By Barbara Pronin
Painting the interior of your home is the fastest and most economical way to give it a fresh, new look. But before you pick up a paintbrush, read these tips from the editors of Better Homes & Gardens:
Try out colors before painting – Slather a piece of cardboard with your chosen shade and hang it on the wall for a preview.
The right brush matters – For oil-based paint, China bristle paint brushes, which leave few brush marks, are a good choice. For acrylics and high-quality latex paints, nylon paint brushes are best. Nylon-polyester blends and 100-percent-polyester brushes work with any paint.
Roller cover nap – the rougher the surface of the wall, the longer the nap needs to be.
Use the right sheen – Flats hide surface flaws but can be tough to clean, making them best in low-traffic areas. Satins are more luminous, easier to clean, and best suited for hall walls, baths, and trims. Semi-gloss paints are easy to clean and a good choice for woodwork and walls subject to wear and tear. Gloss paints do well in kitchens and baths, and on railings, cabinetry, and windowsills.
Yes, you can paint wood paneling – Use a strong household cleaner to remove dirt or wax buildup. Rinse off, then dull the paneling surface with sandpaper. Wipe it down with a damp rag, and coat the surface with stain-blocking primer. Let it dry overnight and paint with a flat, satin, or semi-gloss latex.
Buy the right amount of paint – Add the widths of the walls, then multiply that figure by the room's ceiling height and divide by 350 (the typical square footage one gallon covers). The result is roughly the number of gallons of paint you need. (The formula doesn't account for windows and doors, so you should have paint left over for touch-ups.)
Painting a kid’s room? Chalkboard paint transforms walls and floors into the perfect place to give free rein to kids' creative impulses. The latex formula of chalkboard paint requires no special primers or sealers.
Storing leftover paint – Stored properly, a can of paint lasts three to five years. Store paint between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid placing cans on concrete floors, where they rust more quickly. Write on the can to indicate color, date of purchase, and where used.