Color affects how rooms look and feel and can actually affect our sense of space. In general, dark colors make large spaces feel cozy, while light colors make small spaces feel larger.
When choosing colors, pick ones that inspire you. Your favorite pillow, vase or even nail polish can be your wall color. Of course, your True Value Certified Color Expert® can match paint to any color in your home.
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Psychology of Color
Color describes our personalities.
Black. You are ambitious
Green. You are very traditional
Purple. You are sophisticated
White. You are dutiful and methodical
Blue. You are a team player and very sociable
Brown. You love nature and simplicity
Pink. You are romantic and tender hearted
Yellow. You are easy going and have a good attitude
Red. You are outgoing
Silver. You have a sense of style
Orange. You are strong and generous
Gray. You are cautious
How do you express your color?
Black represents elegance, mystery and power. Those who like black are said to be ambitious and sophisticated. Too much black, however, can be depressing. Consider using it as an accent color to add drama to your room.
Green is the color of nature. Calm and relaxing, green can also be described as joyful, harmonious, energized, and filled with life. Those who like green are said to believe in balance, stability and persistence. Bring energy to a room by painting it a shade of lime green.
Purple stimulates the imagination. It's the color of royalty, luxury and wealth. Those who like purple tend to be creative, wise and romantic. Want to create a sense of relaxation and serenity in a room? Try painting the walls a calming shade of lilac.
White represents youth and cleanliness and creates a cool, refreshing feeling. Those who like white prefer a contemporary style. Warmer shades of white help make a room feel cozier, while cooler shades tend to achieve a more formal feel.
Blue is calming and cool. It is the most popular color because it symbolizes the sky and heaven. Those who like blue are trustworthy, loyal, friendly and strong. Because of its calming power, blue works well in the bedroom.
Brown represents earth, security and contentment. Those who like brown tend to love nature, simplicity and comfort.
Red, the color of confidence excitement and energy, is the most psychologically stimulating of colors. Those who like red are passionate, energetic, outgoing and courageous. Want to bring a cheerful feel to your space? Try painting it a candy-apple red.
Pink is the delicate part of the red color family. Those who like pink are perceived to be feminine, innocent and romantic. Compared to red, pink is a more tranquil color that can work well in the bedroom.
Yellow represents happiness, optimism, inspiration and summer. Those who like yellow are attracted to what's new and modern. Pale yellow can bring a sunny feel to a space without being overwhelming to the eye.
Silver represents prosperity and wealth. Those who like silver have a sense of style and are very motivated. Accenting rooms with the color silver can create a feeling of ornate richness.
Orange is considered wholesome and fruitful. It demands attention while symbolizing balance, warmth, vibrancy and enthusiasm. Those who like orange are friendly and get along with everyone. Orange stimulates appetite and can add spice to a dining area.
Gray is classic, elegant and works well with most colors. Those who like gray are intelligent and disciplined. Warm gray paired with other warm colors creates a lively and inviting space.
Choosing your perfect color is simple at True Value
Here are some easy ways to find perfect colors for your home:
Your perfect color could be on any object in the room. Look at pillows, rugs, artwork and other decorative objects for inspiration.
Flip through home décor magazines for ideas.
Then bring the item or picture to your local True Value hardware store and we'll color match it.
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Paint Quick Tips
A fresh coat of paint on door and window trim gives your home a fresh look without all the work that goes into painting the whole house. Plus, it helps protect the wood from the elements throughout the year. For more project details, click here.
Paint An Accent Wall
A great way to update an entire room without painting every wall. First, select the wall. Then choose your color – perhaps from a piece of art or upholstery. Next, cover furniture and prep the room. Finally, prime and paint. For more project details, click here.
Remove Outdated Wallpaper
Perhaps your tastes (and the times) have changed. Or maybe you moved into a home already decked out with wallpaper that would never have been your selection. Take action now by removing dated wallpaper and giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. To learn how, click here.
