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o Variations on a Theme 
o Hanging by a Wire
travel decorating on the cheap 
what goes where?  
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o Easy Corner Shelves
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Cluttered place/ Spartan Space
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painting 101 
part I: picking the paint

by Diana Goodman |
1 2 3 4  

That bare wall. It mocks you. It stares at you every day from behind whatever pictures and bric-a-brak you've tacked up in an attempt to cover it. It's just so...plain. What it needs is some paint, but painting, you're convinced, is just far too much trouble. And besides, you're a renter.

If you're a dedicated, longish term renter, however, painting a wall isn't out of the question. It's true that painting an entire room, no matter how small, can be more than a bit of a pain, but giving a few coats of sunshine yellow to a single wall is actually pretty easy … and can work wonders to transform an otherwise-blah room into something pretty snazzy. One good color is sometimes all it takes to attract the eye away from milk-crate dependent furniture and smoker-phlegm-colored '70s carpet. All you need is the commitment to repainting thoroughly when you move. And in some places....Lord is it worth it.

I'm serious about the one-wall-at-a-time thing. More becomes a slow, painful lesson in the difficulties of multi-tasking, as this wall needs priming, but that one needs more spackling. One day, after years of therapy, I'll be able to recount the three-month battle that was the simultaneous kitchen and bathroom full repaint. In a studio. Where there's nowhere to hide. (shudder). Stick to one wall at a time, and you can work step-by-step, little by little, and moreover, you'll make it easier for yourself to back out with less agony, should your painting project somehow turn out to be a monumental disaster.

Picking a type of paint
Once you've made the decision to paint, it's time to start looking at paints. As this is a temporary installation, you'll want a latex paint as opposed to oil/alkyd, or anything else. Latex is cheaper, easier to work with, easier to clean up (no turpentine or mineral spirits required —just use good old soap and water), and easier to cover over, once it comes time to repaint.

For your smaller, impermanent installations, the specific brand doesn't matter as much as type and finish. Your average hardware store will carry an array of major name brands, like Glidden, Behr or Dutch Boy; paint stores often specialize (Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams). For the label obsessed, Ralph Lauren has his own paint line.

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