Guest Author - Alison Barjaktarovich
Painting a room is one of the quickest, least expensive ways to freshen up a stale space. Wall color can make a dramatic difference in not only the look, but the feel, of a room. Before starting any interior painting project you’ll need to make a number of key decisions that will significantly affect your end result. Read on for tips on choosing a color, paint type, paint finish, and painting supplies for your interior paint job.
First and foremost, you’ll need to choose a color to paint your room. While you may have some ideas, visit a home improvement store and bring home several paint chips – both in colors close to what you’re envisioning as well as others – before making a final decision. Tape these to the wall in various places in the room (such as near a window and in a more shaded area) and at different times in the day. Many home improvement stores offer small sample-sized containers of any paint color for around $5. I highly recommend purchasing one of these and painting a large section of your wall before committing to a color. Sometimes a shade looks great on a paint chip, but has a whole different feel to it when it’s spread floor-to-ceiling. If you try a paint sample and change your mind, consider using it to paint a piece of furniture for the room.
Interior paints come in latex-based and oil-based varieties. Most people choose to use latex paints for their interior painting needs, due to their easy application, water clean-up and faster drying time. Oil-based paints have a stronger odor and can be more difficult to apply, but they can result in a smoother finish. Yet, for most interior painting needs, latex paint tends to be the best choice.
Interior paints are available in multiple finishes – they are, from most matte to glossiest: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. The general rule is that the shinier the paint finish, the more durable the end product will be but the less the paint will cover minor imperfections. Flat paint is the traditional choice for most walls, but if you have young children or are painting a kitchen or bathroom, I would recommend at least using an eggshell finish. Semi-gloss or high-gloss paints are a good choice for things like trim, doors, cabinets, and window frames.
Most interior painting projects will require both a roller and a paintbrush (if you’re painting a very small room, you may be able to forgo the roller.) You’ll need both a roller base as well as a cover, but don’t be overwhelmed by all of the different roller naps available – a 3/8 inch nap is a good choice for most interior walls. Pick up a paint tray, and if ease of cleanup is a top consideration, a few paint tray liners.
A medium-sized nylon/polyester blend paintbrush with an angled cut works well for edging and trim. There are also numerous specialty products available that are designed to eliminate the need for taping trim and edges. In my experience, some are better than others, and while they can come in handy, they’re far from a necessity. Most paint stores provide you with a paint stirrer, and if you don’t already have one, pick up a paint can opener and a pour spout (which prevents paint from dripping down the side of the can when you pour it into the tray.) Other basics that you’ll want to have on hand are blue painter’s tape, a putty knife, hole filler or spackle, sandpaper, a putty knife, and a drop cloth (or some old sheets.)
Despite the numerous decisions involved in painting a room in your home (and seemingly-endless number of choices available in terms of paints and products,) when it comes down to it, painting is one of the most simple home improvement projects there is.