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Sponging: Sponging is perhaps the easiest decorative technique to learn. You'll need a natural sea sponge, glaze and two or three colors of paint to produce a wonderful interplay of dimensional color and texture. With sponging, you can add personality and interest to your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or child's room.
Color Washing: Color washing, or "broken finish" technique, can bring authentic old world charm to any room, making it feel as if it's weathered by time. Yet it's amazingly simple to do. Best of all, brush marks are actually encouraged. This process involves applying a thin, translucent glaze over a contrasting base color and using feathery brush strokes to produce a mellow, soft texture. Once you're done, you'll feel like you've stepped into an Old Master's painting. It's a great look in a kitchen, family room, den or master suite.
Ragging: Turn any room into an elegant place where you can entertain your guests or just cozy up with a good book. Achieve the rich look of old leather or weathered stucco with ragging. You simply use a rag to add or remove paint/glaze mixtures that have been applied over a different-colored base. Use a rag with texture for more interest. Whether you're in the mood for something subtle or bold and dramatic, ragging is a simple way to make a big impact in any room.
Clouds: This technique is surprisingly simple to master and utilizes a basic "sponging on" of white paint to form the clouds. You can sponge them onto a field of blue or any soft color you choose. Finish off the edges with glaze if you wish. The secret is to concentrate the white in the center of the cloud and less toward the edge for an authentic "up in the sky" look.
Marbling: The rich color variations, veining and intricate patterns of natural marble are the inspiration for this stunning technique. Marbling offers great enhancement to many surfaces, including fireplace surrounds, tabletops, picture frames and, of course, walls. Marbling can make a small space, like a powder room, intimate and dramatic. Marbling, which is a process of layering tinted glazes over a base coat, does take some time and effort. But with a little practice, you can achieve effects that a stonemason would envy.
Granite: Many homes today are featuring the sophisticated styling that only granite can provide. There is virtually no limit to the colors and pattern variations of granite. When you look at a piece, the colors and texture are random and very interesting. Express yourself with this simple faux stone painting technique that combines sponging and speckling – flicking or dabbing glaze on with a brush. Use this technique on furniture, floors and decorative containers in addition to walls.
Bricks: The bricks technique, with its rugged textures and earthy colors, can add true character to your decorating scheme. It's the perfect touch for an accent wall in a family room or to give definition and presence to a fireplace. It's a surprisingly easy look to achieve with faux painting. You simply use a light paint to simulate mortar and then sponge in the "bricks" using varying shades of paint. No trowel necessary – just a little imagination and creativity.
Crackling: Want an aged, weathered look on a surface such as a door, chair or table? Crackling can provide real attention-getting style and create a focal point in a room. There is an endless array of color combinations you can choose and the difference between the colors can be subtle or dramatic. This technique uses two colors of paint, crackle medium and varnish to make the magic happen. It's fun, and can give an instant country or Old World look to your selected surface.
Dragging: Think of the beauty of sumptuous silk or crisp, airy linen. You could spend a fortune on real fabric or expensive wall coverings. Or, you can try the faux technique of dragging, also known as "strié." Dragging is just that - pulling a special paintbrush or wallpaper smoothing brush over a colored glaze that has been applied to a base coat. The darker the top glaze, the more drama you create. It's a luxurious, high-end look that you can master in no time.
Frottage: Think of the beauty of sumptuous silk or crisp, airy linen. You could spend a fortune on real fabric or expensive wall coverings. Or, you can try the faux technique of dragging, also known as "strié." Dragging is just that - pulling a special paintbrush or wallpaper smoothing brush over a colored glaze that has been applied to a base coat. The darker the top glaze, the more drama you create. It's a luxurious, high-end look that you can master in no time.
Diamonds: Diamonds can be everyone's best friend. A diamond pattern on either an accent wall or in the entire room can be fun and casual or elegant and trés French. While it necessitates careful taping, this technique can add an incredible ''wow'' factor to a bedroom, hallway, vestibule or dining room. To achieve this effect, you apply the lighter color base coat, then create a tape grid of diamonds, filling some in with either a contrasting color or another finish in the same color as the base.
