It all started with Trading Spaces.  This was a television show on TLC in which two sets of neighbors swapped keys of each others’ homes with the mission to redecorate one room within a $1,000 budget… and with the help of one interior designer, one carpenter, and one spunky television host.

Don’t pretend you didn’t watch it, because I know you did.

We watched one episode, and my mom and I became obsessed. Why don’t we paint the living room?  Why not paint all of the bathrooms?  WHAT’S stopping us?  Nothing.  Not even my dad.  He merely shook his head in resignation when we returned each Saturday morning with new paint cans from Lowe’s.

Our house went from being white, off-white, tan, chalky, white, and some more white to vibrant colors we didn’t even know were PERMITTED before Trading Spaces.  We painted the living room, dining room, and upstairs’ hallway a zippy teal. We primed and painted the 1970s brown kitchen cabinets a crisp almond that popped against the Williamsburg blue walls.  We sponge-painted the bathrooms, made blue polyurethane stripes in my bedroom, gave my brother a Washington Capitals-inspired bedroom, and painted my parents’ bedroom a bold cherry red.  All clutter was completely removed from the basement, and we painted the dark paneling a toffee color to mute the Scarlett O’Hara red walls.

I wish I had more photos to offer as proof of our redecorating achievements; unfortunately, these are the only snippets I can find:

This was Ted, our oversized Thanksgiving turkey from 2009.  Oh, and cabinets and walls.
My cousin and Corgi playing in my parents’ teal and Asian-inspired living room.

Then I went to college.  My white dorm room looked and resonated a mental institution. I moved off-campus, and this is what I promptly did to my apartment:

You can’t go to Virginia Tech and NOT have maroon and orange oozing from every surface.
Not enough maroon.

Who knew that $15 paint cans could make such a difference?  I painted friends’ apartments… I painted friends’ of friends’ apartments (Then I had to paint them all back to white once these people moved out). Once I got married, every wall in our apartment was painted the NIGHT we moved in (I have witnesses).  Living room turned Georgian Leather orange. Foyer was Kaleidoscope blue. Kitchen became Guacamole green.  Bedroom turned Teal Zeal. (…Olympic’s names for the colors.  I’m not that clever.)

Trading Spaces forever changed my life.  I will never own a white wall again.  The colors of all of the rooms in our new house have already been chosen.  Some colors might be repeated, but in different rooms.  Who knows.  I might scrap all the colors and start over again.  That’s the glorious thing about it — it’s JUST paint.  If you don’t like the color, try again.  Be bold.  Who knows, you might end up LOVING it.

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