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Home Interior Painting

Fresh Paint is a Cost-Effective Way to Remake Any Room in Your House

A coat of paint is sure to breathe new life into your home's interior. But while painting itself is pretty straightforward, the decisions leading up to the first brush stroke can be quite involved. Read on to find out what you need to consider before painting, as well as why hiring a pro might be worth the extra money.

Where to Start

Choose Colors: Deciding on colors sounds simple enough, but once you have an 8-inch thick color wheel in your hand, settling on only a few shades can seem nearly impossible. To establish a starting point, think about not only what types of colors you're comfortable with, but also what impact they will have on a room. In general, lighter colors help to open up a space, while darker colors create a closed and cozy area. Color also affects mood, so take care to balance room ambiance and function (i.e. you probably don't want a bright red office). And finally, while most homeowners choose to match paint to their existing decor, there is no right or wrong when it comes to colors, so feel free to be as conservative - or as wacky - as you want.

Choose a Finish Type: After settling on colors, you'll want to decide whether they'll be applied as flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, or high-gloss paint. When making this decision, two major factors come into play: how easy the paint is to clean and how much emphasis it places on the wall. Flat paint - aka matte finish - doesn't reflect light, and should be used if you don't want to draw a lot of attention to a wall. More difficult to clean, matte finish is a good choice for low traffic areas such as hallways. On the other end of the spectrum is glossy paint, which is highly reflective and commonly used in bathrooms, as the high-gloss forms a layer of protection. Most homeowners settle on satin, eggshell, or semi-gloss paint, which strike a balance between sheen, protection, and easy cleanup.

Other Considerations

Applying Primer: Priming walls before painting, while not necessary, is highly advisable. The use of primer ensures that the old paint color won't bleed through into the new paint and that the fresh coat adheres smoothly to the wall. And by increasing the overall thickness of the finish, primer improves paint durability

Oil vs. Latex Paint: Latex (water-based) paint is typically used for interior paint jobs due to its easy cleanup, lower fumes, and wide availability. Oil-based paints, however, still have a loyal fan base, as they provide better one-coat coverage, are more durable, and are less prone to show roller and brush marks.

Hiring a Pro: Interior painting is certainly one of the more feasible do-it-yourself projects, but there are still plenty of reasons why hiring a professional makes sense. First and foremost, a professional painter is going to do the job right. Corners and edges will be cut in precisely, and the paint will be applied smoothly and evenly. Plus, while you may need several weekends to do the job, a small crew can paint a few rooms in less than a week, which means your house will quickly be back in working order and looking like new. And of course, somebody with years of painting experience can help you choose a color, finish, and paint type as well as provide decorative/specialty painting services that are beyond the ability of most homeowners.

Interior Home Painting Costs

  • In most cases, the cost of professional interior painting is between $2,000 and $3,000. To further break down costs, a typical 12 foot x 12 foot room (say, a bedroom or office) might run $200 to $400, including labor and materials, while a larger room, such as a dining or living room, could cost double that amount ($400 to $800).
  • One gallon of paint covers approximately 400 square feet (you'll want to apply two coats) and paint costs anywhere from $10 to $50 per gallon. Assuming 2,000 interior square feet, that's $100 to $500 for paint alone, plus assorted materials such as primer, caulking, tape, and sand paper.
  • Labor costs vary widely depending on the company's experience, how much prep work is required, the number of windows and doors, the amount of crown and base molding, whether the home is occupied or new construction, and other factors.

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