Stripes: Stripes are a classic design element that can add texture and interest to any room. You can achieve the simple elegance of fine damask by using the same color in two different sheens. You can be bolder and more contemporary by using stripes in irregular widths. Or, stripe a room horizontally for a cozier effect. Your choice of colors also dramatically affects the end result. Striping is a versatile and fun technique that only looks like it was difficult to achieve.
Other Faux Techniques
Antiquing: There's a special technique that you can use to give a piece of furniture, cabinets, tables, planters or anything else you can find around the house the look of age. The Antique look is accomplished with the application of a glaze that is usually earth-toned or darker in color. You can antique the other way around, but remember a light base coat needs a darker glaze, whereas a dark base coat should use a light glaze.
Lime Washing: The ''scrubbed-chalk'' finish has been popular since the medieval period. This finish duplicates a uniquely aged look and is versatile enough to be used for period rooms as well as modern interiors. For instance, lime washing looks great in a kitchen or porch, but works equally well in a bathroom or bedroom. This process also has the advantage of a short drying time.
Pickling Wood: Pickling, also referred to as ''highlighting,'' is a technique that can lighten old wood that has been darkened with age or give a new piece of wood a wash of color. Therefore it's best for wood furniture, cabinets or other woodwork.
Stencil a Wall or Border: Stenciling is perhaps the most widely used decorative painting technique and it's something almost anyone can do. In part, the reason must be its aesthetic appeal and its relatively easy degree of difficulty. Stenciling can also be an inexpensive fix for decorating and architectural problems. Some stencil locations: Border a too-small window to make it appear larger. Use a border on a wall just below the ceiling to warm up a cold room or to make a high-ceilinged room look cozier. If you like the look of a chair-rail molding but aren't up to the carpentry involved, try a stenciled border there. You need very little paint but likely several colors. Choose colors that coordinate with your furnishings. In any case, you'll find this technique to be both fun and easy.
Stenciling a Wood Floor:
If you have wood flooring in your house, stenciling can turn it from wood to WOW. Stenciling is unique, it matches your room perfectly and it is more artistic than area rugs as the centerpiece to any room. Plus, it even covers up scratch marks. In order to create the look of an area rug, just make a large rectangular or square border with a central design in a different color. The central design can be anything, from a recognizable shape (such as a sun) to an abstract form (such as alternating circles and ovals). Use this idea in any room simply by adjusting the scale. One thing that you need to decide is if you want to design your own stencil or buy it ready-made. If you have an abstract design in mind you probably want to design your own stencil, which is easy to do and cheaper than buying ready-made stencils. However, if you have a design that you can't draw, buying ready-made is the better choice. There are a wide variety of ready-made stencils in many different styles that could complement your room, and they're easy to find at your local True Value Hardware Store
Verdigris Finishing: Create the look of aged bronze on accent pieces with the Verdigris technique. The term ''verdigris'' is from the French, ''vert de Grece,'' which means ''The green of Greece.'' True verdigris is actually a coating of cupric carbonate formed by weathering on copper, brass and bronze from age. The beautiful blue-green patina, which can be seen on historic domes and spires, lends an ancient, soft and chalky aspect to decorative metal work.
Wood Graining: Wood graining is a centuries-old painting technique used to simulate the appearance of wood. This dramatic technique can be easily applied to doors, painted furniture or interior trim molding.
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All About Applicators
Brushes, Rollers, Pads and Specialty Tools
The quality of your paint job depends as much on the applicators as it does the paint so don't skimp here. A first-time painter with high-quality brushes and rollers can do a better job than an experienced painter with cheap ones. And, since you'll have to live with the results for years to come, the better products are worth a little extra money.
For most jobs the following should be sufficient:
- A 2'' angular or straight-cut brush for woodwork and windows.
