BASE METALS

February 4, 2018
A kitchen corner glows with a pretty pattern of metallic panels. Tape over the metallic base coat to make borders for the random coloured panels.

There are oh so many decisions to make when embarking on a decorating project. In many cases, it’s the number of options that trip us up, and confound us until we simply put off making any decision at all. There are the ubiquitous colour questions, then should we paint or paper? What’s on trend, do I care?

It’s helpful to ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Settle on a particular mood for the space, how you are going to use it and who will be sharing it. Keep in mind that this is your home, and how you treat it should be with personal choices, so that the environment you create makes you happy.

Check out what’s new in paint products. Eco friendly paints are now available that have little or no VOCs. Some paints are manufactured that are primer and paint in one. Others are designed to cover most any surface without priming or sanding. Scroll through the latest wallpaper designs. Discover new textures, overblown designs, and a mix of mediums that will power up your walls.
Metals are a hot decorating topic that continues to grow. From base to precious metals, tin, copper and bronze to silver and gold, they all find a place in styles old and new. A long way from the old ways of mixing metal powders into paints, today metallic paints come ready-mixed and in a variety of colours.

If you are adventurous, then going off the grid may be a great option for you. I was asked to decorate a curved kitchen wall for a young family and came up with a paint effect that glows with youth and exuberance. The secret to the striking finish is a base coat of silver metallic paint. Panels do not have to be matching sizes and shapes. Here I wanted to mix up the pattern by placing panels randomly, and accentuating the design with contrasting colours. I started with a base coat of acrylic silver metallic paint and let it dry overnight. I measured and marked off panels using ¾-inch and 1-inch low tack painter’s tape, checking with a spirit level to make sure the lines and borders were straight. I then mixed three coloured glazes, pink, blue and green, each using equal parts latex paint and water-based glazing liquid. The coloured glazes were applied inside the taped squares and rectangles using a colourwash technique. Dip a damp rag into a coloured glaze and rub over a taped-off section like you are washing it. The glaze makes the paint translucent so that the metallic base coat shines through. Remove the tape carefully revealing the silver borders around the coloured panels.

It’s worthwhile to experiment with new paint products to see the various effects you can create. Metallic painted surfaces are shiny and reflect light for a bright finish. Even pastel metallic shades advance off the wall, which can be dramatic, fun or cozy. Paint is an opaque medium. When you add glazing liquid to paint the colour becomes translucent. The more glaze you add, the more translucent the colour, and therefore the more the basecoat will be visible. Texture is created by paint and glaze layers applied with either brushes or soft cloths. Find a combination that inspires you.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. Follow Debbie at instagram.com/debbie_travis, facebook.com/thedebbietravis, debbietravis.com.