The question I get most often is “what paint color is that!?”
Paint is one of the best ways to incorporate color and personality into a space. But, walking into the paint store staring at the wall of tiny paint squares can feel like the most daunting choice you make in your home! Paint colors are one of the questions I get asked most because they can be so hard to choose. Filters, lighting, and time of day all affect how colors will look.
Typically Mr. Yolo and I are renovating an entire house from top-to-bottom, so we have a blank slate. It can be super overwhelming to know what color you want in EVERY room during the renovation process. To combat this, we start by painting the entire house some type of white before adding accent colors. In the Barnhouse, we painted the whole house Behr’s Swiss Coffee — including the ceilings. This is a very approachable white with some warmth to it, because I did not want the house to feel too stark. It’s a really cozy white, that I love and use in every house now.
Pro Tip: We use a sprayer, which makes the process so much quicker. And I could write an entire post on paint sprayers (which I might just do!) because I get a ton of questions whenever we use one. In short: Spraying takes ALOT more prep time, but the actual painting is super quick. I would recommend a sprayer if you are painting a whole empty room. If you are only painting your walls or an accent wall, rolling it is the way to go!
I went a shade darker than the walls on the trim, Behr’s Cotton Knit, so there would be a little dimension. In most of my photos the trim and wall read the same, but in real life it’s a subtle difference that is really pretty. It’s SO FUN to see a bunch of you use this same combo and love it! We use a different paint sheen on the trim than on the walls. This also helps add dimension to the room. Typically I choose an eggshell finish on the walls and satin on the trim — but not always depending on the look I am trying to achieve.
Paint with a sheen tends to repel fingerprints and wipes easier than a flat paint on trim. So it’s often recommended to use a semi-gloss on trim, but I am not a huge fan of gloss, so I stick to a flatter sheen. Behr also recently came out with ULTRA Scuff Defense that has the look of a flat, but the durability of gloss, which we tried in the Duplex. So far so good, but I will follow-up in a future Duplex paint picks post to let you know how it holds up.
With hundreds of shades of white, how do you choose?
Pick a white paint, easy, right!? Nope! There are SO many whites!
At I SPY Abode I used HGTV Home’s Pure White, which really is one of the purest whites I’ve ever seen. It worked with the design of that house, but it wouldn’t have worked at the Barnhouse because I wanted a more cozy, inviting feel. Behr’s Swiss Coffee is my go-to. It’s white, but it has a little bit of warmth that doesn’t feel too stark. After using it in The Barnhouse, I became obsessed with it. I’ve recommended it to friends and fam that are looking for a white, and it’s looked SO GOOD in ALL of their homes! We also used it in our Duplex renovation, which has more blue accents in the tile and accent walls, and it still looks fantastic!
Tip: Cooler is more blue tones. Warmer is more yellow tones.
Both whites and accent colors can take on many different shades. You’ll want to select samples and paint them on your walls. Try them in different spaces of the room and look at them during different times of the day.
My top tips for choosing paint colors are:
Start with a couple of inspiration pieces like a pillow, blanket, or art that will hang in that room. Take your inspiration pieces with you to the paint store and select paint swatches that pull from the hues in those items. This is a great place to start when you’re feeling at a loss for what color to use.
Never go off of how the tiny paint square looks in the store! I beg you! Choose a few paint swatches you like based on your inspiration pieces and then buy a few tester cans and paint them on your walls. Remember to look at them in different light and on different walls. Or you can try the Peel & Stick samples that you can order online for a couple of bucks. These actually work pretty well because you can move them wall to wall, but nothing works better than painting a swatch on your wall!
Look at paint samples that are a shade lighter and a shade darker than you think you like. That will help you find your true favorite.
When rooms are in eyesight of each other, make sure you pick colors that complement each other. Try to achieve an overall cohesive look choosing colors that play well together instead of clash.