- A 2'' sash brush for "cutting in" around odd angles, corners and thin detailing. The tighter the space, the narrower a brush you'll need.
- A roller frame and cover with extension pole. Use for flat, unornamented expanses such as walls, ceilings and doors.
You may want to consider:
- Narrow rollers for trim and tight areas (e.g. behind toilet tanks and radiators)
- Painter's mitt for pipes and contoured surfaces like railings
- A paint shield for protecting walls while you're doing the woodwork
- A paint edger with guide wheels (an alternative to masking)
Brush With Greatness
Better brushes hold more paint and hold their bristles, too. This is important to help your job go more quickly with better results. Brushes use either natural or synthetic bristles, or a blend. Natural bristles work only with alkyd paints; synthetic bristles work with both alkyd and latex.
For most walls and ceilings use a paint roller. The best generally have a steel frame, a metal cage and a threaded handle that can hold an extension pole. When selecting a cover, choose a short nap (3/16'' or 3/8'') for smooth indoor surfaces and a longer nap (3/4'' or 1-1/4'') for rougher surfaces including textured walls, masonry and stucco.
For edging, cutting-in and painting flat trim, foam pads provide a convenient alternative to brushes. Because they're flat, they leave less surface texture in the paint and tend not to drip or spatter. Their flexibility also makes them ideal for reaching inside tight areas like vents of heat registers.
Quicker Paint Stripping
Whether you're stripping paint from small parts or much larger surfaces (like window sashes, shutters and doors), it's often faster and easier to bring the painted parts to the stripper rather than the stripper to the painted parts.
Just make a 2' x 4' frame large enough to surround your work and line it with heavy plastic. Pour in the stripper and put items in face down (the work will remain "wet" for faster action). Cover any exposed surfaces with plastic wrap to slow evaporation and speed the chemical process.
If you scrape, sand or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. Lead is toxic and exposure to can cause serious illnesses, such as brain damage, especially in children. Pregnant women should also avoid exposure. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself by contacting the National Lead Hotline at 800-424-LEAD or visit www.epa.gov/lead.
Wood Stripping Made Easy
Try this time-saving idea when using chemical strippers to remove paints and varnishes: After applying the stripper to the surface, stretch a layer of thick plastic over the wood. This redirects the stripper's rising fumes back onto the wood increasing the effect of each application. It also keeps most of the fumes out of your breathing space. (But still wear a filter mask if the product's warning label advises it.)
Don't lay the plastic directly on the chemical stripper. Rig it so that the plastic "floats" just over the surface. This prevents the stripper from eating away at the plastic and prevents a big mess. To make the plastic "float," lay two thin strips of wood at either edge of the surface being stripped, then stretch the plastic across the top of both and secure the plastic with tape or small tacks so it remains taut.
If you scrape, sand or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. Lead is toxic and exposure to lead dust can cause serious illness, such as brain damage, especially in children. Pregnant women should also avoid exposure. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself by contacting the National Lead Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead.
Make Sure Your Caulk Sticks
How Compatible is Your Caulk to Your Paint?
If your caulking project coincides with painting or staining your house, make sure your caulk is compatible with your paint or stain. If the paint or stain contains wax, stearates, silicones, paraffinic oils or similar materials, there is a great risk that the caulk will not adhere very well. (You may have to do some "detective" work to determine this, but it's worth the effort to avoid this potential problem.)
- If you use a coating that is compatible with the caulk, it's usually best to do all your painting first - including the joints to be caulked - before caulking. That way, the coating acts as a primer for the caulk, usually improving the overall adhesion.
Unclog Spray Paint
If you are up to some home improvement touch-ups using old cans of spray paint, you may be in for a problem. If you haven't used the cans lately, they may not spray but don't be quick to toss them and buy new ones.
The paint inside is probably fine. It's most likely the nozzle that's sealed shut. Here's what to do:
- Remove it and try clearing the nozzle with a pin. Never try this while it's still on the can.
