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DIY: Liven Up Your Home With Some Paint

Are your walls looking a little tattered and worn? Are you sick of those grubby fingerprints and scuff marks all over your kitchen cupboards? Or perhaps you just need a new look for an old room? If so, then a great way to reinvigorate a room is to paint it! Painting is an easy way to give a room some new style, but you’ll need some tips on where to start. Just as with exterior paint, there are several choices to make when it comes to choosing the right interior paint – so here is the information you need to buy the right paint for your project!

Colors, Colors, and More Colors!
The first step when it comes to buying paint is choosing a color that is right for your project. Whether you are painting your bedroom walls or freshening up the trim in your bathroom, it is important to select a color that will look great and enhance the style of a room. But with so many colors to choose from, color selection can often be a daunting process. Here are some tips on making sure that you find a paint color you love:

  • Consider Room Décor: Before you choose your paint colors, consider the décor in the room where you are going to paint. Is it classy and elegant, or country and comfortable? What are the colors of your rugs, carpets, and pieces of furniture? You need to know the style of your room before you can select a color.
  • Coordinate Colors: Visit several different paint and hardware stores and collect a number of paint samples. These paint chips can help you to coordinate with other colors that are in your room. Place the paint samples against your couch, trim, or carpet to find out which ones match best.
  • Study your Paint Chips: When you have narrowed your paint color down to a few choices, carefully study the sample paint chips. Look at the chip in the daylight and during the evening, when there is less natural light. You may find that your paint sample looks different throughout the day.
  • Purchase a Sample: Most paint stores allow customers to buy small cans of paint so that they can test out a paint color on their walls. This is an inexpensive way to make sure that you really like the color of your paint. Paint a small test area in your home and allow it to dry before deciding whether or not you like it.

Choosing Your Paint: Latex or Oil?
There are two main types of interior paint: latex and oil. These paints are designed for different purposes and will make a real difference when it comes to the overall look of your paint job. You need to figure out which type of paint will suit your project best:

  • Latex Paint: Latex paint accounts for almost 75% of all interior paints. It is a water-based paint that offers easy application and cleanup, and comes in almost any finish and color imaginable. Latex paint goes on very smoothly and has little odor, making it perfect for most do-it-yourself projects. Most also have a built-in mildewcide, which helps to stop mold from growing in damp areas. Resistant to fading and long lasting, latex paint is perfect for most walls, ceilings, and sun-exposed areas. Latex paint dries quickly: typically within one to six hours.
  • Oil Paint: Oil paints are made out of solvents and provide extreme durability and excellent finish. Because oil-based paints adhere well to all surfaces, they are perfect for wood and metal furniture, concrete, stucco, and drywall. However, oil paints are difficult to clean up and have quite a strong odor, so you may not want to use them in large amounts. They also take between eight and 24 hours to dry. Stick to using oil-based paints on smaller surface areas, like doors and windows, trim, and small pieces of furniture.

Choosing Your Finish
Once you have chosen the type of paint you want, you will now need to select a paint finish. Paint finish refers to the amount of shine that your paint will have once it has dried. Certain paint finishes offer more durability and shine than others.

  • Flat: Flat paint, also called matte paint, has no shine once it has dried. This type of paint has a dull but subtle finish, making it great for bedrooms. Flat paint can be washed once in a while, but it doesn't stand up well to heavy cleaning. Use a flat paint on interior walls or low-traffic areas, such as a living room or office.
  • Eggshell: Eggshell paint offers a little bit more shine than standard flat paint. This is because it is designed to reflect more light than flat paints. Eggshell also stands up to a little bit of cleaning, however, it shouldn't be scrubbed vigorously or it could fade. Eggshell is excellent for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.
  • Satin: Satin-finish paint goes on smooth and velvety. It has more of a shine than either flat or eggshell paint, so it will provide your project with a little bit more style. It can also stand up well to scrubbing, making it perfect for kitchens, bathrooms, doors and windows.
  • Semi-Gloss: Semi-gloss paint offers a lot more sheen than satin paint. It can also be washed relatively frequently, making it excellent for highly trafficked areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom. You may also want to do your trim in a semi-gloss, because it provides added durability against scuff marks.
  • High Gloss: High gloss paint is perfect for lovers of extreme shine. It adds drama to a room and therefore works well on smaller surface areas, like cupboard doors and trim. However, because high gloss house paint reflects a lot of light, it may draw attention to wall damage, so be sure to prep your walls well before painting.

How Much is Enough? Calculating Paint Quantity
There is nothing worse than buying too much of a paint that you will likely never use again. Not only is paint expensive, it is also difficult to expose of and often takes up valuable space in the basement or garage. This being said, you don't want to run out of paint mid-project. Here is a method that will ensure that you always have just the right amount of paint!

  • Determine the square footage of the room that you are going to paint. Find this by adding together the lengths of all the walls and multiplying this number by the height of the walls (measured from floor to ceiling).
  • Subtract the square footage of any doors, windows, or skylights (which you won’t be painting) from your total square footage. Doors are usually around 20 square feet, while average windows are about 15 square feet. This new number will give you the total square feet of paintable surface.
  • Since one gallon of paint covers about 350 square feet, divide your total square footage by 350. This will give you the amount of paint, in gallons, that you should purchase.

When doing your paint calculations, be sure to keep in mind that you may need extra paint for touch ups or a second coat. If you are applying a particularly dark-colored paint, have unfinished drywall, or particularly patched-up walls, you will probably need extra paint.