Paint Buying Guide

  • Getting Started

  • The right paint is the difference between a beautiful home and a disaster. While it might seem that there is nothing easier than buying the paint you like, there are several things that need to be considered before you make a purchase. A well-chosen paint will make you feel comfortable and aesthetically pleased.

  • What to Consider

  • Place. What exactly do you want to paint? Exterior or interior? There are different paints for different places. If the paint has a perfect color and quality but is used for the wrong purpose, it will soon need to be replaced.

    Location. Where will the paint be used? Kitchen, a child's room or living room? Depending on the place, you will need to choose the properties.

    Properties. Paints have different properties that are important when choosing the right paint for the right location. It can be durable, washable and low-odor.

    Brand. Paint consists of resin, carrier, clay, solvents and pigment. The quantity of each ingredient determines the quality of the paint. Reputable brands usually have a good mix of the necessary ingredients to make the paint quality the best possible. Unknown and cheap brands might try to save money on one of the important components. While looking great on the outside, the paint might turn out to be almost useless.

    Color. The right color can be chosen depending on your preferences as well as the type of the room the paint is chosen for.

    Finish. Flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, high-gloss: the right choice of finish will make the color of your paint as rich or as light as you wish. Some reflect light, some don't. Some are shiny and some aren't.

  • Place

  • Interior paints used for walls and ceilings are usually emulsion. Such paints are water based with an addition of vinyl and acrylic. They can be easily applied as opposed to oil paints. They cause less unpleasant odor and are easy to wash off from the painting tools after use. Emulsion paints come in several finishes.   

    Exterior paints. There are many more requirements for exterior paints than there are for interior ones. Such paint should be: 

        •  Resistant to mold

        •  Resistant to mildew

        •  Resistant to UV radiation

        •  Easy to apply

        •  Colors should be able to resist fading

        •  Environmentally friendly

  • Location

  • Bathroom and kitchen. These are the two places in each home or apartment that require durable paint since they steam up quickly and are prone to humidity and condensation. The regular emulsion paint won't be able to resist moisture which can cause discoloration and molding. At the same time the grease that is the unavoidable part of cooking will stick to the walls. This means the paint should also be washable. Bathroom and kitchen require the durable and washable type of paints. Same can be considered for the laundry room. 

    Bedroom and living rooms. These rooms can be painted with regular emulsion paint since they are not exposed to excessive moisture and grease. Usually bedrooms are not heavily used. Accordingly, you can save on the quality of the bedroom paints.

    Children's room. While not exposed to moisture and grease, children's rooms are prone to mechanical damage. Usually the walls get scratched or drawn on. This means that a little child's room requires durable and washable paint. It should also be low-VOC. Such paints contain the least toxic components.  

  • Properties

  • Low-VOC paint contains the least amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC). These toxic elements produce pronounced paint smell. Some low-VOC paints might not be as durable as higher-VOC products. However, reputable brands tend to offer no or low-VOC high quality paints.

    One-coat paint is thicker than the standard emulsion-type paint and it makes a thicker layer on the surface. This type of paint is more expensive but it saves work time. It can be a good idea to purchase such paint if the room needs to be painted in the shortest possible time. However, such paint type is not always available in all desired colors and might not have other important properties.

    Durable (scrubbable) paint has a special ingredient formula to ensure a durable finish. This means that it is more resistant to scratches and other mechanical damage. Interior paints are even rated for their “scrubbability”. By learning the rating, you can get a good idea of how tough the paint is and how well it can withstand physical damage. Such rating is not always available on the can, but can be discussed and discovered by a retailer.

    Washable paint will allow you to clean the walls with a sponge just as you would another kitchen or room surface. This type of paint will be perfect for kitchens where the walls are exposed to grease.

    Light -reflecting. Such paint is especially made to make a room appear brighter and larger. It's a great choice for smaller rooms.

    Magic white paint is a great choice for painting ceilings. It requires just one coat. When you paint, it appears pink so you can see where you've already painted. Once the paint is dry, it turns white.

  • Color

  • Preference. The first thing that needs to be taken into account is your personal preference. Once you choose the colors and shades you prefer most, you can go on to considering other properties.

    Light. When choosing the right color for your room, you will have to consider how much light the walls are exposed to during the day.  If you have south and west facing room, your colors will appear lighter. North-facing room can make colors look darker.

    Darker colors can make the room appear smaller and are more prone to fading if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Scratches and dirt become much more visible on darker colors than they do on lighter ones.

    Lighter colors are the best choice for a small room. However they can look bleak when used in a very large room. Lighter shades are more suitable for bathrooms and hallways.

    Important tips.  Here are some important tips for choosing the right paint color:

        •  The colors you see on the paint chips in the store can look completely different on your walls since the room sizing and the light factor are absolutely different. Consider carrying the chip out of the store to see how it looks in daylight. The best way to be sure that the paint fits your preferences is to buy a small can and try painting a small part of each wall.

        •  When trying the paint at home, apply it to a window wall first. It is usually the darkest part of the room. Then go on to apply it on the sunniest side. Then proceed to the floor and ceiling level. Make sure to check out the way it looks in the evening time when the lights are on.

        •  The paint always looks darker on the walls than it does on the paint chips. Keep this in mind when choosing the shade and go for a lighter one in order to achieve the desired results.

  • Finishes

  • Flat finish has low reflective qualities. 0-5% gloss.This means such paints are good to mask the irregularities and flaws of the wall surfaces.  Flat paint can also make a color look richer on a wall. However,  it can be hard to clean. A flat finish is perfect for the ceiling where low reflection is an advantage and the least cleaning is required. Flat paint is ideal to cover minor imperfections or bumps on the wall as it does not have a glossy finish.

    Matte finish is also known as a flat low gloss paint. However, compared to flat finish, the matte finish has a higher percentage of gloss having 5-10% gloss. Matte finish can hide imperfections on the walls like flat but has the added advantage that you can scrub and remove marks from the surface of the wall due to its glossy finish.  Matte paint also allows you to cover imperfections or bumps on the wall as the gloss is considerably low.

    Eggshell is the most popular finish out there. It's hard to go wrong with it. This finish has more luster than the flat one but it is far from being shiny. It can be cleaned with a wet sponge or rag.  This finish is usually chosen for kitchens, bathrooms, children's rooms and other areas that are heavily used.

    While close in sheen to eggshell paint, satin is also slightly reflective and works well on most walls, satin paint has a silky finish. Some people refer to it as velvety. Like eggshell you can wash marks with a wet sponge or rag.

    Semi-gloss finish is more resistant to wear. It is very good at reflecting light. It's shiny without the wet look. However, such finish will reveal all the imperfections you have on your walls. Which means the walls should be made as smooth as possible before painting. Semi-gloss finish is great for resisting moisture and is easy to clean. Such finish can also be used for doors and furniture. 

    High-gloss finish is the shiniest paint option available. Such finishes reflect light almost as good as mirrors do. It can be a good choice for windows and doors trimming. Using such finish on the walls will make your room look very glamorous. However, it is highly recommended to try it on several walls before making a decision to paint the whole room.