Picking the Perfect Paint

As I’ve experienced lately, painting a room can be tricky. But there’s really no better – or less expensive - way to make a dramatic change to a room.

I’ve had my share of painting follies.

I’ve had a white turn an institutional blue (As shown in the pic.on the left. Yuk!) and a beige turn a nauseating mauve – because the lighting in the room was different from the big-box-store fluorescents where I chose the color.

But when it comes to painting, I’ve learned that patience is a virtue.

Take your time in choosing the right shade.
When you visit the store to choose your color, take the source of your inspiration with you to help you stay on track. Whether it’s a painting or fabric, having it with you will help you stay true to your vision.

Don’t lose your nerve. If you like a bold color, go for it. You can always paint over it.

Then, when you get home, tape the samples to the wall, so you can see how the shade differs in various lights.

If you can’t narrow down your choices, buy a sample size. Bring it home and paint a poster board to get a truer sense for the tone.

Choose the Right Type of Paint
Latex paint is easier to clean off your hands or if there’s a spill. Oil based is harder. If you paint over an oil-based paint with latex, it will peel. You can buy a test from a big-box store to find out what paint you currently have on the walls.

Finalize with the Finish
Gloss or high-gloss is best for things that get dirty easily, like doors, furniture or cabinets. Flat is best for low-traffic areas. Egg shell or satin is your best bet for walls.

Tape Carefully
The key to getting a professional look when painting is to tape carefully around the room Use blue painters tape, to cover any area you don’t want the paint to be, such as the ceiling or molding. Make sure that it adheres to the wall well. Paint can leak in to any gap under the tape.

Use Drop Cloths
Cover the floor and any furniture in the room with an old sheet. Cover everything.

Open the Windows
Even if you buy a VOC-free paint, you should have the windows open to minimize the fumes. If you're pregnant, you should not be painting.

Use a Double Coat
One coat of paint may not do the trick. Let it dry thoroughly, then give it another coat. It’s worth it to take your time and get it right.

As for the institutional blue in the picture above, I'm in the process of redoing the room completely with charcoal gray walls and pink floral curtains and accents. I'm taking my time - this time.

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