Creating a Family Room that Brings People TogetherAugust 1, 2022
Ready to breathe new life into the heart of your home this year? Start your family room renovation before the holiday chaos, and enjoy a space that feels cozy and bright all year long. Your family room should invite people in, feel comfortable, and encourage togetherness, and with the right template, you can create a room that’s not only gorgeous, but also practical, warm, and perfect for gathering with loved ones.
With so many family room designs to choose from, it’s up to you to find the perfect one. We were inspired by a modern farmhouse look, which we achieved with soft white paint, dark accents, and carefully styled décor. Taking our room from light to dark required that we first primed the walls for a better paint application, so we chose KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer, which simplified the job thanks to its multipurpose formula.
It’s fast drying, water-based, and able to be used on multiple surfaces—such as plaster, drywall, wood, and brick. Great at blocking stains, it also has excellent adhesion, and is mildew resistant with a very mild odor. KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer helps lessen the number of coats of paint required—a perfect solution for making over your family room quickly and professionally with minimal disruption to your life.
Once primed and dried, we got to work painting our accent walls and cubbies with BEHR® Interior Paint in Carbon N520-7. We also added this color to the inner window framing, to add a bit of depth, and to the beams across the ceiling to further complete the farmhouse look.
For contrast, we used BEHR® Interior Paint in two shades of white to brighten up the rest of the space. For the walls, we chose Shoelace OR-W13, and Ultra Pure White® for the trim and ceiling. The dark accents work to draw focus to the back wall—housing the fireplace and TV—and allowed us to situate the furniture in a way that creates a natural gathering space inside the room. From here, it was time to get creative and have fun with the décor.
Choosing a neutral color palette was an easy decision because it worked well with the existing brick detail and created an added layer of warmth. We wanted the room to feel relaxed and cozy, yet modern and sophisticated, which our beige couch and area rug help achieve. We brightened up the cubbies with a few wicker baskets, ceramic bowls, and vases, and sprinkled in a bit of greenery around the room. Our wooden coffee table pulls focus to the room’s center, while hints of blue and gray in the pillows and throw help to create a finished farmhouse look.
As always, we hope you find this room transformation inspiring. It’s easy to start any project—big or small— with the help of any KILZ® Primer. Whether you choose to embark on this project with friends or family, or go at it alone, once completed, your beautiful, new family room will reward you with memories for years to come. With a bit of time and effort, it’s easy to give your loved ones the gift of togetherness this year.
Always remember to refer to our website kilz.com or product back labels for additional information on which primer is right for your project and detailed instructions on how to apply our products. Check out our Coverage Calculator to understand your estimated paint needs for your upcoming project.
Ask the Pro: Must-haves for 2022January 28, 2022
New Year, new inspirations, and new projects! What better way to kick off the year than to share the “must-haves” for any project in 2022. We asked one of the KILZ experts, Paul Dambroso. Paul is the Vice President of Marketing at KILZ and shares over 20 years of experience. Here on the Perfect Finish, we are going to cover the top KILZ products that any professional may need to kick off a project.
Why is it important to use Primer for any project?
- Seal porous surfaces before painting to achieve a uniform finish in fewer coats of paint
- Block stains from bleeding through your topcoat finish (water stains, tannin, smoke)
- Improve adhesion between the surface and the topcoat paint (adhesion promoter)
- “Specialty primers” help solve a variety of problems in specific situations from preventing mold and mildew before painting, transparent finish primers for same color recoats, alkali-resistant primers for powdery surfaces, concrete, cement, and unpainted plaster, metal primers, and more.
What are the top 5 KILZ Primers you need to tackle any job?
- KILZ 2® ALL-PURPOSE Primer (Previously KILZ 2 Latex) is a fast drying, water-based, multi-surface primer-sealer-stain blocker with excellent adhesion, mildew resistance, sealing properties and very mild odor. KILZ 2 ALL-PURPOSE Primer blocks medium stains including minor water stains, rust, grease, ink, pencil and felt marker. Enhanced hiding makes it ideal for changing colors and helps lessen the number of coats of paint required.
- KILZ RESTORATION™ Primer is a new generation water-based primer, sealer and stain blocker offering performance of traditional oil and shellac-based primers. It tackles tough stains including heavy water damage, rust, smoke, nicotine, grease, tannin, ink, pencil, felt marker, pet stains and more.
- KILZ® MOLD & MILDEW Primer is a water-based primer-sealer-stain blocker that is specially designed for residential surfaces in high humidity, moisture, and temperature environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, powder rooms and laundry rooms. It offers excellent adhesion to both interior and exterior surfaces and provides a sound anchor for paints. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered active ingredient creates a mold and mildew-resistant film that protects the primer film from mold and mildew growth.
