How to Choose Perfect Paint Colors for your Wall and Interior

When it comes to painting your home it is important to choose a color you love, and knowing the meaning of colors and what they represent can help get you started.
Ever open a swatch-book from a paint manufacturer? Did you wonder why there are 600 million different swatches of “blue”, “red”, and “green” – 70% of which look almost identical? Even professional painters wonder a similar question. The subtle nuances of color are, however, important. Certain shades of colors are appropriate when they complement other color shades (Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams provide excellent tools for matching colors on their respective websites), when they work in certain lighting and with furniture and appliances in the room that an almost identical shade of color doesn’t work with – so it’s good to have 7,960 shades of blue. But in the end, choosing the right shade of color is a subjective choice – completely up to your style and taste. So our advice is to just relax, take your time. Be resourceful, and then pick the paint color you love and love the color when the room is painted.
Still, if you’re like many homeowners, simply choosing between the primary colors is very difficult – forget their thousands of shades. Take for example the picture on the right and the two complementing shades of turquoise against the white crown molding and ceiling. How much thought went into that, and how do those colors resonate with you? The answer to that last question will be different for everyone. So we’ve done some research and analyzed the major colors, providing some insight into their meaning, their behavior on the brain and mind, their uses and how they can be applied to your home. As for picking a shade: well, that’s still up to you. Good luck! You can always pick up one of the free brochures provided at your local paint store for some painting ideas to get your started. Whether you’re going it alone, working with an interior designer or a painting contractor that knows about color, it behooves you to read this article and familiarize yourself with the meanings and uses of the essential paint colors so you’ll know where to begin.

And now, the colors:

Red: Ever wonder why virtually all restaurants – especially fast food establishments – use the color red in their schemes? This is because it has been shown to stimulate and promote appetites – and not just our appetite for food but our appetite for action in general. Red is a passionate color, an assertive and confident choice. Red also so happens to be one of the top picks for men. Red is recommended to increase enthusiasm and interest, energy, action and confidence to pursue one’s goals as well as protection from one’s fears and anxieties. It’s a bold color choice: using red is courageous and strong, stimulating and energizing. It’s not for just any room. However, for rooms that have dark-stained wood cabinets, floors and tables that are dark-colored, then red can be an excellent complement to this décor.
Yellow:This bright, sharp color represents mindfulness and intellect: studies show that it is favored amongst highly intellectual people. It is recommended when there is a need for clarity in making decisions, sharper memory and concentration skills, and protection from lethargy, panic, nervousness and exhaustion. It is even thought to uplift your mood during dreary weather. It works well in rooms equipped with cabinets, tables, floors and appliances with light (i.e., white) colors, since yellow can serve as an illumination for these aspects of the room, accenting them. Yellow can add an overall playful, uplifting and inviting color scheme to virtually any room.
Tip: Red and Yellow paints are the most difficult colors to get to cover. Apply several thin coats until the paint covers evenly and completely, lightly sanding between coats with fine-grit sandpaper. Read our next article on proper surface preparation for interior painting before you get started yourself if you aren’t hiring a professional.

Orange: A tricky yet powerful color. Orange is said to be the color of optimism and social communication. It is independent, extroverted, adventurous, risky and creative, and is said to increase the craving for food. It is recommended when time is dragging and excitement is desired, when someone wants to be inspired to be involved in something, increase creativity, and to experience relief when things become too serious. Maybe risky, but it sounds perfect for a home office. It would be a bold decision to use an orange in any room, but with the right lighting, décor and furniture it can work in a way that is sure to impress visitors and please homeowners, especially if the recommendations are, in fact, true. But remember, all color selections are subjective.

Blue: The pure shade of blue is the color of sincerity, honesty, loyalty and trust. It is the color of relaxation, calmness, and reliability. The paler the blue, the more freedom we feel. Deep blue is the color of truth and moderation, while the turquoise shade is the symbol of youth and communication. It is also the most universally approved color of all, making it a safe choice. It is recommended to calm, counteract chaos, support communication, open the mind to learning new things, and to achieve solitude and peace. Blue and white, used together, especially make a wonderful match; a safe pairing. Unlike the boldness of red and the riskiness of orange, shades of blue are safe and non-confrontational and provide good choices for almost any room.

Green: The color of nature, life and fertility. It’s said to be the color of balance, learning, growth and harmony. It has been shown to be favored by well-balanced people. It is recommended to achieve a new state of balance, feel freedom to pursue new ideas and change or grow, and to feel protected. It is also thought to be unappetizing so it is seldom used in kitchens (though we’ve seen it done and done it ourselves, and the homeowners have been happy with it). With these recommendations it’s easy to see that green is a suitable color for almost any room. Ok, take all that in. A little heavy? Well, picking colors isn’t an easy thing – even for experienced painting contractors and enthusiastic homeowners. Color psychology gets us somewhere, but not all the way. Color literature from paint supply stores can provide useful information and collections of themes but they won’t help you make the final say, especially if you want to be very selective. It comes down to you, the homeowner: your style and your taste. We at Simphome recommend gathering samples and applying swatches, examining different colors in different lights against one another. This – and some knowledge of the color you’re choosing – almost fully ensures that you’ll choose a color you’re sure to love.


