Why I Just Can’t Bring Myself to Decorate with Color

Some have said my favorite color is not even a color. Some say it IS a color, but not a great one. After all, no kid ever wants to color with the white crayon for obvious reasons on paper.

When people ask me my favorite color to decorate with, I often reply with, “I refuse to decorate with color.” I just mean I refuse to decorate with painted furniture that didn’t start out with or as white.

Says the professional furniture painter.

You’re a painter–how do you not like color?

 

Truth be told, I don’t really hate color, I just typically never paint my own furniture (or buy pillows or buy rugs or buy accessories) that contain color. My favorite color is white’ish and has been for a long time. I’ll paint your furniture in whatever color your heart desires!

Buffet in my dining room

Long before shiplap became all the rage, my mom ripped old paneling off the walls to create a fresh look in our first home. She couldn’t afford to replace the paneling the crow-barred off the wall, so she painted the exposed, horizontal boards and we painted it white. It wasn’t hip. It might have been a little cool, but only because exposing the shiplap subtracted a layer of insulation, a substantial detriment when you live in a sub-zero climate Duluth.  But it looked nice.

I have had a penchant for white since we received our first bucket of mish-mosh household paint from the hazard waste site in our city sometime in 1989. When you scoop up donated paint for free, you’re getting whatever was cleared out of people’s garages and left at the donation site. Nine times out of ten, our take home was a slurry of oil/enamel/interior/exterior/Navajo white packed neatly into a gallon paint container and given a Sharpie marker label: white’ish. And it did its job. It created a family of furniture out of naked misfits. It made our Brady Bunch paneling fall away and allowed this cool thing called shiplap to let all the cold air in.

What’s so great about it?

 

I love white. I like when it peels. I like when it cracks and encourages fingerprints to stick. I love it on big things like cupboards and I like it on small things like plastic bird eggs. I love that it never goes out of style. When I want color, and I do sometimes, I add it with things like fragrance and a few well-placed artificial floral stems. Suddenly my white palace is enveloped with the scent of bursting, wet lilacs and sprinkled with a basket or two April pink peonies.

Fake lavendar–makes me feel French. 🙂

When I have a piece of furniture that looks more “something else” than white, my guests often ask, “What color is that?” Good question. It started out white, I promise, and I have added a green, beige, or “greige” to give it that muddy color you can’t quite label. It’s whiteish. And I swear it all works here. I learned from the hazardous waste folks that you don’t waste a teaspoon of paint if it can be added to a gallon of something else.

The less color the better and the less identifiable an object’s color or purpose is, the more valuable it is to me. Like the kind-of-white, old-chewed-off-porch-pillar-thing I own that sits on my mantle. I would never sell it and I sure wouldn’t paint it.

White, chewed pillar thingy…

This I am certain has much to do with my love of cast-offs beginning with “garbage paint” from WLSSD in Duluth.

It just feels good.

White in all forms is simple. It has a history in my world of being useful, easy, and calming and it will forever be the backdrop/centerpiece/enamel/chalk/satin/latex/eggshell/egg white color that makes me joyful and feel at peace in my surroundings.

Written by Jamie Gapinski

February 21, 2020

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