- KILZ® ORIGINAL has been a trusted brand for over 40 years! This interior and exterior primer is specially formulated to be a sound undercoat for paint and will help enhance the topcoat’s performance. It has excellent adhesion to both interior and exterior surfaces including masonry, metal, and excellent penetration for bare wood.
- KILZ® PVA DRYWALL PRIMER is designed for use on new drywall. It is a fast drying, interior water-based primer formulated to prime and seal new, uncoated drywall and reduce the number of topcoats required to achieve a uniform, professional quality finish.
What are some tips and tricks while using Kilz primer?
- Check out KILZ Coverage Calculator to determine how much paint is needed to start a project. Typically, a gallon of primer will cover up to 250-400 square feet of surface that depends on a variety of factors. Two coats are usually required to have bright or deep colors or stains that could bleed through the topcoat. If priming over light or white previously painted surfaces, one coat may be sufficient.
- Tint the primer with a small amount of colorant (paint) of the topcoat. This will enhance the accuracy of the topcoat’s true color.
- Lightly sand the surface before applying primer especially if there is a gloss or sheen on the surface. This will help the primer adhere better and result in a longer-lasting paint finish.
- Although today’s advanced chemistry allows compatibility between oil-based and water-based primers and topcoats, it is still best practice to keep the combinations of “oil-based over oil-based” and “water-based over water-based” to ensure optimal results.
- Check out the KILZ blog post on the misconceptions about primer with one of our product experts here.
Always remember to refer to our website kilz.com or product back labels for additional information on which primer is right for your project and detailed instructions on how to apply our products.
Inviting Entryway MakeoverSeptember 20, 2021
A drab and functionless entryway transforms into an inviting and inspiring multi-use space in this entryway makeover. Plain, dated, and without focus, the original entryway neither served the homeowner nor did much to accentuate the natural views outside. To brighten up the space and make the area as useful as it is beautiful, we chose a fresh white hue for the walls and created a functional mini-mudroom to add much needed storage and a pop of color that we also tied in with the front door.
DIYers often overlook entryways and hallways when remodeling their homes, thinking of them simply as connectors for other rooms. Yet, these spaces can be among the most important in a property and can impact both how your home feels and functions. Keep reading to find out how we created a minimal yet practical space in this entryway using KILZ® Primer and two different paint colors – a fresh white and a nature-inspired deep green.
Entryways see some of the greatest foot traffic in a house, and for that reason, it is important to choose a primer that will help your final paint job last for years to come. KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer was the perfect choice for the paint job’s foundation here, with its stain-blocking properties that help to hide stains and cover the old drab color.
Starting with KILZ 2 as a base for any surface (you can even use it on brick, wood, and drywall), the next step is to choose a color palette that freshens up your space and draws out its best features. Here, we chose KILZ® Tribute® in White Modern for the walls because the color white elicits a sense of calmness, purity, and order. Whether you are heading out for the day or coming back home, a white entryway can help to reset your mind and refocus your attention on whatever is coming next. In our makeover, the white walls act as the perfect canvas for the windows, drawing the eye outside and inviting in the natural colors of branches and leaves as they change throughout each season.
With the white paint providing an airy base tone, and a darker color for the new front door, the mini-mudroom creates a striking yet clean contrast. KILZ® Tribute® in Typewriter is a deep and almost industrial color, yet it has subtle shades of green that add the perfect pop of nature-inspired color.
The mini-mudroom unit itself offers plenty of storage space for shoes, coats, and outdoor equipment, making it easy to keep the whole space tidy and organized. Adding storage boxes in the bottom section for shoes also helps to keep mud and dust off your floors, which means no more dirt trailing throughout the house.
Finally, we chose a handful of stylish accessories like a caged light fitting, a potted plant, natural-colored rugs, and contemporary framed artworks to finish the transformation. These small accent pieces work in harmony to ensure warmth and welcome in an otherwise clean and cool space.
If you are considering ways to update your home, a relatively simple entryway transformation project could make all the difference.
Always remember to refer to our website kilz.com or product back labels for additional information on which primer is right for your project and detailed instructions on how to apply our products.
Dining Room Designed for Mindful LivingAugust 11, 2021
A component of a balanced lifestyle is being able to slow down and relish each moment, including meals with family and friend. A light and inviting dining room can encourage you to savor the experience of every bite, while conversely a drab or too-intensely colored space can have the opposite effect. This brooding red dining room was decorated in a Mediterranean style, but its heavy atmosphere and dark furniture were uninviting and uninspiring.
