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Is It Time to Paint?

If so, you need to understand your room, your colors and your paint first.

Posted: February 9, 2008 8:01 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2008 2:02 a.m.

Deep tones are expected to be popular in 2008. Bold colors draw attention to a room and its contents.

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The act of painting a room is an easy task. You move the brush or roller up and down, side to side and fill it in the holes with dabs and strokes.

Getting to that repetitive task, however, is a different story, as it involves some tough decisions. Cool or warm colors? Paint with a gloss or flat finish? Deep tones or neutrals?
But painting doesn't have to be too much of a chore. Instead, it can be a way for someone to express the purpose of the rooms of their home through color. While anyone is free to paint however and in whatever shades they want, local designers have suggestions for people looking to pick up a brush and illustrate their space.

The Room
Before any paint can touch the wall, it's necessary to understand what the room will be used for and what accessories will be in the space.
Determine the purpose of the space by figuring out what activities will be taking place there.
"What do you want this room to say?" asked Jose Mendez, assistant store manager of Sherwin-Williams in Canyon Country.
At the same time, take into account what flooring, lighting and furniture are already in the area. This can serve as a way to match the colors of the home accessories to what colors would work well together.
"Narrow the scope as fast as you can," Sean Bingham, store manager of Sherwin-Williams in Canyon Country said.
However, depending on the person's stage of home remodeling, painting doesn't have to be the first step. Pamela Jaffke, owner of Innovations Interior Design in Valencia and a certified interior designer, points out that in a total remodeling project, painting should be the last thing a person does.
"Pick all of the upholstery first and pick the paint last," Jaffke, a 20-year interior designer and member of the American Society of Interior Designers, said.
The Color
Even though painters have thousands of color possibilities, Mendez and Bingham have general suggestions for certain parts of the home.
For offices, dens and bedrooms, cool hues of blues and greens can be used to represent relaxation, while in dining rooms and other family rooms, warmer tones of reds and yellows work best.
Although white may seem like a safe color to use in any part of the home, Jaffke does not recommend the color for ceilings.
"By painting it white, it will call attention to it," Jaffke said, highlighting that the space's imperfections will become more pronounced.
Rather, she suggests painting the ceiling a lighter shade of the same color on the walls. The result will be a room that has a "nice glow" that gives a comfortable feeling.
"I never had a client say I had wished I had painted it white," she said.
As for the paint trends of 2008, Bingham and Mendez said they are seeing a lot of bold, deep tones selling as part of their Bold Color line from Sherwin-Williams.
"Color is in," the two men agreed.
These shades usually include reds, greens, blues and purples that can make a room stand out.
Bingham said a new idea is to create an "accent wall" where one area of the home is turned into the "bold room."
Because it will stand out from the rest, people will then hang photos on the eye-catching accent wall.
But Jaffke reminds people preparing go wild with bold colors that deeper tones are meant to catch attention.
"One of the principles of design is only contrast things that you want to draw attention to," she said.
For example, creating a bright color behind a fireplace can be a good way to create a focal point.
But just creating color for the sake of color may not be the best decision.
Additionally, deep tones look the best in a well-lit room and home with lots of windows, so those living in poorly-lit homes may not enjoy the effects of dark walls.
Jaffke finds it better for people to paint their rooms with golden tones and beige to create a "comfortable" feeling. Then, the colors of the bedding and other room's furnishing can stand out.
But if people still want their room to catch attention, Jaffke gives the tip that painting the crown molding white can create an extra pop.

At the Store
After getting a general idea of what is already in the room and what colors would work well in the setting, it's time to visit a paint store and narrow down color choices.
Jaffke recommends bringing samples of flooring and accessories to the store as a way to match colors. The actual samples work better than photographs of the items, but if the pieces can't be brought in, a picture can work, too.
After browsing the color fans and the store's paint display area, make sure to talk with paint specialists or interior designers about the desired colors.
Then, according to Jaffke, keep samples of a minimum of three colors.
Back at home, examine the paint chips throughout the day to get an idea of how the hue looks in the light and dark.
Of those color samples, Jaffke said people should choose their top three, return to the store and purchase a quart of the paint.
To make sure you get the color you want, ask the paint mixers to create the color according to the chip, Jaffke said.
With the quarts ready, Jaffke said people should paint about a two foot by two foot area of the wall with each paint.
"The colors are going to change, depending on how the light hits it," she said, adding that the other colors, like from the carpets and furnishings, also play a role in how the color is reflected.
This point is crucial because it's a chance for the painter to determine how the color looks before investing money into buying gallons of paint and the necessary tools.
After the color is chosen and the supplies are ready, it's time to paint.
Other Considerations
Keep in mind that some spaces require more than just paint. Depending on the condition of the surface and substrate of the wall, a primer might be necessary, according to Mendez.
Deciding if a primer is needed, and if so what kind, is something that a paint specialist can help you with.
The type of paint is another decision you will need to make, as there are variations between flat and enamel - and the durability of the paint matters as well.
For instance, if the paint will be used in a high-traffic area with lots of a kids, a durable paint is a smart investment.
Bingham said they will also ask other questions to get an idea of whether the paint job is planned right before a home goes on the market or even whether the room will be rented out.
The Beauty of Paint
As daunting as the task may seem, painting is a relatively fast and cheap way to decorate a room. "Paint is the least expensive way to make a dramatic change to a room or a home," Jaffke said.
And Jaffke offers advice to future painters who might not be completely sold on their design ideas.
"If you don't like it, just paint over it," she said.


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