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Do it yourself
Barbara Richardson, color marketing manager for Glidden Paint, helps consumers choose and apply paint wisely. Here are her tips on how to avoid stress while painting:
Pour paint into a smaller container. It’s more practical to carry around the paint you need in something smaller and lighter than an unwieldy gallon can. You can use a container you have on hand, or buy a small container with a handle at many paint stores. This is particularly helpful when working on a ladder.
Carry a wet cloth. If you drop paint on something, you can quickly wipe it off without having to stop and gather cleaning materials.
Wear an apron. A canvas painting apron or a durable cook’s apron with pockets provides storage for all the things you’ll want to have around you: an extra paintbrush, your phone or that little wet cloth for spills. Over time, the apron becomes a sort of color library of your home, because splashes of paint from each project will inevitably end up on it.
Invest in a good-quality brush. If you buy an inexpensive brush, you’ll be annoyed at how much time you’ll have to spend picking bristles out of your paint job. Ask for a recommendation at your hardware store or paint shop; Wooster brushes are often used by pros. If you’re using a water-based paint, clean your brush by wiping it with a newspaper or rag and then soaking in lightly soapy water.
Consider painting trim and ceiling the same color as your walls. If you choose a neutral color for a main room of the house, painting the trim and ceiling the same color can create a unified look. This is especially helpful if you are going for a more modern or contemporary feel. Unifying everything eliminates worry about the lines.

Can’t paint until you’ve picked the color

We’ve all been there.

You decide to paint a room. Weeks later, your walls are a crazy quilt of paint swatches. You’ve flipped through Houzz and Pinterest. You’ve asked your friends and your plumber for their opinions. You are still afraid to make the wrong choice.

It’s OK.

Consumers typically try at least three to five paint colors before making their final selection, according to Erika Woelfel, Behr’s director of color marketing.

“You are the artist of your own environment,” says Barbara Richardson, color marketing manager for Glidden Paint. “You shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and then adjust and tweak.”

Nervous homeowners can find help from designers, architects, color consultants and even apps.

“We find that consumers need the voice of affirmation that the color they chose is the right one,” says Sue Kim, Valspar color strategist. “We can narrow them down together.”

Not feeling like Monet yet? Read on. Five paint experts offer their favorite tips to help jump-start your spring painting projects.

Color selection

Zoe Kyriacos, an architectural color consultant in Takoma Park, Md., offers these pointers.

Consider the existing items in your room. Flooring, rugs, artwork and upholstery will suggest a color direction. Try to pull together these elements in your color choice. Make the paint color the last thing you choose; there are thousands of colors to choose from but maybe only one rug that you really love.

Take your paint samples home. Colors you select in the store aisle will look different under the lighting conditions in your home.

Examining a paint sample against a white wall will cause it to appear darker than it really is, so put the paint sample against a sofa, wood furniture or flooring for a better perspective.

Take into account how color flows from room to room. If you have a modern house with an open floor plan, it’s important to use one wall color throughout the main floor. Add accent colors in a few carefully considered areas.

Stick with white trim in most cases. Try several whites before you make a final selection.

Room colors

Washington designer Elizabeth Hague has been known for her calm and classic interiors since she opened her company in 1991. These are her go-to paint colors for different rooms and why she likes them.

Living room: Benjamin Moore Soft Chamois. This pleasant clay color is a neutral backdrop for textiles, furniture and accents.

Dining room: Farrow & Ball Cornforth White. This dark, warm gray has a lot of pigment in it, which makes it rich and beautiful in candlelight.

Kitchen: Farrow & Ball Blackened. This chalky blue serves as a nice contrast to natural stone countertops, cabinets and polished nickel fixtures.

Bedroom: Pratt & Lambert Smoke Ring. Choose a beautiful color to wake up in, such as this periwinkle blue-gray. It’s the color of sky on a clear day.

Bath: Pratt & Lambert Full Moon. To go with natural stone flooring and countertops and polished nickel fixtures, choose a shade with warm gray-green tones, such as this off-white.

The right white

Washington architect Christian Zapatka specializes in design that incorporates architecture and interiors. He has a lot of experience choosing white paints.

Walls in traditional homes: Benjamin Moore China White. This white has a soft, warm tone with a faint “greige” background.

Trim in traditional homes: Benjamin Moore White Dove. Ideal for all types of woodwork, this shade has a warm tone and is compatible with almost any wall color.

Walls and trim in modern homes: Benjamin Moore Super White. For a flawless look with no trace of yellow or gray, this is the best choice for a modern interior.

For a house in which all rooms are painted white: Farrow & Ball’s Strong White. This is a warm white without any yellow cast, which makes it great as a totally neutral background.

Bookcases and cabinetry: Farrow & Ball’s All White. Bookcases and built-ins look great in this crisp, bright white. It sets off the wall color around it.

Special finishes

Decorator and blogger Denise Sabia of Ambler, Pa., is an expert at giving flea market furniture and accessories a fresh look, often with specialty finishes.

Chalkboard: There are lots of possible applications for chalkboard paint, which turns most surfaces into a usable chalkboard. It’s great in the kitchen for grocery lists, and it can turn an ordinary object into a conversation piece. Favorite brand: Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalk Board.

Chalk: Chalk-finish paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint) dries quickly and adheres to almost anything. Its chalky finish sands down to a super-smooth surface and requires limited prep work. Favorite brand: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Metallic: Metallic paint is a bold look that should be used sparingly. Use it as an accent on the edges of furniture or on accessories to add a little shimmer. Favorite brand: Martha Stewart Living Metallic Paint.

Milk: Milk paint is the perfect solution if you are looking for the chipped, timeworn look. It can flake off furniture when it dries to appear vintage. Favorite brand: Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.

Mirror: Mirror-finish spray can give Mason jars or other accessories a sort of mercury glass look for a layer of instant charm. Favorite brand: Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint.

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