Decorating Made Easy: Decorating with the 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is a tested concept used by interior decorators everywhere.  It’s a simple proportion that spells out the ideal amounts of color to use in your decorating.

To keep it as simple as possible, 60% of your room should be composed of your dominant color, 30% should be composed of a secondary color and that final 10% should be reserved for accents.  Now, maybe that sounds a little confusing . . . so here are some examples:

This room is a perfect example of the 60-30-10 rule in practice. 60% = Lavendar (walls and blanket) 30% = White (bed and fireplace) 10% = brown/tan (chairs, dresser, floor)

This room is a perfect example of the 60-30-10 rule in practice.
60% = Lavendar (walls and blanket)
30% = White (bed and fireplace)
10% = brown/tan (chairs, dresser, floor)

 

 

 

Another great example: 60% = Tan (walls, floors) 30% Brown (couch, tables) 10% Blue and White (pillows, vases, etc.)

Another great example:
60% = Tan (walls, floors) 30% Brown (couch, tables)
10% Blue and White (pillows, vases, etc.)

 

 

 

A classic example showing that you don't need a soft, muted color on your walls to make this work. 60% = Red (walls, accessories) 30% = Cream (furniture, rug) 10% = Tan (floor, accessories)

A classic example showing that you don’t need a soft, muted color on your walls to make this work.
60% = Red (walls, accessories)
30% = Cream (furniture, rug)
10% = Tan (floor, accessories)

 

Another great example that clearly demonstrates that the main color doesn't need to be calm, simple, neutral or BORING! 60% = Green (walls, accessories) 30% = White (furniture, art prints) 10% = Dark Brown (floors, chair legs)

Another great example that clearly demonstrates that the main color doesn’t need to be calm, simple, neutral or BORING!
60% = Green (walls, accessories)
30% = White (furniture, art prints)
10% = Dark Brown (floors, chair legs)

 An example that proves you can use the 60-30-10 rule to work incredibly vibrant and bold colors smoothly into your decorating. 60% = Blue (walls, light) 30% = Pink (bedspread, chair, painted leaves) 10% = White (trim, doors)

An example that proves you can use the 60-30-10 rule to work incredibly vibrant and bold colors smoothly into your decorating.
60% = Blue (walls, light)
30% = Pink (bedspread, chair, painted leaves)
10% = White (trim, doors)

The color options are endless and it’s not difficult to see that using this rule helps you keep your color scheme under control and helps you produce an end result that’s very focused, very clean and very inviting!

Bad Uniforms and What They Teach Us About Paint

white_sox_shortsThe year was 1976.  The team was the Chicago White Sox.  The Sport?  Major League Baseball.  Yes.  Major League Baseball.

Maybe some of you remember this, maybe this is new to many of you, but for 3 games in 1976, the White Sox sent their players out on the field wearing…yes, shorts.  And not cool, baggy shorts. No.  Tight, clingy shorts.  With their socks pulled up all the way to their knees.

This alone would have been bad–a fashion faux-pas of epic proportions–but the designers of this sleek little number weren’t done.  They added to the shorts what would have been a boring white shirt were it not for the GI-NORMOUS 1970’s black collar.

Together, the whole outfit was so horrible, I’m pretty sure opposing teams refused to even take the field against the White Sox.  White Sox players themselves likely spent hours in counseling and therapy sessions after being ridiculed and laughed into oblivion by former fans.

And yet, what’s interesting to me is that underneath that ridiculous outfit, these men were still Major League Baseball players.  They are/were more successful than me by a long shot and yet, looking at the pictures, it’s almost impossible to think of them that way.

It’s a perfect example of that old saying about how the clothes make the man (or, of course, woman).  When we say that, we know that clothes don’t CHANGE who we are, but they certainly affect how we are perceived.

