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.
Buy colorful, off-the-shelf window treatments and shower curtains, or consider custom. "That way you can pick pretty fabric that goes with your color scheme and coordinate it to look nice with something on the wall," says LaDonna. "There are lots of options when you go the custom route." If you have one of those bathrooms with the rare empty wall, consider tacking a bright, batik bedspread to cover it, hanging straight down or in easy folds. "Use the top of the toilet for bright, fun items," says Cy. He, for example, placed a bright yellow vase on the toilet tank that picked up other colors in the bathroom and holds corn husk flowers he got on vacation. He also decoupaged fake vases on the wall behind the tank and says his Ugly Duckling bathroom is now his favorite room of the house.
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.
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