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Repainting your Exterior Home
Interior Paint Project
Why Use Color Samples Before You Paint?
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  Interior Paint Project



Step by Step Color Selection

1.1. Identify the "fixed" elements of your room that you are not planning on changing.

1.2. Identify the room's natural attributes, such as room size and lighting, and the way in which you want the color of the room to affect those attributes.

1.3. Identify what the room will be use for-rest, play, work or dining.

1.4. Start with colors in tones that naturally appeal to you.

1.5. Use the following basic color palettes as color selection guides


2.1. Water or Oil Based Paint

2.2. Quality of the Paint

2.3. Sheen of the Paint

2.4. Quantity of the Paint



1. Color Selection

Step by Step Color Selection

• Identify the "fixed" elements of your room that you are not planning on changing. For example, furniture, rugs, fireplace, color of woodwork or tiling, etc. All paint colors must coordinate with theses elements.

Identify the room's natural attributes, such as room size and lighting, and the way in which you want the color of the room to affect those attributes. Keep in mind cool (blue, violet and green), dark colors recede and seem to pull away from you, making the room seem larger, while warm (red, orange and yellow), light colors expand and seem to come towards you, making the room seem smaller. It's important that you make a final selection only after viewing a sample of your color choice in the room you are painting so you can see how natural and artificial light affects the color.

• Identify what the room will be use for-rest, play, work or dining. Think about what colors make you feel comfortable, energetic or inspired. Keep in mind the colors you choose to work with will determine whether the environment is dramatic or subtle. Some colors are associated with moods. Here are some basic associations:

• red-energy & passion

• orange-active & inviting

• yellow-bright & sunny

• green-calm & serene

• blue-refreshing & inspiring

• purple-cleansing & smoothing

• neutrals-subtle & elegant

• Start with colors in tones that naturally appeal to you. Tip: outline a large photocopy of a picture of your room. Duplicate this several times to get a few black & whites images. Use colored pencils to experiment with different color schemes and you'll be ahead of the game before you turn to chips or actual paint samples.

• Use the following basic color palettes as color selection guides:


Using just one color and varying that color's intensities from pale to bold, light to dark can create a room décor that is exciting or serene.

• Start with the walls and select a soft color.

• Select a trim color or accent wall color by identifying the color two shades darker on the same color chip.


Complementary colors- colors that actually oppose each other on the color wheel- can be used together for stunning results.

1. Start with a trim color or fabric color in a rich shade.

2. Select "complement" of that color for your walls by finding the color across from it on the color wheel.


By using colors that are next to one another on the color wheel and similar in tone, you can create a dramatic but elegant color design for your room.

1. Start by selecting three colors that are next to one another on the color wheel that are similar tone.

2. Use one of the colors more dominantly and the other two as accents.


1. Water (Latex) or Oil Based (Alkyd) Paint

Many factors determine the type of paint that you should use on any given paint job, including the nature of the surface you want to paint and its condition, the age of the surface, and type of paint previously used on the surface, if any.

Virtually all the paints that you might use around the home fall into two general categories: water-based latex paints; and solvent-based paints or "alkyds". These names refer to one of the major differences between the two types of coatings-most of the liquid portion of latex paints is water, while the liquid in oil-based paints consists of petroleum distillates and other organic solvents.

2. Quality of the Paint

Paint is one of those things that you get what you pay for. The components in paint do not vary to much, but the grade of these components definitely does. If a gallon of paint costs $10 versus $30, there must be a reason. Lower priced components may not maintain the same level of performance as higher-priced ones. Higher-quality paints have higher levels of pigment than lower-quality paints.
A can of quality paint contains a higher volume of solid material (pigment and binder). In the case of top-quality latex paints, that means more solids and less water, which is why some paints can be sold for lower price.
Therefore, if high-quality paint and economy paint were both applied at the same spread rate, the top quality paint would dry to a thicker paint film because of its higher solids content. High-quality paint will contain a 35 to 45 percent volume of solids, whereas lower quality paint will contain about 25 to 30 percent.

It is common nowadays to see various designers and brands names coming out with lines of paint for the home. For these brand names, the same rules generally apply. Some say that you can tell quality by comparing the weight of two cans of paint, the heavier one being better because it has a greater ratio of solids. Others think that the test is to see whether a stick will stand up straight in the paint can, reasoning that if the paint is thick it is good paint.

Well, the truth is that certain additives can be put in paint to make heavy, but they don't contribute to the overall performance or quality. Likewise, additives can make paint thicker but not better. Unlike the food industry, the paint industry does not have to reveal the ingredients in the can; nor does it have to tell the quality and quantity of the components. The only real way to judge the quality of paint is to rely on a quality manufacturer and the advice of knowledgeable paint consultant. Recommendations from friends and professionals are also very useful, although they can be very biased.

Regardless of the type of paint you will be using, one of the most important factors in the ultimate success of any paint job is the quality of paint used. On this subject, experts agree: You should use the highest quality paint to get the best paint performance.

3. Sheen of the Paint

Selecting the ideal sheen or gloss level for an interior paint job involves both aesthetic and practical considerations. From and aesthetic standpoint, a degree of sheen or gloss is useful in creating visual interest, particularly indoors. From a practical standpoint, the right sheen or gloss can help extend the life of the paint job.

Most brands of paint come in at least four levels of sheen. "Gloss" paints, as the name implies, have the highest light-reflective characteristics. Then, in declining order of sheen, are semi gloss paints; eggshell, satin or low luster paints; and flat paints. Both latex and oil-based paints are available in different sheen levels.

4. Quantity of the Paint

You can save time by doing this before you receive the visit of your paint consultant.

Begin by measuring the dimensions of the surface area that you will be painting, and then multiply the height by the width. Do the same calculation with the areas that won't be painted over, such as the doorways and windows. Then subtract nonpaint areas from the overall surface area to get an estimate of the square footage you will be painting. Look at the paint can label to determine the "spread rate" of the paint, which is the number of square feet of surface each coat of paint will cover. For many paints, this will be 400 square feet per gallon. Divide the total surface area by this number to determine the number of gallons.


To get the biggest payback from your investment in quality paint, make sure that you apply your paint and coatings with high quality application equipment.

Better quality brushes, rollers and applicators tend to apply a thicker, more uniform coat of paint that will look better and last longer than paint applied with cheap equipment. Top quality equipment also speeds up and simplifies your work. The specific tools you will need to complete your job depend upon the type of project you are doing and the type of paint you are applying.


It is a great temptation to start painting without spending time to properly prepare the surface, but this can be a big mistake. Shortcuts on surface preparation can cause even the highest quality paints to fail prematurely. In fact, experts maintain that inadequate surface preparation is the single greatest cause of paint failures.

Whether you are doing interior or exterior painting, good surface preparation requires that the surface be as clean as possible and in good repair. Paint performance depends on good paint adhesion, and paint adheres best to surfaces that are clean and sound.

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