Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 by Allison (Style & Fashion, Whatever)

condo_living2a.jpgI live in a small, 1 bedroom condo – less than 800 square feet.  But after living in apartments for several years I was so sick of white walls that I went color-happy.   

Living RoomWith the help of Benjamin Moore (and my sister), I painted the living/dining/kitchen/hall (all connected in some way) a combination of Henderson Buff (a pale yellowish green), Monroe Bisque (beige), and Plum Raisin. It sounds like a lot of color, but it looks really cool with the asian feel of my furnishings.  

KitchenMy bathroom is a lovely taupe/stone color, and my bedroom is Dijon (mustard yellow).  There is nary a white wall in the place, other than inside closets.   It took me several months to complete and my right shoulder has never been the same.

While at the Benjamin Moore paint store, I noticed some really cool shimmering metallic glazes.    Mind you, I have a love of all things sparkly, opalescent, irridescent and metallic and my mind started racing with possibilities….  unchecked, I could turn my place into a tacky, gawdy nightmare    But I restrained myself and recently came up with an elegant plan.

Wall GridI don’t have a headboard, and so decided to make an entire wall a lovely focal point for the room using metallic glazes.

I started by designing the general layout for the wall.   Then I started taping off the squares.  I could only do one layer at a time, because the glaze has to dry before taping/painting over the corners with another color.   I used a combination of a small roller brush, a dry sponge and a rag.  I’m still not sure which method I like best.

My Bohemian BedroomIt took me about 2 weeks, painting a portion nearly every evening, to get this far.  I still have a few of the most sheer/pale squares to go – but this gives a good idea of how it looks.  (Click the photo to enlarge).   It’s a sublte effect, and doesn’t really show in the photos, but some of these squares really shimmer – especially when the light hits them just right.   Once all the squares are done, I’m will probably sponge over the whole thing with a sheer, shimmery gold glaze so that it catches the light even more.   

My beaded curtainI love it.  It looks great with the beaded curtain (real, hand strung amber and gold glass beads – and shimmery gold ribbon)  that leads to my closet. 

Did I mention I like sparkly, shiny stuff?

 So what do you think?   Are you inspired to create your own shimmering (or other) wall?

(40) Comments   


Kaylyn on July 21st, 2008 at 8:02 am

I love it! That wall with the squares behind your bed is FABULOUS! I wish I was that creative….but I’m just not. I also enjoy the other colors you chose for the rest of the house, they look great too. My whole house is painted various colors of green, kind of boring, but I like it. =)

Michelle on July 21st, 2008 at 9:35 am

Seriously you have some talent with paint! I love LOVE your bedroom wall, good color good spacing…I want to see a closer shot so I can see the metallic. I love your condo, you have done a great job.
p.s. Thank your for using “nary” in a sentence.

Chris on July 21st, 2008 at 11:18 am

I don’t have a headboard either, what a great idea!! Was that a huge pain to paint all those squares so perfectly? I love your apartment, you have used color really well, funny how one wall with a really bright paint can energize the whole place. I love the piece above your fireplace.

Ashley Rae on July 21st, 2008 at 11:45 am

Ditto with the use of the word “nary.”

Wow, Mom. You are so talented. This does not inspire me to be creative with my walls, rather, it inspires me to hire you to paint my walls.

I am extremely impressed… it’s beautiful!

Allison on July 21st, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Chris, they aren’t painted perfectly 🙂 I’ll go take a close up of a couple squares to give a better idea…

The real trick was figuring out which layers to tape and paint first/2nd/etc. I wanted it nice and mixed up – not just all one color at the bottom, then another single color in the next layer, etc. I just used a level and measuring tape to place the blue tape in squares…. Some colors were diluted more than others in glaze, then applied the glaze using on of the techniques. I only mixed up enough paint to do a couple of squares at a time.

metallic squares

It took a lot less time than stringing all those glass beads!