For example, think of the manliest man playing the game today–I’m not going to whitesox1976aname names, you just get somebody in your mind.  Picture that player and then dress him–in your mind–in this bozo outfit from the 1970s.  Give him shorts and white socks with black stripes pulled up to his ankles.  Put that little shirt on him with the big fluffy disco collar.  I guarantee if you do that, you’ll be unable to take him seriously.  The goofy get-up doesn’t change who he is, but it certainly changes who we think him to be.

Now let’s shift gears and talk about paint.

Your home–your living room, your kitchen, the exterior of your home itself–can be in great shape.  It can be solid, well-built, brand-new.  It can be composed of the highest quality materials and consist of the best workmanship known to mankind.  It can be all of those things, but if the paint colors are boring or were poorly chosen, all of the quality underneath remains hidden.

Look again at the pitcher in the top picture.  He may be a tremendous athlete (and even if he wasn’t, he’s still likely 20X more fit than most of us).  And yet, even though that may all be true, he looks so silly in his little shorts and his big collar and pulled-up socks that I look more manly sitting here typing this story about paint colors than he does throwing curveballs and 4-seam fastballs.

As I said earlier, clothes MAKE the man–they alter our perceptions–and the same is true with your home.  You can take the best, highest quality workmanship and hide all that quality beneath poor paint jobs and lousy color choices.

It’s a remarkable concept:  an athlete takes years and years of sweat and work and effort to hone him or herself to be the best he or she can be in their sport.  Just like those White Sox players.  And yet, all that work can be tossed out in a minute when you cover them over with a stupid-looking uniform.  You can spend hours and hours and tons of money making your home exactly the way you want it, but if you choose the wrong paint color–something that simple and that superficial–the rest of the work is cheapened.

So all that to say, choose wisely.  Color matters.  The right colors can make your home look like something out of a magazine and the wrong colors can make it look like kids built it.  Choose the right colors!

How to Clean Up Latex Paint Spills

Vector design of colorful paint spill grunge

On a number of different posts here, I’ve talked about paint tools you need to own:  certain brushes, certain rollers and so on.  However, a must-have tool for every do-it-yourself painter or professional contractor is something that’s not as obvious:  a wet/dry vacuum.

Believe it or not, this can be one of the most helpful, time-saving (and potentially life-saving) tools in your arsenal.  See, when people paint inside their homes, one of the most common occurrences involves a ladder, a paint tray and the innate human desire to take short-cuts.  Typically, it works like this:  you’ve got your paint tray hooked to your ladder and you’re happily working your way around your room.  At some point, you decide to move the ladder and, because you’re almost at the end of your project, you decide just to pull the ladder–after all, if you do it carefully, there’ll be no problem, right?  Well, normally there isn’t.  But every now and then, the ladder hits something and before you know it, the paint tray goes over the edge, hits your carpet (it always misses the dropcloth!) and you’ve got a mess.

And that’s why having a shop-vac on hand is such a life-saver:  it gives you your best chance of dealing with the mess and preventing it from becoming a disaster.

However, having the right tool on hand is one thing.  Knowing how to use it is another.  So, with that in mind, here’s how you go about using your shop-vac to clean up a LATEX paint spill:

DON’T PANIC

The first thing you need to do–as is the case with any emergency–is to resist the natural urge to freak out.  Yes, you spilled paint on the new carpet.  Yes, it’s a mess.  Yes, you’ll probably be in big trouble with someone else in your home.  But freaking out and running around in circles isn’t going to help you save your neck.  Calm, cool thinking wins out every time.  So stay calm.  That’s step one.

COLLECT YOUR TOOLS

Calmly (but quickly) grab a bucket of water, some old rags and either a couple wide (6″-10″) putty knives or some scraps of cardboard.

REMOVE PAINT FROM THE SURFACE

Start your clean up by removing as much paint as you can from the surface.  You can do this by scraping it (carefully) off with the wide putty knives or the ripped up scraps of cardboard.  Use either of these items to scoop as much paint off the carpet as possible and return it to the paint tray–NOT THE BUCKET (since you don’t want to add any contaminant to your paint bucket).

