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Q. Now that we’ve painted our dining room, we wish the color wasn’t so intense. How can we tone it down?

Q. We had our dining room painted a rich shade of blue. Now that it’s done, we wish the color wasn’t so intense. Is there anything we could do ourselves to tone it down?

A. Sure, says Pam Olson, owner of Cover Girls (6674 N. Northwest Hwy., 773-775-9896). She suggests you buy a quart of paint that’s two shades lighter than the original color on your paint chart, a gallon of clear latex glaze (not oil-based), and some quick-release painter’s tape.

Protect edges of the ceiling, baseboards, door frames, and window frames with tape to make sure your job looks professional. Cut the hems and neck edge off an old T-shirt to use as an applicator, and mix your paint and glaze together in a large bucket.

“Dip the T-shirt into the glaze and rub it onto the wall almost like you’re washing it,” Olson says. Practice in an inconspicuous spot until you get the hang of it, then branch out. Three or four hours later–voilà! The result will be as smooth as a regular paint job, and your walls should have calmed down considerably, Olson says.

If you’re nervous about tackling the project, Cover Girls offers ongoing one- and two-day painting workshops through its Northwest Institute of Decorative Finishes to help get you started. “My advice is always, have fun,” Olson adds. “It’s only paint!”


 Have a design or renovation question? E-mail us at  chicagohome@chicagomag.com. Sorry, we cannot take questions by phone, or guarantee individual responses

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