There are so many considerations to be taken into account when painting the interior of a home, you stand a good chance of choosing a less-than-optimal paint for your home if you go it alone. And if there is mixing involved – that is, if you bought and paid for an unusual color – there’s no going back. Once it’s mixed, it can’t be unmixed.
So, what are the considerations in choosing one paint over another? Well, there is of course brand. I won’t promote one brand here over another, but suffice it to say, you probably know a few of them already. Ideally, especially if you are getting a contracting company paint your home, you shold talk at length about the choice of paint before any paint is purchased.
When my kids were young, they wanted to paint the walls of their rooms their own, crazy color. My daughter went through a ‘pink’ phase, so her room was, for a while, pink. A decade later, we repainted it back to a more conservative, easier on the eye off-white, but when we had originally gone looking for pink, my daughter set her heart on a particular shade, so that, as they say, was that. In that case, it didn’t matter so much, as long as the paint was safe for indoor use, and was – to be the best of all we could know – safe enough for a child’s bedroom. So we didn’t pay too much attention to color at the time. My daughter got the color she wanted, even though, for me, it was a bit of an eyesore.
You’ve probably heard of the term accent painting. It’s when one wall or part of the room is give a different color to the rest of the walls in the room, in an artistic effort to make the room look great. It can be very nice, for sure, but it takes quite the expert eye to get the colors right with accent painting.
And it’s not just colors. Sometimes, a room will need a different type of paint on its walls. In an apartment I lived in once, where all the walls were painted a neutral, off-white, the back walls of the kitchenette, as well as the walls of the bathroom, were painted with a more glossy type of paint. It made complete sense, of course, because those particular walls needed more protection against moisture – and food – that did the walls in the rest of the apartment.
Not all paint can go on all walls, so be sure to talk to your painting contractor or professional about where the paint is going.
If you’re going from, for example a dark burgundy to a much brighter off-white, you’ll need a paint that has a high opaque quality to it. I remember years ago choosing the wrong paint to do a job just like that, and I ended up laying down no fewer that three coats of paint. Even after that, there was always a vague hint of burgundy trying to make itself seen, and I was never fully satisfied with the job. After three full coats of unthinned paint, though, I had had enough of the project.
When talking to your painting contractor, make sure he or she knows what color and shade you are expecting to cover.
You can always go back for more
If you are doing the painting work yourself, and not hiring a painting company to do it for you, my recommendation is to always err on the light side. By that I mean, don’t buy too much paint. You can always drive back for that one last can of paint on the last day if you need to. Take a note, too, how much paint you are using by the time you are half way through the project. Extrapolate from there how much you will need and be ready with enough paint, then, on the last stages of the project.
Paint settles, so it should be purchased close to the time it will be used
Have you ever seen one of those paint-mixing machines in operation? It shakes the daylights out of the paint choice mix, to an extent that would take a very long time to copy by you with a simple piece of wood. It’s because to get two colors truly mixed evenly, the mixing has to be done extremely well. That is, of course, when you are mixing two colors to produce a third. Aside from the question of mixing colors, paint settles when it’s left sitting around. With today’s sophisticated paints on the market, it can be less of an issue, but there is always some settling. If it’s not mixed properly again before the project begins, the effect can be undesirable. As you work through the project, you may see a change in the appearance of the paint, as the ‘lighter’ end of the can contrasts with the ‘heavier’ paint from the other end of the can. Mixing is important, so use the paint soon after you buy it, and get them to shake / mix it well for you before you leave the store.
If for some reason your project gets delayed, bring the paint back to the store (before the project restart) and ask them to mix it again for you. If that’s where you bought the paint, they should be happy to do that for you.
The time of year might also influence which paint you choose. During the winter, it will likely take longer to dry that it might take during warmer, summer months. If it’s a bedroom, for example, you’ll need to know not just how long it takes the paint to become dry to the touch, but how long it takes for all vapors to have completely left the paint. No one should be sleeping in a room where paint is not yet dry, no matter what the law stipulates about paint products.
Take to your paint supplier or your painting contractor about drying time. That’s how long you need to stay out of the room.
Another question that comes up a lot is, do you plan to sell your house soon? If you do, you’ll probably want to choose ‘safer’ colors. Any real estate agent worth their salt will be able to help you with this. Safer colors will reduce the chance of any given potential house buyer being turned off by a particular color you might have chosen.
The darker, the riskier
It’s not always the case, but darker colors are tougher to ‘get right’. I’ve been in a home where the owner painted the walls of one room black. Yes, black. It looked terrible, to my eye at least. In rare cases, black can work – perhaps in a wine cellar or some such place (but don’t take my mentioning it as any kind of advice) – It’s easier to darken things up with a darker coat of paint, but it’s harder, for some reason, to paint out dark colors if you do in fact choose badly.
There are many more factors to consider when buying paint, and I’ll go into everything in detail over the coming weeks and months, but I can say this: ask the experts. A painting company that’s been around for years is going to have a wealth of knowledge about choice of paints, and they usually do it for free. In fact, if you are using a painting contractor, look for one that expresses an eagerness to help you during the color and general paint selection stage. That’ll get you started right, and you’ll be less likely to paint yourself into a corner. No pun intended.