Angie's List: House Paint

Changing the paint color inside your home can give your rooms a whole new look. How do you make the best color choices for your room, in Friday's Angie's List.

Homeowner Liz Moran recently repainted her dining room to give it a fresh look.

"My furniture originally had pink in it and I wanted something to go with pink and most of the furniture was black and had a little bit of pink in it so we needed some other color,” explains Homeowner Liz Moran. “Then my decorator said we needed to do something else so I thought that worked, but most of the house was white except where I had wall paper and that is the only other color I have."

A great way to update a room inexpensively is to add new paint.

"If you are planning on living in your house for a while the trend these days is to bolder colors,” Founder of Angie’s List Angie Hicks says. “If you are a little nervous about it you might consider adding a bold color to just one wall as an accent, but keep in mid the colors throughout the room so that you pick the right color for that accent."

"Painting the walls and the ceiling and the trim really does freshen up a room like nothing else and even if you are painting the same color it makes it all look new, bright and clean,” says Debra Dudas a Painting Contractor. “That is one thing everyone says is oh I love how clean it looks now. You do want to remember though if you are going to do the walls you want to make sure to do if the ceiling needs it or the wood work needs it you need to do that too because it will really shine a spotlight on dinged up trim when you do the walls and don't have the other done. So you want to do it all if it needs it."

When picking out paint, it's important to consider how many coats your color will take to cover and its finish.

"When it comes to painting it's important to understand the finish of the paint you are going to use because especially if you have kids or pets you are likely going to want to wash your walls and if you do you are going to want a more glossy paint then a flat," explains Angie. "One important thing for homeowners that are living in houses built before 1978 they need to think about lead paint. Lead paint needs to be handled in a special way, they need to be a certified painter who is lead paint certified because if they don't if you have small children or if you are pregnant it can be a health hazard to the children."

If you dislike your cabinets and want to draw attention away from them, select a wall color that closely matches the cabinetry color, or at least in the same shade or color family.

The less contrast the better when you want to minimize an element's visual impact. The lack of color contrast also helps the space look larger.

Choosing the paint color is almost as important as choosing the painter. Once you know the right color, choose a quality painter to get the job done quickly , and soon you will be enjoying a beautiful new bathroom.

7 Painting Dos:
1. Pick colors that you can live with for a long time.
2. Trust your instincts: If a color looks risky to put on your wall, it probably is.
3. Be certain the color on that tiny square color chart you got from the store is what you really want on the wall. If you are unsure about how the color will work with your expectations, buy a quart and put some on the wall(s) you are about to paint.
4. Get other opinions about your colors. Before you paint a large area, let the people you live with or trusted friends tell you what they think of your color selection.
5. Find colors that have contrast to each other, but complement each other. Try to pick colors that are quite different from each other, but that still look good together.
6. Be aware that bright colors make rooms look "bigger" and more spacious, while dark colors make rooms look smaller and more closed in.
7. Think about how many coats your color will take to cover. Be aware that if the new color is very different from what is already on the walls, it is likely to require more than one coat to cover.

3 Painting Don'ts:
1. Don't choose a color that makes the wrong statement.
2. Don't talk yourself into a color you don't like.
3. Don't jump into a paint color without proper evaluation. Paint tends to look different on the wall than it does on a color chart. Once this paint dries completely, you will get an accurate idea of what it will actually look like when you paint the whole area.

Note: As an alternative to painting the wall, you can paint a square of cardboard or other material and when it dries, place it against the wall for evaluation. Apply at least two coats to assure the true paint color.