- If that doesn't work, soak it overnight in what the manufacturer suggests to clean or remove this type of paint.
- If it still doesn't work, your local True Value hardware store sells standard replacement tips.
- Stay a step ahead. Next time you empty a can of spray paint, turn it upside down, give it a blast (to clear the nozzle), then remove and save it for use on another can another day.
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Start by removing paint from the bristles: For latex, rinse thoroughly under warm, soapy water until the water is clear. For oil-based, wear gloves as you work paint thinner through the bristles until the thinner comes out clear. If you have an empty baby wipe container, use it as a holder for your brushes while they soak in the thinner. The slit in the top should hold the handles of most brushes in place. But don't let the bristles touch the bottom because the paint residue will settle down there.
After soaking, use a brush comb to separate bristles that stick together near the heel of the brush. Then shake them out or put the brush in a spinner if you have one. Finally, dry the bristles with a rag and fold the brush tightly into a piece of butcher paper or in its protective sleeve to help keep its shape – otherwise it'll fan out over time and become useless for any sort of detail work. Store on a nail or hook.
Cleaning Up Interiors
After the painting comes the cleaning. This involves three areas: your house, your tools and yourself. For the first, pick up the drop cloths, remove masking tape, use a one-sided razor blade to clean paint from the glass (best if done within 24 hours) and replace fixtures and wall plates.
If you use latex paint, clean your tools and do personal cleanup with warm, soapy water. Scrape excess paint off brushes and then rinse them, working water through the bristles until the water is clear. Use a paintbrush comb or small wire brush to clean the bristles.
Empty leftover paint from the paint tray into the can, and rinse the tray with water until clean, using a sponge to scrape more stubborn residue. For rollers, throw away the cover and use water and a sponge on the frame and sleeve.
With oil-based paints, use thinner to clean your tools. Soak brushes in thinner. While wearing rubber gloves, keep working thinner through the bristles until the thinner comes out clear. Comb with a wire brush and shake dry outdoors. Throw away paint trays and liners entirely. Throw away roller covers; clean the roller carriage and handle with thinner.
Store leftover paint in accordance with manufacturer's guidelines. Dispose of empty paint cans at a recycling facility. Also, try to share leftover paint with those who can use it (i.e. schools, churches, your local Red Cross chapter, etc.) For disposal, please refer to these guidelines.
Liquid paint is usually considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. Never pour paint down the drain, on the ground or into a garbage can. To safely dispose of significant amounts of leftover paint, take it to a special household waste collection center. (Check with your True Value associate, town hall or environmental web site for proper legal disposal.)
For products that have dried up, wrap tightly closed container in newspaper and put in the trash. Significant amounts of liquid paint should be taken to a special household waste collection center.
Cleaning Up Exteriors
After you have completed your painting projects, there is still one more thing to do: clean up. Here are helpful ideas for cleaning the outside your home, your tools and you.
- First remove all masking tape, protective covers and drop cloths. Use a razor blade to remove paint from glass.
- Paint sprayers should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions. Thorough and immediate cleaning is essential to ensure many years of service from your equipment.
- With latex paint, clean tools and yourself with warm, soapy water. Scrape excess paint off brushes and work the soapy water through the bristles. Rinse thoroughly. They're clean when the water is clear. Comb the bristles with a paintbrush comb (available at your local True Value hardware store). Twirl the brush dry and wrap it in its original cover or wrapping paper.
- Oil-based paint can be removed from tools and brushes with thinner. Soak brushes in thinner. Wearing gloves, work the thinner through the bristles until the thinner comes out clear. Comb with a wire brush and shake dry outdoors. Because paint thinner is harsh on skin, use a mechanic's hand cleaner for yourself. You can also use the cleaner for wet paint on clothing, but launder clothes immediately after application.
