Generally speaking, my personal style is very neutral. For some reason, I decided to throw that to the wind in our guest room. Here’s where we started:
Plain white walls, lace draperies, and out of view — a large, outdated silk flower arrangement mounted on the wall.
And now this.
Inspired by some combination of the internet, my friend Dan, and the movie, “500 Days of Summer,” I decided to paint two of the walls in this room entirely with black chalkboard paint. If you saw my kitchen photos, you may have realized that I have a small obsession with chalkboard paint.
I figured, why buy furniture when you can draw it? And best of all, erase it and draw it again! In case you were wondering, the chalkboard paint is a Rustoleum product and is available near other Rustoleum paint products in most home improvement stores. I think I used 2-3 quarts for this space. The directions recommend rolling the paint on with a high density roller to provide the smoothest finish possible. The texture you see in these photos is actually a result of the textured plaster walls that we have throughout our home. If you were to use this product on regular drywall or flat plaster, it would appear smooth. In this case, I think the texture makes the walls look a little more like slate. A process called “conditioning” (rubbing chalk across the entire surface) also emphasizes the texture underneath. Textured walls are not my preference, but I can live with them.
One of the things I love most about this chalkboard paint is the contrast it provides. There’s nothing like a white cardboard dear head mounted on a black wall to create a little visual interest. As a side note, this deer head is from a Charlottesville, VA-based company called Cardboard Safari. A good friend works there now, and I worked a bit with the owner on a website project for one of my former employers. I’m so excited for them and the success they’ve had in recent years. I’ve even seen their products in Urban Outfitters stores!
It terms of the rest of the room, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and mix in some bolder patterns and colors. White walls and a gray and white striped comforter provided a neutral base to mix in a variety of yellows, pinks, purples and greens in the form of pillows, curtains, and artwork. A pendant with a fun, floral lampshade adds a bit of punch.
A midcentury style dresser (which we found in our garage!) with an interesting wood grain pattern adds another texture to this eclectic, colorful room while providing storage for our guests.
A carefully arranged collection of colorful, quirky art pieces and accessories over the dresser tie in most of the colors in the room. Fun fact: the glass case on the upper right hand side of the photo contains a slide rule and case with my maiden name, Gilchrist, printed on it. An antique hammer hangs down so that we can break it in case of an engineering emergency. I come from a line of wonderfully nerdy, humorous engineers.
In the corner, an Ikea chair I’ve been moving around for the last 5 year provides some softness and a little bit of seating. An old gray/yellow pillow (from our first married apartment) and a duplicate lampshade on an old floor lamp add to the colorful aesthetic. I may end up spray painting the lamp base black at some point (shiny brass isn’t really my jam).
Lastly, an antique silver tray table fulfills the need for an actual nightstand (as opposed to a chalk one) in this room. My grandmother’s green hand-painted tray contains the necessities — chalk for guests to be creative, an alarm clock, remotes, pamphlets for local attractions, and of course, a card with our WiFi passwords.
In the end, I think stepping out of my neutral comfort zone paid off. It’s a fun space. We’ve had a few visitors leave us surprise doodles which I ADORE. It’s fun to actually be allowed to draw on the walls!
October 21, 2013