Paint a Room, Painlessly
Many factors contribute to the psychology and esthetics of a room, but none is more potent than wall color. And dollar for dollar, hour for hour, nothing returns more results than whole-room repainting.
This job calls for a logical work sequence. If you finish one process before starting another—clean all the walls before starting to patch them, for example—you'll be less confused, make fewer mistakes, and waste less time hauling tools and handling material. There is no need to wear a mask with latex paint, although it's always smart to keep some windows open for ventilation.
Step 1: The Color Scheme
Choose paint color carefully, since color may be the dominant factor in a room's personality. Colors have moods. Whites can make a room feel large and cheery, or cold or forbidding. Darker, more pronounced, colors can make a room feel cozy, inviting, or artistic—or small, even cave-like.
Here are some considerations for color selection:
Most people use flat or “eggshell,” a slightly glossy and easier-to-clean variation on flat, for walls, and semi-gloss paint for trim. Avoid full gloss enamel unless you have plenty of experience; it's difficult to avoid brushmarks.
What colors are in the trim, furniture, floor coverings, and artwork? Your paint should harmonize with these.
Loud colors give a sense of energy, while softer, more neutral colors are more calming.
Before selecting a bold color, make sure your family can live with it.
Neutral colors slip into the background. As you paint, the room may seem stark or boring—until you add color with furnishings, art, and floor coverings.
If your sense of color is as primitive as mine, take a look at the coordinated color combinations presented by paint companies.
Dark paints are hard to lighten. To make a quick jump toward white on a wall that's now dark, put two coats of a good primer under your paint.
Unless you enjoy redecorating, avoid the color of the week: Don't paint yourself into a corner by falling for a foolish fad.
Don't judge a color based on a postage-stamp sample. Buy a quart of the color and test it on your walls. Or buy from a paint store that mails out larger color samples.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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