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Picking the Right Interior Paint for Your Needs

Picking the Right Interior Paint for Your Needs

Eclectic Eichler living room
‍Photo by Samantha Schoech

Giving a room inside your home a whole new look with paint can be an exciting process, but it is also one filled with choices. There are plenty of great resources that will help you learn how to paint your home, but today we want to focus on how to choose the right paint. First you have to pick the perfect paint color, taking into account lighting and more permanent fixtures like flooring, furniture, and window treatments. Then you have to consider details like paint brand, line, and finish.

Types of Paint Finishes

Paint finish (or sheen) is the term used to describe how glossy a paint is once it dries. Different brands use different terms to classify the finishes they offer, but the most common are:

  • Flat: A non-reflective appearance that helps hide surface imperfections.
  • Matte: A flat finish that is great for hiding surface imperfections, while its angular shine helps make walls smooth and washable.
  • Eggshell: Most commonly used sheen level in homes, durable, cleanable sheen level.
  • Satin: Slightly glossy, this finish offers the benefits of a richer look.
  • Semi-Gloss: This lustrous, durable finish is perfect for areas that get cleaned frequently.
  • High-Gloss: A durable finish with a highly reflective surface once dry.

Typically, the more you will scrub a wall or the greater exposure to moisture, the glossier the finish you’ll want. So a satin or semi-gloss finish is more appropriate for kitchens, bathrooms, children’s rooms, and hallways than a flat paint will be. But choosing a paint finish is not quite as straightforward when you take into consideration different lines of paint in the same brand.

Comparing Paint Lines within a Brand

If you’ve ever gone shopping for paint before, you probably noticed that every brand makes different lines of interior paint. Paint is just paint though, right? Why bother paying more for a gallon from the more expensive line if that particular brand of paint has a good reputation?

You could purchase the most inexpensive can of paint a company makes, but typically the mid- to high-grade lines will actually be a better bargain. That’s because these lines are made with higher quality materials and boast additional benefits such as stain-blocking technology, zero VOC’s, better coverage, and superior washability. Of course, even the most expensive line of paint probably won’t offer every single one of these benefits. Mostly likely you will need to choose which features are most important for how your room will be used.

To help illustrate this we’ll compare four different lines of paint from Sherwin Williams, ranging from the bargain line to their most premium line of interior paint:

Balancing Benefits, Cost, and Finish

Looking at the lines of paint listed above you can see how the least expensive line of paint is probably not the best choice for most projects as you’ll likely need almost twice the paint to adequately cover a surface. If eliminating VOC’s from your painting process is important to you, the Harmony line will be your best option. And, if you want the imperfection-hiding benefits of a flat finish with all the scrubbability of a semi-gloss, you’ll need to select their specially-formulated, top of the line paint.  Now if you want to talk about paint for your trim, doors, or cabinets- that’s a whole other story!

Hopefully, this makes the process of selecting a paint line and finish easier the next time you tackle an interior painting project, but should have further questions you can always consult your local paint retailer or a professional painter.

Do you live in the Bend, OR area and want help with your next interior painting project? Contact us today to get your free estimate!

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