Cheat Your Way to a Straight Ceiling: Old House Problems

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We were determined to paint our bedroom dark. Like, dark dark. We wanted it to feel like a big hug. Cozy, but not a cave. After rolling our top picks onto large foam board panels, we landed on Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur – a pretty almost-black with a slight hit of blue. But with the decision made and in typical Kim fashion, I began to worry about our ceilings. They’re not perfectly straight!, I told Scott. For too many days, I said, we’re going to highlight those crooked ceilings. It’s going to drive me nuts, I know it!

Unwilling to budge on our color choice and exhausted with the back and forth, we were going to settle on the Old House Charm excuse until you all – not surprisingly, thank you! – gave us great feedback (just check out the comments in this post). Two strong suggestions rose to the top: painting a straight line into the ceiling or painting a straight line down from the ceiling. While we absolutely loved these ideas, in reality, we worried that the look may be a passing trend – half-painted walls are everywhere, it seems! We like the look, yes, but was it for us? We asked each other nightly; we asked our friends. We asked the internet again (naturally), and still we were undecided on what to do.

Then we spotted this room and this room, and we were all, sold! Besides, it’s just paint.

Our bedroom ceilings are 9′ high, so we decided to play with that height by stopping the wall color at a point that would still be noticeable but not so low that it would be a distraction. In our last update, we painted the top 1/4 of the room + ceiling with Behr’s Ultra Pure White in a flat finish to start, but the fun would come with Raccoon Fur. The goal? Cheating our way to a straight ceiling by creating one perfectly straight dark paint line.

SUPPLIES USED FOR A PERFECT PAINT LINE
Ladder (depending on height)
Tripod
Laser level (cross-line laser at a minimum, rotary laser at best)
Carpenter level
Tape measure
‘SnotTape

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Okay, let’s get right to the most lethal weapon we used to get those crispy paint lines – ‘SnotTape! The team behind ‘SnotTape introduced themselves to us towards the end of last year, and we were immediately fascinated. What could they offer to promise a clean paint line that wasn’t already on the market? We asked them a lot of questions, we watched their video tutorials, and we in the end, we knew it was a tape worth trying. What better test than our high-contrast bedroom walls?

‘SnotTape sent us two types of rolls: one for flat/delicate surfaces (black box) and one for eggshell/shiny surfaces (gray box). For starters, it’s not so much a tape as it is a lime green(!) gel. (Get it? It’s not tape?) The gel lines both edges of a thick paper, filling in gaps on your wall that normal tape just can’t touch – quite literally.

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I taped all of our new trim work using the glossy surface ‘SnotTape (gray box) the night before Painting Day, and I used the delicate surface tape (black box) to get our deep, dark paint line:

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We toyed with different heights for a good thirty minutes, using a tape measure down from the ceiling to help us visualize. In the end, we opted for a 16″ drop from the ceiling, which would go above the bed and laundry room doors, but it would intersect with the closet and wall of windows. We mounted our cross-line laser level (we have this one and love it) to my camera tripod, and we raised that on our 6′ ladder to get the proper height. Scott pointed the laser level towards the wall while I taped from our smaller step ladder. As Scott leveled up each wall, I used a carpenter level along the laser line to double check the accuracy. Note: Because our bedroom receives so much natural light, the laser line was faint – we hadn’t yet installed window treatments – and it’s even harder to see in photographs.

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‘SnotTape’s online tutorial suggests using a mini roller to press along the edge, but I rolled the dice and did the best I could with a firm swipe of my finger. With the tape in place, it was time to paint! We used Valspar Reserve paint (dreamy), color matched to Ben Moore’s Raccoon Fur in an eggshell finish.

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I used a small brush to cut in along the tape lines, and Scott followed behind with a roller. Once the paint was dry to the touch, we held our breath and slowly peeled back the tape… and it was so, so good. Hooray! I had the most minor touch ups (for real, it took me less than 5 minutes to fix the teeniest areas of bleed through), which I know for a fact was due to my less-than-ideal pressure in those areas.

When a strong paint line matters, consider us converts. #snottapeftw! For as long as we waffled on this paint treatment, we are over the moon with the results:

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Raccoon Fur plays so nicely with our wallpapered laundry room, too! Although we haven’t yet installed baseboards in there, I like to keep the door open, because, cute.

