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Do It Yourself Home Decorating: The Untrained Eye

Aug 18, 2007
Many of us are blissfully unaware that what cannot be seen on the television shows or in magazines is the extensive training and experience of a professional decorator. Why is that important you may ask?

You are a relatively intelligent person with some flare for art and color. You know what you like and you have seen dozens of shows and read lots of magazines. You should be able to handle a small project like say.spray painting that old patio swing that's just a little rusty and a hideous shade of faded weather worn green.

You can't wait to get started because you just found out that there is a spray paint that not only covers rust it keeps the rust from coming back. But of course it only comes in black and you want something with a little more flair. You are just about to head out to buy more spray paint when you discover that you have about 10 cans from your other not yet started projects. Hmmm this color looks good it reminds you of terra cotta clay pots. Well that color looks really good in the sunroom so why not on the swing set?

This is a good place to pause and point out that professional decorators spend many hours learning about color as it relates to the outcome of a project. The key being that a professional decorator can envision what the color will look like on the swing without actually spraying it on.

You cover the area under the swing with a drop cloth and begin your project. You are anxious to get started because your family barbecue is in 2 days. Time to mention another aspect of the training of a professional decorator which is how long will a project take from start to finish. This skill is acquired through the experience of having completed many projects within a specified time frame. This skill cannot be ascertained form watching a decorating show where everything seem to be completed in a matter of days thanks the behind the scenes help of many crew members.

You begin spraying the swing. Your cover the rusted areas with the aforementioned rust proofing paint and then you spray on the colored paint. You run out of spray paint after spraying approximately 3 quoters of the swing. Professional decorating skill number 3, knowing what the quantity of supplies needed to complete the project. This means a trip to the local home improvement store. Once you get there you discover a textured spray paint in brown. This discovery makes you happy because it is a similar color to your other patio furniture. You quickly buy a couple of cans and head home.

The next day you begin again. Your time is limited because the barbecue is tomorrow. You begin spraying only to discover that because of the thickness of the spray each can covers half of what regular spray paint would cover and again you run out of paint. Professional training tip number 4, know what your product does before you use it. You decide not to panic because most of the swing is painted and once you replace the canopy no one will notice.

You step back, take a good look and discover that you have created RUST. Not a rustic look, but rust. The kind of rust that usually means the metal object will turn to dust when you touch it. The terra cotta color combined with the brown textured paint something a trained professional decorator would have foreseen and produced rust. The moral of this tale being if you can't afford for a professional to complete a project at least take the time for a consultation.
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