- Store leftover latex paint in a tightly sealed container (preferably the original can) in a warm, dry place. Liquid paint (i.e. paint that isn't dried) is usually considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. Never pour paint down the drain, on the ground or into garbage cans. To dry paint in the can, put newspapers in it to soak up and dry the paint; then dispose of it in the trash. To safely dispose of significant amounts of leftover paint, take it to a special household waste collection center. (Check with your True Value associate, town hall or environmental web site for proper legal disposal.) It's best if you can share your unused paint with a neighbor or a charitable organization such as a school, church or local Red Cross chapter.
Cleaning Spilled Paint
With paint accidents, time is critical. So just like we read in 1st grade: "See Spot? Run." Be prepared to move fast with the right materials and the information provided here.
Step 1: Consider the type of paint you're using:
- Latex paint cleans easily with water. So always keep a damp rag handy to clean as you go along.
- Oil-based or alkyd paints require mineral spirits for clean up. When you're through painting, air-dry your rags and dispose of them in a safe manner. The rags should be put into an area that does not allow combustible fumes to accumulate and present a fire hazard.
- Do NOT think that water-based paints can be cleaned up with water when dry – it'll be too late. You'll need products specially formulated to clean-up dried paints...so move quickly.
Step 2: Consider the Location:
The worst-case scenario is a whole can of paint spilling and getting into your carpeting – this happens even to those people who have taken precautions. You'll need plenty of clean towels and rags on hand. And if you don't own a carpet cleaner that uses liquid solvents, rent one and keep it on standby. If you have expensive carpet, consider this an insurance policy.
More than likely, the bulk of the paint will be on your plastic drop cloth. Take the drop cloth by the four corners and carry it out. Put it into a trashcan or someplace outside where it won't harm anything. Be sure there's nothing on your shoes because you don't want to compound the nightmare.
If there's pooled paint, scoop up as much as possible with your hands and dump it into the roller pan. With latex, use water and lots of it. With alkyd paint, use lots of paint thinner (it's wise to stock up beforehand). Soak the spot repeatedly, massaging the water or thinner into the carpet and blotting it up with all the towels and rags to get out as much as you can. Finally, treat it with the carpet cleaner.
Smaller spots probably won't require the carpet cleaner equipment, but the other steps will be necessary. If you discover drips or extremely small spots only after they have dried, you might be able to pinch them out with your fingernails or cut them out with a razor without doing noticeable damage to the carpet's appearance. Some "miracle" carpet spot removers may also handle small spots of alkyd paint.
To avoid huge spills on carpets, you may want to transfer paint from a big can to a smaller one before climbing a ladder. Store the big cans in a safe place, removing paint only as needed.
For spills on clothing and cleaning your skin, latex paint requires lots of water and scrubbing. With alkyd paint, don't use paint solvent. It's not good for your skin or your clothing. To clean alkyd from skin or clothing, use mechanic's hand cleaner; a solvent that handles paint, grease and motor oil.
On Window Screens
Since your windows will be open for ventilation, your wet walls will be like flypaper if you don't have the screens up. And once dripped paint dries on a screen it'll never come clean, so be sure to tackle it immediately. Blot, don't smear, the excess, and then treat with water, thinner or mechanic's hand cleaner while the paint is still wet.
On Hard Floors
If it's a big spill, use your hands (just as with carpeting above) to get rid of the puddle. Then soak and blot repeatedly with water or thinner. Use a wire brush for crevices in a stone floor or an old toothbrush for vinyl or wood.
What to Do with Leftover Paint
Congratulations. You finished your paint job but you have some paint left over. What do you do with it?
1) Paint can be stored for years when done right. Just close the lid securely and then turn the can upside down to create a tight seal around the lid. That keeps it fresh. And here's how avoid playing the game of "What color's in the can?"
- Put a color swatch on the label, put a mark on the can to show how much paint is left, write the date and which room the paint was used for on the lid with a permanent marking pen.
- An even better idea is to transfer leftover paint into see-through containers such as a plastic 1/2-gallon milk or water bottle or a glass spaghetti sauce jar. Write all pertinent information on the outside and put plastic wrap under the lid to prevent sticking. You'll save space and be able to see what's inside.
