After painting a mudcloth accent wall in our laundry room and black and white pattern on our kitchen backsplash, I was feeling pretty confident about painting patterns on walls and ready to tackle some other areas of our home. I knew it was easy to paint your own faux wallpaper, so I tried to think of some other areas where it might work, and the foyer seemed like the perfect choice. You can also learn how to paint your own faux wallpaper, a project that is a fraction of the cost of the real thing. Psst, no one will know the difference!
Choosing a paint color for dark areas of your home
Our hall and foyer were painted SW Netsuke, but they have always appeared darker than I liked. My parents’ house has the same color in their foyer and hall area, but they have a two-story foyer with a large window, in addition to more natural and artificial light, so it looks like a completely different warm color there. It’s light and airy, but at our home, it takes on a more greenish tone.
Our hallways don’t get much natural light, at all. They only have one can light in each section, so it’s never very bright. (Note to self–add more can lights someday.) Our foyer doesn’t let much light in, unless the door is open, so it’s not the brightest room, either. One of the things I disliked the most about this area what that it always seemed dark.
Cheat Sheet on Paint Swatches
I knew we needed to go with a lighter color, but picking one can be tricky. I went to the paint store and picked some white samples and flipped them over to check the LVR, which stands for the Light Reflectance Value, or the percentage of light a paint color reflects. The higher the number, the lighter the color will appear in the room. Checking the LVR is a smart and easy way to make sure the paint color is going to serve you well in the area you want to use it. I specifically wanted to brighten our hallways and foyer, so I chose Sherwin Williams Alabaster. Alabaster first came on my radar when Chris Loves Julia painted the downstairs of their home that color.
Accent Wall: Take 1
I wanted to add some warmth to the foyer, too, so I selected a warm tan for the main wall and added a small, simple white striped pattern. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. In fact, I lived with it for a few days before I decided it needed to go. Overall, it just made the foyer too dark and wasn’t the light, airy feel I was going for, so it became white when I painted the rest of the hall!
If at first you don’t succeed, paint the wall again
You know the old saying. Or, was that how that goes?? Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s okay to change your mind about something you JUST did! Don’t live with if you don’t love it just because you did it. This was an EASY fix!! It took two coats of Alabaster white and probably not more than an hour. Once it was white, I knew I made the right choice–so much BRIGHTER.
I loved the warm, sunny color, but I still wanted to add some interest and texture, so I started thinking colors. I had already done a black and white mudcloth pattern in our laundry room and pattern for our kitchen backsplash, but this time, I wanted to bring in a warmer color, so I went back out to the garage and grabbed that tan bucket of paint! See, it didn’t go to waste, after all.
Painting Faux Wallpaper using a Craftsman Laser Level
Before you start to paint your own faux wallpaper, you’ll need to measure for your pattern. This time, instead of lining the entire wall, I decided to try out my new Craftsman laser level. I didn’t want to have to erase or wipe pencil lines off an entire 8′ wall. First, I marked off 6″ sections across the entire wall, since I was going to paint a similar striped brushstroke pattern, like the kitchen backsplash, but in a tan color.
I used the magnetic pushpin on the level to stick it into the wall on the 6″ marks, which were in the middle of the wall. I could spin the level up or down and use the nice, clear line to guide my painting. First, I used a large round brush to make wide, dark hash marks. After making my way across the wall, I went back with a smaller, dry brush and added feathery strokes in between the larger marks to add some texture and interest to the design. I left the middle of the row blank where I was rotating the laser level and went back at the end and filled those marks in. You may want to patch the holes and paint over them before adding the design (I did), but I could see where you could get by without doing it.
Next time I do a design requiring vertical lines, I think I’ll try positioning the laser level at the top or bottom and projecting the line all the way up or down the wall. It was a little tricky because I was working in bright sunlight and it was harder to see the projected line, so I found working at a time the sun wasn’t on that side of the house worked best.
Are you sure that’s not wallpaper? No, I painted my own faux wallpaper!
I absolutely love the white and tan color combination. It is so fresh and bright and definitely on-trend. I love that beige and tan are having a moment. I’m sure my mom is happy, because she hates grey.
I find myself almost wondering if it actually IS wallpaper! It totally looks like wallpaper and having the non-uniform strokes really helps. I priced removable wallpaper and even for a small area (like a bathroom wall), it was expensive. Painting your own design really is easy, especially with the right tools and a little imagination. If you decide to try to paint your own faux wallpaper, please be sure to share it with the hashtag #greysnailmakes so I can check it out!