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But back to those crooked ceilings – just for a minute! The worst offender is along our closet wall, seen below. (The closet doors are removed while they’re being painted to match the trim.) The ceiling – well, the whole room, actually – only slopes up by an inch, although to the naked eye, doesn’t it look like so much more? We can’t expect perfection, but this paint trick truly draws our eyes away from that corner, and all we notice is how much we love this color.

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Bedroom, you’ve come so far! We picked up a little vanity over the weekend, and we’ve been layering in accessories while we decide on art. To this point, this bedroom makeover has been one of the biggest in terms of our overall attitude towards this home. We’re sleeping better and we’re waking up refreshed. We don’t fight the urge to go to bed or sleep in a tad bit later; we crave it.

Paint for the soul? Yeah.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with ‘SnotTape, which we can’t recommend highly enough. Find a local retailer here, or better yet, get yours on Amazon!

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  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - March 22, 2016 - 8:03 AM

    You make all the best choices starting with that headboard all the way to this paint color and treatment. Geez. I’m coming over. I’m SLEEPING OVER!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 22, 2016 - 8:40 AM

      If I remember correctly, I had a gentle nudge from someone when I spotted that headboard on Craigslist. COME OVER!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - March 22, 2016 - 8:25 AM

    It looks great! Your floors look so shiny – did you refinish them at some point or use wax or some other coating? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 22, 2016 - 8:42 AM

      Thanks, Emily! They’re just a pre-finished hardwood floor with a satin finish that was installed throughout the home at some point in the last 20 years. We’ve never waxed them, and although they wouldn’t have been our first choice, we do love that they hold up super well to a four pet household!ReplyCancel

  • Dani @ Danielle and Co. - March 22, 2016 - 9:02 AM

    It looks amazing – that color is so bold, but with such a well-lit space it just looks so cozy! I am so impressed! Also, we are going to paint our bedroom in a few weeks and I’ll give the snottape a try!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - March 22, 2016 - 9:04 AM

    This looks wonderful! I have serious dreams of our future dark bedroom. I can’t wait to see what kind of window treatments you add. Those add so much to a room!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 22, 2016 - 9:10 AM

      Hi Steph! We’ve since added bright white roman shades from Bali Blinds – you can see them in some of the ‘after’ photos. We decided to keep it simple in here, since there isn’t much space on either side of the bed (and we didn’t want it to feel crowded. We have plans for some other textural elements in the room though!ReplyCancel

  • Allison Hasserd - March 22, 2016 - 9:06 AM

    ahhh! looks so good!! great job! oh and yes, please leave that door open! so cute! :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - March 22, 2016 - 9:07 AM

    What a great contrast, it really seems to make the natural light bounce off the ceiling, and the room doesn’t feel dark and gloomy.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - March 22, 2016 - 9:08 AM

    This is SO GOOD, guys. I love it. Welcome to the dark bedroom club. I never want to leave mine in the morning. :)ReplyCancel

  • Leah Prevost - March 22, 2016 - 9:56 AM

    I’ve been checking for the last week waiting to see if you wrote about this update! I love it!! The headboard against the dark wall is gorgeous. It all looks so great together. I’m loving the wallpaper too. Amazing job! I’m itching to head to Ace and grab some of that paint now lol.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 22, 2016 - 12:07 PM

      We think that headboard NEEDED a dark wall! It’s still a quirky vintage piece without punching you in the face now. :DReplyCancel

  • Josh @ The Kentucky Gent - March 22, 2016 - 10:46 AM

    Gotta love the character old homes have, but each one definitely has their own fair share of quirks and qualms!ReplyCancel

  • ryan / The Blooming Thread - March 22, 2016 - 11:50 AM

    Seriously, you guys have to be the coolest people of all time. I love the bedroom and chuckled when you said “Get it, it’s not tape” because I’m still on the 1st cup of coffee- so little light bulb momment there, thanks for that lol. I love your style- you’ve both got a gift thats for sure! I’m officially sold and eyeing my bedroom walls this minute.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 22, 2016 - 12:07 PM

      Um, seriously, this has got to be the nicest thing anyone has ever said. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Beth Sanzone - March 22, 2016 - 11:51 AM

    Love this room and that light fixture. where is it from?ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - March 22, 2016 - 1:02 PM

