Blog Archives

Help for ugly paint color

paint colors, bright green walls, ugly walls

Bright Green Walls

Dear Design Diva,

I painted my loft what I thought was going to be a light apple green color. My floors are hardwoods. It seems too bright in here, what can I do to tone it down?


Dear Roy,

Did you know that 40% of all paint sales are from people selecting the wrong color the first time around? Hopefully that should make you feel a little better. You haven’t mentioned whether you have set up your furniture and the rest of your accessories yet. Sometimes when you paint, the color can seem too intense when you are just looking at the solid walls. Once you hang draperies, artwork, accessories, and add your furniture, there is so much more to look at that it detracts from the boldness of the wall color.

If you have already done all that and are still unhappy with the color, you can add a wash of color over the green to tone it down. I like to combine one part brown paint with 4 parts of glaze, and then wash it over the walls with a large brush, making bold strokes. If you prefer, you can roll the glaze on, cover the coated wall with a large plastic drop cloth, and when you peel the drop cloth off it gives the appearance of distressed leather. I love this glazing treatment and use it often for studies and libraries. It also looks great over red paint for a deep red leather look.

I hope that helps!

The DesignDiva

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Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design and host of “Ask the Design Diva,” a weekly radio show that answers all of your decorating questions. Listen to the live stream Saturday mornings from 8 to 9AM at or listen to the podcast anytime.


Paint Color for Powder Room

paint, painting, paint colors, powder room, bathroom

Rich Red Powder Room

Dear Design Diva,

I have a powder room that is still “builder beige.” I plan on painting it but am tempted to keep it light because I’m afraid it will feel too small. What do you recommend?


Dear Jane,

Thank you for deciding to get rid of builder beige! Ugh, that color really gets to me. I understand how you can be tempted to keep the paint color light, but think about it. Do you really think when people go into your powder room with pale walls they are going to say “Oh my, this powder room is so large!?” You’re not going to be fooling anyone into thinking the room is big, so why not go with something dramatic?

I love painting powder rooms in rich, jewel tone colors such as emerald green, sapphire blue, and deep ruby red. They add style and drama and a WOW factor. Yes, it is dark, but how long do people stay in powder rooms? Not very long. They can feel like they’ve walked into an elegant jewel box instead of a tiny, washed out wash room. Be bold and give it a try!

The Design Diva

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers. If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

Which comes first, paint or flooring?

paint, painting, flooring, floors, home improvementDear Design Diva,
I am moving into a “fixer-upper” that needs new flooring and new paint in every room. Which do I do first?
Miss DIYer

Dear Miss DIYer,
It really depends on where your fear is the strongest. If you are afraid you or your painter will spill paint on the brand new flooring, then paint first and have the flooring installed afterward. However, flooring installers are infamous for banging up the walls during installations, which will damage your fresh paint job. So if your fear of messing up the paint job is greater than your fear of spilling paint, be well prepared with ample drop clothes and extra touch-up paint and have the flooring installed first.

Try and have some fearless fun!
The Design Diva

Do you have a design dilemma or question for The Design Diva? If so, leave a comment here or email her at

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

What to do with Ugly Kitchen Cabinets?

dark cabinets, ugly cabinets, brown cabinets, ugly brown cabinets

Dark, Dated Cabinets


Dear Design Diva,
I have a very dark kitchen with ugly kitchen cabinets. I can’t afford to replace them, but I hate the look of white cabinets. What do you suggest?

In The Dark

Dear ITD,
You probably spend more awake time in your kitchen than any other room in your house, so it is important that you enjoy the view. Since you didn’t mention how low your budget is, I will give you a few options at varying levels of expense.

refaced cabinets, maple cabinets

Refaced Cabinets

Option 1 – Instead of replacing them, you can reface them. Basically a contractor removes all your cabinet doors and drawer fronts, applies a new veneer to the frames of the cabinets, and then installs brand new cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Still pricey, but less pricey than replacing.

Option 2 – If you like the look European or English Country, you can remove the bottom cabinets and cover the openings with colorful curtains while you either remove the upper cabinet doors completely or have the center panel cut out and replaced with glass. This is the option I used in my own kitchen, and I love it!

Option 3 – I know you don’t like white cabinets, but painting the cabinets is the least expensive option for transforming your kitchen. Just because you are painting doesn’t mean you have to paint them white. Soft green cabinets are very popular now and will give a soothing, restful feel to your kitchen.

painted cabinets, green cabinets, painted green cabinets

Green Painted Cabinets

How to Pick Paint Colors

picking paint colors, choosing paint colors, selecting paint colorsDear Design Diva,
I just moved into a new house, and the whole thing is “builder beige.” I want to add some color, but I am not sure where to start. I am totally overwhelmed when I look at the wall of paint chips at the paint store. Where do I begin?
– Suzie New Homemaker

Dear Suzie,

The Design Diva congratulates you on deciding to add color to your home. Color has the ability to inspire and transform your life. The quickest and easiest way to get the right color the first time around is to hire a certified color consultant. Although it will cost about $150 for a three-room consultation, it is worthwhile when you consider 40% of all paint sales are generated by color mistakes the first time. Your wasted money is not only the price of the paint, but the time you spend actually applying it or paying a professional to do it for you.
For brave do-it-yourselfers, you can either pick a color based on the kind of emotional reactions you want from the room or you can begin with an inspiration piece. Vibrant tones (red, purple, orange) create passion. White tones (light pink, sky blue, mint green) give a feeling of freedom. Brown tones (olive, mustard, clay) make rooms feel earthy and sensual. Black tones (emerald, sapphire, cranberry) create drama. If you want to use an inspiration piece, choose a favorite piece of art, fabric, or accessory. If you want to spotlight the piece and have it stand out, choose a paint color that is the complement (or opposite) of that color. If you want it to blend into the background, choose a paint color that matches your inspiration piece. You can bring other colors from your inspiration piece into the room with furniture and accessories, tying the whole room together with your cohesive color palette.
Color has amazing powers – it can aid in healing, promote positive change and empower your life. The Desgin Diva encourages you to fully explore the incredible transformative powers of color.