Now you can use it for touch-up jobs, other projects or even mix with other leftover paint to create more of a single color.
2) Donate leftover paint to community groups, theater groups, schools, churches, etc.
3) You CANNOT discard latex paint that is still wet, so be sure it has already dried and solidified before tossing it in the garbage. Adding shredded newspaper or cat box filler speeds the drying process. If the can is empty, find out if your community recycles empty steel paint cans before tossing them in the garbage.
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Primary colors: The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue. Any color can be created from primary colors but primary colors can't be created from other colors.
Secondary colors: Secondary colors are created from combining two primary colors. Secondary colors are orange, green and violet.
Tertiary colors: Combining primary and secondary colors creates tertiary colors. These colors are red-orange, red-violet, yellow-green, yellow-orange, blue-green and blue-violet.
Monochromatic colors: Colors from the same color family tend to look great together. Monochromatic color schemes use tints and shades of the same color to create a sophisticated and elegant look.
Analogous colors: Developed from colors next to each other on the color wheel, analogous color schemes offer more nuances while retaining the elegance of the monochromatic scheme. Usually, one color is used as a dominant color while others are used to enrich the scheme.
Complementary colors: Contrasting colors are opposite from each other on the color wheel add drama to any room. Complementary colors enhance the temperature of each other, which adds interest and energy to the décor. To get the most out of this scheme, use a warm color against a cool shade or add contrasting accessories to highlight the color of your walls.
Should I use latex or oil-based paint?
Latex based paints offer the easiest application and soap-and-water cleanup. They are the fastest drying and give off fewer odors than solvent paints. Latex performs well on interior walls and ceilings; its quick drying time prevents the kinds of ripples and sags that can occur with slower-drying alkyd finishes. For brick, concrete and cinder block, only latex should be used.
Alkyd (oil-based) paints generally cost more than latex. Application requires patience – thin coats are usually necessary to avoid problems like sagging and streaking and the drying time is usually longer than latex. The upside of oil-based paint is a paint job that stands up beautifully to long-term wear and tear. Scrubbing dirt and scuffmarks won't harm the paint. Alkyd paints are the superior choice for painting floors and metal surfaces.
Ready to take on a painting project? Why not spruce up a guest room?
How do I find out what type of paint was previously used on my walls?
- Scrub a small area with a solution of household detergent and warm water.
- Rinse well and towel-dry it, then soak a cotton ball, Q-Tip or soft rag in alcohol and rub it back and forth over the cleaned area.
- If paint comes off, it's latex paint and should be covered with another coat of latex paint. If the paint doesn't come off, it's oil-based and a pre-coat of oil-based primer is a must. You then have the option to use latex or oil-based paint.
Here's everything you need to know when you're ready to start painting.
How do I decide what brushes, rollers and pads to use?
- A 2'' angular or straight-cut brush is best used for woodwork and windows.
- A 2'' sash brush is used for "cutting in" around odd angles, corners and thin detailing. The tighter the space, the narrower a brush you'll need.
- A roller frame and cover with extension pole is used for flat, unornamented expanses such as walls, ceilings and doors.
For all the tools and paint you need to start your painting project right, head to your local True Value hardware store.
How can I paint neater edges?
To get your roller as close as possible to an edge, first slip your hand inside a plastic bag. Then grasp the paint-soaked roller handle cage so it extends about one inch past the roller knob end. You'll now be able to roll super-close to edges to hide any telltale brush strokes.
But you still have to paint that perfect edge. To make sure paint doesn't get on the molding, ceiling edges, trim, etc., buy a large wallpaper edger. To paint a wall, hold it with the flat edge on the ceiling, paint underneath, and then move the edger to the next spot. Occasionally wipe it off to prevent paint build-up. This is a quick method that gives a straight, clean edge.
Give this trick a try and paint a room.
