Most of us have a love-hate relationship with paint. We love the results, yet we hate the process. It's true that nothing can lighten, brighten, or dramatically change a room like a fresh coat of paint. The good news is that with the right tools, the right colors, and the right plan, you might actually enjoy the process as much as you do the completed project! The hardest part is picking the paint. Color is everything and picking the right one can be tough. Here are some things to think about when choosing paint colors and finishes:
What is the purpose of the room? Eating, sleeping, or entertaining? Do warm and inviting colors or cool and crisp colors create the atmosphere you want?
Measure the room
Each room is unique and has its own design elements. Think about the shape and size of the room. Light colors will make the room appear more spacious and neutral colors can compliment a wide range of decor. White will brighten up any room, reflect light, and make the room feel bigger than it is. Dark colors make a large room cozy by visually shortening tall ceilings. Choosing a dark color is the best way to dramatically alter the appearance of a room.
Painting a ceiling creates a high impact change. Traditionally, ceilings are white, reflecting light and brightening up a room. They also compliment bright or dark colored walls. However, choosing color for the ceiling has become more and more popular. You can use a ceiling color to blend two rooms together or set them apart.
What kind of details are in the room? Columns, crown molding, chair rails? Painting your trim white against a colored wall showcases the architectural details of your room and adds visual interest to your home.
Sheen or no sheen
You'll also want to think about where the room is located in the house. How does it fit in with the existing scheme? Is this a high traffic area? Do you want to see a sheen on the walls? What about easy maintenance? Flat paints are designed for lower traffic areas, ceilings, walls, or any other surface that you want to be low reflecting. Satin and Eggshell paint works great on high traffic areas where you'd like a little sheen. These surfaces are easier to clean and are therefore best suited to rooms that get a lot of use. For banisters or railings (maybe shelves or kitchen cabinets) you'll want to use a Semi Gloss or High Gloss so these surfaces can be easily scrubbed clean.
Water or oil
Paint can be either water-based or oil-based. Water-based paints are generally the best choice for interior colors. The odor isn't as strong and they are much easier to clean up after. Water-based paints also last longer and wear better.
When it gets down to the color, think about your decor for the room. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or fabric in the room? If so, keep those ideas in mind and ask your local hardware store or paint shop to help you create a custom color. Don't be afraid to go bold and bright, many paint experts recommend painting an empty room bright, which will fill it up until you can completely furnish it. Remember that you need to be happy with the color day in and day out so it should reflect your moods and personality. What are your favorite colors? If you're not sure of your favorite color, look in your closet because the clothes you like to wear are generally the ones that make you feel good. Paint a room one of those colors and it's a safe bet that you'll love the result.
Don't skimp on your paint cost. High quality paint lasts longer, looks better and when applied correctly, won't leave brush marks. Quality paint also applies easier and covers better so you use less paint. A great dirt-resistant, high quality paint will give you the best long-term results.
Choose some favorite colors in various finishes and buy test quarts. Leave the test paint on the wall for a few days and see how it looks in different light conditions. You may find that the color you love the most, actually looks the least favorable in the evening light. You can also use an old piece of drywall to test paint colors without impacting your current color scheme. Once the color and finish is chosen, you've conquered the hardest part. Now, plan one day of prep and one day to paint and your old room will have a new attitude!