Mediterranean design style, however, doesn’t have to mean dark paint colors and heavy furniture. For this dining room makeover, we kept to the existing Mediterranean theme but took in a light and bright direction – drawing inspiration from sunlight sparkling on light blue seawater and the quintessential, white-walled homes blanketing the hills of Greek islands.
Our first step in creating a sense of tranquil enjoyment was to take the walls from saturated deep red to an airy light neutral that invites you in. In order to do justice to our new paint color, and allow its subtle tone to shine, we had to make sure there would be no shadow from the previous dark red. We used KILZ 3® Premium Primer, because its thick and creamy formula is ideal for hiding dark colors and creating the perfect foundation for new paint. Furthermore, old dining room walls can often have stains, and KILZ 3 covers heavy stains and hides surface imperfections.
Once we had the dark red completely covered with a coat of primer, we were able to bring in the light with fresh white paint. We chose One Horn White, from Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines® Paint. This airy, cream color has a beautifully neutral quality, with a slight beige tint added to the warm white base. Pale colors like this one can instantly make your space feel larger.
To enhance the sense of invitation, we added a built-in window seat. By painting the bench in the same color as the walls, we kept the room feeling open and emphasized the connection of the room with the outdoors.
New décor elements were selected to bring a sense of lightness and ease into the space. While darker or more saturated colors tend to downplay textures, the new light walls will bring texture to the forefront. In the new dining room design, we introduced textural elements including pillows and a cream-colored woven rug. Similarly, the darker paint around the windows suddenly draws our attention to them, while in the original room they were almost lost in the dark red.
We also made the room brighter by swapping in a graceful new light fixture and by bringing a sleek, natural-wood buffet to replace the previous heavy, dark cabinet. The fact that our gaze naturally travels underneath the new cabinet, perched on its slender legs, is another small decorating detail that makes the room feel more spacious.
The end result of our makeover is a dining room that draws you in and invites you to linger. In a room that feels welcoming, conversation and eating will mingle, and the experience will naturally be more relaxed.
Always remember to refer to our website kilz.com or product back labels for additional information on which primer is right for your project and detailed instructions on how to apply our products.
Living Room Makeover with Meditation in MindJune 21, 2021
In this living room makeover, we set out to create a comfortable and functional meditation area that could be stored away when not in use. The living room’s large windows made it a perfect light and airy space to relax in, but the feeling of the room was weighed down by the old paint color and dark, heavy furniture. It was time to say goodbye to dull yellow walls and breathe new life into this living room with primer and a fresh coat of paint in calming colors.
For the primary walls and mullions, we began with a coat of KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer, a dependable choice for covering up previous paint colors. The pros know that a quality primer acts as the perfect foundation for any paint job; and in this case, KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer provided coverage to hide the old yellow paint, while its adhesion properties made it a breeze for our new paint colors to glide over the walls effortlessly. KILZ 2 primer also adds amazing longevity and durability to painted walls by working as a sealer and stain blocker.
Once our primer dried, it was time to start painting. Sometimes a too-bright white can seem harsh in a sunny room, so we chose KILZ® Tribute® Paint in Contemporary White (TB-02) for the walls and ceiling. This particular shade of white has a subtle blue undertone that cooled down the brightness just a notch, while providing a gentle, reflective backdrop for the sunlight streaming in.
We followed the same steps — primer followed by a coat of paint — for our accent wall, choosing this time a contrasting color: KILZ® Tribute® Paint in Stone Cold (TB-66), a medium-dark gray with subtle pale green undertones. This neutral gray created a calming effect, while toning down the brightness of the white walls and ceiling.
As you can see in the “before” photo, nothing looks duller than a bland expanse of carpet, so it was an easy choice to replace it with luxurious gray hardwood flooring, topped with a plush cream-colored rug quilted in an attractive diamond pattern.
Because we wanted to maintain a light, airy feel, we chose contemporary style furnishings in complementary colors, including an understated, quilted-back sofa with soft plump cushions and a cozy armchair in a fabric that matches our accent wall to perfection. We added a bit of diversity with a natural wood finish coffee table that stylistically hints at Danish Modern, and a simple butcher block end table.
We accessorized with a couple of wood accent tables, including an attractive console table that we used to support a stunning modern painting that reflects both of the room’s primary colors. We upped the comfort level several notches by adding overstuffed pillows in complementary shades.
Given the stresses of this past year, our goal for this room was to create a calm, soothing oasis for rest and relaxation. To accomplish this goal, we used an empty corner space to create a meditation station, complete with comfortable, oversized pillows and a few decorative items. Pillows are ideal for creating an on-the-spot meditation corner in any room, because once you’re done, you can easily remove them and store them away — in this case, under the console table.