Here’s a roundup of all the Barnhouse paint colors:
When we purchased the Barnhouse, the stairs were wood and had varnish on them. I quickly found that stripping and sanding them was going to be a big undertaking. So instead of trying to stain them, I decided to paint them. I used Kilz oil-based primer in a gray tone (if you’re painting with a dark color use gray primer). KILZ primer will stick to anything with a finish (I did do a light sand before priming) and it won’t chip. After the primer, I used exterior paint on the stairs for durability. This paint has been amazing. We didn’t have a stair runner for almost a year, and the paint still looks great even after lots of feet and paws have been up and down thousands of times!
Walls: Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell Accent Color: Blue Metal Finish: Matte
Behr’s Blue Metal is one of my absolute favs! I saw this at one of their events and just knew I had to use it somewhere. So in this room, I started with the color and built off of that instead of using an inspiration piece. In the bathroom, I painted to the bottom of the wall and then used Chasing Paper wallpaper on the top, which has become my go-to in bathrooms! If you are using a dark color in a small room, this can be an excellent way to make the room lighter and brighter while still using a dark paint color. And this is definitely one of those colors you want to test. On some walls it looks blue and others greenish/gray. Then I picked decor in that space that would work with both, no matter which way the paint was reading on a wall. I picked landscape paintings that had grays and greens and blues so they would all play together. I chose a matte finish for this paint because I wanted it to look rich and have no sheen. I didn’t want it to look modern, but as though it had been there for years.
Silver Celadon was a happy accident! The walls on the landing are Behr’s Swiss Coffee (you know, like the rest of my house!), and for some reason, the area was reading pink. I couldn’t figure it out because this wasn’t happening in the other rooms. I think it had something to do with our red house reflecting off the neighbors white house and bouncing in through the bay windows. I played around with a ton of different colors to get an accent color on the doors to tone down the pink. and the greenish undertones in Silver Celadon worked! It’s a beautiful soothing gray that I’ve used in a couple of other spaces. In some rooms, it reads more green, and in some, it’s just gray, so just make sure it works with the vibe you are going for.
Chalk paint on a door!? Yup, I did it. But would I do it again, probably not. You can see fingerprints on the doors, so I would try the matte Scuff Defence next time. Pro tip: remember you can color match to a matte paint, which will be less expensive than chalk paint.
What kind of carpet is in the bedrooms? The carpet in the bedrooms at the DIY Duplex is LifeProof PetProof Cantor in the color Twine from The Home Depot.
Why did you pick carpet for the bedrooms? This is actually the first time I have put carpet in one of my home renovations, and a few factors played into the decision. First, I really thought about how this house would be used. The plan for the Duplex was to rent for a bit and then turn into an Airbnb (More about why here). After I started decorating each room, we decided to Airbnb it right away. Either way, it was super important to have durable flooring throughout the house (we are actually seeing some chips and other wear and tear on our non-LifeProof laminate flooring in our other Airbnb…). If you missed the post about the LifeProof Vinyl Flooring we installed in the rest of the Duplex, check it out here! I decided to transition from vinyl flooring to carpet in the bedrooms for a couple reasons: 1) Since the upper and lower units in the Duplex will often be rented to different groups of people, I wanted carpet to muffle footsteps on the second floor when guests are in their bedroom at night. 2) The basement under the Duplex is unfinished and not heated, so the floors on the first floor can get chilly in the winter, so I wanted to make sure guests’ feet were warm at bedtime!
Why that color carpet? I went back and forth A LOT on the carpet color. The rooms are not that big so I did not want a dark color that would feel heavy. And I also wanted the transition from the lighter Beacon Oak LifeProof flooring to carpet not to be too stark. The Twine color was soft and worked well with the flooring and the wall color (Behr Swiss Coffee and NYPD). And my thought process on the lighter color is that guests will be more cautious of walking on it with shoes seeing that it’s a little lighter, which will help keep it looking great!
