Paint Selection Tips
Selecting a Paint Brand
Quality Matters. Cheaper paints may require an additional coat, thus may increase the labor costs and your final price. We highly recommend Benjamin Moore Regal Select paints.
Selecting Paint Color
Selecting paint colors can be very subjective (and difficult) process. But aside from what's fashionable at the moment, there are some practical considerations that can make the decision easier. Here are our top suggestions to help you pick paint colors and sheens that you'll be happy with for years to come.
Use actual paint samples, not chips.
It's difficult to tell what a color is going to look like on your wall from a small paint chip, so many manufacturers offer sample containers in quarts, pints or even smaller sizes, and they range prices from $3 to $8. They're a wise investment that will prevent you from wasting money on color that isn't right. And because colors can change dramatically under different lighting conditions, instead of rolling the sample onto the wall, roll it onto white tag-board. You'll be able to move the sample around (photo coming) and view it under all the different lighting conditions in your home.
Paint family color collections are invaluable.
Paint companies have gone to a lot of trouble (and spent a lot of money) grouping colors into “families” and “collections” and “concepts” and “schemes.” Basically, these are combinations of complementary colors that may not occur to you until you see how well they work together. Take advantage of all the research already done for you by color experts. Find brochures at paint stores and go online to paint manufacturer websites, houzz.com and Pinterest, where you'll find hundreds of examples of interior and exterior paint color combinations.
Lighten the Ceiling Color
Because ceilings are seen in shadow, the color often appears darker than the same paint on walls. If you want the ceiling to match the wall color, buy ceiling paint one or two shades lighter than the wall color. Or instead of buying another gallon of a lighter shade, save money by diluting the wall color you have with 50 percent white paint.
Choose the Right Sheen (Finish)
When you choose a color, you have to choose its sheen, too. Most paint companies offer flat, eggshell, satin, semigloss and gloss as options. Glossier finishes offer greater durability and are easier to clean, but they emphasize any wall imperfections. Flat paint will do a much better job of hiding imperfections, but it's easier to damage than high-gloss. Flat finishes are generally best for ceilings and low-traffic areas like living and dining rooms. Glossier finishes can withstand moisture and grease so they're good for trim and cabinets and high-traffic rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. If you love the way flat wall paint looks but you wish it were more durable, try mixing it 50/50 with eggshell paint. The paint will still offer a nonreflective look, but the eggshell will add some durability to the finish.
- Flat - perfect for ceilings and walls in older buildings that have sligthly uneven walls.
- Matte - washable.
- Eggshell - washable, but makes any wall defects highly visible.
- Pearl - recommended for bathrooms.
- Semi-Gloss - recommended for doors, moldings, window sills & crown molding.
Skim-Coat Bad Walls for Darker Colors
Lighter colors are more forgiving in terms of showing wall imperfections; darker colors show more detail. If you're set on using a darker color (or a glossy sheen) and your walls are in rough shape, you should really “skim-coat” your walls with a thin layer of drywall compound before painting (search for “skim coat walls” at familyhandyman.com). And even skim-coating the walls won't make dark colors look good in every room. Extremely dark colors don't handle the moisture in a bathroom very well; they can look blotchy and chalky. If you're planning to use a dark color, reduce the number of coats necessary by using a high-hide gray-tinted primer.
Don't Just Paint the Walls
Just as paint accentuates features, you can use it to hide unappealing elements too. Paint conduit, radiators, gutters and other utilitarian components the same color as the walls to make them blend in. You can also do that with light fixtures, switches, outlets and just about anything else. There are spray paints for all different types of material now.
Buy Better-Quality Paint
For the best results, spend at least $40 to $50 per gallon of paint. Paint is made of solvents, pigments and resins. Better-quality paint will be more concentrated with finer pigments and higher-grade resins, so the final product will have a more even color and durable finish. It's tempting to try to save money up front, but better coverage ultimately means fewer coats and less paint to buy. Even reputable brands have a range of paint qualities within their product lines, so do your homework and buy the best you can afford
Virtually Paint Your House
Many manufacturers offer opportunities to “paint” your home virtually—you upload a photo of your home or a room and try out different colors and painting schemes. You can also search for homes similar to your own and try “painting” with various combinations and products. There are also apps that allow you to take a photo of a color you like and have it matched with a manufacturer's color or suggested palette (Paint My Place on iTunes is one example). Just be aware that your computer monitor, cell phone or iPad screen will affect the color of the paint you see.