How to paint walls: a guide to paint selection and application techniques

A great way to quickly and radically update your interior is to repaint the walls. We talk about how to choose the appropriate paint color, calculate its quantity, and also list popular decorative painting techniques.

Among the monotony of everyday worries, sometimes it is so important to look at your home from an unusual angle, find an original way to color the interior and create an environment that will bring something new into everyday life. And modern paints will help with this. In addition to unlimited opportunities for creativity, they will certainly inspire many to implement their own ideas (of course, taking into account the recommendations of experts). 

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Feel free to use paints with different degrees of gloss (compatible, preferably from the same manufacturer), making the surface play and reflect light in an unusual way. Combine dark and light tones – they will create the illusion of depth on a plane, and faded, layered and matte materials will enhance this effect. Combine paints of the same color, but with different degrees of saturation. This way you will diversify the interior without disturbing its harmony. 

In addition, the choice of high-quality paints and varnishes on the domestic market is huge. They are offered by large international corporations and small companies; the most popular products are Akzo Nobel (Dulux brand), Farow & Ball, Little Green, Paritet Decor, Oikos, Tikkurila, and Marat Ka. 

Colorful coatings and special decorative techniques can transform forgotten and unnoticed corners of the house. Today, when the value and price of usable space are growing, this property is very relevant, and techniques for unlocking the potential of underutilized spaces are of genuine interest. 

How to combine different paint colors

Walls form the largest surface area in a room. Therefore, the color of the paint and the method of its application affect the atmosphere of the room. A fashion trend is a combination of colors adjacent to the color wheel (for example, red and orange, blue and green, etc.). It is important that their shades have the same saturation. If the interiors of neutral colors seem boring, they are diluted with contrasting colors. By varying the color intensity, the rooms are given the necessary depth and volume. Still, it’s worth entrusting the creation of multicolor palettes to a professional or using ready-made proposals from catalogs. 

5 tips for choosing colors

  1. Do test paints on site. Use test cans of paint in different shades to make sure that the colors you like on the walls will look like those in catalogs or on the Internet. Test jars of a minimum volume (1 liter) can be ordered online or purchased at hardware stores.
  2. Apply two coats of paint (with drying in between) onto a piece of A4-size white paper. See how the chosen color looks under sunlight and artificial light. Pin the sample to the wall and study it at different times throughout the day. You will notice that lighting greatly affects the perception of light shades.
  3. Remember that wet paint looks different than dry paint. Therefore, wait until the paint layer is completely dry, and only then make a choice.
  4.  Pay attention to which side of the world the windows of the room face. In a north-facing room, most colors appear darker and cooler due to low lighting.
  5. Consider the size of the room: in small rooms, light pastel colors are more appropriate, in spacious rooms, deep and dark ones. Although there are no strict rules in the field of color combinations.

How to choose the right paint color

Dull, inexpressive, or too colorfully decorated interiors tire the eyesight and nervous system. But walls of pure, rich colors can lift your spirits. How to choose the perfect color that suits you? Observe how it is perceived at different times of the day, under different lighting, and then adjust the tone. Consider when the room will be used most often—morning, afternoon, or evening—and choose a shade that looks best at that time. The current trends of the season are earth colors and the whole range of gray. Green, blue, turquoise, and other shades of water, as well as their watercolor variations,  do not lose popularity .

Consider the lighting

When choosing paint, consider the type of electric lamps and the color they create. Lamps of one spectrum can enhance the intensity of the color of the walls (if they are from the same range), while another – on the contrary, makes them dull (if they are from a different palette). Thus, incandescent lamps produce yellow light, which mutes cold colors (changing their shades) and enhances warm ones. Due to fluorescent fluorescent lamps, white walls take on a greenish-blue tint, and warm colors look faded. Similar warm-spectrum lighting softens cold tones, and warm ones make them more cheerful.

How much paint do you need?

Multiply the total area to be painted (m²) by the number of coating layers (at least two). Then divide the result by paint consumption (m²/l) – it must be indicated on the can. The resulting value (l) is equal to the required amount of paint. Please note that actual material consumption may differ from that shown on the label, as it depends on the absorbent properties of the surface being painted. If you prime the walls first, less paint will be needed.

Paint application methods

1. Graphic lines

This technology allows you to create ornaments in the form of horizontal, vertical, oblique stripes, geometric shapes, etc. The technique is simple but requires care. Figures are marked with chalk, pencil, and adhesive tape. The latter is removed immediately after painting, while the wall is still wet. The interior will look more interesting and original if you combine several colors and different decorating techniques, for example, line painting and stenciling. The combination of paints and thicker structural coatings will help achieve relief and authenticity in the depiction of flowers, animals, and various objects. 

