before and after

before & after: hallway ceiling makeover

by Kate Pruitt

One thing I love about simple graphic patterns — chevrons, stripes, houndstooth, etc. — is that their style can change dramatically depending on the contrast level of the colors and the size you choose for the print. You can have a bold, eclectic, eye-catching chevron like we saw in Brittany’s knotted chair DIY yesterday. But you can also have a clean, calming, elegant chevron like this painted ceiling project from Gemma Bonham-Carter, which is equally beautiful despite having a vastly different feel. I think the scale she chose for the print is perfect, and I love the subtle play between the bright white and pale gray. I could stare at this ceiling for hours. Great job, Gemma! — Kate

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Time: The ceiling project took me an evening to complete — about an hour of prep, two hours of painting (plus a couple hours between coats!) and then 10 minutes of clean up (the best part, since that’s when you get to take the tape off!).

Cost: The ceiling actually didn’t cost me a dime, since I already owned the paint, tape and all the painting supplies. If you didn’t already own those things, though, it would probably cost about $30 in paint and another $15 for supplies (you need lots of painters’ tape, a paintbrush and a roller brush).

Basic Steps: First thing was to clean the ceiling (mine was already painted a crisp white, so I didn’t need to re-paint the base coat). Then it was a matter of getting the tape up. First was to divide the ceiling into quarters lengthwise (put a piece of tape down the center, then two pieces half-way between the center piece and the walls, and then two pieces along the walls to keep your edge crisp). Then I measured 10-inch increments along all three pieces of tape on the ceiling.

Once you add small pieces of tape connecting the dots of where you made those 10-inch marks, you’ll see a chevron pattern emerge. Since you want to rotate the two colours in your pattern, a little trick is to put a dot of tape in the rectangles that you don’t want to paint. That way you won’t make a mistake along the way! Once everything is taped out, it’s just a matter of rolling on the paint (two coats is probably a good idea) and then pulling off the tape. The results are so much fun!

I was doing a fairly small space, so the chevron pattern worked really well. If you were doing a really large ceiling, it would probably be easier to go with stripes or another pattern that doesn’t require so much intricate tape-work. Some other tips would be to paint two thin coats rather than one too-thick coat (you don’t want any paint seeping through the tape or drips on your floor!), make sure that the paint is a lower-gloss for the ceiling (mine was eggshell) and step back and really look at your pattern before you get painting to make sure it’s perfect — better to fix any mistakes before painting! — Gemma

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