Paint is one of the first things people notice when entering a home. Everyone knows how important first impressions are, but the great thing about paint is that it can be changed in as little as a few hours. New owners often want to put their own stamp on a property right away, and many of them likely already have paint colors in mind before the ink on the paperwork is dry.
Choosing the Perfect Color
For the sake of ease, most new homeowners often want to paint before they move their furniture in. But if you spend some time in your new house before you break out the brushes, you will likely get a better idea about how each room is used and lived in. That vibrant red might seem like a good idea in theory, but once you realize you spend a lot of time in that room, you might see how that color could give you vibrant headaches.
Philip Reno, a paint colorist and coatings consultant, has some great advice: “When picking out the perfect color, first and foremost disregard any current trend. These are usually manufactured fads by marketing agencies and bear no relationship to the real world of paint colors.”
Reno offers some additional tips when it comes to choosing the perfect color:
- Stay with colors that are classic and will stand the test of time
- Avoid “fad” colors
- Stick with a palette that you are comfortable with — this will be different for every individual
Some paint companies offer large paint chips. Get several of these large chips and put them up in the room you are preparing to paint. Watch what happens to the colors over the course of the day. Observe what they look like at night under artificial light.
Consider using full-spectrum paint. Full-spectrum paint means that no black is used in the paint formula.
“I recommend full-spectrum paint because it is more easily harmonized with the other three dimensional elements in your room due its multiple colorant formula,” Reno says. “It also reflects a more complete range of the light spectrum, which gives the colors a more vibrant feel on the wall.”
Accents and Eras
Accent walls can highlight different areas of your house and help tie rooms together. For instance, you may think about using a ceiling color from one room as an accent wall in another. Consider painting opposite walls the same color. And, speaking of ceiling colors: Though white paint makes ceilings appear higher and brighter than they actually are, choosing a color that is related to, or is a shade of, your wall colors can make for an interesting twist.
If you want to stay true to the era of your house, do some research on paint colors used with your home’s time and style. For instance, a quick Web search for historic interior colors turns up that Valspar paint actually partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and offers 250 colors documented from historic places across the country and representing colors from a variety of periods and styles.
Choosing a Finish
Finish is another choice you will need to make. High gloss, satin, or flat: Which is right for your room? High gloss seems to work best in kitchens and bathrooms, and the higher the sheen, the more durability. But imperfections are easier to spot in higher-gloss paints. Do research and view samples of each type of sheen before you choose.
You’ve picked the perfect color and sheen and have the paint in hand, but resist the temptation to rush the job. The most important thing is to give yourself adequate time to do a great job, and preparation is key in that regard. Though it may seem daunting and cumbersome, taking your time and doing the proper prep work before you paint will save you time and work in the long run.
“Don’t be tempted to short cut crucial steps like cleaning the surface, sanding where needed, and priming when called for,” Reno advises. “These steps will ensure that your efforts don’t go in vain. There is nothing more difficult than trying to correct a bad paint job.”
(Photo: Flickr/United Soybean Board)