How to select the Perfect Paint and Finish
Giving that room a fresh coat of paint is a cheap and easy way to an old space a breath of fresh air.
Here are some tips on choosing the perfect color:
What Type of Paint Should I Select?
Paint comes in a variety of sheens as well as in either oil or latex. Latex paint is the most commonly and preferred paint type to use because of its ease of clean up and long lasting durability. It also tends to be more fade resistant and breathes better than oil, resulting in less blistering of the paint.
Another reason latex is usually preferred to oil base paints is because of the smell and Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) which off-gas during the drying period. Most major paint manufacturers have addressed this problem by providing LOW-VOC or NO-VOC Latex paints, but they have not solved this problem as readily with oil bases paints.
However, there are times when oil based paint is the right choice; for instance it’s great for priming real wood moldings and trim as it tends to seal stains and knots from the wood better than a latex paint wood. Also, I often specify oil based paints if I am suggesting a client paint a hand rail or newel post as the finish is extremely durable. (It does take longer to dry than a latex paint though, so plan for more drying time.)
Which Sheen Should I Select?
The old rule of thumb for paint finishes was the glossier the paint - the easier it is to clean marks off. But, nowadays my favorite paint finish is a washable matte finish. I prefer this minimal sheen because my years of experience has shown me that the less sheen to a wall surface the less reflected light which will change the appearance of a paint color.
These washable matte finishes really offer the best of both worlds in that you can wash off smudges and scuff marks and get stable color. But if you have small children and the room you are painting has high traffic, like in a playroom, or a stairwell, opt for an eggshell or satin sheen as you can easily wipe the wall down with a damp sponge.
The other important qualifier of which paint finish to select is how good your wall surfaces are as the higher the gloss the more likely you will see blemishes and nail pops in your wall surfaces because the light reflects off these imperfections. So for older homes, like mine that have plaster walls, the washable matte finish is a great option!
Eggshell or satin sheens have a satiny smooth finish to them and could also be used in kitchens, hallways and especially bathrooms as this finish helps camouflage watermarks.
Semi-gloss is great for woodwork and doors providing you with ease of wash-ability and less shine than the gloss. It is also slightly cheaper than the gloss finish and is a very common alternative. If you have walls with lots of imperfections, select a flat or matte paint.
Flat paint is the least expensive type of paint, which is why is it used buy many builders, not to mention the fact that it hides imperfections the best of any finish. However it is still a great choice for ceilings, specifically because it doesn’t reflect light.