Do it yourself painting tips: choosing flat latex paint
You are off to the paint store to choose your paint, but how will you know whether to choose flat latex paint or semi-gloss? Does the surface of your house walls matter in selecting your paint? Well, that depends upon what look you want for your living room bedroom or kitchen. You may want to use a different finish for each room to suit the lighting and decor for that particular area. The most popular choice for interior surfaces such as walls and ceilings is latex. It’s water based, dries quickly, cleans up easily and is low in odor. Your other choice, oil-based paint, has a strong odor, takes a lot longer to dry than latex and solvents must be used for clean up.
If your walls have several nicks, your best bet is to choose flat latex wall paint to hide imperfections in the surfaces. Dents and dings in the walls are more prominent when you paint with a glossy finish. Although flat latex paints have previously been challenging when it came to removing some stains, new formulas have provided a finish which resists stains better and provides prompt clean up. These new products are usually washed simply with water and won’t fade the finish. Latex flat wall paint is perfect for ceilings, closets and areas with less traffic. The flat latex paint prevents glare from the light fixtures from bouncing off the ceilings, giving the room an uncomfortable glare. Because of this, latex flat finish lends a more romantic glow to formal living rooms and dining rooms.
Latex flat paint comes in a variety of colors that brighten or darken the room in question. For a sunny effect, choose colors ranging from white or yellow to pink or red. When darkening a room, select a dark blue, green or brown. If your room was originally a dark color, you can choose another dark color to cover it up, or primer and paint any color you wish. Allow two coats of primer, maybe even three if the room was originally very dark. Also allow two to three coats of the paint for a fabulous finish. You can also easily add modern touches like swirling or sponging to your walls, since each coat dries so quickly. When choosing colors, take a small snip of fabric from your sofa’s hem, or carry a swatch with you to match with the color. Also, if your room is small, you won’t want to select a dark color, which will make the room appear even tinier. If the room is massive, it could appear cozier if you apply a medium to dark shade of the latex. Don’t be afraid to use different colors in combination. Painting three walls in one color and the fourth wall in another shade adds uniqueness to the room. Or, paint the room all one color, then choose a bolder color to accent the molding.
If you begin applying the paint and realize it’s too dark, there are steps you can take to correct this. First of all, let it dry overnight. Many paints will lighten as they dry. If you decide that the color is still too dark, you can have new paint mixed, or purchase a paint that will lighten the existing color. For instance, if you purchase a lovely shade of blue, but after painting a wall section you see it’s really navy, you can purchase a gallon or so of white to lighten it. White latex is suitable for lightening all different colors. Or, if your color is not quite dark enough, purchase a gallon of a darker shade to mix in with the current. Arriving at just the right color shouldn’t be a guessing game, though, so try to select a color that will go well with your decor, but not be so bold as to take away from the feel of the room.
You can find latex flat wall paint in department stores, specialty paint stores or even markdown stores, but what brand you choose may impede your progress. Select a reputable brand when purchasing flat latex wall paint. There are many varieties, ranging from cheap to expensive, but choosing a brand that has been around for years might prevent runs from thin paint. A popular brand of paint might also hold up better, saving you money in the long run. Ask at the paint store or research a few brands to decide what paint will give you the best results.
Written by Emma Salkill – © 2002 Pagewise