Kathleen s Pearce on July 21st, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Allison, I’m homesick for your apartment (and you, of course). I love the bedroom wall, but I’m afraid I would never be able to replicate it. Your use of color is so inspiring, You have seen my place, I’m just a chicken when it comes to color. You are amazing!

Brooke on July 21st, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I love your alternative idea to a headboard. The squares are so pretty and I love the colors you chose. You definitely have talent! Kudos!

Amy on July 22nd, 2008 at 7:59 am

I am always amazed and inspired by your creative and artistic talents… and you’re funny to boot!
Love the paint and colors Allison! In the words of the good ol’ Hasselhoff “you are the next great American act!”

Robert on July 24th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Each room looks like a professional planned it. This is the same thing I did in my house in Hayden. Every room was a different color, and all of the moldings and window/door frames were white. The goldish mustard yellow of my living room looks very similar to yours. I had a blue room, a green room, the dining room was wallpapered, and the bathroom was deep red with white floor and ceiling, white cabinets and doors… and gold and silver fixtures… I always felt my place had an Italian feel to it… I put hours into that effort, so I can just imagine what you went through..

Jennifer Pearce on July 26th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I am very impressed with your beautiful decorating! It looks like all your hard work paid off! I’m excited to come see it in person very shortly!

Jean on July 28th, 2008 at 11:23 pm


You are very talented in every way. I am so impressed, seriously.

irene on August 13th, 2008 at 8:15 am

It turned out beautiful, I know you are talented, but I am always amazed at how creative you are. I’m with should have your own show on HGTV. Love it love it!

Melissa on October 13th, 2008 at 9:05 am

This is so luxe I love your idea. I think the wal would really pop with a solid color bedding, or one color sheets and another color comforter. The bedding takes away from its beauty!

Leslie on January 12th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Hiiiii… ohhh i soory to bother but i fell in love with your painting idea ….. and i want to do the same but i find it sooo difficult … can u please explain a little more and what the colors you used are

Allison on January 12th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Sure Leslie. The base color of the wall was Dijon (BMoore). The glazes I used are made by Modern Masters (but purchased at BMoore store), and diluted in Bmore latex glaze.

Tequila Gold (Semi-Opaque)
Olympic Gold (Opaque0
Plum (opaque)
Lilac (Opaque)
Iridescent Gold (Sheer)

The more opaque the paint, the less you need to use. The plum and lilac took just a tiny amount – and I didn’t mix up very much at a time – just enough to do a square or two. You can always add another layer of color – it’s difficult to pull back color after it’s on the wall… a lesson I learned the hard way.

I also recommend starting off in an area of the wall which isn’t as noticable. And if you have a wall you can practice on, in a garage or something, that helps too.

The iridescent gold is by far the most “shimmery” of all of them, and it is very sheer – so can be dulted far less.

good luck!

Leslie Ramos on January 19th, 2009 at 11:22 am

awwwwwww thank u soooo much allison …. i will show the pics when i’m sure ….. it’ll b a while lol but i’m real excited …. thanks

crystal on February 6th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

your place is awesome…just found it randomly looking for decor stuff!!!!

Silence of the Clams » Blog Archive » Found it! on February 18th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

[…] may recall that last year I painted a wall in my bedroom with metallic paints.   Since then, my bedroom has been “almost” complete.   […]

Asha on March 11th, 2009 at 10:30 am

Wow I am very inspired by your creativity. I just found a place to move and the main wall of the bedroom is mustard yellow and the other 3 walls are white so I was trying to figure out what to do with that one wall to liven it up, is it possible that you can list the names and brand of the paints you used? I would really like to emulate something like you did to your bedroom, also an instructional would be greatly appreciated as well if you are ok with releasing your secrets.

Mary on March 20th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

OMG, everything looks beautiful. What is the color of the kitchen wall as well as the beige color of the living room please?

The bedroom is beautiful too.

