True Colors. Shining Through. And Somebody Stop Me Or I’ll Quote The Rest Of The Song.

When D and I bought our first house way back in ye olden days – also known as the late 90s – I was totally fascinated by the fact that I could paint the walls whatever colors I wanted. In fact, I remember calling my friend Bubba, a very gifted interior designer, and asking him if he could recommend a good yellow for the kitchen.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “There are a lot to choose from. I mean, think about it this way: you majored in English. Can you recommmend a good VERB?”

Oh, touche’, Bubba. Touche’.

And yes.


It’s always been a personal favorite.

Anyway, Bubba totally came through for me and picked out paint for every room in the house. His tasteful palette of neutrals lasted for approximately six months, at which point I decided that I HAD TO HAVE a purple kitchen, and really, the front bedroom would be so much cuter if it had a few stripes. And maybe the guest room really needed to be a bright green. And maybe I should never be allowed in a paint store ever again because LOOK! ORANGE!

When we moved to Birmingham a couple of years later, I decided to go with muted colors since our house was brand new. I have no idea what one thing has to do with the other, by the way, but somehow I decided that a new house with muted colors meant that I was officially a grown-up. A Grown-Up, even. Responsible. Far too mature for bright colors. I was going to be content to sit on my beige couch in my beige living room and watch PBS or maybe even some “Murder, She Wrote” reruns if I was feeling kicky.


So y’all know what happened. I made it two years with the muted colors before I painted my kitchen a gold so bright that I’m fairly certain I still have some residual corneal damage. And when I finally got tired of kitchen walls that basically required me to wear sunglasses whenever I wanted to, oh, cook some oatmeal, I re-painted the kitchen a lively green that didn’t really match anything else in my house. BUT IT MADE ME HAPPY.

I’ve fought the neutral / bold balance ever since we’ve been in our current house, because while I get the whole concept of subdued, understated decor – and while I love it in other people’s houses – nothing about me is really subdued. I mean, I don’t know if y’all have picked up on this, but I tend to ERR ON THE SIDE OF LOUD. And so back in the summer, I decided that since color is what energizes me and makes me smile when I walk in a room, I wanted more of it, dadgummit. That’s why I painted my kitchen cabinets green. And then whipped up some no-sew window treatments in a bright fabric.

(So. Now that I’ve established my love of color, maybe now I’ll move along to the actual point of this post.)

(Because do you know what I apparently resist almost as much as I resist neutrals?)


Earlier this year I made my first attempt at turning Alex’s old playroom – which is adjacent to our kitchen and breakfast area – into an office for me. It was functional and had some fun stuff on the walls, but after I painted the cabinets and put up the window treatments, it looked a little blah. And so last week I was cleaning and moving some stuff around when I looked at the desk in that room and thought, I want to paint my desk turquoise.

My logical, rational side thought, That’s ridiculous. No grown woman has a turquoise desk.

And then my creative side thought, Hush it, logic.

I bought the desk at a thrift store a couple of years ago for ten dollars (TEN DOLLARS!), so it wasn’t such a valuable piece of furniture that I was worried about ruining it. It has a not-so-lovely piece of laminate on the top, but the body of the desk is real-live wood, so it’s sturdy and practical. Here’s a picture.

I decided that I was going to tackle it with spray paint because Thanksgiving was two days away and quite frankly I was in no mood to fool with paint brushes, so I went to the Walmarts and picked up two cans of spray paint. I decided on a color that was the closest thing I could find to a light-ish turquoise in a glossy finish, and six dollars later, I was ready to go.

And no kidding – within twenty minutes I was ALL DONE.

I painted the hardware because, well, it was easier that way and we’re talking about a ten dollar desk. I can always take off the hardware later and paint it some kind of metallic finish. Or not.

Clearly I am an artiste who is deeply committed to her craft.

I let the desk dry for about an hour, and then we brought it inside. I moved it to a different wall, and then I hung (read: TACKED) a whole bunch of my favorite colorful things around the desk. And then I was all done.

(I have no idea why I went with the angle on that last picture.)

(Perhaps I have unrealized dreams of becoming a beret-wearing photographer who specializes in images of painted thrift store furniture.)

Anyway, there you have it. The desk isn’t perfect, but it’s colorful. And it only cost me six whole dollars to give the office a little facelift.

Which certainly propels me to paint more stuff.