    Your paint job looks absolutely fantastic! You guys do terrific work.ReplyCancel

  • Malissa Jeffreys - March 22, 2016 - 1:29 PM

    It looks SO good! Kuddos on a successful and unique paint job.ReplyCancel

  • Molly - March 22, 2016 - 4:25 PM

    I’ve always understood that you are supposed to remove painter’s tape while the paint is still wet, but the ‘SnotTape is removed when the paint is dry? How many coats of paint did you do and did you remove the tape/gel in between coats and then apply a new round of paint before the next coat of paint? My painter’s tape lines always look terrible! Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 23, 2016 - 10:29 AM

      It took us one full coat on the walls, plus a touch up “half” coat to get the color perfect. We did NOT remove the ‘SnotTape in-between, but we did pull it once it was dry to the touch – maybe 30 minutes after painting? They recommend pulling the tape no more than 8 hours after painting, mostly due to the gel adhesion, I believe. It does such a good job, you don’t want it to stay stuck to your walls!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney @ Foxwood Forest - March 22, 2016 - 5:40 PM

    That paint color! It is so gorgeous.
    I’ve never heard of ‘SnotTape, but I know it’s more than likely going to make an appearance in my life soon with all the upcoming renovation projects!ReplyCancel

  • Arielle - March 22, 2016 - 8:23 PM

    Brilliant! We have an old house too and I don’t think there’s a single straight line in the place. Your bedroom looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Marti @ Project Palermo - March 22, 2016 - 8:42 PM

    Perfection! The line hits the ideal spot in your window header – having it lower looks looks cool/natural, which it wouldn’t if it hit right in the middle. I appreciate how well you two execute things!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 23, 2016 - 10:28 AM

      We debated the middle vs. something lower in the header for a good 10 minutes! In the end, we agreed with what you just said – it didn’t feel right in the middle, despite my preference for balance. Thanks, Marti!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - March 22, 2016 - 10:47 PM

    New reader, here! That mint green pillow is the perfect accent color in here. And I cannot believe that headboard transformation! It looks amazing and so unique. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - March 23, 2016 - 10:35 AM

    Seriously, that is gorgeous! I LOVE dark paint in a bedroom, but I really like it when there is a lot of natural light to help balance it out. Amazeballs!ReplyCancel

  • misie - March 24, 2016 - 2:00 PM

    swoon – I covet your natural light! looks fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - March 24, 2016 - 4:38 PM

    Wow. Just wow. This looks incredible. The color is striking and I love that you didn’t bring the paint all the way up to the ceiling. What a dramatic change!

    You are lucky your room is so bright from the window so you can balance the cozy without the feeling of being in a cave. Would love to see a night shot (when your overhead light is on) to see what it feels like at night!

    Great job guys!!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {AFirePoleintheDiningRoom} - March 25, 2016 - 2:35 PM

    This looks so amazing! The two tone paint was the perfect solution. The room feels so dark and inviting but not totally heavy. I love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - March 26, 2016 - 10:46 AM

    Wow! This is amazing. It all looks so good together! I’d love to know where your bedding is from?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 28, 2016 - 9:25 AM

      Thanks, Lynn! Our bedding is from Crate & Barrel.ReplyCancel

      • Lynn - March 28, 2016 - 9:55 PM

        Thank you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - March 28, 2016 - 10:20 AM

    Yes! I’ve been using this technique as well! We have an older home and have the same issues with wavy ceilings. We’re also painting nearly all of our rooms this dark.

    Our more formal rooms have a picture rail – so we paint the walls and finish it off by painting the rail, leaving the last foot or so of the wall white to match the ceiling. For rooms without the trim, we just bring the paint up to the same spot. I think it adds a bit of a modern look to our really classic 1920’s home.ReplyCancel

  • Carlin - April 1, 2016 - 11:45 AM

    That is a gorgeous color. And, excellent job. You have a ton more patience than I!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - April 6, 2016 - 11:06 AM

    Wow, it looks insanely beautiful! And everything looks like it’s coming together so wonderfully (love that peek of the laundry room wallpaper!) Yay!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kemley - April 13, 2016 - 2:13 AM

    The paint is amazing. And I LOVE your headboard!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - May 9, 2016 - 8:36 PM

    What is the name and brand of the paint color? I am in love!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 9, 2016 - 10:26 PM

      Hi, Kate! It’s Raccoon Fur by Ben Moore.ReplyCancel

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