So you moved into your new, bigger bachelor pad. Congrats. Or maybe you're tired of plain ol' white on your walls and want to make your living space more exciting. Good on you.
Now you need to make your walls your own. A good paint job with a crack color selection can turn a stale, gloomy apartment into a welcome sight. And you don't need an effeminate decorator to do it for you. Read on and make your home reflect your personality.
choose your colors
Ironically, the hardest part of painting is deciding what to paint your walls with. We all have favorite colors; we just don't know how they'll look on a wall. To start, you have to decide what mood you're aiming for. You may want a room to be cool (blues), warm (yellows and oranges), dramatic (reds), or calming (greens).
If you have furniture, you should pick colors that match it. Not all walls have to be the same color, but they should go together well. Here are some pointers for mixing colors:
- they should be shades of the same color
- if different colors, they should either be opposite or adjacent to each other on the color wheel
- adjacent rooms should have unifying elements (like same-colored trims and borders)
If you're not sure, you can get paints in sample sizes from your local home outlet store and test them out. Don't trust paint chips and sample palettes entirely; a color may look great on a little piece of paper under heavy store lights, but totally different on your wall.
choose your paint
There are two main types of paints: water-based (or latex) and oil-based (or alkyd). Both perform well and leave a durable coat. Here's the lowdown on both paints:
- needs solvent to clean
- is stain-resistant
- adheres well to walls and ceilings
- popular for kitchens and bathrooms
- cleans off with water and soap
- is good for walls, floors, metal surfaces, and woodwork
Also, oil paints emit fumes that are both hazardous to your health and to the environment. If choosing an oil paint, pick one with a low amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC), or better yet, none at all.
Once you've chosen which type of paint to use, decide what kind of finish it has. Different finishes have different merits and work better in different rooms. Here's a breakdown:
Low-sheen finishes: (also called flat, matte, eggshell, satin, and velvet) are good for large surfaces, since they don't reflect much light. They're ideal for bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, and other common rooms.
High-sheen finishes: (also called gloss, semi-gloss, and enamel) are ideal for places with high moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms, on doors and windows, and in small quantities, as on trims.