seriously, try…..cause it’s the only way you can learn. It’s gonna be totally fine. Don’t fear it!

  17. Pingback: Powder Room Wall Graphic « Living Life Out Loud

  18. excellent color choice! the wall looks so amazing that it inspired me to try it despite the 5-hr estimate…sigh* =D
    how did you stop the paint from running outside of the stencil?
    I tried it and it was smearing, eventhough I rolled with very little paint on =(

  19. Hello,
    I just found your blog and loved it! Your wall is beautiful!
    I’m finishing painting a client’s powder-room. It’s a diferent technique, but I’m using a Benjamin Moore pearlized paint. The effect is amazing!

  20. After seeing your post, I bought the exact same stencil for my dining room. Now that I have started planning it out, I have encountered a problem – how would you tackle let’s say, the edge of a window frame where the stencil wouldn’t lay flat? Any suggestions would be helpful! :)

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  23. It turned out wonderful… but I’m a little biased=) I did the same exact design on my wall, but I created my own stencil off of an image I found on Google! Looks great girl!!

  24. I am absolutely in love with what you did. I was hoping to reproduce the same thing in my house. Is there any chance you can send me the paint color/code for the base grey?
    Thanks a lot and keep up the amazing work!

    • Maha :

      I am absolutely in love with what you did. I was hoping to reproduce the same thing in my house. Is there any chance you can send me the paint color/code for the base grey?
      Thanks a lot and keep up the amazing work!

      Maha – the base grey is Seal Grey from Glidden in eggshell.

  25. I found your blog via a google search for Glidden Seal Gray. I painted my bedroom this color and absolutely love it! What a beautiful stencil and wall, great job!

  26. Courtney!! AMAZING house! I actually stumbled upon your site when Googling the Moorish Stencil – your accent wall came up and I decided I loved EVERYTHING about your wall. So there I go off to Home Depot to pick up the same paints you used and I came to find the colors looked SO much darker on the swatches than they do on your walls. (I especially was surprised to see that Iron Gate was a darker color than Seal Gray.) My question is what kind of lighting do you have in that room and does the wall in fact look darker in person than it does in your pictures? I live in NYC and converted our 2 bedroom apartment into a 3 bedroom so our living room has ZERO natural light – no windows. Such a shame. But I’m afraid if I use the same colors my room will look terribly dark. I worked with the paint guy and we came up with some custom colors but nothing that I’m crazy about. I would love to use the same colors you used, but I just am really scared of how dark it will be. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!! And from now on I will be obsessively checking this blog – I am in love. Keep up the great work!

  27. Love how it turned out! I recently ordered some stencils but was a little more than miffed when they arrived in pieces- apparently I’m supposed to line them up myself – ah well, the more complex the project, the happier I’ll be when it’s finished.

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  29. WOW. I stumbled across this googling stencil in general. I am building a new home and am planning the painting now. I had been planning the same grey with brown tone paint for my master – but the wallpaper accent wall – a Candace Olsen print I adored with glass beading – is just too pricey – hence my google search for stencils. And your story about the tone on tone striping I just can’t believe, spooky, cause I am planning chunky horizontal stripes from my kitchen into my great room, I imagine them traveling through – and now I am thinking maybe the high gloss isn’t enough and that I should ask them to mix with a slight metallic? I swear I think you might be my more perfect design twin. So, you have me hooked. I am so reading this whole blog tonight, and I am going to try to do the stencil in lieu of the wallpaper. I wasn’t exactly sure how (as this is about the first 40 minutes of my interest in stencil work) how do you get the stencil to stick to the wall while you do this? Did I just gloss over that part? I’ll re-read your post in a minute…. you are totally and completely a genius. I love it.

  30. This is AMAZING! I read the entire post and most of the comments. I’ve got Ralph Lauren’s Iron Gate for the stencil coat, but what is the name of the paint color beneath? I think your color combo is PERFECTION. I don’t want to start with the wrong grey but I DO want to mimic you as close as possible! :) Thanks!

  31. I just ordered my Moorish Trellis. Unfortunately, Home Depot doesn’t do sample paints in metallics (??) so I am going to have to use my best judgement since the quarts are just too expensive to buy as a tester. I am also now using a metallic/paint mix for my great room striping. I will be sure to send pictures when done. Won’t be until Dec 19th or so, but they’ll be coming!

    • Janice – really? That sucks majorally that HD doesn’t do samples of metallics since you really need to see them dry and in your room. However, I am excited to see your handiwork and look forward to seeing the results in December :)

      Happy holidays!

  32. Hi Courtney! I just emailed the pics of my Moorish Trellis stencil work – as promised. I didn’t see a way to post directly to your blog, so I sent to your gmail account.

    I made a feature wall in my new master bedroom. I used Marthat Stewart’s metallic tin and MS’s Heavy Goose. It took me 9 hours – but, my wall was pretty large. The windows presented more of a challenge, but when I was finished, it was all worth it.

    FYI to anyone considering this, a couple words of advice – the repositionable spray adhesive is a MUST – trying to just use tape is messy, slow and unnecessary. Also, Home Depot is soon to discontinue Martha Stewart and all metallic paints – Lowe’s already has discontinued ANY AND ALL metallic paints. I assume you can still get these at specialty paint stores but I didn’t check. Finally – completely and totally worth ALL the toil.

    Cheers!

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  35. Have you found a stencil for the Imperial Trellis or were you planning on making your own? I have been trying to hunt down an Imperial Trellis stencil forever!

  36. Hey Courtney! I love, love, love ur wall and would like to do the same in my master bedroom which is fairly large. I was wondering what the other 3 walls in the room color is or if you could recommend a color that I could use on the other 3 walls that would b perfect!

  37. I saw you on the House Proud segment of the Nate Burkus Show, and fell IN LOVE with your stenciled wall treatment. THANK YOU for the inspiration and for sharing such detailed step-by-step instructions. I will be attempting to recreate your GORGEOUS wall treatment on my bedroom wall… I can’t wait to get started!!!

  38. Because of your wall, I did it in my living room as well. I love it!!! I used Behr’s Himalayan Mist with a Pearl paint. It looks amazing!! Thanks for the idea.

  39. Hi there! Can you recommend a paint to work with the grey you chose? I only want to do a grey feature wall in an office space but can’t picture the color for the other 3 walls. Thanks!

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