15 Tips for making your interior house painting goals a reality

Fresh painted living room with green walls and tan furniture

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A little paint goes a long way to updating and uplifting your home. Fresh paint elevates your home from drab to dramatic and from stale to stylish. Before you grab any old can of interior paint, there’s some things you need to consider. From finding the inspiration to choosing the perfect colors and selecting the best interior painter, we’ve got you covered.

  1. beige living room matches wooden floors and blue curtains

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    1. Start with your color scheme
    If you’re redoing an entire room, don’t match your furniture and curtains to the color of your interior paint. Choose the paint to match the color scheme for the rest of the room. Be aware of contrasting colors between your furniture, floor and walls. While hardwood floors can pair with almost any paint, colored carpets won’t. Consider the entire room, not just the walls, when choosing your interior paint. If interior decorating and color schemes baffle or frighten you, ask your professional painters for suggestions. They may have some ideas when you show them the space, or tell you what will and won’t work with what you’ve chosen.
  2. Be aware of natural light for your rooms like this basement room with a small window

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    2. Consider lighting
    Does your room have large windows with sunlight all afternoon, or is it in a basement with little sunlight? These are things to consider when choosing an interior paint. What looks great in sunlight may look way too dark in the shade or at night. If your room doesn’t get a lot of light, choosing a dark interior paint will make the room appear much smaller and closed off. You want to maximize your space as much as possible, so painting with light or neutral tones works well in darker rooms. Don't be afraid of painting well-lit rooms with bright paint, just be aware it can look washed out or faded. Go extra bold and bright when painting this rooms if you dare. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it.
  3. A room with bright green interior paint

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    3. Don’t be afraid of color
    It can be hard to embrace bold, dramatic colors, but don’t let them scare you into painting with whites and beiges. Your paint color should have as much personality as you do. You don’t have to paint every room in bright colors, but giving your room a bold color can add depth and texture you may be lacking. Be aware of the colors going from one room to the next so you have a smooth transition between the two. If you like bright colors but don’t want anything too dramatic, try painting with a paler shade of a bright color. That way, you still get the bright and uplifting color without wanting to cringe.
  4. this room has a pink accent wall to brighten the room without overwhelming the color

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    4. Decide if you want an accent wall
    Maybe you want to try a bold color, but aren’t ready to do an entire room in it. You can decide on an accent – or feature – wall to highlight that dramatic, bold color without overwhelming yourself with the entire room. Just remember if you are painting only one wall, you don’t want it to look like you were just too scared to do the whole room. Make that wall feature something you want to draw the eye to. For example, if you have some artwork that would be a great wall to feature them on. Even placing your bed against the accent wall will draw all the right attention to it, without looking out of place. Don’t forget to make sure your painter is clear on which wall you want to accent ahead of time.
  5. This living room with neutral colors blends with furniture and flooring

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    5. How to choose the right neutrals
    Neutral colors are great for pairing with furniture and wall coverings, and work in just about every room. The problem with a lot of beige paints is they end up looking slightly pink or orange once they dry. This happens when there’s too many red undertones in the base color. Grey-toned neutrals won’t have any reds so your color should come out a nice beige. But be careful when choosing brown-toned neutrals as they may have red undertones which will affect the lighter shades. A good rule of thumb is to look at the darkest hue in the palette you’re considering so you see the true undertones in the color. If it’s a reddish-brown tone, avoid it. Once you find a palette with the dark color you’re happy with, look near the top of the swatch for the neutral shade that will suit your walls.
  6. a grey bathroom with gloss finish to withstand touching

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    6. Selecting the perfect finish
    For areas with high-traffic or moisture, like kitchen, bathroom or hallway, gloss or satin finishes are ideal because they withstand touching, and are easy to clean. Imperfections (like uneven walls or patched areas) will be more noticeable. Most walls in low-traffic areas are fine with a flat or matte finish. For woodwork, eggshell is a good choice. It’s durable and has a subtle sheen.
  7. paint swatches with small cans of sample paint

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    7. Always sample
    Gone are the days when you only had swatches to sample colors. For a few bucks you can get a sample can or try a few colors. Test the samples on yours wall and see how they look on a larger area. See how the paint looks when dry, and in both daytime and night. Another tip is to paint a large piece of card paper. Paint at least two coats onto the card and let dry. Tape it to the wall and get a feel for it over a day or two. You can also put it against your furniture and floor to get a better idea if the paint color will compliment or contrast with them.
  8. Choose a different ceiling color like this black ceiling with white walls

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    8. Look up
    Your focus is usually on your walls, but don’t forget to look up for your ‘fifth wall.’ Many people stick to white for ceilings, but don’t be afraid to go with some color. A bright white can greatly contrast with your paint color, so either try an off-white, or go a couple shades lighter than your wall color for a nice accent.
  9. consider details like this off-white door frame and skirting boards

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    9. Consider the details
    Once you’ve decided on wall and ceiling paint, look to the other details in the room like mouldings and woodwork. This can include doors, windows, frames, skirting boards etc. Like ceilings, painting these bright white can conflict with your wall colors. Stick with the off-white or a couple shades lighter rule, and you will have a flattering, complimentary color scheme.
  10. Painter measures wall to determine how much paint is needed

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    10. Know how much you need
    Your painter will likely be able to tell you exactly how much interior paint you’ll need, but it’s good to leave nothing to chance. Measure the square footage of each room and determine how much interior paint you need. If you’re not sure how to calculate this, Benjamin Moore offers this helpful paint calculator. Always prepare to have a little extra for those small touch-ups.
  11. This door frame with chipped paint is a sign of poor quality paint

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    11. Don’t cheap out – quality over cost
    You may be tempted to save money by choosing a cheaper paint. Remember the old adage: you get what you pay for. When it comes to interior paint, always choose quality over cost whenever possible. A good quality paint will withstand everything your family throws at it, without chipping, peeling or fading. Choose a good quality paint now so you don’t end up repainting later.
  12. A couple interviews a potential painter and gets quote on job

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    12. Finding the best painters
    Choosing professional, reputable painters you can trust is difficult. There’s a few things to ask all potential painters before hiring. Is the painter insured? If there’s damage to your home or injury to the painters, they should be insured to cover this. Do they have employees or sub-contract work out? This is important, because if they have employees, they can vouch for trustworthiness and training. Do a walk-through so the painter knows exactly what you want. Get a quote for all costs and warranties up front, in writing. Always ask for references, and don’t go with the lowest bid. If a painter is bidding way less for your project, there’s a reason for it.
  13. A painter is prepping a wall by plastering before painting

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    13. Prep work
    Ensure your painters pay attention to the prep work. Agree up front if they are patching and sanding walls, or if you are completing this before they begin. Make sure to move furniture out of the room, remove doorknobs and wall coverings, and cover the floors with a drop cloth to ensure your belongings aren’t painted with your walls.
  14. Different brands for paint and primer in one

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    14. Primer
    Priming is important. Your painter should use at least one coat of primer before painting, or more if it’s a drastic color change. Many paints now come as a primer and paint combined, which can save on the coats needed for your walls. Just know these can cost more, so agree with your painter up front on which you want to use.
  15. Home owner discussing details with painting contractor

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    15. Be specific
    Provide the painter with a detailed list of exactly what you want to avoid mistakes. Write down each area and specify where each color and finish is going. If you want to leave your natural woodwork for example, make sure you specify “do not paint.”