Paint colors are personal and sometimes we have to try out several colors until we find one that is just right for the room, the lighting and compliments how the room's furnishings. Many people think that once they've selected their paint colors, they're done and it's time to buy the paint. Wait a minute, you're not quite done …
There is a second, very important decision that needs to be made. You have to decide based on the room or trim you're painting, what type of paint finish you want. This choice isn't easy as you have to make trade-offs between the look of the finish and how easy it is to care for, i.e. children's rooms, hallways and bathrooms get a lot more activity so you need to take this into consideration.
Wear It Well is Not Just About Clothes
When I buy a new shirt, I use what's called the squeeze test. I bunch up the material for maybe 30 seconds and then let go. The shirt might look beautiful right now but I need to be sure it will look just as nice after I wash and dry it, or I won't buy it. When I make a mistake and the shirt comes out of the dryer all wrinkled, I put in in a pile to give away to a friend who doesn't mind ironing but I simply don't have the time or patience.
Once you paint a room, changing the paint isn't as easy as giving away a wrinkled shirt. If you don't like the paint's finish, you have to repaint the room to change it and that isn't something you, or anyone will want to do. I'm dealing with that issue now, as I didn't specify a different finish for my bathroom shower which is in a separate room from the sinks and vanity, but the moisture shows on the walls … ugh.
A paint's sheen or gloss level is usually chosen based on wearability requirements. You need to consider the type of day-to-day activity that will take place in the room where the paint is going. Kitchens, bathrooms, playrooms and hallways see a lot more activity than the living room or bedrooms. Here are some quick tips on paint finishes and how easy they are to clean.
- Flat gloss paint surfaces normally soil more easily and are harder to clean.
- High gloss paint is usually tougher and more resistant to damage. While you may use the same color in adjoining rooms, the finish for a specific paint job may differ to meet the requirements of the room as outlined below.
|Kitchen||Semi-gloss||Washable & durable paint for areas subject to dirt, grease & moisture|
|Bathroom||Semi-gloss||Washable & durable paint for areas subject to dirt, grease & moisture|
|Hallway||Satin||Washable & minimize dirt pick-up|
|Dining/Living Rooms||Eggshell or Satin||Eggshell has a rich look but minimal washability. Satin has a rich look & washability|
|Family/Play Rooms||Satin or Semi-gloss||Satin has washability & some low sheen. Semi-gloss is very washable and perfect for high traffic areas exposed to dirt, grease, moisture|
|Bedrooms||Satin||Washable & minimizes dirt pick-up|
|Garage||Flat||Minimize visibility of surface imperfections; less washable|
|Ceilings||Flat||Minimize visibility of surface imperfections|
|Trim & Baseboards||Semi-gloss or Gloss||Strong, washable surface|
This article does not address oil versus latex paints. There are numerous problems with oil paints, with several states no longer allowing their sale. As quick reference for the pros and cons of oil versus latex paints are listed below:
- Latex paints – dry quickly, only need water for thinning and cleanup and have fewer fumes and odors than oil-based paints.
- Oil paints – provide an extremely durable finish BUT they dry slowly, require mineral spirits for thinning and cleanup and have strong, smelly fumes.