Cheat Your Way to a Straight Ceiling: Old House Problems

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We were determined to paint our bedroom dark. Like, dark dark. We wanted it to feel like a big hug. Cozy, but not a cave. After rolling our top picks onto large foam board panels, we landed on Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur – a pretty almost-black with a slight hit of blue. But with the decision made and in typical Kim fashion, I began to worry about our ceilings. They’re not perfectly straight!, I told Scott. For too many days, I said, we’re going to highlight those crooked ceilings. It’s going to drive me nuts, I know it!

Unwilling to budge on our color choice and exhausted with the back and forth, we were going to settle on the Old House Charm excuse until you all – not surprisingly, thank you! – gave us great feedback (just check out the comments in this post). Two strong suggestions rose to the top: painting a straight line into the ceiling or painting a straight line down from the ceiling. While we absolutely loved these ideas, in reality, we worried that the look may be a passing trend – half-painted walls are everywhere, it seems! We like the look, yes, but was it for us? We asked each other nightly; we asked our friends. We asked the internet again (naturally), and still we were undecided on what to do.

Then we spotted this room and this room, and we were all, sold! Besides, it’s just paint.

Our bedroom ceilings are 9′ high, so we decided to play with that height by stopping the wall color at a point that would still be noticeable but not so low that it would be a distraction. In our last update, we painted the top 1/4 of the room + ceiling with Behr’s Ultra Pure White in a flat finish to start, but the fun would come with Raccoon Fur. The goal? Cheating our way to a straight ceiling by creating one perfectly straight dark paint line.

Ladder (depending on height)
Laser level (cross-line laser at a minimum, rotary laser at best)
Carpenter level
Tape measure

Okay, let’s get right to the most lethal weapon we used to get those crispy paint lines – ‘SnotTape! The team behind ‘SnotTape introduced themselves to us towards the end of last year, and we were immediately fascinated. What could they offer to promise a clean paint line that wasn’t already on the market? We asked them a lot of questions, we watched their video tutorials, and we in the end, we knew it was a tape worth trying. What better test than our high-contrast bedroom walls?

‘SnotTape sent us two types of rolls: one for flat/delicate surfaces (black box) and one for eggshell/shiny surfaces (gray box). For starters, it’s not so much a tape as it is a lime green(!) gel. (Get it? It’s not tape?) The gel lines both edges of a thick paper, filling in gaps on your wall that normal tape just can’t touch – quite literally.

I taped all of our new trim work using the glossy surface ‘SnotTape (gray box) the night before Painting Day, and I used the delicate surface tape (black box) to get our deep, dark paint line:

We toyed with different heights for a good thirty minutes, using a tape measure down from the ceiling to help us visualize. In the end, we opted for a 16″ drop from the ceiling, which would go above the bed and laundry room doors, but it would intersect with the closet and wall of windows. We mounted our cross-line laser level (we have this one and love it) to my camera tripod, and we raised that on our 6′ ladder to get the proper height. Scott pointed the laser level towards the wall while I taped from our smaller step ladder. As Scott leveled up each wall, I used a carpenter level along the laser line to double check the accuracy. Note: Because our bedroom receives so much natural light, the laser line was faint – we hadn’t yet installed window treatments – and it’s even harder to see in photographs.

‘SnotTape’s online tutorial suggests using a mini roller to press along the edge, but I rolled the dice and did the best I could with a firm swipe of my finger. With the tape in place, it was time to paint! We used Valspar Reserve paint (dreamy), color matched to Ben Moore’s Raccoon Fur in an eggshell finish.

I used a small brush to cut in along the tape lines, and Scott followed behind with a roller. Once the paint was dry to the touch, we held our breath and slowly peeled back the tape… and it was so, so good. Hooray! I had the most minor touch ups (for real, it took me less than 5 minutes to fix the teeniest areas of bleed through), which I know for a fact was due to my less-than-ideal pressure in those areas.

When a strong paint line matters, consider us converts. #snottapeftw! For as long as we waffled on this paint treatment, we are over the moon with the results:

Raccoon Fur plays so nicely with our wallpapered laundry room, too! Although we haven’t yet installed baseboards in there, I like to keep the door open, because, cute.

But back to those crooked ceilings – just for a minute! The worst offender is along our closet wall, seen below. (The closet doors are removed while they’re being painted to match the trim.) The ceiling – well, the whole room, actually – only slopes up by an inch, although to the naked eye, doesn’t it look like so much more? We can’t expect perfection, but this paint trick truly draws our eyes away from that corner, and all we notice is how much we love this color.

Bedroom, you’ve come so far! We picked up a little vanity over the weekend, and we’ve been layering in accessories while we decide on art. To this point, this bedroom makeover has been one of the biggest in terms of our overall attitude towards this home. We’re sleeping better and we’re waking up refreshed. We don’t fight the urge to go to bed or sleep in a tad bit later; we crave it.

Paint for the soul? Yeah.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with ‘SnotTape, which we can’t recommend highly enough. Find a local retailer here, or better yet, get yours on Amazon!

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