Use quality paint. The most expensive part of any paint job whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional painter is the labor, NOT the paint. Most designers recommend Benjamin Moore, Pratt and Lambert, Farrow and Ball, or C2 paint as they cover in fewer coats (especially when using darker colors) and look better longer. Even though these paints are more expensive, the cost is due to a higher ratio of pigment and titanium dioxide which is used as a binder and allows the paint to cover more easily. Consider Benjamin Moore “Regal Matte finish” which is a completely flat paint that is scrubbable. This is a great paint for high traffic areas, as it hides imperfections in the sheetrock due to the flat finish, but is very washable. For Kitchens and Bathrooms, consider Benjamin Moore’s new Aura Bath and Spa paint which has a matte finish, is washable and mildew resistant. For children’s rooms or nurseries, try the Benjamin Moore Natura line which does not emit any odors or fumes. If using darker colors, request a primer tinted to match the wall color- this will allow the paint to cover more easily.
Always do test swatches and look at them at different times of the day in the actual lighting conditions of the room to see if you still like the color. Most of the paint companies now offer sample pots which allow you to paint a 2 x 2 swatch. It’s always more expensive to do something twice. Once your job begins, check your color chips against the swatches and the first coat to make sure your paint has been mixed properly.
When picking colors, I recommend going one shade lighter than you think you want to end up with. Walls reflect off each other and make it seem like the color is more intense than what you see in the small samples. Yellows, pinks and blues all intensify dramatically- you might consider even two steps lighter when using yellow due to its intensity.
Here are some of my favorite colors:
Benjamin Moore 1065, 1066, 1067. This range offers warm camel shades.
Benjamin Moore #303- pale yellow
Benjamin Moore 1079- pale neutral taupe
Benjamin Moore 997- a darker, sophisticated taupe
Benjamin Moore HC-163- sage green
Trim Paint– Benjamin Moore Decorators White is a ready mix color that is great for trim- it is not too “blue white” and looks great with most wall colors. White Dove, Orange Peel and Linen White are also good choices for trim. In most cases, trim should be painted semi-gloss, walls should be flat because sheet rock is rarely perfectly smooth and a flat finish conceals problem wall surfaces.
It’s hard to go wrong with the Historical Colors from Benjamin Moore. These shades are taken from historical properties and have been used for generations. Look for colors with warm undertones- even cool colors like blues and grays can have a hint of warmth to them, this prevents the room from feeling cold.
Ceilings– Most designers recommend painting ceilings a color instead of “ceiling white”. Typically I use a 50/50 mix of the wall color and white for a warm and cohesive look.
Photo Courtesy Bob Narod, Photographer, LLC