As a perpetual renter, I’ve never felt so strongly as to paint a place I knew I’d be leaving sooner or later. Call it uncommitted, lazy, what have you, but it never made much sense to me to ruin a perfectly good T-shirt with paint splatters just to have to paint the wall white again in a few years’ time. But that all changed when I moved to yet another apartment and met the paint swatch of my dreams.
It didn’t take long for my husband and I to fall in love with our Center City apartment in Philadelphia. We were immediately enamored with the unit’s big windows and terrace views. At the time, we couldn’t have cared less about what was inside—the fake hardwood floors, the developer’s beige walls—it was what was on the outside that counted.
Then, winter came. As our views outside became foggier and drearier, we were forced to stay inside and stare at our walls, which were just so, well, basic. This blandness was all the more highlighted after a trip abroad to Cartagena, where homes were awash in bright hues. Pink, orange, yellow, and peacock blue—these boisterous colors were in my face all week—and I loved it.
In the weeks after, I’d sit and stare at a corner next to my kitchen, contemplating its future. I lazily flipped through home design magazines, before going so far as to take a photo of the corner and play with swatches in Photoshop. But no matter the hue, I kept turning back to a bright peacock blue. Soon, my Pinterest board was filled with photos of the same-colored accent wall over and over again.
When we received the go-ahead from our landlord (“That color looks lovely!” she said of the sample photo we emailed her), we headed to the closest paint shop, armed with our swatches.
It didn’t take long for us to nail down our choices to what we hoped would be the perfect hue: Sherwin Williams’ Oceanside, 6496. Knowing full well that it might look very different when dry—would it be blindingly blue? Not blue enough?—we took the leap, samples be damned, and walked back with our gallon of paint and got to work.
Three (!) paint coats later, the little corner of our home was transformed. It shimmers in the mornings, and offers a more moody vibe at night. What I love about it (beside the fact that it looks picture-perfect on Instagram) is that it didn’t take something complicated like hanging a gallery wall or buying a new piece of furniture to dramatically alter the space. It also seems to go well with every other color. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.