Painting a room is one of the most cost effective ways to transform your home. Nothing will alter the mood or style of your space more than a simple change of color. A dark color makes your room more moody or cozy feeling, while a lighter color allows in more light making it feel open and alive.
While we spend a lot of time discussing what the "right" paint color would be for a room, there is something equally important to consider before having your paint mixed up. While the color is what we see, the finish of the paint determines how it appears on your wall and how it will withstand the wear and tear of daily living.
Oftentimes, the employee at the paint store will be able to correctly guide you to the type of paint for the job you are doing. But it is nice to go in with the knowledge of what you are looking for yourself and not rely on the opinions of other people.
So here is what you need to know before you begin your next painting project....
Latex and oil based paint comes in five different finishes - flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. The color you want should be available in any of these types of paint.
The difference between them lies in their shine which affects how easy it is to clean the finished surface and how well the paint will mask imperfections in what's being painted. Shinier paints are easier to clean, but will show more flaws. While a less shiny paint will better hide anything that is wrong with your walls, it won't withstand repeated wiping. You must weigh the value of each type of paint and consider how the space you're painting is going to be used.
Flat paint is best used on ceilings (although there is paint manufactured specifically for this surface).
It can be incredibly difficult to clean dirt and fingerprints from places painted with flat paint, so it shouldn't be used in high traffic areas that get dirty quickly.
This type of paint has little or no sheen causing it to absorb, rather than bounce, the light in the room. For this reason, it is great for surfaces that have a lot of imperfections.
Eggshell paint is best suited for bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.
Because it has just a hint of sheen, this finish is more durable and easier to wipe down than flat paint. It still cannot handle frequent cleaning, however, making it more suitable for areas that don't see a lot of grime or moisture.
Places painted with eggshell paint will have a soft texture and matte appearance. It still absorbs a lot of light helping the paint to hide flaws in the wall.
Satin paint is great for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, and any other high traffic areas.
The painted surface is easy to wipe down and does a terrific job of resisting moisture.
It is glossier than eggshell, but yet less glossy than semi-gloss.
Semi-gloss paint is most commonly used on trim and molding, kitchen cabinets, and doors.
This paint finish is extremely durable, making it easy to wipe away food spatters and finger prints.
Because of the shine to the finish, this paint will highlight anything that might be wrong with the surface you're painting. You'd be better off using the satin paint if there are a lot of imperfections, such as what you'd find on old trim or repurposed cabinets.
While it is rarely used, gloss paint is most commonly seen on furniture giving it a lacquered look. It could also be used along with various sheens of the same color to paint subtle accents on a wall.
Since it easily bounces light off it's surface, gloss paint will show each and every imperfection.
The benefit of using gloss paint is that it doesn't hold onto grease or oil, making it extremely wipe-able.
In the end, the type of paint you choose is really a matter of personal preference. The quality and durability of all paints has improved over the years, so the finish is better overall regardless of what you choose. These are just some basic guidelines to help you along in making the best decision for your home. We all want the time we spend painting our house to be well spent and for the finish to last until we are ready to do the job again.
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