Hand-painted murals can mimic the effect of wallpaper by introducing a story and pattern. But it's also safer inn splash zones like the kitchen, where wallpaper may feel a little more risky for some. Here, the lavender swirls of paint on a buttercream backdrop complement the elaborate blue chandelier, too. Then the classic, neutral cabinets and island ground the space. House Painters Thornton
When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk." House Painters Thornton
And of course, there's always a time and place for crisp white paint. Here's proof that sometimes it really is the best choice of all, even if it's also the most obvious. Alexander M. Reid opted for a crispy, bright white for this traditional bathroom and then added splashes of blue for a classic combo. The graphic floor tiles liven it up and the white walls serve as a perfect backdrop for the gallery of artwork. House Painting Thornton
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