Painting-Is it Possible to be Too Neutral?

Neutral Colors Work Well Overall

When preparing your home for the market "they" say using neutral colors is best. It makes the house show better, is more inviting and potential buyers can picture their own furnishings in each room. I chose a palette of beige, tan and light brown and went to work. Overall I have been pleased with the outcome. It is aesthetically appealing. A fresh coat of paint really cleans up a room and the neutral tones add warmth. Potential buyers see a color they can live with and the neutral tones are easily covered once they choose colors to personalize their new home.


The Basement was the Exception to the Rule

Whereas I willingly painted just about every wall in this house I was holding out when it came to the basement. It's an English basement. There are windows facing north and east so it is relatively bright, not dark and dank like a basement can be.

The walls were white when we moved in and looked very stark. I had some wood trim and ledges put in. It looked better but really needed some color.

My neighbor had a room she "feather duster" painted and I thought that would be perfect for the basement! I picked out five colors that complimented one another and the furnishings, bought five feather dusters and some paper plates and went full tilt into this project.

I don't know if you have ever painted with a feather duster but once you get started it's easy to get a little out of control!

The "Feather Duster" Painted Walls
The "Feather Duster" Painted Walls | Source

"Feather Duster" Painting

The technique is kind of fun!

You pour a little paint in a paper plate, dip your feather duster tips in there and dab at the wall. I did one color at a time. As soon as that color would dry I would start dabbing with the next one. I did a whole lot of dabbing and by the time I got finished there was plenty of color on those walls. The reviews were mixed but they were positive for the most part so it remained that way for many years.

When I decided to sell and my Realtor saw those walls he wasn't exactly pleased with the appearance but said not to worry about it. After all, it's only a basement. At the Realtor's Open House I did get a "wild walls in the basement" comment that bugged me a bit. Maybe that was the impetus I needed to make it neutral.

The Neutral Walls
The Neutral Walls | Source
Source
Source

It seems that nothing is simple and one project always leads to another.

  • The first coat didn't cover well but that was not the big problem.
  • I didn't realize all the imperfections that were hidden behind my "artwork"!
  • A swipe with the roller of tan paint uncovered a huge gash in the wall by the weight set. That was a shock but it was only the beginning of the surprises awaiting me!
  • There were more holes and gouges, popping seams and bowed walls that required patching and mudding.


Source

Do you prefer the Feather Painting or the Neutral walls?

See results without voting

The big disappointment came when the project was complete. The new color did not hide some of the imperfections well, especially the bowed walls.

Worse yet, it just didn't look good! We couldn't get used to the plain walls. I'm not sure going neutral was the right decision. Perhaps there is a happy medium between going nuts with "feather dusters" and neutralizing the room with tan paint. What do you think?

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Comments 16 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

A simple fix to the neutral tan is to use a sea sponge and go over it with an antique glaze to give depth to the flat surface without making it quite so busy.

It would not be my personal choice to have the multicolored feather dusting pattern, although I wouldn't say you made a bad choice for a family room purposed for high energy because your accessories may have smoothed out the pattern. At least yours looks like it was evenly done. Have you ever seen the ones that are uneven? YIKES.

Oh dear...now you have cranked up my creative thinking...wonder what that busy pattern would have looked like if you had gone over it with a white glaze??? I guess we'll never know now. :)


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

HaHa! No, we'll never know and that's too bad actually. I am not familiar with using a white glaze but I"ll bet it would have toned it down beautifully while continuing to hide the imperfections. So much for hind sight! I will have to look into using the antique glaze on the tan walls...what color would that be? I have painted with a sea sponge once before and that was quite fun! Thanks for your comments and creative insight:)

Sandi


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

An antique glaze is tinted with a brown most often, something to give the effect of age or smokiness. Check out some faux technique videos. There are lots of choices for tinting and applying glaze. Most are easy and you already have some faux experience. Love to see the results!

You could sponge a lighter or darker tan lightly over your tan before applying the glaze for an even more dramatic effect. Now that I think of it, this is a great idea for a pool room.


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

thanks for the ideas...the more I am down there the more I know I need to make a change and you have given me food for thought! Thanks:)I will check out the videos and create a better look.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Keep us posted! :)


MyMastiffPuppies profile image

MyMastiffPuppies 5 years ago

Excellent topic, and a great way to get some really helpful tips. I wish I had time for a few projects around the house, looks like you are having fun!


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thanks, MyMastiffPuppies. I do have fun with most of these projects. Still have to find the time to glaze the walls as was suggested to me by RTalloni. Currently caught up in a window project that just won't end!! I think I will hub about that if I ever finish!


5 years ago

Voted up. You asked what ppl think? I think it looks good. One thing to remember is the culture of minimalism. The thing about 'less is more' is part of minimalism; for clothing and hair, it's simple dresses with higher hems and quite closely cropped hair leaving maybe a few tufts, etc.; and of course for painting and decorating, minimalism is simple furniture and understated, more neutral colors.

If you identify with minimalism and the keynote is minimalist simplicity, then possibly you have succeeded well here.


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thanks, f. I do agree with you about minimalism, espeially since I have put my house on the market. Less is more and neutrality wins out:)


5 years ago

Yes, well if you've refurbished with a view to making it attractive to a potential buyer (rather than having it just like you yourself want to live with it), then I guess minimalism kind of keeps options open and makes its own sense, in the circumstances.


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

I have gotten used to it, f. Maybe it was time for a change. It just looks a bit boring. lol.


5 years ago

Well, I see. I know it's different but in some ways a bit like make up & bodyart colors, etc, too. Sometimes it's time for a change!


5 years ago

I guess boredom is a many faceted thing, but if the change of color helps to make a property more salable, then I guess being bored with the previous color doesn't do any harm, really!


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

I think it made it more marketable but can't be sure as showings have all but come to a halt with the Holiday season upon us...not to mention a bad market :(


4 years ago

I guess taking the property off the market and then putting it on again some months later with a different realtor (for whom the sight of the d├ęcor will be fresh) can make a difference.


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 4 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Well, I am dropping the price and we'll see what happens. Ugh!

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