Choosing The Right Paint Finishes For A Room

by Darwin Hall

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“Anyone can paint!” many people think and that’s partially true.  After all, you learned how to use paint early in life; like during kindergarten, you were built to paint… Anything!

Painting is usually the first thing beginning DIYers tackle when starting out in the world of remodeling and decorating.  The nice people behind the counter at the local home store will mix and shake your paint, and even give you free paint sticks!

A painting project starts by you thinking about the colors you want for the room.  Careful thought should be taken; usually a really light color will make a room feel renewed.  Pick a medium to dark color?  The room will feel smaller and shut off from the rest of the house.

See also:  Paint Brushes, Rollers And Other Stuff

The easiest way to see what will work for you and your family is to visit the store, pick up a bunch of paint swatches, which are various paint colors printed on card stock, take them home, and make a decision with others about color choices.  I like to give it a day or so, then go back to the store to get supplies and the chosen paint mixed.

In my experience, the finish you decide on for your paints make all the difference in getting a professional outcome, besides prepping the walls.  Here’s a few thing to keep in mind for picking the finishes for certain areas of a room:

Use a flat finish for painting ceilings

Why?  Because a flat finish best reflects the room’s available light.  It evenly distributes the light from lamps and sconces, as well as ceiling fixtures.

I like to use paint specifically designed for ceilings, with many of them having labels saying this.  They hide imperfections really, really good.  I’ve installed recessed lights, had to drill through joists and patch holes in the drywall.  I’m telling you, you would never even know there was a patch due to me using quality ceiling paint!

You can immediately notice when the wrong paint is on a ceiling.  Go into a kitchen or other room and look up.  You’ll see the lights in the room creating a “lights-on-the-water-effect”, similar to a sunset on the river.  The sheen from semi-gloss does this!

Flat finishes are difficult to clean, however, and water will soak into the finish, making it look even dirtier!  That’s why flat is used for ceilings.

Use an eggshell or satin for walls

Why?  Because eggshell finish displays the perfect amount of sheen, and still hide flaws and imperfections.  Plus, you can easily wipe the walls clean and it will maintain it’s fresh look.

It’s called eggshell because the matte sheen represents the shell of a chicken egg.  Eggshell is also a color for some paint companies, which is an off-white color.  It remains a popular finish choice because of its durability.

Use Semi-gloss or gloss for doors and trim

Why?  Because semi-gloss adds a splash of richness to your trim.  Semi-gloss paint is the finishing touch, like a cherry on a sundae, so to speak.  People in the home are always touching the doors and trim moldings as they move about the home, and this finish is the best for cleaning, because the dirt and stains are lifted up extremely easy with a damp towel.

It has a noticeable gloss and sheen.  It will show imperfections though, so make sure the surface to be painted is well-prepared.

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