“Creative” and “Personal” – a Few Short Tips about Paint Finishes

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Think “Creative and Personal” with these short tips about paint finishes.
Without a lot of discussion, I wanted to present a few concise tips to consider when you’re selecting interior paint colors for your home. Typically, we have three choices for paint finishes (some companies have one or two in between them): Flat, Eggshell, SemiGloss, and High Gloss.

Deep Color Effects

Traditional Family Room by Cambridge Architects & Building Designers LDa Architecture & Interiors
ere’s a good place to use a flat finish for velvet elegance but just be wary of burnishing. Best used in a space that does not have a lot of activity connected to walls!

A special note about using those fabulous deep, rich colors that you want to appear “velvet-y” is that there is the Plus and the Minus:
Plus: Flat finish (in any color) masks many types of surface defects, better than any other sheen.
Minus: The thing to remember when using deeper colors in a flat finish, in any brand of paint, is that the very, very deep colors can ‘burnish’ when you brush against the surface. This means that if your elbow, for example, happens to rub against the painted surface it might make a mark that looks shiny in some lights. On the other hand, a flat finish requires less perfect walls since, being non-reflective, the imperfections are to a degree masked.

Traditional Living Room by San Francisco General Contractors Cardea Building Co.
An interesting treatment in which the beams are wall surface—as they should be!

A few ideas about trim colors

  • Don’t feel obligated to paint all the trim in a room the same color.
  • Think about the purpose of the trim: to accent a particular architectural element, frame a space, or create unity.
  • Painting the trim the same color as your walls, but in a different finish, is a subtle way to add the illusion of a different color (SemiGloss or High Gloss is brighter than the same color in flat, for example)
  • Painting crown moldings the same color as your ceiling, in a different finish, frames the ceiling and defines the space in a subtle way.
  • Painting the crown moldings the same color as your walls adds height.
  • Window trim in the same color as walls opens the space by bringing your focus to the outside.
  • Using a very dark, contrasting trim color in a higher sheen can be a meaningful design accent.

Contemporary Dining Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Cheryl Burke Interior Design
his trim is not super dark but it does stand out beautifully.

A Non-Color Tip
Be sure to use the right type of roller for the job. Deep texture surface of course needs a thicker roller; new, smooth surfaces can use a very short-nap roller. But in addition to fiber depth there are a number of different fiber combinations that are best for using with different materials.

This should apply to any paint brand, from the most prosaic to full spectrum paints like EcoHues.

One Response to ““Creative” and “Personal” – a Few Short Tips about Paint Finishes”

  1. ruth olbrych

    Hey Barbara,
    What a wonderful post. Even though I painted inside of my house last year using a pretty bright pallet, I LOVE that deep gray in the first room presented in this blog. Pure elegance.
    Thank you for sharing your expertise and passion for COLOR!


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