Paint & decorating ideas

The Old House Web

By Gail McCauley

Thanksgiving marks the onset of winter holiday festivities -- and of seasonal decorations. Part of the joy of decorating for the holidays is that there are no rules. Whether you choose an earthly fall-like palette or a shimmering white winter wonderland, the opportunities to add paint color to hallways and landings are ever-expanding and limited only by the imagination.

An old wagon makes a colorful hallway accent when filled with seasonal vegetables.

Red berry motif on this painted floor cloth adds a festive accent to a hall painted in natural tones.

Consider using storage related "flea market finds" that have been hanging around the garage or attic. Baskets, trays, pottery and other containers can all be festively hand painted or spray painted. Depending upon the size and shape of the item, stuff with natural seasonal goodies ranging from simple acorns to long twigs. Cornucopia baskets, traditional decorative accessories, can be spray painted and placed on an accent table to add seasonal charm to lackluster hallways or landings.

Painted floors in hallways or on a stairwell landing represent an unexpected way to add whimsy to the home decorated for Thanksgiving. Rather than commit to painting the actual hard surface floor covering, consider painting directly onto a canvas area rug that can be strategically placed atop the floor surface. Border designs look particularly striking when applied to long, narrow hallways. Border motifs can be painted easily and conveniently onto a runner for elongated, dramatic looks.

Examine your existing color scheme and try to select a combination of holiday hues that harmonize with your home's existing color palette. If your home abounds with deep tone hues, you may opt to inject burgundy, forest green, russet gold or other rich colors into the mix. Geometric repetitive patterns using fall colors are particularly appropriate for the southwestern styled home. Winterberries on a vine and sprigs of pine set the tone for winter and the upcoming holiday season, particularly in a home that boasts a primitive or country styled decor.

Landings present an ideal opportunity to inject a touch of earthy fun for the holiday home. Fill a large basket to the brim with oversized pine cones and set it on a landing. Repeat the pine cone theme with wall art. Consider painting a mural that features pine cones falling from a large tree on an accent wall that sits adjacent to the landing. Or, paint the same design on a large piece of poster or foam board. For those who are less artistically inclined, simply locate interesting images of pine cones. Matt and frame the pine cone images, then hang on the accent wall for a less permanent decoration.

Rather than purchasing a frame, why not paint your own "frame" directly onto the wall? You can determine the frame's size, width and colors. Incorporate several of today's natural tones, including wheat, sage, linen, rosemary, and clay. To create dimensional effects, consider painting the design (or the frame) while the paint is still wet. Gently and evenly, rub off part of the paint in order to allow the background color to show through, creating subtle variations in color.

Twig garland can be easily spray-painted to reflect the desired Thanksgiving color scheme. Affix painted garland to railings on stairways, then hang tiny gourds, mini pumpkins and other seasonal "picks" (many of which can also be spray painted) that are readily available at the local craft or discount store. Spray-paint an oversized twig wreath the Thanksgiving color of your choice, then dress it up with tiny bows of coordinating fabric.

This article was written for and is used with permission by theRohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute.

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