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Ready...set, time to paint

Think of your house as a fresh canvas; a clean slate


Few home improvement tasks, once completed, are as easy – and as richly satisfying – as a fresh coat of paint.

From walls and trim, staircases and ceilings picking the right paint – not just the color tones, shades and finishes but the correct brand and paint for the task, is vital for success. Picking paint requires careful consideration.

Bold tones

While the New Year is still young, 2023 is shaping up to be color filled.

Bold saturated shades are currently all the rage. From paint companies to social media influencers, newer trends are featuring lots of color.

Regional experts agree you’ll be most pleased and satisfied when you pay attention to what’s new, but ultimately select those colors you’ll love now, and over the longer haul.

“You can’t make yourself love a color you don’t love” right away, according to Rick Shelly, paint manager at Wehrung’s Lumber & Home Center in Ottsville.

Shelly advises against trying to “live with a color” you really don’t like and expecting it to “grow on you.”

Instead, when moving away from whites or neutrals, consider choosing “a color from the décor that has a good relationship between the wall and ceiling color. It’s an opportunity to bring more color into the room,” said Pam Lazor, an interior designer and owner of Casa Double L Interior Design in Riegelsville.

Paint to stay

Shelly said advances in paint manufacturing and products means customers have more choices than ever before.

Consumers reap the benefits of low and virtually no odor paints, due to tightening state and federal regulations regarding VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds used in paint manufacturing.

VOCs are gasses that can be emitted from a variety of household products, including paint.

Federal regulations require states to meet “Reasonably Available Control Technology” intended to protect the environment, the United States Environmental Protection Agency website said.

The result is low to no odor and faster drying acrylic and acrylic latex products.

Some of the benefits of newer acrylic and acrylic latex paints over older generations of paint include:

• Better resins. Paints with acrylic tinting resins use finely ground pigments, with low or no VOCs. Those acrylic resins are part of the tint and color mixing process.

• Durability. Paint durability refers back to the “solids” or finely ground sand and silica added to the paint. Solids help paint hold its consistency, which should be like mayonnaise, Shelly said.

• Easy clean up. Soap and water cleanup means acrylic paints are easier to use. They’re also safer to use around pets and kids.

• Faster dry times, means quicker re coating times, all factors in shorter project schedules.

Paint to sell

First impressions matter. A clean, crisp coat of paint in and outside of the home is a big way to impress guests and prospective home buyers.

According to Leigh Nunno, a Realtor and associate broker at Melissa Healy Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown, a fresh coat of paint is high on the list for many home buyers.

“It’s relatively the least expensive thing people can do on walls, trim, doors, ceilings, even cabinetry. And tile in a bathroom or back splash can be painted” to update its look, Nunno explained.

Painting or “re glazing” tile can be done with epoxy and specialty paints to completely change the look of tired, worn or dated tile.

“As [new tile is a] big ticket item, you can change it inexpensively” using paint treatments, she said.

Accent, statement or feature walls

If bold colors are enjoying resurgence in home décor after nearly a decade of whites, lights and neutrals then accent, statement and feature walls can be part of the equation.

In fact, doing a focal point wall in a strong saturated color is one way to try easing color into your home décor.

“If we have buyers that like color or a seller with color in the home already, we’ll advise some contrast,” said Jaimie Meehan, a Realtor at Melissa Healy Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Doylestown.

“If they cannot commit to repainting all the walls, or all the rooms, maybe add a statement wall or contrasting trim,” she said.

This approach still allows buyers to see themselves in the space.

What’s a statement wall

A wall you’d like to highlight in a room is considered a statement, accent or feature wall. It can be another tone of the base color in the room, or a different or contrasting color, depending upon the look you want to achieve.

One way to add interest is to paint a primary bedroom wall a feature or contrasting color where the bed headboard would go, Meehan said.

When done correctly, a feature wall can create stunning results. Avoid a look that implies you’re not finished painting the room, so the colors and elements look intentional.

Wallpaper, murals, paint and architectural elements are all ways to create a gorgeous accent wall.

“What looks good in your home and what you like” should drive those decisions, said Nancy Gracia, an interior designer and owner of Bare Root Design Studio Inc., in Newtown.

Next level

While opting to paint a feature wall is one way to create contrast, Gracia said consider taking an accent wall to the next level.

She prefers using architectural elements, like stone, wood, brick or structural features in a space to create balance between the focal point and the rest of the room.

“There’s an accent wall in my home, which is wood and stone. It works because its part of the architecture and because of the size of the room,” Gracia explained.

Consider shiplap, wainscoting and other treatments, and keep balance in mind.

A large piece of art or gallery can create an accent wall, too. Consider pieces with texture or a three-dimensional quality.

Lighting as an accent

Light streaming into a room – and onto a wall – can create its own focal point.

Gracia said the use of slit windows is an interesting way to create an accent wall.

Consider other ways to use lighting and paint to create an accent or feature wall.

“Lighting is a totally different twist on an accent wall. It goes back to how you want to create the accent wall. Is it architectural or decorative,” Gracia said.