Give Your Home the Cottage & Lived-In Look With These Painting Techniques

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There’s been a trend in recent years to use decorative painting techniques to make a house look old or lived-in. We’ll discuss a few techniques in the following paragraphs.

We add glaze on walls to make surfaces appear older and more rustic. We’ve done rathskellers in homeowners’ basements, and a glaze, a thinner paint or varnish will create a translucent quality to wood or plaster. Layer it up with various colors. Then distress it with chains, bags of bolts, sandpaper, chisels—anything you can find to give the surface a distressed look.

You can also use an aging glaze or tea stain to make the surface look dirty. It adds patina, which occurs naturally with surfaces over time. Add pigment to a varnish, like an amber or a green to a kitchen table and its chairs, and it will appear as though you found the table in a vintage shop.

These techniques work wonders in kitchens, particularly with cabinets. Instead of buying an all new cabinet set, take your existing cabinets, clean them, paint and distress them and then finish with a glaze to give them what we call the “Cottage Look.” On a budget, you can dramatically change the look and feel of a kitchen, and it will save you a lot of money on your home projects.

Use old plaster techniques and texture to give the surface an irregular quality instead of the traditional smooth surface. Plaster walls can be chipped and mottled for aging effect. Consider using crackle paints, which are designed to crack and age the surface to make it appear twenty years older.

Remember that the key is to make surfaces look aged instead of dirty. This is an important distinction. An aging project will be successful if someone walks into the space and says something to the effect of, “I like this room but I don’t know why.”

Color theory is also very important in achieving the aged and lived-in look. Certain colors like weathered green and burnt amber are particularly effective. We also see a lot of hues of tans and whites. A faux finish can be used to make walls or cabinets look white-washed.

Call or email Lakeside Painting to discuss other techniques with our skilled painters and estimators.

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