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What color should Heidi paint her hallway? She’s keeping some flocked wallpaper – yay!

flocked wallpaper in the hallway

Heidi is a longtime reader with a longtime renovation under way (don’t we all!) She wants our help in choosing a paint color for her hallway — to coordinate with the flocked wallpaper that she is keeping, to honor the many gifts of the Retro Decorating Gods. She explains:

 Hi Pam,

My husband and I are finally getting to the painting part of our long rehab. We are having trouble figuring out what color to paint our hallway, because we’ve decided to keep some of the 1960s blue and gold flocked wallpaper that use to cover the entire thing. So we can’t figure out what color to paint the hallway that would mesh well with the wallpaper. Help from readers would be appreciated.

flocked wallpaperWhat do you think, readers? I’ll pipe in with my thoughts at the end…

Meanwhile, enjoy the slide show of Heidi’s space before, during and after taking down a bunch of the wallpaper. And, hey: If you personally like the “befores” better, please remember our #1 commenting rule: No one can be made to feel bad for their decisions. (Lamentations will be deleted or not approved.) Flocked wallpaper can be a lot to digest — and this wallpapaper was no wallflower. I am SURE that Heidi gave the decision lots of consideration — evidenced by the fact she decided to keep the memorial flocked wallpaper in the hall.

  1. Heidi Swank says:

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments. We’ve been in the house for 5 years and still aren’t finished (we bought a foreclosure and restored that one to rent out in the middle of restoration of our house). It is so motivating to get all this help! Thanks again!

  2. daniel says:

    i hope it’s not too late to comment!

    i think putting a gold or blue to try and match the wallpaper in the hallway will end up looking weird— you’re not going to get the exact colour and it’s going to look like one or the other is not original. i also don’t think a red would work, it would look silly, to me at least. *if* you go with more paint, i would probably go with a neutral colour that is very light like maybe a cream? but i don’t think paint is the best option.

    i agree with taking out the wallpaper for most of the hallway— those stripes really make you claustrophobic in a narrow hallway like that. but have you considered having a different, more minimal wallpaper? perhaps a mostly white patterned wallpaper would keep the space ‘open’ without leaving the walls blank.

    also, one other note is the popcorn ceiling. my last house had that crap, and if you can do it without blowing a ton of cash, i would replace it with plaster, and give the plaster a kind of half swirl pattern across it. for an example take a look here:
    http://roberthannay.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/cimg0009.jpg
    they have given the plaster there a kind of circle pattern, but for more of a 50s and 60s style, try giving it only quarter circles across the ceiling.
    the reason i hate popcorn ceiling so much is that it’s an 80s/90s artifact, it’s ugly, and the stuff falls on the floor and leaves this chalky substance there.

    i hope i wasn’t too late and i wish you good luck with your restoration!

  3. Wendy says:

    If you decide to go with a gold, make sure that you have a small amount of black paint to tone it down. Almost all golds/yellows these days are too bright and will seem a little sunshiny. Mix in a little black to add that gray scale that was popular in the 50’s and 60’s to get the perfect muted tone. Paint back then had lead in it that really grayed up the colors, so you have to kind of add the grey back in. Good luck!

  4. pam kueber says:

    That’s so interesting that you explain that it was the lead that greyed up the colors back in the day!

  5. Josie says:

    I actually would go with the blue. Not just to be contrary, I swear! But gold walls can be very…. gold walls, especially at the level of classic greenish-gold of that paper… I’m looking at the background of the medallion section. That is definitely not a sandy, desaturated, nevermind-me-I’m-just-here gold.

    But if its a softer gold, that will just read as giving up and going beige, I think.

    But some dark blue walls everywhere the wallpaper is not… with some gilt-framed mirrors, or pictures, and some gold/brass finished vintage-style sconces? That would look very intentional, coordinate well, and calm down the space. I would hope you have some nice lamps, though! 🙂

    Go team blue!

  6. Lynn-O-Matic says:

    Heidi and anyone else interested in this paint–

    We finally got the Martha Stewart Pearl Pink paint up yesterday. It’s amazing. I love it. However, the shimmer *really* shows any faults or irregularities in the wall. Our drywall mudder promised us a knocked-down plaster look but did a sprayed-on texture called Spanish lace instead. The shimmer really shows the parts where the little globs of mud didn’t get knocked down as much. You couldn’t really see it with the flat primer. We also had to do a second coat, which we didn’t have to do with the other paint. If you want a metallic finish the results are worth it, however. Gorgeous!

  7. Heidi Swank says:

    Lynn-o!

    I need your help! I am two coats into the Precious Metals Froth in my hallway. I keep ending up with marks where the columns of 20″x20″ squares overlap. Our walls aren’t textured (as I believe yours are) but do you have any insights into a better way to put this paint on the walls? We love it and it looks AMAZING with the flocked wallpaper. Help!

  8. Lynn-O-Matic says:

    Hi, Heidi! We had the same problem. I should have written about it. After combing the internet I found some advice from a Home Depot rep. They said to use a thicker coat than you would for regular paint, so keep your brush/roller pretty saturated, and don’t let it dry at all as you do a section. In other words, don’t do what we did the first coat and have Daddy cut in at the top, then Mama roll the upper half, and then kids come in and do the lower half. Each wall needs to be done all at once, and you want to keep rolling in the same direction. Otherwise you get the effect of someone rubbing a section of velvet the wrong way. It’s a little more work than regular paint and takes more paint, but it is so cool in the end. I smile every time I go by. In fact, we liked it so much we got some for the other daughter’s room.
    I really hope you can make it work. It’s to die for.

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