Primer and a coat of paint are the two valuable tools you can have for a DIY makeover project. Primer protects and enhances your paint job, while a coat of gleaming paint can transform any space. Once you choose the right colors for your design scheme, you can add to the ambience with a few carefully chosen pieces of furniture and accessories.
Fun & Functional Home Gym MakeoverMarch 23, 2021
The way we live has changed in the last year and we are doing more at home than ever before. Instead of time spent at yoga studios and gyms, many are streaming workout classes online and rolling out their yoga mats on the living room floor. Not everyone has an extra room waiting to be transformed into a boutique fitness studio, but if you do have an unused guest room, why not convert it into a custom home gym? That’s what we decided to do with this unused bedroom, and the results are stunning. The secret to our success was our quick and easy wall transformation — executed with a layer of primer followed by a vibrant coat of paint in an energizing color. It’s yet another example of how primer and interior paint can make a big impact and transform just about any space.
Here’s a look at exactly how we revamped this dull-looking bedroom into a sparkling home gym, using only primer, a coat of paint, a fun square of carpet and a few essential pieces of equipment. First, we tackled the walls, starting off with a coat of KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer, which was especially ideal for our project because it created a perfect base layer to ensure the new topcoat color would be vibrant and vivid. This all-purpose primer is known for its durability, so you can trust that your paint job will last longer.
Next came the fun part — choosing a color. We opted for something invigorating, encouraging you to go for that extra 20 minutes on the bike or treadmill. A bold and bright aqua, KILZ® Tribute® Paint in Tropical Escape (TB-56) is so vivid, it almost has a neon vibe. It was the perfect shade to wake up our gym space. As we layered it over our KILZ® Primer, we noticed immediately that the color seemed to pop from the walls, giving an amazing vibe of energy and vitality.
With a color like this, we knew that the flooring had to be something special. This bold geometric pattern caught our eye, and best of all, the colors matched our beautiful paint to perfection, proving that no matter how exotic your paint choices, there’s always going to be a bit of gorgeous flooring out there to match. We think that the combination of patterns and colors really adds a lot of character to the room — something you don’t always think of when creating a gym, but why not make your exercise space as attractive and appealing as the rest of your home? (Hint: The nicer it is, the more time you’ll want to spend there, which might even mean that you’ll exercise more). Another advantage to this carpet is its durability. For a home gym — or any type of space that gets a lot of physical impacts or foot traffic — it’s best to choose a durable, short-pile carpet that’s specially treated to resist stains, odors and moisture.
When renovating a room, you’ll want to first look for its advantages and figure out how to make the most of them. We recognized immediately that this room’s biggest assets were its two rectangular windows, so we made them into focal points by refreshing them with a coat of durable primer, followed by a coat of white paint. A good primer will give you that extra added adhesion you need for superior coverage when you’re painting — always a plus when you’re working with light colors because superior coverage will prevent the old colors from seeping through.
Nothing opens up a narrow space better than a full-length mirror (always a great accessory for any home gym), and we found one that added the perfect amount of depth to the room.
As for equipment, we kept it simple with just an exercise bike, along with a balance trainer ball and a few hand weights. The beauty of a bedroom-sized gym is there’s enough space for several pieces of equipment, so you’ll have enough space to add more items later on. We streamlined things even more by adding space-saving floor and wall racks (for equipment, helmets, and shoes) and a versatile gym bench for extra seating as well as storage.
Once we were finished, we decided hands-down that the paint color made all the difference and was the real winner here, proving once again a layer of primer and coat of paint can transform a room from a dull dud into a sizzling firecracker.
Creative Ways to Carve Out Functional SpacesMarch 23, 2021
The home office is becoming as standard as the laundry room. With more people working from home than ever before, often alongside children who are distance learning, people have been forced to get creative with their living/working/study spaces. Rather than trading in your dining table for a desk, try one of these ideas that empower multifunctional spaces and add some design flair to your home at the same time.
Here’s how you can fit everything in your life comfortably into your home.
Carving Out Office Nooks
The “corner office” has taken on new meaning. If you feel like your office is quite literally crammed into the first corner made available in your home, it’s time to take a look around and see if you can give yourself an upgrade.
For some households, having a workspace in the main living area isn’t a big deal — especially if you have a laptop that you can easily fold away to make room for other things when work is over. However, if you need more room to spread, out or you just work better at an actual desk, there are creative ways to fit it in and make it look great. Take this small-space office nook for example – with KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer, a fresh coat of paint and built-in shelves, we converted a neglected nook into a pretty WFH space. See the full transformation here.
Building in Organization
Building organization into your house is essential for reducing all clutter that inevitably comes with spending more time at home. When things have a place at the end of each day, they’ll be out of your way. You might decide to relocate things around the house as you find new storage spaces, whether it’s under-the-bed, behind the couch, on top of the kitchen cabinets, or in the hall closet. The key to avoiding the look and feel of clutter is to have some rhyme and reason behind what you put where.
Adding some storage to your entryway or mudroom is a practical (and pretty!) way to keep the mess at bay. For this entryway storage center, KILZ Primer was the essential first step in transforming a boring wood bench into a statement piece. After priming the bare wood with KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer, a fresh coat of pretty gray-green paint (KILZ Tribute® in Typewriter TB-70), completed the look.
Pretty baskets and bins, like the boxes in our entryway project, keep things aesthetically pleasing. Consider going the extra mile with labels to help everything find its way back to its rightful place.
Visually Divide Multipurpose Spaces
If you’ve found yourself using words like “multifunctional” more than you ever thought you would, you’re not alone. Putting up walls and partitions may be infeasible and is less than preferable. So, when it comes to squeezing more living (and working) out of the living space you already have, there’s a trick: divide them visually instead of physically.
One of the best tricks to keep things pleasing to the eye and mentally in their place is to visually divide your spaces with the use of intentionally placed paint colors. These can be in the form of a full accent wall or a smaller arch or geometric design. The visual definition from a pop of color helps you define a space a within a space.
We’ve partnered with a few design savvy influencers in recent months who used primer and a coat of paint used to define their workspaces, and they are sure to inspire. Kathryn, from the blog Up to Date Interiors, used KILZ 2® All-Purpose Primer and KILZ Complete Coat® Paint to create a soothing blue arch behind her desk. Another fun and functional workspace came from Lindsey at Repurpose and UpCycle. Her ombre accent wall/desk combo came to life with the help of KILZ 3® Premium Primer and KILZ Complete Coat Paint.
These visual dividers are pleasing to the eye and can even make your home feel larger when done right. Plus, it’s something you can do yourself. With primer and a coat of paint, KILZ can help you get more out of your home and make use of the space you already have.
Smart Spaces with Emily HendersonFebruary 19, 2021
One of the biggest design “trends” we’re seeing as we move into this new year is multi-functional spaces. We put “” around the word trends, simply because while we are seeing plenty of beautiful multi-purpose spaces pop-up, the trigger for these transformations is often an essential need. The need for a place to log on to your zoom calls that isn’t your couch or kitchen island, the need for kiddos to have a place to do their schoolwork that doesn’t devour the dining room table, and even the need to have a place for some peace and quiet (meditation corner anyone?) since the local yoga studio is still closed.
Functional spaces are key to thriving in 2021, so why not make them beautiful too! One of our favorite interior designers and great friend of the KILZ® Brand, Emily Henderson, is a true pro when it comes to designing spaces that not only look amazing but work hard to meet her client’s needs. And like any seasoned designer, Emily knows that proper prep work is essential to professional quality results for every project both large and small. We sat down with Emily to get her tips and tricks for creating multi-functional spaces, learn how she properly preps her projects and get a sneak peek at a home office reveal she’s currently overseeing.
Hi Emily! We’re so excited to have you on the blog today. You’ve been a KILZ fan for some time, can you share what you love most about KILZ and why you trust KILZ products for your own projects and for your clients?
Hiya, thank you! A couple things: first – and I think this is the biggest one – it’s just a huge time saver. And it emboldens us to take more risks. And lastly, I guess it’s just a good, functional product. I can elaborate!
I think it’s a pretty commonly shared opinion that painting is the most affordable, most impactful thing you can do to change the look of the space. I agree with that! But if you want to make sure that your paint job actually looks good, you’re going to want a great blank canvas behind it. KILZ is the brand that all of our painting contractors use to prime our spaces, so there was a default level of trust there already – if you’re ever on a construction site before paint goes up, I’m sure you’ll see tubs of KILZ everywhere – but they use it because it makes their lives easier. Walls are smoother, paint sticks better, some of the primers even have mold- or mildew-fighting properties. (We used one of those primers in our windowless basement bathroom.) Instead of schlopping on coat after coat of paint and hoping for even coverage, it’s nice when you can just prime and then roll out two coats.
But also, it’s fun to have KILZ in your back pocket. My team in particular has been able to go crazy with paint in their apartments – you know, like green trim in the bedroom or purple stripes in the bathroom, but done tastefully! – with the knowledge that they’ll be able to change it back easily when they move out without losing their security deposit. We are genuinely big fans.
What’s one project in particular that you couldn’t have completed without KILZ? And which primer did you use?