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  1. Love it! Can’t believe it looks that good with spray paint.

  2. HAHAHAHA funny stuff. I love the Wal-Mart(s). Alas, my walls are neutral, but I do have TWO red couches in my living room.

    The desk looks good!!

  3. It propels me to want one of my own! Good job!

  4. Looks awesome! Inspired:)

  5. I never knew you could spray paint something like that. Wow. My offspring still talk about the horrible yellow I chose for the dining room. Now it is the even more horrible terra cotta I chose for our foyer that looks orange. Truly ugly orange.

  6. LOVE it!!!!

    And thank you, thank you so much for now getting that song stuck in my head, haha!!! :)

  7. Love it! Spray paint is my bff.

  8. Oh… I love, love, love it! I wish I could score a ten dollar desk soon and do the same. I love the color turquoise. Thanks so much for sharing today!

  9. Personally, I love it! Our office is painted a bright, jungle green :) Photos don’t do the brightness of the color justice! My husband requested “carribean green” when we bought the house, so I went with it.

  10. i think it looks great!

    our house in albany was very multi-colored. i loved my purple bedroom, alfalfa green dining & kitchen, red bathroom, and yellow everything else. now our bham house is ALL one neutral color. I’m itching to get some color on the walls. :)

  11. How cute!! I think the desk is making you even more fun and artsy/craftsy than you already were :).

  12. It looks awesome, now I want a turquoise desk! I like a little color in a room!

  13. I have a bench in my house nearly the same color! And I did it with spray paint as well!

  14. I LOVE it! And I love that your personality propels you to have color in your life, and to be long-winded. Love it!

  15. Okay, so I talked to you pre-desk, and I wasn’t sure about turquoise; but–it turned out BEAUTIFULLY! Also, I couldn’t help but notice your NEW HP– SWEET! :-)

  16. Based on my name, I feel driven to say…

    “It’s darlin’ just darlin’!”

    Just please imagine me as a 30 year old, not your MIL. :)

  17. I love it!

  18. I LOVE it! (singsong voice) I’m in the process of taking ugly inhereted bedroom furniture from my hubby’s previous, ahem, home and painting it in my taste and getting rid of the “high tacky” that was. I’m pretty proud of the way it is turning out. Now if monsoon season would end so I could get on outside and finish that mug up…

  19. i do love me some paint. thanks for encouraging me even more. and btw, my husband says thanks. haha, no he doesn’t!

  20. CUTE! You should totally paint the hardware a bold, rich green!

  21. I was recently gifted with a set of “real” wood shelves. They are in the basement and not terribly attractive. I’ve been wondering what a couple of cans of spray paint would do to the “real” finish. :)

  22. I am in LOVE with the turqouise desk. I am one of those neutral color people. Colors scare me but I’m obsessed with it in other people’s houses.

  23. Girl, you totally have skilz!

  24. You are such a blast and my kind of painter. I love me some spraypaint. It’s almost as great as hot glue! I adore the color it is so very Nester.

  25. That is my absolute favorite color. LOVE the desk. LOVE it.

    Did I ever tell you about the time my brother decided he loved the Charlotte Hornets so much that he needed to paint his bedroom walls purple and his SOLID GORGEOUS WOOD FLOORS TURQUOISE? Wowzers.

    Had a fiasco with the Silly Bandz tonight. I’ll e-mail you.

  26. Love it! Great idea!

  27. Well friend, the next time you’re feeling froggy just propel yourself to Franklin and you can paint yourself into a full-blown hissy fit.

  28. You should buy some different drawer pulls for it. They are so cheap and come in such cute styles. Of course, someone else has probably already suggested this but I don’t have the time at the moment to read through all the comments.

  29. Wish I could get motivated to paint some things around here.

  30. Love it Love it Love it! So pretty!

  31. Ha! An interior designer named Bubba. Double Ha!!
    And for some reason I always take angled pictures. It makes me feel like I know what Im doing.
    P.S. Its not just your blog, but hello, is anyone else sick of the gold clad skinny giant (and I do mean that in the nicest way. Really, no hating here.) on the side ad bar? I do not want to see this skinny lady less than a week after Thanksgiving.

  32. I got to “And yes. PROPELS.” and had to stop reading and tell you that I just really want to be your neighbor. Besides my sweet husband and the writers of The Office, there’s nobody in the world who makes me laugh as hard as you do. And I really, really love to laugh. So who’s movin’, you or me?

