Let’s talk about Paint, Baby…
Before we start, let’s talk paint. One factor for a perfect paint job is the quality of the paint you choose. Do yourself a favor, don’t settle for the cheap store brand paint. You may save yourself a few bucks, but you will be looking at streaks and imperfections from the cheap paint for years to come. Or worse, the paint won’t hold up to wiping or moisture (not good!)
Painting Like a Pro
Benjamin Moore Aura Paint – Love this stuff! Serious love affair here. Not only is it low VOCs and low odor, but the coverage is amazing and you don’t see any of the roller marks. It is thick like a chocolate milk shake and spreads slightly after it is rolled on. This is the only paint I’ve been able to get away with only using one coat. But, it was because I was painting a lighter shade of sage over a pine green color. Other rooms where I was going from a much darker color to a light color, I had to use two coats, but I definitely didn’t use as much paint as I would have if I used another brand. Be prepared for the sticker shock, this paint isn’t cheap at $56 a gallon, but you will use less and you will be saving the environment!
Valspar – Hi Def Paint – Before we were spoiled by the Benjamin Moore Aura paint, Pretty Handsome Guy and I used to paint with Valspar paints for all our walls. In fact, we still use the Flat Ultra White for our ceilings. We were always happy with the results, but the idea of using a Low VOC paint really appealed to me. Last week, as I eyed the “oops” paint at my local Lowe’s (a normal habit of mine), I was lucky enough to spot a color that was very close to a color I was craving for our bathroom. I grabbed it up for $5 ($10 at register with a $5 rebate. Normally $32). The paint was a gallon of the new Valspar Hi-DEF paint. I have to say, I was impressed by the coverage. It almost covered all of the old color in one coat (I was covering dark purple with a light aqua.) This paint would be a good option if you didn’t want to shell out the $56 for the Aura paint.
Benjamin Moore Impervo paint – This is my new favorite trim paint! This stuff goes on smooth and spreads like an oil paint. It also has a durable finish that resists chipping and really stands up to our kids’ shenanigans. Before I found the Impervo, I thought I was doomed to use an Alkyd (oil paint with a dryer added) paint for our trim. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of using oil based paint, you know that it has a strong odor and the brushes have to be cleaned with turpentine. Not at all good for you or the environment. You can imagine my excitement (and skepticism) at finding a water based trim paint that is supposed to hold up like oil. Our living room trim paint has lasted 1.5 years and it still looks great! Again, this amazingly durable paint isn’t cheap, it costs $48 a gallon, but at least you don’t have to paint your trim every year if you have little
devils boys in your home.
Please note: There are other good paints available (Sherwin Williams is also a favorite of many other DIY bloggers.) This is just a list of the paints that I love to use.
Let it Shine, Let it Shine (or maybe a little less shine) – Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, or Gloss. How do you know which one to choose?
Gloss – The only time I use gloss or high gloss is for trim and cabinetry. (Or the things that get grubby fingers ALL over them.) The gloss surface cleans up much better than non-gloss, and it doesn’t hold onto oils or grease like the other finishes.
Semi-Gloss – This sheen is great for painting a bathroom, kitchen or walls that will see a lot of moisture, water and basic abuse. Similar to the gloss, it will be easier to wipe clean and water splashes won’t show as much on this surface.
Satin – I know I just said you should paint kitchens and bathrooms with semi-gloss, but I rarely do. Why? Well, because my walls are far from perfect. We have two rooms that had wallpaper painted over (not my decision.) After spackling and sanding the seams (doing my best to smooth them), I used a satin paint. Satin has most of the durability of a semi-gloss, but less sheen. If you use paint with a sheen you will see highlights wherever there is a seam, bump or edge.Therefore highlighting your imperfect walls.
Eggshell – Low sheen, but not flat. Eggshell is best for rooms with imperfect surfaces or bedrooms. Eggshell has an almost matte or flat appearance and is very smooth and hides bumps and dips fairly well. It’s not as easy to clean, but will stand up to an occasional wiping better than flat paint.
Flat – I never use flat, except….when painting ceilings. Then we grab our favorite ceiling paint: Valspar Flat Ultra White for maximum light reflection. (Read more about bright white ceilings HERE.) So, unless you are painting ceilings, don’t use flat, it is too chalky and hard to clean.
Just call me Ms. Mix-a-lot. How to Save $ by Mixing Your Own Paint:
Some of the paints I mentioned can cost quite a pretty penny. So, I thought you might like to know the way I save money on paint. I frequently scour the “Oops” or “Mistint” paints. If I see a color that is close to what I want, I grab it. For my downstairs bathroom I spotted this sea green color and knew it was close to the color I wanted, but just a shade darker. All I needed to do was purchase an empty paint can and use some leftover white paint to mix a prefect color.
You can mix any two sheens as long as they are next to each other in the list above. In other words mixing gloss and semi-gloss is fine; semi-gloss and satin; satin and eggshell; or in my case eggshell and flat paint. You definitely don’t want to mix a semi-gloss with a flat or eggshell. You might get some streaks and it is hard to mix.
To mix paint, I like to use this paint mixer attachment that fits on my drill. It is a dream come true for a custom paint mixer like myself.
Without going into too much color theory, here are two mixing formulas I like to use.
Keep in mind your paint color has to be fairly close to the final color you want before attempting these mixes.
Too vibrant, intense or bright – Let’s say you find a color that you like, but it is too intense and you want to dull or tone it down. You can add either black or brown paint (I use acrylic craft paint) to tone down the color. Pour some of your paint into an empty bucket or paint can, then add a big squeeze of black (or brown.) Mix it, put a dab on a piece of paper and dry it with a hair dryer (because I’m too impatient to wait.) Still too vibrant? Add more black (or brown) until it is the color you want. I used this method for my dormer hallway shutters. You’ll have to play with the mixing until you get the desired results.
Too dark, need a shade lighter – Add white paint to a bucket, then slowly add small amounts of your paint color and mix it. Put a dab on a piece of paper and dry it to check the color. Still too light? Add more color or if it is too dark, add more white.
I hope this post helps you find the perfect paint for your next paint job.
Other Steps in this Series: