Monday, June 22, 2009

Design Tip of the Week (06.22.09): Its all in the finish

Picking the color of your paint is only half the battle (albeit the more difficult half). Now you have to pick the finish! Here are some general tips on picking the right finish for your desired look and function. There are 6 predominant finishes available.

Matte finish (aka FLAT finish) is generally used on interior walls. Flat finish doesn't reflect light so its recommended for walls where you need to hide imperfections like bumps or cracks. Scratches happen on flat paint, so keep extra for touch ups. Don't use this paint in high traffic areas, it won't endure the wear and tear. Ceilings and low use walls are generally painted with a flat finish.

Flat enamel has a matte finish but is more more durable than flat and can endure an occasional cleaning. Hallways are a good room for this paint. Also powder rooms (where water and steam are not an issue) are a good room for this paint. Think matte, kicked up a notch.

Eggshell finish has a low sheen like the shell of an egg. It has a slight hint of shine and is durable, so this is also a good choice that can be used across your house. Its an attractive paint and dirt can be wiped off.

Satin finish is similar to eggshell, but has more sheen and can endure some scrubbing. This is a great paint to use in any room and can endure some wear and tear. It also can be contrasted against matte finish for trims, doors, windows, or ceilings if you are looking for less of a sheen than semi gloss to accentuate elements in the room.

Semi-Gloss has a high sheen without being too glossy. It is very durable and easy to clean. It is a nice contrast against matte, satin, or eggshell finishes. However, you must prep your surface before using this paint since it will show imperfection. This is also a great accenting paint to show off all your nice molding.

Gloss paints have a reflective quality and can even look similar to plastic with its high sheen. Its not a paint you use in large doses. Use it sparingly in a room. It is critial to prep and sand your surface (if necessary)because it is an unforgiving paint and will show all imperfections.

Common applications for these popular paint finishes:

*Satin or eggshell finishes - Use in rooms that get some traffic, guest bathrooms, bedrooms, kids rooms, etc.

*Semi gloss - Apply to trim, doors, windows, banisters, molding, knobs, and cabinets. Also this paint finish is a good choice for high moisture areas and areas that need to be scrubbed like kitchens and bathrooms. But make sure to get a mildew resistant paint for those areas.

*Glossy finish - Good for painting furniture and for accenting.

TIP! Different finishes vary from one brand to the next. Evaluate this as well as the color when making your choice (getting samples and applying it to the wall are the best options) to ensure you get the look you want.

AND NOTE TO SELF...bright colors fade faster so touchups become more difficult. Choose your color and your finish based on this knowledge.

Now that you are totally overwhelmed...go paint your house!

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