Painting your home is a near-instant way to refresh your space and give it new life. But when it comes to paint, each room has its own needs - and everything from choosing the right hue to properly prepping the space matters. We've compiled some expert tips to help you plan for the best results.
1. Know your paints.
Before you start your project, find out what kind of paint is already on the walls. Do this by dipping a cotton ball into alcohol and rubbing it onto the old paint. If there is paint on the cotton ball afterward, then it's a water or latex-based paint and you can paint over it with any kind of paint. If none of the paint comes off on the cotton ball, that means it is oil-based and you'll need to apply a bonding primer before painting over it with latex paint.
2. Consider light.
Color changes depending on the type of light you see in a space. "Northern light tends to be more blue, while southern light is more yellow," says interior designer Young Huh. This difference can significantly impact the paint hue in different rooms. "A light pink can wash out near a southern window or look too bright in northern light," he says. Consider the direction each room is facing before you commit to a color. You may even consider holding a virtual consultation with an interior designer for some extra help.
Pro Tip: Huh recommends using dark colors in a dark space and bright colors in a sunny space. Teal, dark navy and chocolate brown may work well in a den or basement, while lemon yellow, chartreuse, lavender and pink help play up the sunshine in a bright kitchen.
3. Test your colors.
The easiest way to see what colors will look best in your space is to paint swatches in different areas in the room. "Make sure to paint a large enough sample to visualize how it will look in light and shadow," says Benjamin Moore color marketing expert Nivara Xaykao. "A good trick is to paint a large foam board that you can move around." Wait to see how the paint looks at different times of day before making a final decision. This is also a good time to start thinking about how your home decor will work with a new hue.
4. Do a thorough prep.
Before you start adding color to the walls, be sure that the space is prepped correctly. You'll want to make sure that the walls are clean prior to any painting. Then, tape the trim, move furniture out of the way and use covers to protect your floors from splatters and spills. Remove any doorknobs or light switch plates as well, then reattach them once the project is over.
5. Be creative.
Whether you choose to create an accent wall, incorporate patterns or add wallpaper to a space, don't be afraid to get creative with this project. Find a way to incorporate one of the 2020 Colors of the Year (like Benjamin Moore's First Light or Pantone's Classic Blue) into your space to keep your home on-trend. Or, consider installing shelves once the paint has dried and decorate with plants and photographs. Whatever you decide, a wall update is a surefire way to sure to bring a tired room back to life.
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