Painting is a quick and cheap way to give an old room a breath of fresh air or to make your house more sellable if you are putting it on the market. Find out all you have ever wanted to know about selecting paint.
Which paint should you choose?
Paint comes in a variety of sheens as well as in either oil or latex. Latex paint is the most commonly and preferred paint type to use because of its ease of clean up and long lasting durability. It also tends to be more fade resistant and breathes better than oil, resulting in less blistering of the paint. We recommend using a latex paint for most of your walls and household uses. However, oil based paint is great for priming real wood moldings and trim as it tends to seal stains and knots from the wood better than a latex paint wood.
It does take longer to dry than a latex paint though, so plan for more drying time. I personally use an oil based shellac primer on my trim and then opt for a latex paint as the top coat.
Which sheen should I select?
The glossier the paint, the easier it is to clean up. If you have small children and the room you are painting has high traffic, like in a playroom, or tends to get grease on the wall such as in a kitchen, opt for high gloss sheen as you can easily wipe the wall down with a damp sponge. This will however make blemishes and imperfections in your wall more apparent and in rooms such as living rooms, could give off an unpleasant shine. High gloss is also great for trim and will give the trim a nice finished look, complementing the flatter sheen of your walls.
Semi-gloss would also be a good choice for kitchens and baths as well as trim providing you with ease of wash-ability and less shine than the gloss.
It is also slightly cheaper than the gloss finish and is a very common alternative. Satin sheens have a satiny smooth finish to them and could also be used in kitchens, baths and hallways. This may be a good choice if you really want some gloss and paint that can clean easily without the shine of a gloss.
If you have walls with lots of imperfections, select a flat or matte paint. You can usually get away with one coat of paint with a flat. The downside to this paint is that it does not stand up well to a good cleaning and does tend to show dirt more so choose this for rooms that will not get lots of fingerprints and dirt on them. Probably the most popular sheen is eggshell, which hides imperfections like a flat does but is easier to wash, so more durable and smoother to the touch. I recommend this for most rooms as it seems to have the best of both the flat and glossy worlds.
Which colour should I choose?
If you are in the process of selling your house, I recommend selecting a white or off-white colour as the choice for walls.
This will allow the buyer to easily cover the wall with their choice of colour and will give your rooms a brighter and clean appearance.
However, you should take full advantage of the hundreds of paint selections and brochures at your local paint store as well as talk to a salesperson about the various colour schemes for the look you want. You can change the feel of any room in your house with a little planning and some colour, varying the shades for a certain look or feel.
A good rule of thumb is to remember the colour wheel. We all learned about the primary colours in school – red, yellow and blue. These are on the colour wheel at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 respectively. Combining any of these will give you a secondary colour (i.e. purple, orange).
Colours near each other on the colour wheel such as blue and purple are analogous to each other and will allow one colour to stand out more.
Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel such as green and red are complementary to one another and will nicely play off each other. Staying within the same shade of colour (i.e. greens) will give you a subtle and soothing look.
Painting with cool colours such as blues, greens and purples makes small rooms appear larger and more airy while colours such as reds, yellows and oranges will give a room a more vibrant appearance. You can vary the warmth even with a red or yellow by choosing muted shades of those colours such as pink, peach or a buttery yellow. Warm colours have cool ones as their complementary colours while cool colours have warm complements.
Shades are either pure or vibrant, muted (which are less intense than their vibrant counterparts) or shaded (the darker colours in the same colour scheme).