Mission was accepted: refresh our family room and playroom with some paint. It was time for this relatively new space to get a refresh.
(Here’s how project playroom refresh started)
On the surface, it didn’t seem such a large project. The room is 4m x 4m (13ft x 13ft). The walls were good, plasterboard skimmed and painted with emulsion.
However, since being built 4 years ago the structure has settled and cracks have appeared where the materials have weathered and shrunk. All the plasterboard was taped, yet the cracks still appeared.
The two stages of preparation involved:
Firstly, choosing the colours and the finishes.
Second, and probably most important was preparing the surfaces.
Choosing the paint colours for the playroom
Joa Studholme, Farrow and Balls‘ interiors expert, introduced me to some key concepts to take away: most importantly, it is a good idea to get tester pots of the colours you are thinking of.
Don’t paint on the wall, however! Use large bit of lining paper and use your sample colours on these.
Then put the panel up around the room. Move it around, check it at different times of the day.
This advice turned out to be very useful: I had originally wanted to use Blackened- a trendy, cool grey. It looked lovely on the pictures in the brochures and on social media. I liked the sample cards too. When I came to try it and put up the sample panel on the wall, I really didn’t like it! It was not me, it gave me the chills and it didn’t suit our playroom.
By testing the colours we saved an expensive mistake.
I had reservations about using a darker grey on the window frames and possibly on the floor as Joa had suggested. I played with the panel of Manor House Grey; putting it up by the window, on the floor in the darkest part of the room and by the patio doors. A couple of days into the experiment, Dadonthebrink, who wasn’t keen on the idea of painting the floors did a U-turn.
Preparing the surfaces before redecorating
While we were choosing the colours we also started to prepare the surfaces. We washed all the walls with a sugar soap solution and lightly sanded the wooden surfaces.
The cracks needed to be slightly enlarged and then we used a filler. After drying, that was sanded and then refilled where needed and sanded again. Sounds like madness, but it is worth taking your time to get that lovely smooth finish.
Painting the playroom and family room
Finally, when all the prep was done, colours chosen it was time to paint.
The whole room – ceiling and walls- had a base coat applied.
Over that went two coats of colour.
Working top down: We’d chosen to stick with the white ceiling, choosing Farrow and Ball All White for it. Had we opted for the wall colour all over, including the ceiling, we’d have achieved a more cosy feeling. However, I was keen to emphasise the high ceiling and airiness of the room with the white. The two coats went on over a long day, with 4 hours between coats to dry.
For the walls we’d decided to use Ammonite, a warm white with a hint of grey. As it’s a room where the walls are going to be battered by children we opted for the modern emulsion, which has a soft sheen and is washable…child-proof it if you!!!
So keen to get the colour on, I first started the delicate operation of cutting in. My enthusiasm lasted about 1 minute before frustration kicked in and we grabbed masking tape and masked off the ceiling, skirting and sockets. That made painting so much easier!
After doing the first sizable patch of paint I stood back: My heart sank. The colour didn’t feel right. It was lighter, almost no colour to it. I had to pull myself together not to cry. It was Saturday evening, so I couldn’t pop out to the Farrow and Ball shop to change my choice to a shade darker. I curbed my panic at having made the wrong choice and carried on.
As I finished the room and looked back on the work I had done, it suddenly dawned on me why they say Farrow and Ball paint is different: As the paint dried, the colour changed. It developed a depth. It’s hard to explain how a shade of white can do that, but it did!
With the second coat going on next evening the colour really came out. It gave me the same warm and cozy feeling as having the sample panel on the wall had done.
In two evenings the walls were finished (it had to be evenings, so the kids wouldn’t get creative on the walls too.)
There was a smell of fresh paint throughout the house, but not too bad.
Third evening, it was time to start the woodwork. The primer for this was slightly stronger smelling. It went on really well.
Farrow & Ball have different colour primers depending on the final colour. This, apparently, is to ensure a good base and a correct base tone to bring out the depth of the colour.
The woodwork was finished in 2 evenings. It actually dried very quickly. And the paint is VERY hardwearing: I dripped some onto a socket. Normally you’d scratch this off with your nails. Not with Farrow & Ball! It’s welded on.
Lesson: clean any drips up immediately. 😀
What it this little splash does do for me is fill me with confidence about using the Farrow & Ball paint on the floor and our stokke chairs. All of which are used and abused and not much has stood up to that constant family use.
Final touches and playful twists
Magnetic paint to emphasis alcoves in the playroom
As a final little touch I also painted a little alcove in magnetic paint and Farrow & Ball orange- Charlotte’s Lock. I adore this colour, but wasn’t brave enough to use it on a bigger surface. The orange is going to be in accents around the room. Where in the coming months I will paint furniture and frames with it and my other utter favourite- St Giles Blue.
So ta-da [insert drumroll] 😉
I give you the first phase of our playroom.
Next step is to inject more colour by painting the window surrounds, chairs and table in the room.
Finally, in the spring holiday, we will prepare and paint the floor and the skirting.
If you’d like to be among the first to be able to have a nosy of the project as it progresses, do subscribe.
What are your spring DIY and home refreshing projects?
Disclosure: this project is in collaboration with Mumsnet and Farrow & Ball who have provided paints from their range to undertake the room refresh. All labour and other materials used is our own. All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions with no influence from Farrow & Ball.