There is so much more to interior painting than slapping color on a wall. I have done everything from Saran wrap decorative finishes to popcorn ceilings and found many painting tips and tricks along the way. If you are looking to spruce up your house’s interior, a fresh coat of paint is a good budget friendly option. There are many steps to painting and today I am going to share some of my tips to be aware of when purchasing and deciding on your interior paint.
1. Choose your fabric first
Even if you know that green is the must have color for your bedroom, it is a much better idea to choose your bedspread before your paint color. Even a slight variance from sea-foam green to aqua can make a difference. Plus, the spectrum of paint colors far outweighs the options in fabric colors.
2. When in doubt, choose the lighter color
I had the painful experience not once, but twice with our house. Swatch colors look so nice and colorful when small. If you find yourself saying, “I love this color, but I wish it was just one or two shades lighter”, pick a different color. It is much harder to lighten a color than it is to darken. To lighten a color by even a small amount takes quite a bit of paint. For instance, I had to lighten the gunmetal grey paint I bought for my son’s room. It took 2 gallons of grey paint and 2 more gallons of white to lighten it about 10% and now I have a ton of extra paint.
3. Choosing trim color
A lot of people assume that you just buy a gallon of white paint for your trim. I will stick to my guns on this one. Pick your trim color! You will thank me later! There are many, many varieties of white and choosing a particular tone will do wonders for bringing out the best in your wall color. Since I was painting an entire upper floor, I had the pleasure of gathering all of my paint swatches and choosing Polar White to accent my wall colors. This particular white made my colors feel creamier and softer.
4. Create an atmosphere
Burnt Orange may be your favorite color but if you are looking for a serene bedroom, I would not advise painting your room orange. Sit in the room for a while and just stare. What do you want this room to reflect? Energy? Comfort? Warmth? Colors and your associations with them very much contribute to your emotional state. I am not saying that if you want a room to reflect a sunny disposition, you should choose yellow despite being your most despised color. However, it is something to consider when choosing your paint colors and overall color scheme.
5. Always, always test your paint colors
Buy a quart and test it in several areas with varying amounts of light. Or, paint a piece of white cardboard and look at it in the different areas of the room. Colors look different depending on what type and how much light they are exposed to. Test the colors with both your normal amount of natural light and indoor lights.
Choosing the Base for Your Paint
6. Decide Finish (eggshell, satin, semi-gloss)
For most interior wall paint, the actual sheen difference will be almost imperceptible. However, there are three reasons for going with a higher sheen. The first is durability. For instance, I personally prefer eggshell on my walls rather than flat sheen paint. I find that flat will scuff much more easily and is harder to clean without rubbing off paint. I use at least semi-gloss for trim. The second place to seriously consider a higher sheen is in places with more humidity such as bathrooms or kitchens. Flat paint is more likely to flake in humidity prone rooms. And the third thing to consider is imperfections in the wall. The lower the sheen, the better imperfections in the wall will be hidden. Chalkboard has also become a trendy option. Chalkboard paint transforms any surface into the perfect place to let kids’ creative impulses rein free.
7. Bases are not all equal
If you purchase paint and mix it in BEHR paint base and then decide to buy another can in Valspar base, you will find that the colors do not exactly match. Each brand of base is not the exact shade of white and, thus, your paint will be tinted slightly differently. You would only truly run into a problem if you patched or changed brands while painting the same room. I have had the personal experience of overspending $30 because my Hubby and I bought different brands.
8. Quarts and Gallons do not have the same make up
So you painted and realized you need just a bit more paint to finish the job. So you decide just a quart or a half-gallon will save you money. Be careful with that idea! Even with the fancy computers that most paint stores have, you will see variance between different sizes. This is because the ratios of color to base may not be super exact between can sizes. Many professionals recommend that you should mix all of your paint in a 5 gallon bucket before putting on the wall to keep consistency. I, personally, have never had this problem but if you purchase varying sizes of paint cans, consider mixing all of your paint.
9. A word about Priming
Many paints today include primers in them. However, if you are painting walls for the first time or painting walls that have a lot of damage, it is still recommended that you prime them separately. For particularly intense colors such as a bright red, it is also recommended that you purchase a tinted primer. This will save you layers of extra painting and make the paint appropriately pop. If you’ve spackled your walls, priming is a must to prevent flashing. Unprimed spackle holds gloss better than drywall, causing a “shiny” spot on your wall.
Your Future Self will Thank Me
10. Mix it before leaving the store
OK, so you bought ceiling paint or you just do not want to bother with trim color. That is fine, but make sure you ask the attendant to shake the paint before you leave the store. This is particularly invaluable with 5 gallon paint jugs. You will save your forearms a lot of unnecessary work.
11. Keep the bar codes and paint swatch
This is one of my favorite tips for buying paint. Make a book in which to save your paint information. Save the paint swatch and, if applicable, ask the paint department for an extra bar code label that they put on the paint can. This bar code lists the exact recipe even if you switch stores. Secondly, write down the brand, series, and finish that you purchased the paint in.
12. Understand paint fading
Paint fades, it is pretty much a fact. In 3 years, when you need to fix little darlings artwork on the hallway, you will discover your leftover paint is slightly brighter than it’s painted-on companion. There are a few things that affect how quickly the paint fades. Expect fading to occur more noticeably on walls that receive more direct sunlight. Secondly, bright colors such as reds and oranges will fade faster than muted colors. And thirdly, the quality of paint affects how the paint will fade. On my recent trip to Lowe’s, I discovered that they have developed a product line that is guaranteed not to fade. It is, granted, $50 a gallon, but may be tempting in areas that are prone to multiple scuffs and scrubbing (or little darling’s crayons).
When stored properly, a can of paint lasts three to five years. Store paint between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Do avoid placing cans on concrete floors, as they rust more quickly. Write on the can the color of the paint, purchase date, and how much paint is leftover.
14. Lead Paint
The government may have banned lead based paint in 1978, but most homes built before 1978 (about 57 million) still have lead paint somewhere in them. Paint in good condition is considered to be less risky. However, peeling and flaking lead paint is hazardous, especially to young children and pregnant women. Home test kits for lead paint are available, but the government recommends hiring professionals for accurate testing and safe paint removal. Call the National Lead Information Center at (800)424-5323 for questions and (800)532-3394 to request printed materials.
15. Have Fun with It
Color is awesome! Do not be scared to see past the white walls or paint everything in lilac if that is what you want. There are lovely colors out there to suit everyone’s taste and personal style. Find yours!
Good luck with all your DIY projects!