Why did you pick PetProof Carpet? Keeping in mind that there would be a lot of foot traffic in the house, I needed something durable! Plus, we allow pups at our other Airbnbs, so wanted to make sure that if we do the same at this one, the carpet would be able to withstand pet stains and smells. PetProof Carpet checked all the boxes because it has a lifetime pet stain warranty, superior softness and exceptional durability! Plus, it has a spill shield technology for built-in stain protection that will never wash off or wear off, and is easy to clean, making it great for guests with children and pets.
I am SO EXCITED about this series of Milwaukee Guides we have been working on for 2020, and I could not wait to kick it off with My Top Ten Thrifting & Antique Shops in Milwaukee!!! You all have watched me decorate our Barnhouse and Airbnb’s with second-hand goods (Check out this thrifted room makeover and this one too) and I always get asked about my GO-TO spots. Now you have my faves in one handy guide! Are there more than 10 great ones here in the city of Milwaukee? YES! But I wanted to narrow it down to my favorites I currently have on high rotation. I also wanted to stay within the city limits, but if you have a place I MUST check out, let me know in the comments. I see some thrifting roadtrips in my future.
Before we jump in to the list, may I offer a suggestion? I might be a little biased, but I believe the perfect weekend in Milwaukee would be to stay at one of our Airbnbs in Walker’s Point, The DIY Duplex or I SPY Abode, (All the listings here ) and check a bunch of the antique stores off the list! Six of the ten are in the Walker’s Point neighborhood!
Jenni Yolo Presents: My 10 Favorite Thrift and Antiques Shops in Milwaukee – 2020
Antiques on Pierce 1512 W. Pierce St., Milwaukee Antiques on Pierce is by far the antiquing mecca in Milwaukee. It is a three-story giant warehouse with a bunch of vendors — hundreds of vendors, actually! You’ll find a little of everything. The vendors have everything from jewelry to furniture to art. There are many booths with different styles. If you can only go to ONE antique store when visiting Milwaukee, this is it.
Serpentine Salvage 835 W. National Ave., Milwaukee Serpentine Salvage was formerly Antique Addicts, and now run by a super chic woman who has a great eye for vintage clothing and home decor. I have purchased some beautiful accessories for myself and my home here! Keep up with their Instagram for new items @SerpentineSalvage.
Good Land Antiques 3391 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee Good Land Antiques is a hidden gem that’s SO GOOD, and the owner is the sweetest! If she wasn’t so sweet, I would have kept this one for myself, because I never leave there empty handed. This is definitely one of my go-to places. Prices are low so things will move quickly, which makes for constant turnover. I’m often swinging into Good Land Antiques just to see what’s new (and if you see something you love, you have to buy it because it won’t be there next time)!
Goodwill on Oklahoma Ave. 153 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee I love Goodwill. Period. Their mission is wonderful and I love supporting them. For home decor, each store can be hit or miss. But at this specific location in Milwaukee, I have had more hits than misses. The Goodwill on Oklahoma Ave. is my fav, but try to hit up ones all over the city. The key to Goodwill is stopping by often. Goodwill, unlike a lot of the antique stores, you get into the nitty-gritty of thrifting. This means you really have to dig and imagine the pieces in your space. Here in Milwaukee, the rows of tchotchkes are color-coded which is amazing, but often paintings are just piled on a shelf and you’ll need to pull things out and take them out of the chaotic context that they’re in. A lot of the antique stores will curate and set them up in a way that you can visualize them in your house. Goodwill offers great value, but you have to visualize it on your own. You can do it!
Habitat for Humanity Restore Walker’s Point 420 S. 1st St., Milwaukee If furniture is what you’re seeking, the giant Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Wauwatosa is what you’ll want. But if you want to stay within the city limits, check out the Restore in Walker’s Point. The Walker’s Point location carries mostly furniture, doors, and kitchen cabinets from renovated homes. The Walker’s Point Restore has a small section of knick-knacks, but I’ve had the most success with furniture. My favorite scores have been a kitchen table and chairs I refinished for the Barnhouse, fireplace mantel (project TBD!), vintage trunk, and an old dresser I restored for a guest room. Restores also have live-edge wood (LOVE!). This is how I made the Barnwood ledge and Live Edge coffee table. The live edge wood can range from $40-$400.
