Over the course of the past year and a half or so, I've been slowly changing the colors of all the rooms of my house. It started with the three-season porch (red to purple), then the master bedroom (nicotine off white to eucalyptus green), the kitchen (awful pastel sea green to straw yellow), and finally my living/dining room space, which has been the source of my labor for the past three days. This process has proven to be most therapeutic.
The history of my tenure in this home is a sad one. The emotional wounds have long scarred over and I have no wish to scratch them here, but occasionally a wound re-opens and I find myself wanting to live somewhere else. However, because of the timing of my purchase, there isn't a economically wise way out of the mortgage. So I'm left to deal with it, but I decided I'm not going to live with it "as is." My method of sealing the wounds for good involves paint, and not only the new color but the process involved.
Before you can think of painting, cleaning must happen first. All the dust and grime needs to go, all the nail holes filled in. This part of the process was particularly wonderful the living room, since the "ex" had decided it a nice idea to hang a print with not two, not three, but EIGHT roofing nails! I don't need to say why this was unwise, but when the print was removed it was destroyed and the nails left nasty holes in the wall. The holes are no more, and after a few weeks of the new paint I probably won't remember them anymore.
The color itself is much brighter than the old. I went from the same nicotine-stain off white of the bedroom to a much brighter porcelain off white. It's still neutral, but the color actually makes the room look bigger. With every brush or roller stroke, I sealed away forever every disagreement, every name-calling, and every tear that was shed in this space before, during, and after that relationship. A fresh coat of paint has become more than a new color. It is an intrinsic method of healing and moving forward without a constant reminder of what is behind.