How do I eliminate overlap brush strokes when painting siding?
The simplest solution is to stroke out all the paint for each board in one continuous series so it dries evenly. In addition, you should avoid applying wet paint onto already dried layers.
What's the best way to clean spilled paint?
If you're using latex paint, wet paint is easily removed with water. Dry latex paint cannot be cleaned with water, so always keep a damp rag handy to clean as you paint.
Oil-based or alkyd paints require mineral spirits for clean up. If you spill paint on your carpet use paint thinner to get out as much as you can. Finish the cleaning with a carpet cleaner. When you're through painting, air-dry your rags and dispose of them in a safe manner. The rags should be put into an area that does not allow combustible fumes to accumulate and present a fire hazard.
Need more paint clean-up information? Get the details here.
How do I clean my paintbrushes?
- Start by removing paint from the bristles. For latex, rinse thoroughly under warm, soapy water until the water runs clear. For oil-based, wear protective gloves as you work paint thinner through the bristles until the thinner comes out clear. If you have an empty baby wipe container, use it as a holder for your brushes while they soak in the thinner. The slit in the top should hold the handles of most brushes in place. But don't let the bristles touch the bottom because the paint residue will settle down there.
- After soaking, use a brush comb to separate bristles that stick together near the heel of the brush. Then shake them out or put the brush in a spinner if you have one.
- Dry the bristles with a rag and fold them tightly into a piece of butcher paper or in its protective sleeve to help them keep their shape – otherwise they'll fan out over time and lose their precision.
- Hang on a nail or hook for storage.
Need more paint clean-up information? Get the details here.
How do I protect my deck from the elements?
The best way to protect your deck is with a coating that blocks UV rays and contains a mildewcide. The following are coating options:
- Clear Coatings allow natural wood to show through and should be renewed yearly.
- Semi-transparent/pigmented coatings offer more protection, some color and should be renewed every two or three years.
Don't just protect your deck – beautify it.
What's the best way to apply caulk?
For inside corner seams and small cracks, apply a simple straight bead of caulk.
For wider gaps 1/8'' or more, the caulk should be applied only to the sides of the gap being filled. If the gap is entirely filled with caulk, it will adhere to the bottom and can fail prematurely as it cures and dries. To prevent this, first push a backer rod into the gap that is fit for the specific size needed. Caulking won't adhere to the backer rod; instead it will only adhere to the sides and not to the bottom.
If you're caulking to prep walls for painting these pointers will definitely help.
What's the best way to apply spray paint?
If you're painting a flat surface, always start with the side nearest to you and work your way toward the opposite end with a smooth stroke and a steady sweeping motion. You will notice that it overlaps the pass made just before it. The over-spray settles ahead of you, which is good, because you can cover it up as you go. If you did the reverse, the spray would be settling all over your freshly painted finish leaving a pebbly texture in its wake.
Spray can clogged? Here's how to unclog it.
How important is sizing before wallpapering?
Wallpaper sizing does NOT mean measuring your walls so you buy the right amount of paper. (Although that IS important.) Sizing refers to preparing your wall for papering with sizing compounds and is a key first step when wallpapering. These essential compounds prime and seal walls to create better adhesion and allow increased slip for better alignment and pattern matching. Plus, when it's time for removal, sizing even lets the wallpaper come off easier and protects the wall from damage.
Apply sizing with a roller or brush. It dries quickly so you can begin hanging the paper almost immediately, unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.
Remove old wallpaper. Here's how.
How do I remove wallpaper glue from my walls?
First, try using hot water to wash your walls. This should cause the glue to break down. Then use a clean towel and wipe the surface. You'll need to let the walls dry for a day before priming and painting. If that doesn't work, try an adhesive remover but make sure you follow the directions on the label. For more stubborn glue, consider renting a wallpaper steamer from your nearest rental store. When all else fails, try sanding.
Before you remove the glue, you'll need to remove the wallpaper. Here's how.
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