Painting can be a dramatic and cost effective way to update a room or your entire home. And if you are smart and motivated, it doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, you can transform a room in a weekend and also keep your stress level low if you follow our five-step guide to starting a painting project below.
1. Choose a Color Scheme
Think about what kind of mood and feel you want in each room. For example, if you want a peaceful experience in the bathroom or master bedroom, opt for muted tones in green, blue or gray. You can enlarge a room or lift a ceiling with light colors, or paint and decorate in a monochromatic theme for a spacious effect. Feel too cavernous? Use warm, red-tinged colors to draw walls in, and use a dark or warmer toned paint on a high ceiling to make the room cozy.
Pro tip: Consider enlisting the help of a color consultant. In a colorful world of choices, you may want some expert advice on color trends, or a well-coordinated palette for your home.
2. Consider What to Highlight and What to Hide
You can highlight special features or a focal point with paint. Moldings and trims painted in white will pop against a wall of color. Similarly, a fireplace can become a true centerpiece when it’s painted in a contrasting color with the walls. Use paints in a similar hue to hide unappealing elements or flaws. Paint conduits, radiators, and other fixtures the same color as the wall and watch them disappear.
3. Pick a Paint Color and Test Drive It
Paint will always look different from the label on the can, the paint swatch or the store display. Most hardware stores will give you a small sample can or quart or charge you a small fee; it’s well worth trying out before you commit. Paint a swatch of about one square foot on a wall–and live with it for a couple of weeks. If you have space, do the same on another wall in the same room. You’ll want to see how the color looks at all times of day, and in different lighting.
4. Choose a Paint Finish
Walk down the aisles of any paint department and you’ll quickly see that paint is not simply paint. There are ranges of finishes that suit different purposes and create different effects for every room in your home. For example, one plus that high-sheen colors have over flat finishes is depth of color. The higher the gloss, the more vivid and rich your color will appear, making it ideal for deep, jewel-like blues, greens and reds. Similarly, some paint experts like high-gloss finishes for wood trim and cabinets and doors with one important caveat: blemishes must be minimal, or sanded to make them minimal because shiny surfaces make flaws more obvious.
5. Find a Painting Pro
If you decide you need an extra pair of hands, look for a pro who is bonded, insured, and is experienced. You can ask for references and for photos of previous projects. Depending on your project, you might even inquire about any types of specialties the pro may offer, such as faux and creative finishes like Venetian plaster, color washes, and texturing.