Painting wood

So this is me stamping my foot and saying, “Listen up, people. I’m not talking just to hear myself talk. Lets go through this one more time.”

No more than three woods per room. The floor, the entertainment unit and the window trim.  Or the floor, the entertainment unit and the side tables.  NOT the floor, the table, the dining chairs, the window trim, the blinds, the base boards, the moulding,  the buffet and hutch or entertainment unit, side tables, lamp bases  and a “feature wall.”  We all love our wood, but it is rather like chocolate – one or two pieces is good. Three is borderline; a meal of chocolate can be just a bit much. Less is more. Typical wood trim can be painted, and often it should be painted. There is no rule that says that wood must not be painted, and there are a lot of guidelines that suggest that too much wood can overpower a room design. Too much wood can be stifling, it can absorb light and darken an otherwise well-lit room.  It can draw the eye away from the focal point in the room, it can make an other-wise calm room appear cluttered.  And, unless multiple woods are chosen with a keen eye for color and undertones, mixing woods can reduce the beauty of each piece instead of enhancing them.

I rarely get on a high horse or soap box about stuff, but the “Can’t paint the wood!!” comment I so frequently hear really needs to be put away. I rarely hear this comment from from clients under a certain age, and I hear it frequently from clients above that age. I agree that painting old, well-worn pieces that shimmer with the patina of the ages is not a particularly good idea, but we are not talking about antiques. We are talking about the wood used in home interiors and most of that wood is not spectacular or special.

Too much wood can also date your rooms.  Seriously date them. When was this house built: baseboards, crown moulding, stair spindles, built-ins, mantle, coffee table, end tables and doors all in oak?  (This is a real room in a local house. I’m not making that up.) This may not be a consideration for you now, but if you plan to sell, you will need to fix this. Because in today’s market this is a situation that needs to be fixed;  wood everywhere is not good design, or good decoration.

Spend a minute and look around your rooms. If you need fresh eyes, call me.

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