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Pick a Paint to Please Your Palette

What are the best tools for home decorating? You can't beat a brush, roller and a bucket of paint for an easy, do-it-yourself project that provides a big bang for your home improvement dollar. Painting is the ideal first step in changing your home interior's look. It's also a challenge to pick a new color or match other colors in your existing décor. Here is a basic approach to picking paints.

If you're at a total loss, take your cues from your existing décor. Find a hue in your furniture fabric, piece of art, oriental rug, or some other furnishing, and visualize it on the wall. Be daring. Slap some color on there. Make a break from the boring world of wheat and beige. Still at a loss? Look at your wardrobe, what colors do you end up wearing the most? Pick a color or shade of that color you love.

On the other hand, if you're not working with an existing color scheme and want to start from scratch, take a look at the room with a few critical questions in mind, before you head to the home improvement center. Consider first what the room is for. A home office might lend itself to cooler, calmer tones, while a living room may demand a warmer color to welcome guests or provide a family atmosphere. To be sure of your final choice, try reviewing samples at home. Or purchase a quart and try painting a piece of cardboard or plywood. Lean it against the wall or eye it next to furniture.

Be sure to notice architectural details, including window casements, columns, staircases or crown molding. Use brighter intensities to accent features you like. Tone down the colors when painting parts of the room that are better left unnoticed. Flat finish paints work best for covering walls, ceilings and where you need to cover bumps, cracks, spackle or other imperfections. Low-lustre, egg shell and semi-gloss finishes are easier to clean and more suited to high-traffic areas. Use them for bannisters, doors, windowsills and other items worth accenting. Generally speaking, water-based enamel is a better choice than oil-based enamel because it cleans up easier and lacks the distinctive odor of oil distillates.

Here's a final word on quality. Before you grab several cans on sale, are you sure you're not selling your home short? Paints do vary in quality, and better paints roll on easier and smoother, and last longer. They also resist staining and dirt.

Source used to create this article include the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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