Interior house painting is probably more to do with colors and style than it is to do with durability, although you still want the work to last as long as possible. So here are some of the major factors to consider, and questions to ask before you decide on the paint you will use:
This can be tricky simply because paint can look very different indeed at the paint store or in the catalog than it will look on all the walls of, for example, your living room. This is why you need both an experienced painting contractor / designer to help you during the selection process as well as to physically paint a test area of the room before committing to a specific variety and color of paint.
Most paint product providers offer paint in tiny quantities, precisely for the purpose of testing. Spend the few extra dollars to do this test process because it can absolutely avert a complete color disaster. And when you do paint a few test areas in your home, check back in a few days to see if you still feel OK about the choice(s) you are considering.
Paint often looks much ‘stronger’ when it is on all the walls of a given room, than it does in the catalog. If you, for example, have chosen what you believed was a soft almost-white yellow paint, at least as it appeared in the catalog, it may look really yellow when it’s on all four walls of a room. In my experience – and remember I am not a professional painter – colors seem to come up darker when I have put the paint on the wall. So testing is critical. It’s worth it, considering the risk of choosing the wrong color, then having to repaint the walls all over again.
Kitchens and bathrooms need different paint than is needed in, for example, a bedroom. A bathroom in particular needs what can only be described as waterproof paint. Several showers a day in the average sized room in a Pacific Northwest household will generate a lot of moisture, and may compromise a paint’s ability to repel that water, keeping the drywall dry, can do a lot of damage over time.
A typical kitchen is not usually under the same amount of moisture pressure that a bathroom would be, but often, a specific wall is. Where food is being prepared and cooked, unless your kitchen has one of those islands, usually puts a lot of moisture pressure on the back-splash behind it. Over time, the occasional few drops of liquids like olive oil can soak into a wall and seriously damage it. That’s why the walls must be painted with 100% waterproof paint. What’s more, the paint must be washable. Regular cleaning puts paint under a different kind of stress than plain moisture. Can it withstand a soft sponge, washing up liquid or other detergents? Even if you are hiring a contractor to paint you kitchen or bathroom walls, ask about the paint’s ability to withstand such regular cleaning. Don’t assume they have that taken care of.
An accent color is, usually, a darker color painted on a single wall in a room, or even part of a single wall in a room. This is where the ‘art’ in design and color choice comes in. I personally was never good at this element of a painting project, so I either stuck to no accenting, or I got help from someone who knew what they were doing. But in principle, it looks like this, for example: You paint a living room an off-white, the ‘off’ part being a very slight purple hint that you could not really see. It might come from adding one ounce of purple to a gallon of white paint. Under certain lighting conditions, you might see a vague purple hint in the paint, but what sets it off is the fourth wall getting the purple color. That ‘accents’ the white, and subconsciously they tell me, the room looks great. You can see how such an accenting project can go horribly wrong. Any accenting project, I highly recommend, should have an expert give their input during the paint color selection process.
You’ve probably seen those ads for color selection where the guy arrives at his home supplies store with a brown bowling ball. The attendant scans the ball and is able to produce a gallon of paint with the exact same color. Well, that’s a fancy idea for sure, but will you be able to buy more of that exact same color ten years later? My recommendation is to choose the nearest off-the-shelf color instead. From there, you are much more likely to be able to order more of the same paint in the future if the need arises. In any case, it’s unlikely you absolutely need a perfect color match. It’s going to look different when it goes up on the wall, no matter what paint color you choose.
There are many different effects you can add to a wall. Bedrooms of youths can be painted any variety of patterns and colors. My daughter wanted a ‘Barbie pink’ in her bedroom. She loved it, but it used to give me headaches just to walk into the room.
If you plan to include ‘artwork’ into your painting plans, I recommend going to one of those painting classes where they show you how to do it right. And don’t worry about kids’ rooms. The years will fly by and you’ll be painting all over it again with civilized colors before you know it.
No matter what color or paint type you use, you or someone else will be covering it with new paint years from now. My son wanted dead black painted on his bedroom walls – which I simply did not agree to – which would have been very difficult to paint over years later. So, think about what you might want there when you become an empty-nester many years from now, and what will the house be worth if it’s got a room that once served as a dungeon!
Join me again next week on the subject of how to evaluate multiple painting quotes for the same project.