Interior Paint Choices: Things to Consider Before You Buy
I remember an old painter telling my husband, “Paint is just colored glue.” However concise, it was the understatement of the year. I’m open to oversimplification, but…Glue?
Nowadays, paint color options are in the millions, color matching is easier, and available finishes are endless. The topic of interior paint types, in just one sentence, has become overly complicated already. Believe me, it’s not just glue. Yikes!
So let me break it down for you so you won’t become frustrated and discouraged before you even start your project!
What Are You Painting?
First of all, what room will you be painting? Here are some examples of exposure or wear – Moisture, sunlight, traffic/fingerprints, physical areas/kid zones, pet activity – that can have an effect on the staying power of your paint job. If you’re like me, you don’t make the time to obsessively touch up paint imperfections every waking moment of your day. Who does?
- Moisture – Bathrooms, Kitchens, Entryways, Doorways
- Sunlight – All rooms with windows, silly!
- Fingerprints – Kitchen, Entryways, Living Room, Bathrooms, Hallways
- Physical or Kid Zones – Entryways, Laundry, Kitchen, Playrooms, Bathrooms
- Pet Activity – Anywhere and everywhere in my house!
The Good News About Paint
Now that you know what you’re painting, here’s the good news: a good quality 100% acrylic latex can probably do the job. As far as specialty paints or stains for furniture, or textural finishes for walls…you’ll see another blog post about that.
If we’re talking about walls and trim, acrylic latex is your best bet. It comes in a variety of finishes, cleans up easily, and is durable and washable. And some brands will adhere to different types of surfaces, like wood, metal and vinyl. It’s kinder and gentler on the checkbook when you don’t have to buy four paint products for one room.
When making your interior paint choices, these are the benefits and features to consider:
- Cost: You get what you pay for. That said, paint is one of the least expensive improvements with the greatest return. If your surface is well primed, the highest cost finish paint is not always necessary – especially if you plan to paint again in a couple years.
- Odor: Technology has come a long way…lots of “low odor” paints available. But if you open it and the odor is too much, stir one tablespoon of vanilla extract into a gallon. It will not affect the color. There are also additives you can buy – some actually are perfumes that release fragrance and last for six to twelve months. But unless I plan on frying fish in the kitchen every week, that might be a luxury item for me. Nice idea, though…aren’t we spoiled with all of this technology?!
- Coverage: This relates directly to cost…buy less of a higher-quality and use fewer coats (less labor, paint and wear on tools). If changing from a light to dark (or vice versa) paint color, coverage is very important, so first base coating in a shade close to the final finish color might be necessary. Also, fresh drywall is extremely porous, so primer will be required. Either way, it’s a great idea to ask a paint store professional for guidance on proper preparation.
- Adhesion: Poor adhesion at time of application will cause peeling and cracking. A poor quality paint, dirty or unprimed surface, moisture or temperature (very hot or cold) will affect the bonding. A good quality paint on a properly prepped surface should yield great results.
- Color Retention: Fading…the sorry sign of a poor quality paint.
- Durability/Washability: Body oils and sticky fingerprints should be easily scrubbed without taking the paint with them.
Interior Paint Finishes
Consider again how you will use the space. A playroom will require scrubbability, a bathroom moisture control, and a guest bedroom without much use shouldn’t require either.
Available interior finish types include:
- Semi-gloss or high-gloss: Stain and moisture resistance, scrubbable, durable. Great for doors, trim, playrooms, bathrooms.
- Satin: A step down in sheen from gloss, scrubbable, still durable.
- Eggshell: Mid-range between satin and flat in sheen and durability. Eggshell finishes may vary among manufacturers.
- Flat: No sheen, used for walls and ceilings. Can help conceal wall imperfections. Not scrubbable, generally not as durable. Some specialty flats are designed for bathroom and kitchen use and are designed to resist moisture and fungal growth.
I Love Leftovers – Leftover Paint, That Is!
Some people don’t like leftovers – liver, meatloaf, mystery casserole – but when it comes to paint, I don’t mind having to store it, as long as it doesn’t take over the utility room. Space is at a premium at our house, so when I repaint, I try to dispose of the previous color if there’s not enough for a new project.
- Take care of the can: Use a paint key opener to pry the lid, keep the lid rim clean, and keep the can dry. A bent lid doesn’t seal properly, and rust can ruin paint. TIP: Cover the paint opening with plastic wrap before tapping the lid down to form a sealed barrier… Just like meatloaf in the fridge.
- Watch the temperature: Repeated exposure to hot and cold extremes can affect the consistency and cause it to spoil. And just like milk: if it’s creamy, it’s good…if it’s lumpy, it’s bad. Ewwww.
- Make a label: You may not remember if the “fresh linen” color was that accent wall in the kitchen, or…??? So label it, because likely, you’ve spilled paint all over the existing label anyway. Date, color name, finish, where used and where purchased are great pieces of info you’ll use later. Just scribble legibly with a sharpie on some masking tape. Done!
This Is Not The Last Time…
…you’ll hear from me about paint. Here at My Budget Home Decor, paint is king. At the risk of being repetitive, I must say that paint is the least expensive, quickest and most convenient way to make a significant change to your decor. Once you know the basics of selection, it should be much easier to begin making your interior paint choices.
Did you ever have a bad experience with a paint job – flaking, cracking, peeling…poor color choice?
Tell me your story in the comments below!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”