Third Point of View/Antique Center-Walker’s Point 1134 S. 1st St., Milwaukee Third Point of View and Antique Center-Walker’s Point are two stores in one building. The space has multiple levels and both stores carry a ton of hidden gems. There is A LOT of stuff in a tight space. They. Are. Packed. But, if you zero in on your vision, you can find a lot of good items. In particular, Third Point of View has been a place I’ve found fabulous art pieces.
Dandy 5020 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee Vliet St. is an up and coming area in Milwaukee where you’ll find Dandy. A husband and wife bought this warehouse that they use as an antique store and venue for weddings, comedy shows, etc. They carry mid-century modern antiques and have an impeccable eye for style. You’ll find great treasures at Dandy. And they even have an Airstream inside!
Clinton Street Antiques 1110 S. 1st St., Milwaukee Clinton Street Antiques is only a recent find of mine. The guy who runs it has a great eye for curated, unique pieces like antlers, pennants, glassware, and nostalgic items. I’d say Clinton’s pieces have a more masculine vibe. It’s a smaller shop that’s definitely worth a stop. And, it’s right next to Third Point of View!
Farm Girl Art and Antiques 803 S. 5th St., Milwaukee Farm Girl Art and Antiques is a must visit. If you are into the farmhouse style, you will likely find the perfect decor items. Because it’s a consignment store you get varying aesthetics from the different vendors, which I love. It’s an amazing place to shop for art and small furniture like benches and stools. I’ve lost count of how many benches I’ve bought from here. And all my antlers come from here to. During holidays, they have seasonal decor that’s constantly changing.
Riverview Antique Market 2045 W. St. Paul Ave., Milwaukee Riverview Antique Market is a multi-level store that has a ton of gems in it! Riverview Antique Market has a bunch of vendors with a little bit of everything, which is amazing for browsing without purpose. In the past, I have had success with lighting, and found some great chandeliers for the Barnhouse!
OUTSITE THE CITY LIMITS Chattel Changers 2520 E Capitol Dr, Shorewood, WI 53211 Chattel Changers is technically not in Milwaukee, but it’s worth heading right outside the city limits to visit this 40 year Antique Store. The walls are covered with art, and I leave with at least 3 painting every time I go!
I am working on a big ‘ol post with Thrifting Tips and Tricks, but here are a few answers to Frequently Asked Thifting Questions!
How often do you go thrifting? It really ebbs and flows. If I’m decorating a house, I’ll go every few days. Otherwise, I try to avoid it if I’m not currently working on a project so that I don’t pick up things I don’t need. Sometimes I set aside hours and make it a full-day adventure, but not always. Sometimes I pop in and out in 15-minutes, oftentimes walking out with at least one thing I love. My advice is don’t be afraid to make a quick lap and decide there’s nothing there for you that day. The joy of thrifting is going often and seeing what’s new.
What are your top thrifting tips? It sounds crazy, but thrifting involves some strategy! My tips include:
– If you’re looking to find something specific, go to a larger store with multiple booths so you have more options to find what you like.
-The best way to thrift is to not have a gameplan because finding exactly what you’re looking for can be challenging. The more you go, the more likely you’ll find pieces that fit your needs.
-It’s totally acceptable to ask for a better price. Just see if there’s any wiggle room.
-If you love something, you should get it because there’s a good chance it won’t be there the next time you go back. There are still a few things that haunt me that I wish I had purchased. Ugh, the regret!
-When you walk into a store and see something you like, put it in your cart or have it marked sold before someone else scoops it up.
Enjoy finding the diamonds in the rough! Happy Thrifting!! And let me know in the comments if there are any other guides you would like to see on I SPY DIY!