One of the easiest ways to make a dynamic impact with a home-improvement project is to change a design element’s color with paint. Most of us have taken on a painting project at least once—probably with varied levels of success. Whether it’s a complete kitchen re-do or a small project like revamping a dining-room table, a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference for a relatively small price. Our tips will help you avoid classic painting mistakes and make well-informed choices when venturing down the paint aisle at the store.
 
Use Paint to Communicate Your Style
A new coat of paint can completely change the mood of a room. When choosing a color, a good place to start is to choose a favorite object, piece of artwork or photo in your home and use it as inspiration. Take the object or a photo of it to a paint store—most well-stocked stores can scan your object and create a custom color that matches it. Ask for large paint swatches if possible and ask to use a lightbox so you can see the swatch in different types of light. Natural daylight is the best indicator of true color, incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows and fluorescent lighting casts a blue-ish tone. Think about the source of light where your painted object or wall will be. If you’re going for a bold color statement in your room, like fire-engine red, painting it near a large, sunny window might overwhelm the room with color.
 
Pick Your Battle
Choosing a color is just half the battle—your choice of paint also needs to address the issues of durability and stain resistance. To ensure the best paint coverage (and thus reliability), begin with a coat of primer. Many paint brands claim to cut out some of the work by requiring only one coat, but if you want to be safe, go the extra mile with two coats of primer before your color coat. Next, consider how you will use the room and what type of paint will best meet your requirements.
 
Paint type: Gloss (very shiny look)
Best for: Doors, trim, window sills, cabinets
Durability: High—repels moisture and mildew growth
Stain Resistance: High
Ease of Cleaning: High
 
Paint Type: Semi-gloss (slightly shiny)
Best for: High-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms; doors, trim, window sills and bathroom cabinets
Durability: High—repels moisture and mildew growth
Stain Resistance: High
Ease of cleaning: High
 
Paint type: Satin (lustrous sheen)
Best for: Walls with flaws; high-traffic areas like family rooms, hallways, foyers
Durability: High
Stain resistance: Moderate
Ease of cleaning: High—wipes clean easily
 
Paint type: Eggshell (slightly matte finish to low sheen)
Best for: Low-traffic areas
Durability: Medium to low
Stain resistance: Moderate
Ease of cleaning: Moderate—cleaning may cause the paint to fade or rub off—keep extra paint around for touch-ups
 
Paint type: Flat (matte finish)
Best for: Masking imperfections; use in low-traffic areas on walls and ceilings
Durability: Low—fades easily
Stain resistance: Low
Ease of cleaning: Low—cleaning may cause the paint to fade or rub off—keep extra paint around for touch-ups
 
Paint type: Primer
Best for: Covering obvious imperfections; creates a uniform surface for the color coat of paint
Durability: High when used under regular coat of paint
Stain resistance: Improves stain resistance
Ease of cleaning: Improves resistance of top coat of paint to harsh cleaners
 
Paint type: Oil-based
Best for: Cabinets, furniture, trim
Durability: High
Stain resistance: High
Ease of cleaning: High—has a very hard surface and holds up well to wear and tear
 

Expert Tips
• For a very sunny room, look for a paint that's especially formulated to be fade resistant.
• For a busy kitchen, select a paint that will resist air-borne stains like grease from a smoky skillet. Cleanliness is a big factor in kitchens, so paint needs to stand up to more-abrasive cleaners that will be used often.
• In a child’s room, consider whether you want to encourage calm or energy—bright colors can communicate excitement in a space. Special options, like chalkboard paint that turns a wall into an inspiration for an art creation, can turn a room into a multi-functioning play area.
• If you’re lost—find a color specialist to help you. Or try PPG Paints’ Voice of Color® app, which allows you to select any color your phone captures and match it to a PPG paint color.
Remember—if you’ve chosen a color that isn’t for you, you can start over—paint is one of the easiest home-improvement techniques to adjust. If you’re a novice, try painting a small room like a bathroom; you’ll finish fairly quickly and then can see if you like it or if the color needs a tweak or a major adjustment.

One of the easiest ways to test a paint color to see if it’s right for your room is to start with a 1-foot-square piece of plywood or poster board. Purchase a small sample of the paint colors you think will work and paint two coats on the surface of the wood or poster board. 
Take the painted sample around the room—near the window, in a shadowy corner or next to walls that will be another color. 
 

Where to Buy Paint in Atlanta
PPG Paints™ | www.ppgpaints.com
Painting Plus | www.PaintingPlus.com