If you’re looking to spruce up your home, there are few things that can do the job as effectively as a coat of new paint. Dollar for dollar, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways of improving your look. Keep reading for tips on how to pick the right paint and a checklist for the home hardware store shopping trip!
When it comes to interior paint, there’s a bewildering array of choices at your home hardware store. The most common type to use is latex paint because it can be wiped clean: a great feature for homes with pets or small children. Unlike oil paint, it also tends to blister less because it breathes better, and it won’t fade quickly. For most of the walls you’ll almost certainly want a low-VOC latex paint, but if you have any wood that needs to be stained or primed, oil-based paints are excellent in this application.
Paints come in a variety of sheens, and the general rule is that the glossier the paint, the easier it is to clean. The downside is that glossy paint also shows imperfections and can glow a bit too much in rooms where you typically have a lot of light. It can, however, make excellent trim on the crown molding in those rooms. Otherwise a semi-gloss paint offers a good compromise between washability and shine. If you have any walls that are in really bad shape, a matte paint is a great choice. A relatively new choice at the home hardware store is the eggshell sheen, which looks more flat but is easier to clean.
Choosing Exterior Paint
Exterior paint usually comes in its own section at your home hardware store, and everything in this section will be formulated to stand up to Mother Nature. For most homes, a flat or eggshell sheen is going to look best. With exterior paint especially, bear in mind that you will get what you pay for in terms of paint quality. Always get the best you can afford.
For the inside, if you’re planning on selling at any point in the near future, you’ll want to keep your color choices in the cream and white family. If this isn’t an issue, then colors can completely change the feel of your home, which might be just what you’re going for. Cool colors like blues and greens make rooms feel open; reds and oranges make a place feel alive. Muting shades can also mute these effects, or heighten them. If you desire elegance, neutral colors are usually the way to go, and these are the easiest to compliment with furniture and decorations. For painting the outside, textures and colors can compliment your architecture or strain the relationship with your neighbors. A good tip here is to talk to the paint specialist at one of the home improvement companies in town and get their advice, as well as check out the neighborhood to understand what fits.
Home Hardware Checklist
If you’re headed out to the home hardware stores, don’t forget this checklist so you don’t miss an item among all the lumber supplies:
- Paint stirrer It doesn’t hurt to get several of these if you have a big job.
- Five-gallon bucket
- Pouring spout This attaches to a can of paint so it pours with less mess.
- Roller tray and tray liners The tray is for the roller, and the tray liners will save you a lot of angst later.
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloths
- A variety of brushes and rollers
- Hole filler In case you come across small holes in the wall: this will fill them faster than any spackle.
Painting is a great way to refresh your home, whether your goal is to live in it yourself or to sell it. Get down to the local home hardware store and take a look at the color possibilities!