Interior Painting: Proper Surface Preparation

Some tips for preparing your walls, ceilings and trim for a professional do-it-yourself home improvement interior painting project
Perhaps one of the most popular DIY projects is interior painting. It seems simple enough, right? And in a struggling economy, paying a professional to do something you can “easily” do yourself just doesn’t seem like a smart move. Well, it’s do-able, but it’s not as “easy” as you might think: there are big mistakes that are easily made that have devastating and costly results. You can’t just slap some paint on those walls and ceilings – you need to execute a little prep-work first. This article will cover just a few important steps you can take to ensure that your DIY job ends up looking and lasting like it was executed by a professional… almost.
Dirty Surfaces: The average surfaces in any room – particularly kitchens and baths – are very dirty: grease, mold, mildew, and other contaminants will ultimately cause even the most premium paint to fail (lift, crack, peel, “gator-skin”, etc.). So those surfaces need to be cleaned. Mold and mildew must be cleaned with bleach, rinsed and allowed to dry. If that doesn’t suffice, a high quality oil-primer should be applied. Sanding helps remove many contaminants also, and will help give the existing paint some “tooth” to improve the adhesion of the new paint.
Wall Repair: Got cracks? Holes? Popped drywall nails (which is why some insist on using screws when installing drywall)? You probably want to fix those before you paint. In most cases, application of a medium- to light-weight joint compound will suffice. Just lightly hammer in those popped nails, sand out the holes and cracks, dust them off and fill with compound. It sounds simple, but it really is sort of an art. You can try applying the compound a little heavier than necessary and then, once it sets and is dry, sand it down to a smooth finish. ^ If you’re in a rush, try setting-type compound that comes in powder form: it dries in fifteen minutes due to a chemical reaction once you mix the powder with water. It has a short workability time-frame so it should really be reserved for professionals, but you can always give it a shot!
To Prime or Not to Prime: That really is the question. If you’re painting over removed wallpaper you absolutely MUST use an oil primer, no matter how thoroughly you removed the glue it will have absorbed into the pores of the substrate and it needs to be blocked or the paint will certainly fail. Zinsser’s problem-surface product called Gardz is good for this also, as it applies an impermeable seal but since it is a clear product it won’t help with a color change, and we like to use a white oil primer on top of the Gardz to ensure the wallpaper glue is removed from the equation completely. You will also need to apply a primer if you’re using a latex- or water-based topcoat over oil paint, because the topcoat won’t adhere otherwise. Additionally, a tinted primer is effective if you’re making a drastic color change. Paint-and-primer-in-one products are becoming increasingly popular. Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select line of paints is a good product for the money, and Sherwin Williams offers some excellent products in this category also. If you don’t use one of these products you will need to spot-prime spackled areas with a latex primer to prevent “flashing”.
Sand Everything: Sand before you clean, after you clean, after you spackle. Sand before coats and between coats of both primer and paint. This not only helps smooth the surface, but it applies “tooth” to the primer/paint to allow for improved adhesion. Use a fine-grit (220) sandpaper and sand, sand, sand. Except for the final topcoat. Obviously don’t sand that.
Caulk and Putty: Gaps in trim and molding need to be caulked or you’ll certainly notice it when you observe the finished product. We recommend Dap’s Alex Plus latex caulk with silicone. Easy to work with and guaranteed for decades. Sherwin Williams also offers some excellent caulking products. Cut the nozzle at a 45 degree angle to the desired width and apply a bead of caulk where the trim/molding/casing meets the wall. Even if there is no gap – it will prevent gaps in the future. Even if there is such a small gap that the wet paint fills it – apply the caulk beforehand. When the paint dries it will shrink, and that annoying gap will be back.
Also, fresh-milled lumber usually has some moisture content and as it dries it will pull away from the walls. If you have installed new trim, apply the caulk liberally (though it still may require a round #2 in a few weeks). Once your bead of caulk is applied, simply run your finger along it to smooth it out and push it into the gap. Remember: caulk is not sandable, so be neat and make sure the only caulk is cleanly placed inside the gap. Wait for it to dry before you paint or prime or your brush is sure to ruin your smoothed caulk bead. Finally, apply putty (Dap’s window glazing “33″ or Sherwin Williams’ “66″ glazing compound both work great) to nail holes and smooth it out with your finger. The putty will need to be primed depending on the product you choose, according to the label – but we have found that this is not always the case.
There is still a lot more to learn about surface preparation, and it would be impossible to include all proper surface preparation techniques in one blog post, but this should be enough to help you get started.
Our Humble Opinion on Paint Quality: Use Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paints. Department store paints just don’t provide the quality of these two brands. Someone once said “nothing is more expensive than cheap paint”, meaning if you use discount paint you’ll just have to do the job over again sooner than you’d like when that lower quality paint begins to fail. Spending the extra few dollars per gallon is worth it. That’s why you don’t see a lot of respectable professional painting contractors getting their paint from big-box stores that shall remain nameless – we aren’t here to brand-bash.

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