  33. With just the right amount of wear and tear, you’re going to be able to call it Shabby Chic.

    I love it. Painted furniture makes me happy. And btw, my bedroom is DARK PURPLE. And I couldn’t be happier.

  34. I’m so glad you showed us this desk. Just today I finally bought a can of this same spray paint to paint a chair that has needed painting for about 15 years. Seeing how easy you made the desk look will surely propel me to complete the project!

  35. LOVE the desk. I’m nowhere near that adventurous.
    Oh – and thanks for noticing my hair yesterday, it does look so much better since I took off that extra eight inches..

  36. I LOVE the color and the desk! I have to have color in a room, too. I think our color choices are a reflection of our personality. I’ve also learned not to analyze that way of thinking, either. Just do what makes you happy…..your cute little desk certainly does that. Very cute!

  37. And that’s why I love you…!

    The turquoise is perfect! You should sandpaper the edges about to get that distressed look and you would truly be shabby chic.

  38. …and that’s why I love you
    so don’t be afraid to let them show
    your true colors
    true colors are beautiful
    like a rainbow

  39. It’s quite lovely. And the angle–LOVE IT! My daughter’s friend–the photographer–takes lots of shots on an angle. And they are lovely. Just lovely.

    I painted my kitchen cabinets in my previous house a beautiful shade of red. I kinda’ borrowed the color from a decorator friend. My dad is a painter so you can imagine I put the man to work all the time. But he loves it.

    When I was a kid, he painted mine and my oldest sister’s room half red and half purple. How’s that for pleasin’ your girls?

  40. Inspired — let’s just color me that.

    Love it. I, too, have tried to be the neutral girl, but I just LOVE a lime green office with some splashy (aka LOUD flower print) window treatments and a aqua blue bathroom with more of the splashy window stuff.

    I’m just a lover of the color — and I think I’m grown up. If you have to ask, maybe you’re not, but then I’m a Mother-in-law so I think that makes me grown-up by default. (Did that sentence make your English major heart hurt?)

    Love your desk and LOVE your wall.

  41. That is a COMPLETELY EXCELLENT post!

  42. Love it. I’m all about it! I just spray painted my fireplace insert on Monday, and I love the look. Great job!

  43. love it. I am so not into the muted colors thing myself. my house is very colorful. I did a post and pictoral tour a few years back (including my polka dot bathroom):

  44. Love it! I am impressed with how well that turned out! I started out with bright colors in our house and have now moved to the more neutral ones, except for my blue dining room. We have painted our kitchen 3 times in 5 years! But now we have 2 little boys so unless we have a girl, in which case I will PINK IT UP!, we are DONE painting. Well, done unless I can convince my husband to paint the 2nd bathroom chocolate…

  45. I love it too! You’ve totally inspired me to spray paint some furniture!! I can see it now… Thousands of women around the world spray painting furniture for Christmas! You’ve started a revolution :)

  46. I grew up with a mom who couldn’t decide on colors for the walls… the living room has stayed the same boring beige since we moved in. But every other room has been fair game for orange, red, purple, four different shades of green, 3 yellows, several mustardy colors, and glossy white.

    I love your desk! Kinda thinking a few pieces of furniture in our house could use some spray paint, now.

  47. The color is PERFECT!

  48. Michele Albert says:

    I love the color of the desk, and as long as you are happy you will be more productive, right?? maybe?? I hope so…..

    Anyway – I bought a $ 10.00 dresser for our bedroom, years ago, stripped the LOVELY battleship grey paint off and found an incredible dresser in cherry and rosewood. Not bad for $ 10.00 and a ton of sandpaper!

  49. Uhh. An off-kilter desk for an off-kilter gal?

    Paint everything just the way you want it!

  50. Look at you ‘Susie Home-maker’. :)) Love the color of the desk. You sound a lot like my aunt. She buys things at thrift stores for cheap, gets her some spray paint, gives it a good work over, then arranges it so beautifully in her house and no one would ever know if she didn’t tell us. Spray paint is a magical thing.

  51. I gotta have color. I like bold, not so much bright, but if bright makes you happy I say go for it! My living room and dining room are navy blue with white trim so not dark, my kitchen is red and my family room is gold. It all works for me.

