Image by Breather
The first thing I would say is, this a good question to ask because taking a little extra time upfront to choose colors, in particular, can have a profound effect on the end result. The wrong color paint is just as expensive as the perfect one, so it benefits you greatly – at no extra cost, probably – to spend a bit of time on that initial color selection stage.
But what if you don’t have a good eye for color, or have no experience doing interior painting? That’s where you should get hold of a painting contractor who has that ‘artistic eye’ for color choice, and may be in a position to help you at no cost. Even if they do charge for such a service, many painting contractors will discount any accepted bid later for the amount you paid for the color consultation, as they call it. It doesn’t hurt to ask. If you’re considering asking two or three painting contractors for a bid, ask them too if they have a color consultation service. If you or your partner, friend or trusted designer can help you with that color selection, ask them to help.
The first question is color. In broad strokes – forgive the pun – is it going to be light yellow, desert beige, or sky cloud blue? Shade is critical here, too, as the wrong shade of blue can turn a room into an eyesore that you’ll regret for as long as you live in that house or work in your office. Sometimes a bold color can work fine in an office, but be a disaster in a bedroom. In the former, you want work to get done; in the latter, you want relaxation to wash over everyone who sleeps there.
A color catalog is interesting to look at, and will often give you inspiration for new ideas. Each year, the major paint manufacturers come up with new colors, and let other ones go. They are constantly trying to out-do other manufacturers in their market, and they also like to shed products and color variations which are not flying off the shelves. Still, a half inch square of paint in a catalog is only the beginning. Every paint will look different when it’s covering a larger area – say a test area of the office you wish to paint – and the same color can look quite different in two different rooms! So, make time for a little testing of any color you are considering purchasing. For about five dollars, you can buy a test sample of most paints, and you can paint that on a test area of your office wall for comparison. Return the next day to see the test area after being away from it overnight, and you will learn a lot about what to expect if the whole room were painted with it.
Gloss is another factor that is important to get right. In a living room, for example, too high a level of gloss will make walls shiny and reflective. You’ve probably seen those family photos where a wall reflected with a large bright area behind your subjects. It can be because the gloss level was unnecessarily high for that location, although professional photographers know how to dissipate light so that such glare does not occur.
From high gloss to flat mat, there is the ideal gloss level for every situation. You might even have a different gloss level on one wall, while another on an adjacent wall. You often see this where the same color is used throughout a room, but a high-gloss, oil-based paint is used on the walls around an office sink, for example. This makes the wall easier to clean, where food and related liquids my often come in contact with the wall.
While too high a gloss level may present a certain type of problem, too low a mat level may deaden a surface. Trim (doorways, window frames, baseboards, etc.) may benefit from a higher level of gloss than that applied to the walls and ceilings around them. There’s a skill to choosing the right level of gloss, and it, too is worth spending time on. It’s much easier to sit in a showroom and pore over possibilities than it is to fix an ugly room that got the wrong level of gloss.
In an office setting, think about what the room is used for. Is it where you alone go to work every day, and you want a calm gloss set, but still want it to motivate you to work? Or do you want bold colors, gloss and accents in order to excite the many visitors (prospective customers) that pass through every day? Working with your painting contractor on this one will make the difference.
There is a significant quality difference between manufacturers’ paint products, and even within a manufacturer’s product range, there is what’s called ‘industrial’ quality and ‘consumer’ quality. Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking the industrial level would be a better version, but that’s what builders often use to save a few dollars. You know how many new houses feel a bit flimsy? Well, it’s because the cheapo builder saved money at every corner, from paint quality to light switches, faucets and door hinges. Over the entire cost of the house, these savings can be significant, but result in the homeowner replacing house components as his or her years of ownership progress. Choose consumer quality over industrial quality and you will notice the difference. For a slightly higher price, the consumer level paint will look better and last longer. Whenever there is a choice of paint quality, always opt for the higher one. As a percentage of the complete price of painting an interior or exterior of a building, the paint is about twenty percent. It is hardly worth it to save a few percent by reducing the finish quality to a far higher degree.
I won’t name particular paint brands specifically here, because different manufacturers product different types of paint at different quality. For an exterior, north-facing wall, you might go with one well know paint maker, while an interior trim paint might be better chosen from another. Every situation is unique, which is why it’s always good to talk with your painter and/or paint supplier for the best answers.
See you next week, I hope!