Finishing Touches – Picking the best paint for the rooms in your home
Article By | Lizzie West
So you think you’ve found “the perfect color” for your toddler’s bedroom. You run out to buy the paint, get home, and paint the room. Once it’s dry you pat yourself on the back for a job well done. The next day, your precious angel creates a beautiful piece of art for you on the walls and you can’t get the crayons to wipe off. You could just paint over it, but then there is waiting for it to dry (again); cleaning out the brushes (again); and keeping an eye out to make sure (again) that your little angel doesn’t track paint all over the rest of your house before it dries. What if I told you it’s possible to avoid all of this by selecting a different paint finish? And you have so many choices for every room in your home. Different finishes can also emphasize or camouflage different textures and mixing them can give the space a different design feel. Now – let’s check out the options!
FLAT finish – A flat paint is pretty much always great for a ceiling. It’s not reflective and gives a softer look, also camouflaging unwanted texture. It’s a great way to spruce up or lighten up a room. These are also fine options for areas of your home that won’t have a ton of traffic. However, it’s a safe bet to avoid this when you have kiddos running around the house, as it is more difficult to keep clean and smudge-free. It’s also a great option for closet walls.
CHALKBOARD finish – This is a great option for rustic furniture with many color options, and also for creating an artistic space for your kids with black or dark green. You can even put a border around it with cute moldings – coated with high gloss paint – to create an acceptable boundary for your youngsters to explore their artistic side, or keep lists, chores, and meal planning ideas for the entire family.
Side note: There are other paint textures to consider looking into as well, like “Venetian plaster” or accomplishing a paint style by using different textured roller types and layering paint colors.
SATIN finish – This is a great “go-to” option for many spaces, like bedrooms, hallways, common areas, and even your entry. It still has a soft feel, unlike more glossy options, and is less reflective, but offers more ease of cleaning than a flat finish would. This is also what most paint stores offer in terms of samples. This is often considered a safe choice when making paint selections as it is a more versatile option. Keep in mind though, that if you cook a lot of greasy foods or dishes with red sauces, this is not the most ideal for kitchen spaces or cooking areas.
SEMI-GLOSS finish – This type of finish bridges the gap between the satin and gloss options. This is a good option for more damp areas in your home, such as the laundry room, mud room, or even a bathroom. However, avoid using it near areas where you expect a lot of water or splashing. Remember, you do have options to mix finishes – which we will come back to a bit later.
GLOSS finish – This is great for kitchens and bathrooms, playrooms, and high-traffic areas. It’s much easier to clean and won’t soak up grease. This is an ideal option for cabinets as well, but always looks far better when using a paint sprayer if you decide to forego the traditional stain options. If you’re super into DIY, you can rent a paint sprayer from the hardware store, or hire a painter to take care of it for you. Definitely use a roller as often as possible on walls, because this is the least forgiving paint when it comes to texture, especially in regard to showing brush strokes.
MIXING finishes – We discussed options where you may choose to mix finishes. For example, if you want a blackboard wall, you may use chalkboard paint in one area, but a semi-gloss or gloss option elsewhere to make cleaning up easier. Another great way to mix finishes is in bathrooms. By installing a molding horizontally on your wall that’s painted in a gloss finish at about a three foot height (mimicking a chair rail), you can create two distinct spaces on your wall. You then paint a gloss finish on the bottom and a satin finish on top in bathrooms, choosing whatever colors your heart desires. This way, the splashing of kiddos and fur babies in the bathtub won’t be such a chore to clean up. You can also mix finishes in your kitchen. If you choose to paint your cabinets instead of staining them, a gloss paint sprayed on them can look nice with a tile back splash and the rest of the walls in a satin finish. This is especially effective when your kids get a little older and are less prone to throwing spaghetti sauce on the walls.
A Few Additional Tips
- When going over dark colored paint with something lighter, primer can be your best friend.
- Colors look a little different depending on the finish of the paint and the room’s lighting, so get a sample to try out first, though it will likely be in a satin finish. Always ask what the options are!
- Tools are important – so pick the ones that go best with your paint finish, and be prepared for things like cutting in the corners and taping off moldings. The paint specialist in your local paint store is a great resource for information about this.
- Protip: Feel free to check out your local hardware store for returned paint. Many times people just decide they don’t like something, and one gallon of paint can go a long way! You may just stumble upon the PERFECT color and finish for your project at an excellent discount!
- Don’t forget to make sure the paint is intended for the surface. (i.e. Floor paint is its own thing!)
- There’s no shame in hiring someone to do the work if you don’t feel confident or have the time!
- It’s just paint, and as long as it’s all water-based, you can change your mind!