  52. Great job! Your desk looks great! Hope the new amount of ‘pop’ in your office makes you smile like you make your readers smile every time you post:)
    Blessings today and always,
    Matthew 21:22

  53. Having whatever makes you happy all around you is the way to live life!!! I did neutral colors all through my new house as well, and now I sit here wanting something bold and bright. You’ve given me something to think about though with that spray paint…. hmmmm…

  54. Your propulsion is not a compulsion but more an explosion of creative – spray can painting – so basically you are a graffitti artist with a quieter area of expression. That totally nonsensical thing said – love the desk and if a person can’t paint a cheap desk and get pleasure from it – I question their ability to truly embrace Design (notice the capital D) great posting –

  55. Love turquoise. Too cute. The hardware looks great the way it is, or you could change it out for something funky.

  56. I totally need color in my house! I agree that muted tones make me feel more Grown-Up, but they’re just so boring. For me. It’s like perpetually living in someone else’s house.

    So … GO COLOR! Love the desk :)

  57. LOVE. IT!!!

  58. IT looks AWESOME!

  59. love your desk.
    I just painted our office “faded clay” aka orange. I’m like you…i love color!!

  60. You never cease to leave me in stitches!

    And it’s nice to know you are as rabid an SEC football fan as I am (Gators!). But I root for any SEC team NOT playing the Gators.

    I personally like turquoise. But my husband would shudder if I painted wood, even if it was only $10!


  61. Leah Anderson says:

    Your new fabo computer looks awesome on the desk – can you tell I’m envious? I need a desk for the kid’s computer, must make a trip to the thrift store.

  62. I think you have to be way more grown up to have an adventurous color pallet. Beige people are immature in there color life as they clearly have not experienced the joy that is a turquois desk.

  63. I love it! Your true colors are totally inspirational! I love color in my house too. Definitely not a beigy person.

  64. I cackled out loud at “Propels”. Seriously, My happy is on for today.

    Oh, and BTW? Where do you get the guts for tirquiose? (and how do you spell tirqoise for that matter?) Do they sell them at the Walmarts next to the tirquoise paint?

  65. Looks great! I Love me some spray paint and furniture!!!

  66. Ahhhh……sweet memories!!!!

    The desk looks beautiful! Turquoise just may become the new taupe!

    Just to clarify for all you tens (haha) of readers….I respond to Bubba from only one person on this earth…and that would be Boomama. She was PROPELLED to give me that moniker in the spring of 1988, and it has made me smile henceforth!

  67. “Clearly I am an artiste who is deeply committed to her craft.”


    Can’t wait to see what’s next. You’ve given me a little inspiration to make a change myself – not that I have the time in betwix the Christmas decorating, shopping and general elfing around right now. But alas! A new year is right around the corner. Maybe I can find something to spray paint…maybe lime green?

  68. I LOVE the color!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. I love you. Really, that about sums it up. :)

  70. Hilarious post. And I am a bold color person as well. Tried the neutrals and got depressed.
    Love the desk. I am inspired!

  71. WHAT!~ We have that exact same desk! Was my dh’s when he was a wee boy! I have wanted to paint it so bad…but the laminate top! What about the laminate top??? I’m so gonna paint it!


  72. I am so glad you did that, because I have an ugly old desk and I was just sitting here wondering what it would look like if I spraypainted it! And you showed me! (well, not exactly since my desk is metal and the size of a dinosaur, but close enough). So now I am inspired! I shall paint my desk!

    PS-What color do you think symbolizes “Quirky”?

  73. How could a turquoise desk NOT make you happy! Good choice. Good choice.

  74. OH, I love the color! I think you’ve inspired me to paint an old desk I have our kid’s computer on in the playroom. THANKS! It looks great!

  75. Loved the desk – esp against the color of the wall. This blog PROPELLED me to color-liberation. We shall overcome!

  76. LOVE IT!!!!!

  77. I am so with you! I’m fixing up a house right now (our first house!) and the walls in the kitchen, living room and hallways are yellow and my craft room is lavender and our bedroom is melon-y. And you’ve totally inspired me with the desk–I too have a thrift store desk in an ugly pale green color and I thought it would be a lot of work to paint it…but not so much! What color would go well with my sugarplum room…

  78. Love it! (By the way, that is by far the biggest computer monitor these eyes have ever seen!)

  79. Hey guess what I just read and thought of you???

    THIS ——> PANTONE announces Color of the Year!