Buying the right paint can feel like a big hassle, and an overwhelming commitment. After all, you’re choosing something that goes all over the walls of your home. You’re choosing something that colors how you feel about your space, and how your guests feel about it. Choosing the right paint is about choosing the right way to present your home to the world. That’s kind of a lot of pressure, right?

It would be easier if you could rely on help, and advice at a paint store, but sometimes the experts can be a little intimidating. You walk in with a vague idea for a project, and before you know it, they’ve got you all twisted around in a world of premium paints, and expensive finishes, You don’t feel any closer to accomplishing your renovation goals, and you feel a little stuck.

Three Paint Questions to Answer Before You Go Shopping

That’s why it’s a good idea to consider a few things before you even set foot in a store. Here are three paint questions you’ll want to answer to get your paint project off on the right foot.

1. How Much Paint Do You Need to Buy?

how much paint do we need

Image via Plascon

Purchasing the wrong amount of paint can be a real drag on your painting project. When you purchase too much paint you waste money, and when you purchase too little paint you waste time. You have to stop what you’re doing, clean out your rollers and brushes, change out of your paint stained clothes, and drive back to the store.

Luckily, buying the right amount of paint doesn’t have to be a guessing game, and you don’t have to be an expert to get the answer right. In general, a gallon of paint will cover roughly four hundred square feet, but you can be even more precise. Plenty of paint companies, like Benjamin Moore, offer a paint calculator. You simply plug in your room’s dimensions, and the number of doors, and windows. The calculator does the rest.

2. What Type of Finish Works Best for Your Room?

You probably don’t spend a lot of your time going over the difference between a semi-gloss finish, and an eggshell finish. Matte finish is a pretty easy one to keep track of, but even then you’re not quite sure what its advantages are.

The key to knowing what finish will work for your project is to consider the function of the space. For high-traffic areas you want something that is more durable. In paint terms, durability is derived from the sheen. High-gloss, semi-gloss, and satin finishes are all easier to clean, and therefore more durable in the long run.

That makes higher sheen paint better for areas like kitchens, and family rooms. Any place that gets a lot of use, and encounters lots of hands, is a perfect candidate for a higher sheen.

Eggshell finishes are less durable, and have almost no sheen. You might like the aesthetic of a matte finish, but you might want a paint that can work in a dining room, or living room. Eggshell is perfect for that purpose. It has a nice flat finish, but it’s still more durable than a matte.

Matte finishes work well in low-traffic areas like the master bedroom. Their primary advantage is that they have the most pigment meaning they can cover the most space, and cover the most imperfections.

3. How Do You Pick the Right Color?

Most places, like the Home Depot Paint Department, will not take back custom mixed paint. That means you have to be sure about the color before making a purchase. Consider the paint-shaking machine your point of no return.

That makes your paint choice a big commitment right from the very beginning. Before you even spread a coat on your walls, you are already dedicated to it. That is, unless you want to make multiple paint purchases, and waste time, and money. You don’t want to do that, do you?

There’s no surefire way to always pick the correct color, but start by spending some time observing the space. What’s the lighting like? What’s the mood of the room? How fun, or serious do you want it to be?

You’ll also want to consider the other rooms in your home. You don’t necessarily need a consistent color scheme throughout every room, but you want your home to feel cohesive. The room colors should make sense when considered together.


Also consider why you are painting. Are you looking to simply freshen up a neutral tone that’s gotten worn and dirty? Are you trying to transform a drab space with dull floors by adding something bright and colorful? Considering all of these factors will help make sure you pick the color that is right for your space.

Pick Your Paint with Confidence

Once you’ve spent time thinking these questions over, you are finally ready to step into a paint store, and start making decisions. You will probably still have questions, and you’ll probably still need a little guidance, but you won’t be overwhelmed or intimidated.

Feature image via Sherwin-Williams

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