6 Tips for painting your bathroom:
1. Consider going dark: The main fixtures in your bathroom, such as the toilet, sink and tub, are all likely white. Dark colors can complement this well and create a pleasing contrast. While you may not want to paint your bathroom black, especially if it's small, you can consider a deep blue or rich burgundy.
2. Go neutral for decorating flexibility: If you enjoy changing up the color of your bathroom decor from time to time, a neutral color, like eggshell or tan, can be a great base for your bathroom. It will match most color schemes you might want to add, saving you from the need to repaint if you want to make a switch. These also can be helpful when the time comes to put your home on the market, because potential new owners can imagine their own colors in the room.
3. Keep skin tones in mind: Do you spend time in the bathroom putting on your makeup? If you do, you need colors that flatter your skin tones. Peach and pink tones are quite flattering, while gray and yellows or greens are not. This may not be as important for a hall or guest bath, but for your own bathroom, you need to make sure that what you see in the mirror is what others see when you leave your home.
4. Keep the size in mind: The bathroom is a notoriously small room, and in some homes it can be quite tiny. As you choose a paint color, keep size in mind. Tiny rooms will feel even tinier if they are painted a dark color. You can add the feeling of space to the bathroom with lighter colors, so consider a bright beige or even white if you want the room to feel larger. If you want to use a dark color, try adding paneling to one half of the wall in a lighter color. This can open up the space while still allowing you to embrace a darker color.
5. Match the flooring: Choose a color that complements your flooring, but don't try to match it exactly, because that's nearly impossible to do.
6. Use the right finish: The finish is also important when painting a bathroom. You can opt for paints designed specifically for bathrooms. These have properties that inhibit the growth of mold. If you don't want to spend the extra money on this type of paint, choose a nice semi-gloss or high-gloss paint, which will repel water well. Semi-gloss is the best because it looks great and has moisture repelling properties.

4 Kitchen painting tips:
1. Use paint especially for the kitchen: Steam and moisture build-up is common in kitchens, so it's important to consider paints that can handle it.
2. Appropriate kitchen colors: There are no rules when it comes to choosing kitchen paint, but there are colors that are known to create a cheery atmosphere or increase appetites. These include sunny yellow, peach, terra cotta, or citrus lime green. Classic black and white is another popular color scheme that goes well with appliances and other fixtures.
3. Dislike your cabinets? If you want to draw attention away from your cabinetry, select a wall color that closely matches the cabinetry color, or at least in the same shade or color family. The less contrast the better when you want to minimize an element's visual impact. The lack of color contrast also helps the space look larger.
4. Clean up existing paint: Kitchens can have walls that can talk. They can show that it's a well lived in space. If your paint looks decent overall, but there are scuffs, use an eraser-type cleaner to remove marks from chairs or tiny fingers.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a painter:
1. Experience: How long has the contractor been in business? This trade can have high turnover. Make sure you hire someone who has been operating for two years or longer. Also, do they keep up on the latest products and techniques?
2. Employees vs. subs: Does the contractor have employees? If so, are they direct employees, meaning they receive a paycheck from the contractor, or are they considered subcontractors? If they are direct employees, the contractor's workers' compensation and general liability insurance policies should cover them. If they are subcontractors, they should have their own insurance policies. Either way, the contractor should give you a copy of proof of insurance both for their business and any subcontractors, if necessary.
3. Licensing: Does the painting contractor have a state-issued license, general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance? It is absolutely critical that the contractor has all necessary insurance and licenses. A reputable, licensed and insured contractor will have all the proper documents. Remember, it protects them and any workers they may have on site, as well as you and your home.
4. Prep work: What kind of preparation work does the contractor do? A cheaper job will skimp on the prep work to cut corners. A good painting contractor will take the time to do everything that should be done, what they have stated they will do and what you both agreed would be done. The workmanship will show in the end, good or bad.
5. Call references: Can your contractor provide them? Call references and ask questions about how the company worked, communicated and addressed the homeowners' needs.
6. Get a formal estimate: Make sure the contractor puts the scope of the project, materials they will use and amount of prep work in a written contract, not on the back of business card or a haphazardly drawn-up dollar figure on a piece of paper. A professional painting contractor provides their clients with written contracts and specifications.
7. Is there a guarantee? Besides the guarantee offered on the products by the paint manufacturers, most reputable painting contractors will offer a warranty on the application/preparation process. Get it in writing.
8. Cost: Price is always a concern. But the lowest bid should not be your first or only consideration. You want to get someone with skill, experience, proper license and insurance, and who is aware of safety issues and a good worker. Remember, always get three bids and compare apples to apples.

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