Painting Tips – Choosing Your Color & Sheen

Feb 17, 2016

Add a Pop of Color!

Is there a room in your house that’s simply screaming for a new coat of paint?

Adding a new coat of paint is a quick, easy way to freshen and brighten up a room. It’s also an inexpensive way to ‘remodel’ a room. Maybe you’re looking for a fairly simple fix, like upgrading your matte or flat to a semi-gloss, or perhaps you’re finally ready to paint over those neon green walls… they seemed like such a good idea at the time.

It seems easy enough at first, right? All you have to do is just grab some brushes and some paint, maybe a drop cloth or two. It’s only after two or more infuriating paint-splattered hours that you realize perhaps some tips could’ve come in handy in advance.


Picking Your Paint

Don’t let your painting project turn into a disaster right from the start.

These tips can help even the most prepared do-it-yourselfers successfully complete their painting job – and keep their sanity in the process.

Depending on the room that you’re going to paint, the type of paint you choose could have a huge effect. Interior paints are specifically designed to provide:

  • Stain resistance
  • Good coverage
  • Easy touch-up
  • Fairly easy clean up


Choosing a Hue

If you don’t have a color already in mind, deciding on one can be daunting.

First, we’re going to walk through the most basic of basics: picking your color, and deciding which sheen would work best for the area to be painted.

Don’t become overwhelmed by color choices! Staring out at the sea of paper color palettes in a paint store can seem scary, but if you have a plan in mind in advance, you’ll be well-equipped. Many people choose to purchase small samples in a variety of different hues, and then paint small sections of the walls to get an idea of how they will look. This is an easy way to get an idea of the overall look the new color will bring to the room, without the added pressure of commitment.

paint buckets

For color inspiration, many people use magazines, photos, or visit websites that display images of recently remodeled rooms. However, there are also a variety of color palette creators available online which can aid in that all-too-important decision of which color will work best. Here are just a few examples of ways to view, edit, and create your own color palettes:

  • Coolors – This fast, easy-to-use site literally generates palettes at the push of a button. Intended for use by designers, this site is also a great place to gain inspiration on color usage, as well as figuring out if the color of your furniture will clash with your new paint choice.
  • Adobe Color Wheel – Created by Adobe, the go-to service for creatively-minded people, this site allows the user to drag colors around, creating their own color palettes.
  • Colour Lovers – This website houses a large number of user-generated palettes and patterns, as well as the option to create your own.
  • DeGraeve – This site allows the user to generate color palettes based on their own uploaded photos. Find a picture of a flower in the perfect shade of red, but can’t find it in stores? Upload it and let DeGraeve do the heavy lifting!


bright paint

Latex or Oil?

Determine whether latex-based or oil-based paints would work best for you, based on your painting needs.

Different types of paints come with their own pros and cons. Each home, room, and personal preference is different, so doing research on the types of paints and their longevity, finish, and clean up will help you determine which type paint is the best for you.

• Latex – The best gloss retention, as well as a long-lasting finish. These paints are typically easy to clean up with soap and water.

• Oil – Excellent stain resistance, and are great for high-traffic rooms. These are harder to clean up, but have great adhesion, and are incredibly durable.

bright paint

To Shine, or Not to Shine?

Once you’ve determined the color and the type of paint you want to use, it’s time to determine the sheen.

In general, paint starts out glossy, and will over time lose its luster due to the addition of titanium dioxide, a dry, chalky material. Flat finishes have the most titanium dioxide, which makes them appear matte. This type of paint will not reflect as much as other types, but scuffs or scratches easily. However, if you’re using a deep color on a wall, fat paint can enhance the richness.

Glossy paints are shiny, and reflect the most light in a mirror-like direction. The glossier the paint, the different the color can appear from your chosen hue. Very glossy paint also has a tendency to show imperfections in the paint or in the wall.

One manufacturer measures gloss as percentages (at an unspecified angle) and breaks them down as:

  • Flat (1–9% gloss) (most often used for ceilings)
  • Low Sheen (10–25% gloss)
  • Eggshell (26–40% gloss) (most often used for walls)
  • Semi Gloss (41–69% gloss) (most often used for trim)
  • Gloss (70–89% gloss)

Keep in mind that many brand name stores have designers on staff that can also help you select colors and sheens appropriate to your application.

The Bottom Line…

In the end, pick a color and sheen that you’re in love with.

At the end of the day, the color choice and sheen that you choose for your walls will be there for a while. Picking a color that you love, along with the appropriate sheen, should ultimately enhance and compliment the room, as well as bring about a sense of personal accomplishment.

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If you have questions about remodeling projects, or just want some further tips, feel free to give us a call. Did you know that we also offer handyman services? Because of BACK Construction’s reputation of being the highest quality remodeler in Lexington, Kentucky, many people think we only do large projects. We offer the same quality for small projects as with a large project, because we have the same skilled craftsmen on each and every one. In fact, BACK’s handyman service is an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner.

Contact us today, no matter what size project you have, and we will provide our quality workmanship to handle your project with care. Our team of skilled, professional craftsmen will make sure your project is done BACK better!


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