By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A fresh coat of paint transforms a room faster than any other home improvement because a new splash of color changes the overall look and feel of a room. It's an easy and inexpensive spruce-up that goes a long way to unify the space and create a clean fresh appearance. That's why painting is such a popular do-it-yourself project and why a good painting contractor is always busy. You can learn the skills on the job and perfect applying the paint as you work. Enjoy and appreciate the transformative power of paint. Here's some ideas and information to consider if there's a painting project coming up at your house.
- Camouflage a room with unusual angles and proportions by painting walls and trim the same color.
- A high ceiling painted in a dark color with a flat sheen tends to lower its appearance.
- To visually widen a narrow space call attention to horizontal lines like a stencil border at the ceiling or a chair rail three feet up from the floor.
- To create a relaxed and calm atmosphere in a room choose a pastel color scheme.
Latex and alkyd are the two types of paint used in interior painting. Latex (water-based) is the most popular and easy to work with because it cleans up with soap and water. Fans of alkyd (oil-based) paint say it produces a more durable and washable surface than latex, but clean up involves mineral spirits or paint thinner so it's more difficult to deal with. Many pro painters use latex paint on walls and alkyd on woodwork and trim because it stands up to frequent scrubbing. Whichever type you use, always choose the best quality of paint that you can afford.
Before paint goes on walls and woodwork sometimes a primer is needed. It's used as a base coat when surfaces are unpainted, spotted or there are patched areas. Bare wood or new drywall always requires priming.
Finishes for the right affect
Both latex and alkyd paint are available in several levels of sheen, which range from flat to shiny. When selecting a finish consider the surface being painted and use these points as a guide.
- Flat - has a no-glare finish that's easy on the eye so it's good for ceilings and walls
- Eggshell, also called, low-luster and satin - has a slight sheen that's noticeable when it's sidelighted; a nice look for hallways and traffic areas
- Semi-gloss - has a definite shine that's a good choice in kitchens and bathrooms and on woodwork that gets frequent washings
- Gloss - has a high gloss shiny hard surface, ideal for furniture and cabinets
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