Although many designers like to test paint right on the walls, color consultant Paulette Diamond, ASID, vice president of the International Association of Color Consultants - North America, suggests buying 8" x 10" flat canvas boards from an art supply store and painting one in each of the colors you are considering. "This system allows you to move the paint color samples around the room easily," she says, "while eliminating the mess and confusion of having several different colors painted on the wall." Finally, once you are pretty certain you have found the best color for your bathroom, "Just go for it," Joan says. "Remember, it's only paint. If you aren't happy with it you can change it very easily.
I painted over the Masonite with a really good primer and then I decoupaged tissue paper in vivid colors over it — indigo blue, sunny yellow, even some silver tissue paper. It looks luminous, freckled, almost like water. Above the shower stall, I did much brighter colors and I sealed it all with a water-based polyurethane." While Cy applied his decoupage directly to the wall, his "simple French" look would work just as well applied to foam core or poster board, framed or not, and then hung on a bathroom wall for a splash of color you could change out whenever you want. "Paint the walls, or if they're mostly tile, paint the ceiling!" says Cy. "If the color doesn't work, you can paint it something else." And should you need to sell the house later, and believe the accepted wisdom that only white walls are appropriate in "For Sale" bathrooms, you can spend an afternoon painting it back. Or for just a minimal change, paint a frame and hang it on the bathroom mirror with Velcro.
He recommends haunting estate and garage sales for bathroom art. "That's where you find that weird art like those little oils Aunt Martha painted. Think, 'Oh my gosh, there's a clown with a knife in his hand! Let's buy that and put it in the bathroom.' It's nice to see something to make you giggle in the morning." Of course, even the zaniest art should have at least one element that picks up other colors in the room, says LaDonna. And what should those colors be? Often, you're limited by the hard-and-fast items in the room, like the '60s style pastel tiles, says LaDonna. "When you add other colors, they'll have to complement, but the right selection can update the design and downplay the colors you don't like." Today's popular chocolate-brown accessories, from towel racks to curtains, for example, give old-style pastels a fresh look, says LaDonna.
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