BRING ON THE DAMP RAGS

After the excess paint has been removed and you’re left with the paint that’s soaked into the carpet, bring out your damp rags.  Use these to sponge the spot and remove as much of that soaked-in paint as possible.

BREAK OUT THE WET/DRY VAC

After you’ve done all of this, it’s time for the WET/DRY vacuum.  Hit the spot carefully and pull up as much paint as possible.  Introduce more clean water, work it around with your fingers or hand and then vacuum it back up.  Do this again and again and again until the paint has been completely removed.  Don’t quit with this step until you feel you’ve pulled out as much of the paint from the spill as you’re going to get.  Once you let it dry, you’re done–you can’t go back for a second try tomorrow night.

DRY THE CARPET WELL

Once the paint’s removed, carefully blot the wet area with dry towels (don’t scrub the spot with your towels as you can damage your carpet that way.)  Blot the area, removing excess moisture and then put a fan on the area and allow it to thoroughly dry.

If you follow these steps carefully and thoroughly, in about 24 hours, the spot should show no signs at all of the near tragedy that happened there.  And all because you had a wet/dry vacuum in your tool belt!

4 Ways to Speed Up Your Next Weekend Paint Project!

driving-933281_1280The thought of tackling a painting project doesn’t always fill us with excitement.  In fact, a lot of us dread these “weekend-killers.”  Many of us don’t get all warm and fuzzy over the thought of spending tons of time painting.  At least I know I don’t.

Oh, the painting isn’t really the problem–that part’s relatively fun.  It’s the washing of the walls, the patching of the nail holes, the taping.  It’s the PREP WORK that I really hate.  And I hate it because it adds so much time to my project.

But there’s a simple fix for this:  Do the Prep Work Early!

PATCH THOSE NAIL HOLES

If you’re going to try to roll paint on your living room walls on a Saturday morning, then take 15 minutes on a Monday night and go around the room filling all the nail holes with a good spackling compound.  We recommend White Lightning Lightweight Spackle or Crawford’s Spackling.  Go around the entire room and fill ALL the nailholes and then quit for the night.

SAND THE SPACKLING

The night after you spackled all your nail holes, take another 15 minutes and go around the room doing a quick sanding of those spots.  By this point, (if you’ve truly waited 24 hours) the spackling will be bone dry and will powder nicely as you sand it.  This stage of the project should only take you 15 quick minutes as you work your way around that room.

WASH THE WALLS

Every paint job should start with a good wall washing using TSP (TriSodium Phosphate).  However, washing the walls down on the day you want to paint can really slow you down–it’ll take a good 30 minutes to an hour to wash the walls and then another 15 minutes or so for them to dry.  Avoid all of this by washing the walls down early. Just as we mentioned with the spackling and the sanding, take a night in the week BEFORE you plan to start painting and go around the room, washing the walls down.  Doing this will save you all that time on the day of your project.

ROLL OUT THAT MASKING TAPE

Finally, the night before you plan to do your work, apply your masking tape to all your trim and around your doors and ceilings, etc.  Of course, if you’re going to do this, you’ll want to use either 3M’s Blue Painter’s Masking Tape or 3M’s Blue (Orange Core) Safe Release Painter’s Tape.  Both of these tapes will still cleanly remove after being applied early!

If you tackle these prep work steps early, you’ll have more nights of work–but, each night will be relatively short AND, best of all, when the weekend arrives, all the boring work will be out of the way.  All you’ll need to do is pop the top on your gallon of paint and start rolling your new color on your walls.

Accomplishing this work early is a great way to minimize the frustration of a paint project.  Give it a try–you’ll like the results!

Don’t Poison the Waterhole: How to Keep Spiderwebs and Dirt Out of Your Paint

hannah_helping_in_the_kitchen

This is Hannah. Never drink out of anything she’s already used. Ever.

OK, the other day I experienced something I hope never, ever, ever to experience again.  NEVER. EVER.

Let me explain.  It all started innocently enough while I got the kids their dinner the other day.  My wife was gone and I was in charge.  I made them spaghetti-O’s and then put a pitcher of water on the table.