Tips for cleaning brushes

  1. After working with water-based paint, soak the brushes in warm water for 2 hours. Then rinse with water, wipe with a clean cloth, and store in a dry place. Ideally, in a suspended state, with the bristles down. 
  2. After working with solvent paint, pour the solvent into a small container and immerse the brush in it so that the product reaches the base of the bristles. The instrument is left in the liquid for 2 hours. Then rinsed, dried with a clean cloth, and placed in a dry place. 
  3. If the painting work is not finished, but a break is necessary, remove excess paint from the brush with a cloth, wrap the bristles in cling film or a plastic bag, seal its edges with masking tape, and place in a cool place. In this form, the instrument can be stored for no more than two days.
  4. Do not use the same brush to apply different types of paints and varnishes, even if it has been thoroughly washed with the appropriate composition. 

2. Colorwash

Colorwash is a quick way to make monochrome walls more expressive. Their surface becomes transparent, similar to a watercolor painting. Depending on the chosen color, the paint layer appears bright and intense or, conversely, pastel and airy.

First, interior paint, for example, “Harmony” (Tikkurila), is applied to a flat, primed wall and allowed to dry. Then mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio and apply the composition to the wall with a sponge using light circular, “washing” movements or lightly rub crosswise to shade the colors.

Keep in mind that thinned paint will leak, so handle the tool with care.

One area is treated until the composition stops leaking, but for the pattern to remain clear, the work should not be delayed. Thinned paint dries quickly. Therefore, they move on to the next section without waiting for the joints to dry. After treating the entire surface, the composition is applied 2-3 more times, then the paint layer will be even and color-saturated. An unusual effect is achieved by using several shades. The main thing is to remember that the painted surface must dry before applying a new coat.

3. Linen technique

The “linen” technique allows you to imitate rough natural fabric. 

4. Imitation suede

5. Decorating with a roller

One of the simple techniques is decorating with a special roller. Tools of various types leave original patterns on the painted surface. The unusual effect will be enhanced by background and decorative paints of different shades. In this case, the wall is first coated with interior paint of the selected tone and allowed to dry. Then a strip (1 m) of interior paint of a different color or shade is applied to the surface with a regular roller and the still-wet layer is immediately decorated by rolling it with a decorative roller. Then they begin to paint the next strip, covering the area to be finished so that it remains wet.

It’s more convenient to work with two people: one applies paint to the wall, and the other decorates the surface with a roller. Remember to periodically clean the roller by rolling it on a clean sheet of cardboard or wiping it with a damp cloth. By the way, you can make a coat for a roller yourself – by wrapping a regular roller in fabric, suede, or a plastic bag and securing the material with a rope. 

5 Tips for Roller Painting

  1. Choose a roller of the appropriate size with the desired coat. For water-dispersion, acrylic, latex, silicate, and silicone paints and varnishes, rollers made of very flexible and soft natural fur (sheepskin, goat hair, which is sometimes called mohair), which absorbs and holds paint well, as well as foam rubber (maltoprene, flock) are suitable ). 
  2. For the paint to lie on the wall evenly and without smudges, before applying the composition, the roller should be well rolled on a special pallet or on a sheet of perforated metal, or, in extreme cases, on a sheet of cardboard or plywood. Then the required amount of paint will remain on the fur coat.
  3. For general painting work, large rollers with a diameter of 38–55 mm and a length of 140–250 mm are most often used. The most common type, loved by both professionals and amateur painters, is medium or midi rollers, with a base diameter of 33 mm and a length of 100–160 mm. Small rollers with a base diameter of 15 mm, lengths from 55 mm to 150 mm are suitable for painting small or hard-to-reach surfaces, including corners. 
  4. Do not use the same roller to apply different types of paint, even if it has been thoroughly cleaned with the appropriate solvent.
  5. If you need to protect the roller from drying out for several days, carefully pack it in a whole plastic bag and tighten it tightly.

6. Hand painted

Fans of unusual wall designs often turn to such a decorative technique as painting. Complex artistic works are entrusted to professionals. However, be prepared for the fact that the starting price for 1 m² of painting is 30$. However, today such techniques are becoming more accessible and easier to use, for example, when using a stencil or projecting a picture on a wall using a video or slide projector. In the latter case, it is easy to adjust the size of the elements and the number of their repetitions. These simple techniques will reduce design time, especially if you apply the image not to the entire wall, but to part of it.  

7. Stencil

Stencil painting is the most convenient way to decorate an interior. Drawings on the walls, borders, or large images covering the entire surface of the walls, which are placed symmetrically or in random order, become part of the interior and are quite capable of replacing paintings and other design elements. So, a border around the perimeter of the room will give integrity to its design. A regularly repeating pattern will help create an imitation of wallpaper. The image will become more natural if you use several different colors, place elements in layers or partially overlay them on each other.  

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