Allison on March 20th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Thanks, Mary. The paints are by Benjamin Moore…

Kitchen is Plum Raisin
Living room is Henderson Buff (greenish/yellowish)
Hallway is Monroe Bisque (kind of a beige)

Wynter on May 21st, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Hi Allison,

i love your home!!! can i come over?? LOL, you don’t know me, but i have a question for you. I found your wonderful page while looking for ideas to make a beaded curtain for a spa that i work at. I am a artsy crafty person, and i love to make unique items that you can’t find Anywhere!! Thus, i saw the lovely beads, and i fell in love immediately. So, my question to you is, how long did it take to make it, what inspired you, and any tips or ideas you can give me on this quest of making a modern, chic beaded curtain? Thanks for all your help.

Cindy on September 12th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

It’s absolutely amazing! Some people just have that natural talent for decorating–and you certainly do! I love the wall where your bed is, and the beaded ribbon curtain is to DIE for!! You have inspired me to make one for my room! Any pointers on getting started, a certain instruction book you would recommend? Please??? I really think you did an awesome job, congrats!!

Allison on September 12th, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Ok, the beaded curtain…. it’s still not complete, but getting closer. I didn’t read any books or take any classes – just started into it. Here’s what I learned.

1. It will take a lot longer than you think.
2. It will cost a lot more than you think 🙂
3. The beads are way to heavy to be a thick curtain by themselves, so by mixing with sheer, semi-metallic ribbon (I found the ribbon curtain at JCPenney) I don’t need as many strands of the beads as I would otherwise. More affordable, more lightweight.
4. Using string is not wise – it will stretch with the weight of the beads. Use a thin fishing line.
5. Use a lot of complementary styled/colored beads – will get boring if you’re using only seed beads (although do use a lo tof them, they are the most affordable).
6. I ended up attaching the bead strands to their own cord – a heavy, woven ribbon. Something very strong. I left a little bit of fishing line strand at the top before attaching (space between the top bead and the ribbon). Then, I took the entire cord and lifted over the top of the existing ribbon curtain (which has a satin top) and pinned it on the back side of it. Don’t know if that makes sense – but it works well. It also means I can easily take it down and add more strands as I complete them.

So that’s my advice. Spread the shimmery, glittery, shiny joy!

Shawn on November 25th, 2009 at 5:29 am

Beautiful…just beautiful! The wall is an art on its own and does not need another art work hanging there. Love your decorating sense and wish I had seen this website before I painted my bedroom. My guest room is a tropical blue and maybe I can try the same technique, only with blues and silver. Awesome work!

Kelsi on February 26th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Hi, i was browsing for painting ideas for my apartment. I LOVE THIS… can you give me some tips as to where to start?

Chayanika on March 5th, 2010 at 10:53 am

Hi Allison,
I was just browsing ideas to sponge paint my clothing closet wall, and came across this! I was simply awe-struck with your creativity and choose of color! I can never be this creative but would love to try it out some day…ahh…if only I had the guts that much! 🙂 well I hope you keep up the good work, do post pictures next time u color wash too 😛 and wish you all the best!

carolyn on April 14th, 2010 at 7:05 am

I love the idea for the bedroom wall! I was googling for bedding colors to go with dijon paint and came across your site. Your color combo is excellent.

Caitlin on July 12th, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I Love you right now! Sorry, but I have been trying to find the article for this technique (squares) since I lost it a year ago and just happened to trip onto your site! I did this to my current office wall and am moving to a new space but want to do it again. Originally, I bought normal paint, painted the base wall a solid orange, and then used three different shades of orange mixed with different parts of normal glaze to do the squares. It took me two days (one fore the base coat, a second for the sqaures–they dried pretty quickly since I just sponged on a thin layer). I wanted to try metallic this time but wasn’t sure about how that would work with the metallic glaze and reg. colors–how did you mix it? How many parts, etc? I originally started dark and went lighter, but it looks like you did the opposite–yours looks so much better than mine! Does the metallic glaze take longer to dry, harder to work with, etc? Sorry for all the q.’s! Can you email me? Thanks a bunch!