They ate their food, made a mess, and eventually, finished.  I came behind, mopped everything up and wiped the table down and, finally, once they were all taken care of, sat down with my own dinner.

As I ate, the kids came by, one by one, and told me EVERY single thing that happened during their day.  It’s great to be loved–for a while–and then it’s just mind-numbing.  Story after story went through my ears and eventually, I found myself sitting at the table–my food gone–and Hannah my 3 year old–sitting on my lap–still talking.

My brain was thoroughly exhausted at this point, but I do remember grabbing the pitcher of water that was still on the table from the kids’ dinner and pouring myself a glass.  As Hannah went on and on and on about this or that, I took little sips of water and tried to understand what she was telling me.

At some point, in the midst of all of this, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right.   I wasn’t immediately aware of what it was, and I tried to ignore the feeling, but my brain wouldn’t let me.  I took another drink of water and it suddenly hit me:  I was chewing.  I was done eating–had been done for a while–there was no food left on my plate . . . but here I was . . . chewing.

Now, drinking water is not normally, a chewing experience.  But here I was, sitting at the table, drinking water and chewing it.  And the more I thought about it, and focused on it, the more I realized I wasn’t chewing water–I was actually chewing something that was in the water.

Well, naturally, I quickly grabbed my glass and held it up to take a look and when I did, I was shocked–horribly, horribly shocked.  Instead of the clear, crystally liquid I had hoped to see, it was grey.  And murky.  Things were floating in there:  something that looked like a part of a meatball and something else that I was pretty sure was a spaghetti-O.  And there were other, unidentifiable things as well.  It was a smorgasbord of gray food products.  All suspended in a liquid that seemed, suddenly, thicker and heavier than simple water.

I put the glass down, swallowed the meatball I was chewing and picked up the pitcher of water.  A quick look inside revealed more of the same:  floaty things bobbing up and down in some gray, opaque liquid.

And then I looked at the outside of the pitcher.  I saw small orange, spaghetti-o sauce handprints  on the handle.  A closer examination revealed orange lip marks around the rim.

I looked at Hannah.  “Did you drink out of the pitcher?”

She nodded and then said, “only twice.”

Well, apparently two times was enough for Hannah to poison the waterhole so to speak.   I grabbed the pitcher off the table and brought it to the sink.  And, as I did so . . . inspiration dawned:  This was a perfect illustration of a common mistake people make when painting.

See, how many times have you started a painting project with some brushwork?  You know, you start brushing around the edges–around your windows or your doors or something like that.  Inside outside, it typically doesn’t matter.  When you do that, what do you typically do?

And Here’s the Paint Point…

I’ll tell you what most people do:  most people grab the paint bucket–the gallon of their paint–and carry it with them.  They dip the brush into it, wipe the excess paint off the brush on the rim of the can, and then paint. When the brush is empty, they go back to the bucket or more paint.

That’s like Hannah drinking out of the water pitcher.  If she had gone to her glass of water for a drink, she’d only contaminate that cup.  Everybody else’s water would have been fine.  But she went to the source and contaminated that.  Once that was done, there was no way to get the spaghetti parts and meatball chunks out of it.  The only fix was to pour the water out, rinse the container and fill it up with new.

With water, that’s no big deal.  But if you’re doing that with paint, you can create quite an expensive and frustrating mess.  If you brush into a spiderweb or pick up some dirt (this happens especially often when people are working outside), and then dip back into your bucket, you’ve instantly contaminated all of your paint.  And you’ll find that out when you start rolling it onto bigger areas later.  You’ll be picking little chunks of this or that out of the finish and you’ll be very frustrated.

And here’s the Answer…

The solution?  Work out of a smaller container.  We’ve got some at RepcoLite that are perfect for this, or you can just use an old tupperware-like container.  Whatever you decide to use, remember:  whenever you do brush work, always work out of a smaller container–it will protect the bulk of your paint from contamination.