Brush up on your Paint Facts
What sets a mood; transforms an environment and expresses a person’s individual creativity? The answer is easy… COLOUR. And more specifically the paint colours we choose to decorate our homes.
They may say ‘it’s only paint’ but get it wrong and it could cost you thousands. On the other hand, choosing and using paint colours successfully is a cost effective strategy for elevating the entire look and feeling of a home, while maximising your investment potential for future resale opportunity.
Here are the designer tips that will have you painting like a professional and living with the colours you love.
There are no fixed rules when it comes to finding inspiration for your paint colours. Your inspiration may come from visiting a display home, pop up in an Instagram post or even reflect something seen in nature – like bark on a tree or wings on a butterfly. Paint colour is greatly affected by shape, texture, depth of colour, as well as the type and amount of lighting that colour is exposed to. People respond psychologically to colour, so the more you find out about the effect colours have on different environments the better prepared you are to select the colour that suits the mood of the home you want to create. Fresh happy colours remind us of smiling faces, flowers in spring, and sunshine, compare this to a sombre palette of dark colours, or stark whites and the mood is altered dramatically.
A favourite tile, kitchen cabinetry colour, or just an image in a magazine may be the starting point for your entire colour concept. Examine your own sense of style – your living room or even your closet; this may reveal the answer to the colours you enjoy being surrounded by most. Try building a colour board by placing samples of your carpets, tiles, etc. together. Colours work best relating to their surroundings, so add your paint swatches to the board last and consider that the aim of a successful colour scheme is to create harmonious visual order. To be safe, consider staying with a single colour family. For accents, try using darker or lighter shades instead of using a different colour and remember that further colour can be added later through furnishing and accessories. For the more experienced and adventurous, try introducing stronger colour but remain conscious of maintaining balance and flow – and the very real possibility of growing tired of fad colours, particularly with regards to future resale.
Your house may be your canvas – but it’s not always blank. If you are repainting an older home consider the features that will not be painted. For example, what colour is your roof? Your paint colour doesn’t need to match exactly, but it should harmonize. When selecting exterior paint colours, remember that how your house presents to the street greatly impacts on the overall value and first impression of the home. To achieve a resolved design concept the external facade should relate to your internal colour scheme, adding a sense of continuity to the overall feel and giving just a taste of what lies beyond the front door. The popularity of rendered brickwork and external cladding compared to face brickwork, means there may be even more external paint areas to consider now than just the gutter and the eaves. Examine how front entry doors, garage doors, window frames and coverings and balustrades will complement the paint colours you intend to use for the main areas of the house.
Colour – the big picture
Before you actually buy the paint, as you stand at the paint counter with eight tiny colour swatches of near identical colours in hand, remember this one important piece of advice – paint chips are printed and not painted so they will never be the same as the finished colour on your much larger walls.
The more you understand about a particular paint colour, the more educated you become about whether it enhances your colour scheme or throws the whole look off balance. Always invest a few dollars buying the test pot first – it can save you thousands of dollars (and tears) not to have to repaint an entire house. Paint at least two coats on the largest board you have available and look at it in natural light, as well as inside (particularly for internal colours as this is near to how you will actually see them in the home and in relation to carpets, tiles, etc). Always wait until the paint has completely dried before making any rash decisions as paint dries darker than it looks when it is wet.
Purchasing, Priming and Maintaining
When buying paint people are often unsure of the quantity they need to purchase. The general rule of thumb is to allow between 10 and 14 sq. metres per litre. Always ensure that all surfaces are carefully prepped before priming, and select a good quality primer. Taubmans 3 in 1 (primer, sealer and undercoat in 1) and Taubmans Easy Coat Prep not only prepare the surface for paint but also allow more of the paint layers to adhere to the wall surface. The undercoat can also be tinted to further enhance the amount of final coverage achieved.
Paints consist of a tone colour (base) that is tinted with a measured quantity of colourants (tints) to a recipe or formula unique to each paint colour and manufacturer. When choosing a paint colour it pays to know how much tint will be added to the tone. If the amount is too small then the opacity of the paint will be compromised, and may require several additional coats to achieve the amount of coverage necessary. If too much tint is added to the tone it can interfere with the paint’s film forming properties, durability and can increase the risk of future fading. Most paint brands offer a Builder’s Range of colours. These ranges identify specific selections of colours proven to provide coverage without the need for excessive coats above standard application – a great advantage for the novice painter.
Although exterior paint generally last between 7 to 10 years, due to the uniquely harsh Queensland climate, often this can be even less than the manufacturer promotes. Thankfully the quality of tints has improved greatly in recent years and many now include UV filters so you can enjoy your colour for longer without repainting.
The preferred method of paint application for most painters is a synthetic roller with a thickness of 12mm. The roller needs to be primed regularly with paint to ensure coverage is smooth and even.
Low VOC – The Healthy Paint Alternative
You might have thought it was just the local fast food chains’ offering healthier alternatives these days, but the paint industry has been called on to clean up their menu as well. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound, a key component in the composition of oil based paint and traditional latex based paints. Exposure to VOC’s in paints, varnishes and solvents can be the trigger for asthmas attacks, eye irritation and respiratory problems, nausea and even dizziness among other symptoms. Most will not experience these symptoms, but for those who do help is at hand. Different types of healthy alternative paint now available and endorsed by Environmental choice Australia include: Low Odour or Low VOC Paint, Zero VOC Paint, Non Toxic or Natural Paint. Although you will pay a little more for these formulas, expectant mothers and those particularly sensitive to chemicals will find it a worthwhile investment in both health and peace of mind.
For a cleaner, fresher, safer home environment Taubmans recommend Pure Performance Interior Prep Primer used in conjunction with Taubmans Endure for internal walls. This combination is superior to standard formula paints as it provides a strong protective barrier with maximum protection against household stains, mould and mildew preventing harmful bacteria and even fungus.
Whatever paint you select, when the job is done remember to consider the environment when cleaning up. Dispose of leftover tins appropriately, and wash brushes and rollers in buckets to avoid wasting water.
So whether you are bold or beige, feature fearless or a timeless traditional – your new favourite colour may only be a brushstroke away so pick up a paint chart this weekend and get inspired.