Tips for Selecting the Right Paint and Color for Your Home
On our site alone, there are dozens of paints. By itself, this fact can make choosing paint for your home remodeling project overwhelming. Add to the fact that there are a variety of paint types and countless colors, and the task can feel almost impossible. Home remodeling can be challenging enough without this added stress. Because our goal is always to make your home projects easier, we have compiled these tips for selecting the right paint and color for your home.
The Right Paint
There is a surprising amount of jargon in the world of interior paint. This can make it difficult to know exactly what you’re choosing when you go to pick a can of paint. The type of paint will greatly influence how it appears on the wall, so having some understanding of the terminology is crucial when it’s time to make this choice.
A paint’s finish refers to the level of “sheen” or shine that paint will have when dried. Higher levels of sheen will reflect light more than lower levels of sheen and will tend to be more durable and easier to clean, as well. These are the typical sheen levels.
Gloss paint provides high sheen and high durability. Because it is so bright, people don’t tend to put it on most interior walls. However, it works very well for doors, trim, furniture, woodwork, or cabinets.
Semi-Gloss still has a relatively high sheen, giving it a higher durability. But because the sheen isn’t as bright, it is more likely to be used on walls or ceilings, typically in places prone to high moisture and dirt, such as a kitchen or bathroom. These paints can also be used on trim, doors, and cabinets like high gloss paint.
Eggshell paint has a medium sheen and durability. This makes it a perfect choice for high traffic areas such as a family room or dining room. Because it still has a good amount of durability, eggshell paint may also be used in kitchens and bathrooms for those wanting a less “shiny” look in these spaces.
Matte paint has the lowest sheen, making it a better choice for places with less traffic and moisture exposure, such as a bedroom or study. Its low sheen also allows it to mask marks and imperfections in the wall itself.
Water or Oil
When it comes to what a paint is made of, the two main choices are water-based and oil-based paint. Oil-based paints are made from oils such as natural linseed or synthetic alkyd. Water-based paints, as the name suggests, are made with water, a binding agent, and a pigment. But the difference between these paints goes beyond the ingredients.
Oil-based paints have historically been associated with a harder and more durable finish, as well as a higher sheen. However, oil-based paints also tend to contain a high level of volatile organic compounds or VOCs. VOCs, along with giving off an unpleasant odor, can cause headaches, nausea, and breathing difficulties for everyone in the house, including pets. Though durable, oil-based paints also tend to yellow over time when exposed to direct sunlight.
Water-based paints tend to have fewer VOCs in them, if any. This makes them a safer option for protecting the humans and pets in your life. In fact, we have water-based, pet-safe paints designed specifically for use in pet dwellings. Along with being safer, water-based paints also tend to hold onto their color longer, even when exposed to the elements. And even though they are sometimes associated with a somewhat duller sheen than oil-based paints, paint technology has advanced to the point that you can still get a higher gloss than in previous years.
Some paints are designed to be more than just a good-looking wall paint. Being aware of their existence may help you when it’s time to select the right paint for your home.
Chalkboard paint, as the name suggests, transforms a normal wall into a chalkboard that can be written or drawn on with chalk. These paints are often used in children’s bedrooms or play areas, but they also create a unique look in other spaces in the house, such as the kitchen.
EMR blocking Paint
If you live in an area with a lot of electromagnetic radiation, such as what may be found around telephone towers, you may benefit from using EMR blocking paint. This paint can be applied and painted over with normal wall paint in order to help block low-level electrical fields.
The Right Color
Compared to choosing the type of paint, choosing a paint color can seem simple. But there is a lot more that goes into choosing a good paint color than simply picking a color on a swatch.
Work With Furniture
When we think of decorating a room, we often start with structural aspects such as lighting and wall color, then move to smaller features such as furniture and accessories. However, it’s much simpler to pick paint colors based on the furniture in a space than it is to pick furniture based on wall color. It helps to pick out furniture first and paint color after. Paint colors will also often look different if they are placed next to different color furniture anyway, so it pays to keep other items in the room in mind when selecting a paint color.
Judge by Wall Test
Paint that is on a swatch will look much different than paint on a wall. That’s because the colors already on the wall and the color of your primer will all change the way a paint color looks. When choosing paint, always test it on a generous portion of wall to determine what it really looks like in your space. Also, be wary of testing multiple colors right next to each other. As we mentioned, colors will appear different to you when placed next to other colors, and placing a color you like next to another color may cause it to look different from when it’s on your wall alone.
Think About Lighting
The way we perceive color is entirely based on light. Because of this, any color we see on a swatch may look different depending on the lighting in a space. The direction the windows in a room face will change how sunlight enters a room.
- North-Facing Rooms: Provide more shaded, cooler light. Warm colors or warm neutrals balance this out.
- South-Facing Rooms: Have the brightest light, but not consistently. Warm and bold colors stand out best here.
- East-Facing Rooms: Provide brighter, warmer light in the morning, but cooler light in the evening. Warmer colors do well here.
- West-Facing Rooms: These rooms are more shaded in the morning but have the boldest light in the afternoon. Warm colors may come across as too intense in these spaces.
Ultimately, the right paint is the one that makes your house feel like home. At ECOS, we have hundreds of colors and a variety of paints ready for your inspection, so you’re sure to find the one perfect for your abode.