To paint or not to paint

One of the things we’re trying to keep in mind throughout the renovations is resell value. And resell appeal.

Our house sat on the market for over 5 years. Why? We’re sure a big part of it was the price. But as we’re spending more time in the house we are realizing there were probably a lot of factors. One of which is that it is very “rustic” and that only appeals to a certain percentage of buyers. A small percentage probably.

With that in mind our design goals have been to update the house to feel more modern, while accentuating certain features of its oldness. One of the more prevalent features are the exposed beams throughout the house. Most people come in and say “we LOVE the old beams!”. That was our first impression too. But they do present some challenges.


Watch your head!

Our ceilings are not that high. And the darkness of the beams make the ceilings seem even lower.

Dirt and dust

When the wood gets stained it is nearly impossible to clean. There are some stains that are cool marks of time and then there are stains that are not cool, like water stains, etc.

Not to mention with all the cracks and crevices dust collects that is pretty must impossible to clean.


Paint marks

Some of the beams got paint on them at some point when someone was painting the ceilings. It looks pretty bad in spots and would be hard to remove without leaving the wood much lighter (sanding) or otherwise looking different than all of the rest of the beams.


A solution?

Our awesome neighbors invited us to a party at their house. One section of their house is the oldest section that has exposed beams. They painted their beams, which Deb and I thought looked spectacular. This isn’t there house, but here is an idea of what it looked like.


It really lighted up the space and make it feel brighter and more welcoming. There texture of the beams was still there, but the beams were much easier to clean and wouldn’t collect dust as easily.


So what’s the problem?

The problem is that once you paint them you can’t go back. We really don’t want to make a change like that and regret it. We don’t think we would, but it would be bad if we did.

Our current thinking is to do one room. Probably the master bath because it is small and also we want a really clean feel in the bathroom in particular. It’s hard to say it would translate when looking at one of the larger rooms, but I think we’re going to give it a shot.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Joan says:

    Thank you! Tough call…we actually have one room painted and one is not….I think I vote for painting. It definitely makes the ceiling feel higher and the room more spacious. The unpainted beams are in my office with dark paint on the walls and it is very cozy and makes you want to hunker down and work or browse social media ;)). Your welcome to come over and take another look!


  2. I love the white look. I watch the show, fixer upper, a lot, and I have seen them handle it both ways. White wash look may be a good compromise.


  3. Dad says:

    You mention your low ceilings. When I designed / built our Glastonbury house, our contractor said many of the colonial homes had low ceilings. Reason why? It was easier to heat in the winter. … We built our home with low ceilings! I’d say give your idea a shot. I think you’ll like the results.


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