10 Things I Learnt About Paint

Investing time and money into painting your home can be a daunting experience. The risk of making a mistake often leads many to go for a safe option when a more confident choice could have resulted in a look that far exceeded their expectations.  The surprise and wonder of paint is the main reason I spent over twenty years in the paint industry. Here are ten paint tips that I learnt:-

1. The magic power of colour

Paint is the cheapest way to give a space a makeover and can have the biggest impact. The paint colour has the power to not only transform the look of a space but also the mood and atmosphere. The colour also has an effect on you physically, mentally and emotionally.  Paint can make a room feel warm or cold, calming or energizing, happy or sad. See Colour Therapy
Blue Living Room - Paint Tips

2. Colour scheming can be learned

You don’t need to be an interior designer or colour expert to choose colour for your home. If you love colour, learning a few basics about colour scheming will give you the confidence to choose colours you love and that work well together.
Paint tips - Colour Scheming

3. Dark colours look great in small rooms

While light colours reflect light and create a feeling of space, sometimes it really pays off to defy the rules and do the opposite. Dark colours are often far more interesting in a small space, they can turn it into a more intimate and/or contemporary space that has personality. Bathrooms are a great place to experiment with dark colours.

Paint tips -Guest loo painted black
Image: Anne Roselt

4. How light affects paint colour

The paint colour you have on your walls will change throughout the day depending on the natural light in the room. A grey that has a blue undertone for instance, may look more blue during the day and more grey at night. Green plants outside a window may cast a green glow onto an interior wall. Test your colour on a piece of mounting card (1m X 1m) and place it on different walls during the day to see how the colour changes before buying your paint.

5. Sheen is important

Paints that have a sheen can make a colour look more luxurious, but they will also highlight any imperfections a wall may have.
Matt paints do not reflect light in the same way and hide small imperfections. Many designers prefer to use matt paints, although sheen paints are making a comeback.

6. Printed colours vary from actual paint colours

It’s helpful when magazines and brochures mention the paint colours used in inspirational articles, but it’s important to realise the colour in the photo will look different in your home. This is due to the natural light in the space, the camera lighting and also variances in the printing process.
If you like a colour in a magazine or brochure, take the picture into your paint store and match the colour to a paint swatch.  Always test the colour before painting.

7. Colour apps

Many of the major paint companies have colour visualiser apps, these are fun tools to use if you are planning to dramatically change paint colours. By uploading a photo of your space to the app, you can get a good idea of how the colour will look. But beware, just like colours in print only use the app colour as a guide, also check the paint swatch and get a tester pot first.

8. Water-based versus Oil-based paints

Water-based Emulsions/PVA – mostly used on walls and ceilings but can also be used on furniture. These paints dry quickly and are kinder to the environment because you wash brushes with water.
Water-based Enamels – used for doors, skirtings and furniture. Relatively new and preferable to the oil-based enamels in terms of quality and ease of use.
Oil-based paints (Enamels) – Brushes are cleaned with turpentine.  Not only do these enamels yellow over time but they are not  good for the environment.

9. The advantage of preparation

It pays to do your surface preparation correctly. Make sure your walls are clean and free from dirt or peeling paint before painting. Also important to use the right primer. Taking shortcuts leads to disappointments, I made the mistake of painting a wood cupboard without using a wood primer.  I gave the cupboard a good sand and cleaned off all the dust. I then used a white water-based enamel which was self-undercoating to paint it. The cupboard looked great painted white but yellow oil streaks came through. This would not have happened if I used a primer. I then antiqued over the white so the yellow didn’t show but lesson learned.
The same goes for painting cement walls, be sure to use a primer to ensure the salts from the plaster do not come through and leave marks on the paint.

10. Quality paints can save money in the long run

It pays to do your homework when it comes to choosing the correct paint. Shop around for good deals on quality paint, but don’t be swayed by price alone.
Be sure to check that the paint you are buying is washable and has good coverage, cheap paints will look dirty in no time and you will need to repaint sooner rather than later. Also look for paints that have low to zero VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). VOC’s are carbon gasses emitted from paints as well as many other products. Eco-friendly paints that have a green rating are better for your health and the environment.

These are 10 paint tips I learnt, but the fun part is the learning never ends, there is always something  new to look forward to; new technology in paint, a new paint technique or inspirational colour combination. Watch this space.

Have a wonderful week x

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With 20 years experience working with colour and trends in the paint industry, this blog is about sharing my passion for colour and the ability the right colours have to improve the environment and people's lives.

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