Oh boy, where do I begin? Top of mind would be this living room that my team, lead by Julie Rose, just finished. It was in a historical LA building, right off the first-floor courtyard, and it was dripping with charm…but that black accent wall wasn’t doing any favors. It was just bumming us out. There was only one window in the space, which faced into the heart of the building, and it just made the room feel dark and depressed.
There were a couple problems in the space that we all deal with – not a ton of storage, a pass through layout, you know, the classics – but the main one was really that this wall was overshadowing everything in the space…literally. So we settled on painting the whole space, including the trim, in ‘Chalk Gray,’ brought out our painting contractor and he primed the whole wall in under half an hour – our photographer, Sara Tramp, had popped in to grab progress shots and he had already almost finished by the time she was set up and ready to go.
Those photos were taken after one coat. One coat! Do you know how long that would have taken to cover up with just white paint? We ended up priming every wall in the apartment so we’d have a nice, even base and a clean backdrop for our new gray walls and by the time we finished, it was such a beautiful space. The before and afters were staggering. It was like we had breathed new life into the architectural details – once everything had been cleaned up, you could finally see the beautiful moulding and the warm wooden details actually stood out. I’m so proud of how this one turned out.
Now let’s talk about prep. What is your advice for a novice DIYer looking to take on a painting project? How much time should they allocate to prep and what steps should they absolutely not skip?
If you’re painting the whole room, take the time to do it right. Sure, you can change paint, but not in the same way that you can swap out a throw pillow or blanket. Before doing anything else, I’d recommend taking 10 minutes to look around and to find and fill all your tiny nail holes or hairline cracks. If you ignore these things and paint straight over them, your eye is going to be drawn straight to them every time you walk in.
My team is split on the value of painter’s tape – actually, my photographer recently painted all of her closet trim freehand after installing a gorgeous wallpaper, out of fear that any tape would pull it off – so I think that if you have a pretty steady hand and a couple of baby wipes, you should feel free to go proceed without taping. You can also throw down drop cloths and make sure to move all your furniture out or to push it to the middle of the room and cover it!
From there, I’d recommend jumping straight into priming. For an average sized room – let’s say 11’ x 12’ – it should take about an hour or two, plus it’ll save you a ton of time on the back end, since you won’t need to paint as many coats to achieve vibrant coverage. The whole process, from filling holes to moving pieces to priming, shouldn’t take more than half a day and it’s definitely worth it.
Like we mentioned in the intro, you’re a true pro when it comes to designing multi-functional spaces. What are the key things you consider when presented with a project to create a room that will meet various needs?
Wow, thank you! There are three big questions to ask: who is using the space? What are the functional requirements? And how do you want it to feel?
For example, a multi-functional space shared exclusively by children, like a playroom or a homework room, and a multi-functional space that needs to work for the whole family, like a rec room, need to be designed differently. A room for kids will have softer pieces to abate the potential for injuries, more open floor space to encourage play, more nooks for alone time, etc. whereas you may float more pieces in a whole family space to encourage smaller zones for each task at hand.
Once you’ve nailed down who is using the space and what it’s for, the most important thing to figure out is how you want it to feel. Try to pick a few words that describe the vibe you’re going for. On my team, some favorites recently have been “warm grandpa library,” “bright art deco discotec,” and “moody old world restaurant.” Picking how you want it to feel when you walk in will really help dictate pieces, layout, and will remove a layer of design analysis paralysis that I think we all struggle with occasionally.
Home offices are by far one of the most popular spaces we’re seeing people DIY. What is your favorite office project you’ve completed recently? (And did you use primer?!)
Did we use primer? You jest. Of course we did! My team, again led by Julie Rose, recently finished this teenager’s bedroom makeover, which obviously had to include a multifunctional office space for some homeschooling. I actually designed this space about a decade ago, so it was thrilling to be able to work on its update.
We ended up choosing this vanity in particular because of its size and storage – it wasn’t too heavy for the space and it can pull double duty as the perfect sized desk for a high school student who’s currently just learning from her laptop.
I guess that rolls into my main tips for folks looking to build an office or WFH space. Look for pieces that can serve a few purposes that you’ll still want to look at after you’ve returned to work or school. If you’re able to, try to grab a desk that’s the appropriate scale for your room. This one is a great size for a teen, though I know that some adults will need more space and closed storage. Finally – and the tip I love the most, as a stylist – see how you can accessorize your WFH or homeschooling space to make it feel a little less sterile. The mirror above this desk in question is across from the windows, so in addition to being a great place to get ready in the morning – there’s a cabinet with closed storage in the room, too, in case you’re wondering where the non-school products are kept – it also does a great job of bouncing light around the room.
You know I couldn’t leave without a paint transformation photo. Just such a bright, happy, serene bedroom and homeschool space!
