dining room with subtle painted checkerboard walls
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
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7. Check the Walls with Tone-On-Tone Color

When decorative painter Brian Carter was asked to turn a bland dining room into a magnet for good food and conversation, he instinctively thought of warm tone-on-tone squares. He started out by painting the walls a creamy beige, then applied two shades of tinted glaze (all from Benjamin Moore) to create a pattern of 17-inch squares.

After applying a base coat of Philadelphia Cream eggshell latex, he used a measuring tape and chalk line to create his pattern, tweaking it to avoid partial squares. Then, using a 1-inch painter's brush and random strokes, he painted every other square with a mix of 1 part Antique Bronze Impervo Satin to 3 parts Studio Finishes alkyd glaze. The next day, after wiping off stray chalk marks, he lightly painted the entire surface with a mix of 1 tablespoon of Mink Impervo Satin paint per quart of glaze, using a 2½-inch painter's brush and random strokes.

Tip: "Use chalk to mark off the squares and avoid taping them. Using the chalk lines as your guide will give you a softer look," Carter says.
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