Allison on July 12th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Hi Caitlin –

Glad I could bring some joy into your life 🙂

Honestly, this is the first time I’ve tried anything like this, so I can’t compare how it works with metallic to other paint. But it didn’t take long to dry. Because I wanted the layers all mixed up, it did take about 2 weeks, painting a couple of squares (or more) each night. I didn’t really go darker to lighter – (though I did use the most shimmery/sheer on the top more than others), I tried to layer it many ways, so some darker squares overlap on top of lighter ones and visa versa. I might be a bit obsessive about that : )

In terms of amounts of mixing, I just experimented. I only mixed up enough for 1 – 2 squares at a time, and mixed on the more sheer side (figuring I could add another layer if it wasn’t strong enough). I wanted some layers more sheer than others as well – so the only ones that are the same, or those from the same small paint batch. You’ll notice some very pale/sheer purple or red squares, as well as some deeper squares of the same color.

It’s been long enough that I can’t recall very well. Maybe 1/2 cup glaze to 1 tsp – 1 tbl of color, depending on it’s opacity. Just experiment.

I did find that the opaque colors (red/purple/deep gold) took FAR LESS pigment to get the color than the more sheer colors.

Good luck! Would love to see what you come up with. When you’re done, drop me another note and I’ll send you my email address to send them!

Caitlin on July 14th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Thanks! One more question: Do you remember what texture your colored paints were in? I got everything in gloss last time because I was mixing with regular glaze, so I wonder if I should just do a flat with the metallic so they don’t mess each other up? The lady at the store just stared at me when I asked her about it…haha.

Allison on July 14th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I used Benjamin Moore’s Matte paint in most my rooms. I did use some flat paint just on the wall being decorated. OK, it’s been long enough I’m not exactly sure. For the bedroom, I had a gallon of flat and a gallon of Matte, and they’re used about equally. So I’m thinking I ordered flat by mistake, used it as the first coat and then used Matte as the 2nd coat, because the texture seems the same as the rest of the walls in the house.

Except for the kitchen and bathroom, where I used the pearl finish, because of the extra moisture in those rooms.

Good luck!

Caitlin on July 16th, 2010 at 8:53 am

Thanks! I’ll sned you a pic when I am done–hope it looks good 🙂

adi on August 15th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

hi, I love your work!
I want to paint my bedroom and I really love the paint in your living room… Does it look the same in person as it is in the picture??

Allison on August 15th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Yes, it does. Depending on the time of day the paint sometimes looks more yellow, and sometimes more green. Just depends on the lighting at the time.

I’d suggest getting a sample and painting a 4′ square to see how it looks in various light throughout the day/night.

Chelsea on July 6th, 2011 at 2:19 am

Hi 🙂 I came across this blog post and I am loving what you did with the geometric squares! I was planning on doing a very similar look using different shades of grey, but the idea of a glaze rather than layered paints is new to me AND I love it! Quick question – Do you think it would be best to start with a light, medium, or dark color? Originally I was thinking dark to light, but with a glaze it might be nice to have darker shades on top of light. Hmmm, what in your expert opinion, what do you think? 😉 Thanks in advance for your help!

Allison on July 7th, 2011 at 12:11 am

Hi Chelsea –

I actually mixed them. My wall paint is a medium color. I think my first glaze was a darker one… I probably would have gone lighter doing it again, just so I could get the feel of it. Easy to add another layer, hard to take it away. But I intermixed dark on light, light on medium, etc.

Good luck with your project!

Peggy on September 25th, 2013 at 6:46 pm

just ran across your page. I think its gorgeous!

Kim Jacobs on March 8th, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Hi I came across your pictures and I am redecorating my bedroom like this. Could you please tell me where you bought the beaded curtain? I have a closet with two doors that are missing and I have been searching everywhere for what you posted. I love your style and I hope to hear back from you.
Kim in Indianapolis

Josi on April 18th, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Is your condo north facing? how did you arrive at choosing this color theme? Was it the mostly the lighting/Sun Exposure? where your windows are positioned or was it mostly your furnishings? Thanks, your colors are so striking and beautiful! Josi

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