One of the biggest woes of a home-office-lacking DIYer is that they just don’t have space for an office. What creative hacks or solutions have you seen to create an office in a small or unique space?
OH BOY. Let me tell you about the project we’re working on right now with one of my favorite new designers, Keyanna Bowen! She’s figured out an incredible way to separate her space and I can’t wait to see it all finished.
Here’s where we’re starting from. Beautiful! Just kidding – there’s obviously a ton of charm in this room, but it just needs a little bit of a boost. Keyanna wants this space to still serve as a guest room and as a yoga space, so we can’t go all-in on just decking it out as an office. I’m sure that’s a problem most folks at home are familiar with, too! Key’s plan, though, is awesome: she’s planning on building a rope wall partition. A rope wall partition! It’ll hang from the ceiling and it will still let in light while defining the office as its own separate space.
Over the past year, I think my favorite WFH spaces or DIY offices have been the ones where folks have turned their closet into a whole desk setup (long live the cloffice!) or folks who, like Key, have figured out a functional way to use a previously-awkward nook. I’m so inspired! If you aren’t blessed by architecture, though, the idea still stands: is there a way to carve out a corner of your home with privacy screens? Can you hang a similar partition in your living room to give the illusion of a separate workspace? The possibilities are endless.
A word we hear a lot when talking about multi-functional room design is zoning. Can you share what exactly that is and some tips to do it right?
I love a zone! I talked about it a little earlier, but it’s really about figuring out how to clearly define the different functions that take place in each part of a room. The best part: it’s very easy to do! You can set up separate zones in minutes by anchoring areas with different rugs. Key does it beautifully above, with the office and lounge areas both being really clearly defined by their rugs. It makes total sense, because when our brains see different flooring, they think, “oh, different room.”
Zoning is really essential for folks with open concept layouts – especially now! So in this project – from 2016, oh my gosh, though it’s still one of my all-time favorites – we created a huge and comfortable family room by flanking this super-soft rug with a huge, u-shaped sectional and two graphic chairs. It’s bright and open, but still definitively its own space.
A few feet away, and anchored by a flat, easily-cleanable dhurrie rug, is the dining area. You’ll probably notice a lot of repeating elements: graphic hits of black and white, light woods, and pastels. Keeping a cohesive color palette isn’t always necessary – I am all for exploring, playing, and getting weird – but it does make the design process easier and it’ll make your rooms feel more relaxed and comfortable.
Switching gears to home-school rooms and kid’s study spaces. What was the biggest hurdle in creating a functional space for little ones?
Making spaces so that kids will actually use them! I think that a lot of the time, design-minded people like myself can get really hung-up on the vision. We want to make something beautiful and impressive and worth sharing, but kids don’t necessarily share those same motivations. They just want a fun place to play, learn, and explore.
The playroom is actually the space I struggle with most. My kids are still very young – 5 and 7 – so we’re early in the homeschool process, but they love art and playing with legos, so once I chose to design for those two hobbies in particular, it immediately became more functional and the kids used the space way more.
To that end, I’d ask: what do your kids like doing? How does your child actually study or do homework? If they love drawing, give them a space for that and relinquish your dreams of them ever actually wanting to play with the enormous dollhouse you bought in the hopes that you could play with it together. (Speaking to myself, here.) If you build it, with your kids and their specific tastes and interests in mind, they will come.
Can you share a recent personal or client projects you’ve done that included a room for kids? And of course, we want to know how primer came into play!
I’m in love with this room that my team, again led by Julie Rose (are you sensing a theme here?), recently completed for a little girl. We wanted to make a magical bedroom with a specialty art area and I think we really made it sing.
As for how we used primer – it went everywhere! We actually primed underneath the wallpaper, per our installer’s recommendation. It covered up the previous paint and served as a plain backdrop so that the white pieces of wallpaper would appear clean and fresh, but it also worked as a bit of a barrier so that the wallpaper paste didn’t bond with the walls too much. While wallpaper is pretty permanent, priming first can make the removal process a bit less painful in that you won’t need to worry about ripping off chunks of drywall by accident.
We also obviously had to prime that art nook so that all of our magical, fairy-inspired colors would show up. We love the way it turned out and so did the family.
Before we wrap up, let’s talk about the project that we’ve partnered with you on… that also includes your design mentee Key! Can you tell us about her, the project and give us any sneak peeks?
Woops, I guess I already spilled the beans a little bit on this one, but I’d love to talk more about Key! Earlier this year, my team and I decided to take on a mentee – I’ve been so incredibly fortunate to find success in this field and I’m now surrounded by people who are experts in editorial and social and more, so I wanted to share the wealth and hopefully, help more folks find long-term career stability in this weird world of internet design and influencing.
