Frequently Asked Questions: PAINT

Paint color can really make or break any space. Not to put any extra pressure on you or anything, but let’s be honest here, we just did. Unfortunately, choosing the perfect paint color is not always as easy as it seems (especially for indecisive rookies like us). We often get questions on painting, paint, picking the perfect paint color and what tips we would recommend for tackling this colorful DIY. To address all the wonderful readers who reach out and actually think we know what we’re talking about, we give you a big ol’ shout out and virtual hug… (jokes on you). 

Today’s post is all about YOU as we have decided to give you simple, to-the-point (not always easy for us), and accurate answers on some Frequently Asked Paint Questions (even if it meant we had to do some sweet talking to get the real scoop from a hall-of-fame/professional painter).

Where do I get paint swatches? How much do they cost? Paint swatches. It’s a very preliminary step but it’s a great place to start in choosing the perfect paint color. Check your local paint store or hardware stores for FREE swatches of paint colors. Collecting these will be helpful to bring home and tape on the wall or to carry in your purse (or wallet) when shopping for new furniture, bedding, or decor accessories. Did we mention these were FREE?! Stock up on these bad boys to determine which paint color you’ll decide on.

Should I paint a few colors onto the wall? Do I have to buy a whole gallon of each paint to do this?
After you’ve narrowed down your search thanks to the swatches, you may want to buy a few color samples at the paint store or local hardware store. For about $3, you can buy mini sample bottles of any color. Take these home and paint a little bit of each color on the walls to get an idea of what each color looks like in your space. What the color looks like on the wall is not always what you envisioned, so seeing a few options on the wall next to each other will (hopefully) help you find a winner!
I saw this paint color that I LOVE but can’t seem to find the color’s name… any tips? 
There are actually cell phone apps available that help you match what you see in a picture/or in real life to an exact paint color & name. For example, you see a beautiful colored door on vacation and want to replicate that same exact color for your bedroom. Take a picture of the door (in the most non-creepy way possible), plug the pic into the app,  and ta-da…. you have the name of that paint color! 

When is the best time to look at paint colors in a room? Seeing the color(s) in your space is extremely important (hel-lo sample sizes). The room’s lighting, amount of sunlight, baseboard, flooring and furniture can all have an effect on how the color looks in that room. Make sure you peek at your samples at all times of the day too, seeing the colors in the afternoon may look completely different at night. You want to make sure you love the color at all times of the day.

How do I figure out how much paint I will need to paint my space? There are several conversion tools online that help you decide how much paint you should buy based on the size of the room. Plug your room measurements in to a conversion chart (like this one…) and you’ll know how much to buy. 
I have a comforter that I want to match to my paint color but I can’t seem to find the PERFECT match. What should I do?  Most paint stores and large retail hardware stores have computer technology that can take any color from an item you bring in (like a comforter) and replicate it into that exact paint color. I wish I knew paint shops were such perfect matchmakers when I was a single lady….
What if the color I love doesn’t come in the paint brand that I prefer? 
No problem! The computerized color matching technology can pretty much match any competitor’s paint colors within the brand of paint you love. Bring in the competition’s paint color and your favorite brand can match that! 
Do I need to prime? Now, THAT is a great question. Thanks to the two-in-one products you can prime and paint all at once. Buy the paint that has primer mixed right INTO it so you’re able to reap the benefits of priming the walls without actually priming the walls. I don’t know about you, but that sounds good to me! #money saver
I started painting and I hate the paint color…. what should I do? Well, don’t jump to any conclusions! Always remember that the true color of the paint will NOT be accurate to the color you chose until AFTER it dries. I repeat, don’t judge the color until AFTER it dries. So don’t head up to the paint shop and accuse the poor clerk that he made a huge mistake until after the paint dries. Awkward….
What kind of brushes should I buy? It’s important to invest in a quality brush ($15-25) and a quality roller ($4) to get the best results. Although this may be an unwanted investment at the time, it will be worth the extra buck and both tools can be re-used if they’re cleaned and dried properly.
Semi gloss, Egg shell, flat finish…. what does this mean & why does it matter? In short…. These are “finishes” of paint and will dictate how shiny or not-so shiny your surface looks after it dries. These finishes effect all paint jobs (as it is the amount of shine the surface will have) but will never impact/change the color of paint. So if you have decided on shamrock green as the color for your hallway, you will have to decide on whether to buy shamrock green semi-gloss, shamrock green egg shell, or shamrock green flat finish before starting to paint. All will obviously be the SAME shamrock green in color but each will have a different amount of shine on the wall after it dries. To find out the differences of each and where each finish is recommended, check out this SIMPLE tutorial
If you are stilllllll tuning in – bless you! You must be tackling a paint job in your near future and looking to absorb as many tips as possible (good for you, you’re ready to get started as far as we are concerned). That, or you’re just putting off getting back to work & trying to look busy so your boss isn’t on to your blog readin’ ways (we promise we won’t tell). Either way, we love you for sticking it out and really hope at least ONE of these tips helped – – at least then cornering our darling painter was all worth it.  

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.