Key was an instant, unanimous pick from the team. She’s an incredible interior photographer in her own right, but we knew once we read her writing and peeked at her own DIY rental renovations – that’s her kitchen above – that she would be the next big thing. She’s warm and creative but she’s also detail-oriented with a perfectionist mindset, which is what it takes to make and shoot and share beautiful spaces for the internet!
We’ll be making her office over – the periwinkle one I shared above – and we’re so excited to work with KILZ because it’s actually covered in oil-based paint, which you can’t cover without using a specialty primer. We’ll have an official update in a few weeks, but I can share the general design direction which is going to knock your socks off…
My team and I have been working with Key to secure all the main furniture pieces and BOY, they’re great. (Also, do you see that rope wall partition on the bottom right? It’s so good, isn’t it?) I know it’s only February, but I have a feeling that this is going to be one of our top makeovers of the year. We’re so thrilled to reveal it to you all and so grateful that KILZ has given us the opportunity to work on such a fun project, together. Cheers to beautiful and multifunctional rooms in 2021!
Author is paid sponsor of KILZ Primer. Always remember to refer to our website kilz.com or product back labels for additional information on which primer is right for your project and detailed instructions on how to apply our products.
Ask the Pro: Misconceptions about PrimerFebruary 12, 2021
Here on The Perfect Finish, we’ve shared what primer can do for your paint job, tips on choosing the right primer for your project and step-by-step instructions on how to prime various surfaces. In this post, we’re excited to turn the tables and talk about what primer is not – debunking seven common misconceptions about primer.
To discuss these often-believed myths and misunderstandings about primer, we sat down with John Golamco – Product Manager, Primers at KILZ. A member of the KILZ team for over six years, John is a true expert on all things primer and has a wealth of knowledge to share. Ready to learn more? Let’s get rolling!
Misconception #1: Primer is just paint without color in it.
Although both primer and paint are classified as “architectural coatings” they are not the same. The formula of paint is different from the formula for primer. Paint is formulated to deliver color while primer is formulated to stick, better protect the surface, and in some cases block stains.
Misconception #2: Priming before painting takes too much time and won’t have a considerable effect my paint job.
Applying primer is indeed an additional step in the painting process but, depending on the surface condition and problem areas that might be present, investing in the primer step might actually save time and money. Applying primer to solve the problem (for example uneven, porous surfaces, strong colors or stains that might bleed through the paint, or adhesion issues that might cause peeling of the paint) before applying paint may prevent the need to re-paint or add several more coats of paint to get desired results.
Misconception #3: If I use primer over a stain and I can still see the stain through the coat of primer, the primer didn’t work.
This is a quite common misconception about primer. A primer coat or coats is not meant to look like the finished topcoat paint. Primer is supposed to work underneath the paint to create a uniform surface, hiding strong or bright colors, block stains that might bleed through or show through the paint and enhance the paint’s ability to stick to the surface better and last longer. So even if the primer coat does not look like a fully painted wall, it will still perform the above functions. Then it is the paint’s job to completely cover the surface, deliver the color and look great.
Misconception #4: Primer is only for the walls.
Primer is mainly applied to walls, but it is not only used for that surface. It can also be used on other vertical surfaces like wood paneling, brick or stone fireplaces or other masonry. Some types of primers are also designed to apply to horizontal surfaces like furniture, windowsills, floors and countertops. It depends on the type of primer and where it is designed to be used for – always read the label and follow label instructions.
Misconception #5: I’m using primer, I don’t need to clean the surface first.
It is always important to properly prepare the surface before applying primer. At the very least, the surface has to be clean and free of dust, dirt and debris. Failing to clean the surface prior to applying primer may compromise the adhesion of the primer to the surface – which could lead to peeling and blistering.
Misconception #6: I need to add multiple coats of primer if I can still see my previous color.
Depending on how strong or bold the previous color is, it may be necessary to apply more than one coat of primer. However, it is not necessary to over apply the primer with so many coats. As long as the primer applies uniformly over the previous color, then one or two coats should be sufficient. Again, it is not necessary to apply several coats of primer to try to get a perfect white finish. That is the job of the topcoat (paint) which has to be applied on top of the primer.
Misconception #7: I don’t need to prime when painting outside.
Priming outside is just as important, if not more important, than priming inside. Exterior surfaces are typically exposed to the elements and are subject to expansion (from heat) and contraction (from cold). This and the exposure to wind, rain, snow and even dust, dirt, pollution, sunlight (UV) may cause the paint to fail due to lack of adhesion to the surface. Using an exterior primer first on a properly prepared surface can make a big difference to whether the paint lasts or potentially cracks, peels or blisters after a short period of time.