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Paint experts offer tips, from color to application

Yvonne Pilcher, who has worked at Denny's Ace Hardware for many years, describes the different types of brushes and rollers available for any painting project. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com1 / 6
Paint brushes come in variety of widths depending on the size of the area to be covered. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com2 / 6
A selection of paints fills a wall at Denny's Ace Hardware. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com3 / 6
Chalk-based paints are latex-based and contain chalk and other natural materials. After the paint dries, the granules create a matte finish. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com4 / 6
Denny's Ace Hardware offers home painters a variety of painting "hardware" including this selection of rollers. Rollers are helpful for covering "popcorn" or textured ceilings. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com5 / 6
Yvonne Pilcher, who works at Denny's Ace Hardware in Duluth, describes the paint chip display where customers can find the ideal color and shade for their painting projects. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com6 / 6

Yvonne Pilcher may not like painting her home, but she can tell you how to get it done.

The self-proclaimed "sloppy painter" has been in the hardware business for 38 years, and at Denny's Ace Hardware in Woodland, she helps people prepare their interior paint jobs.

And as outside-the-house tasks slow down, indoor painting picks up, she said.

First, consider the space. Darker walls make a room feel smaller, while lighter walls open a space up.

Avoid orange and red in the bedroom or bathroom. "Red pumps up adrenaline and stimulates appetite," said Megan Rivas. Instead, opt for blues and greens. Rivas is a certified color expert and the owner of Room and Flow, a staging and interior redesign company in Duluth.

We associate colors with feelings, and how certain colors make you feel is key when selecting a shade for the home, Rivas said. Before picking the hue for you, consider these color associations from Rivas and hgtv.com:

• Purple: regal, exotic, creativity, mystery

• Blue: connected to sky and water, clear thinking, dependability

• Green: renewal, growth, crispness

• Gray: strength, sophistication, calm

• Brown: nature, richness, warmth

• Orange: innovation, stimulating, boldness

• Yellow: welcoming, enthusiastic, optimistic

• Red: heightens the senses, romance, passion

• Pink: glamour, freshness

Also consider elements in the room such as the trim, cabinets, flooring, countertops, as well as the lighting during different times of day and the direction your home is facing.

"Cool grays don't look as well in north-facing rooms due to low sunlight conditions but look wonderful in sun drenched southern exposed rooms," Rivas said.

Added Pilcher: "Your colors won't look the same at home." So, when shopping for paint, she encouraged taking color chips home before making a decision.

Next, choose a paint sheen according to the room and how it's used.

Kitchens and bathrooms see more spills, so opt for a semi-gloss finish, which has better scrubbability, Pilcher said. Flat sheens are good for low-traffic spaces and ceilings. Matte is easy to clean and good for bedrooms.

Pick your tape and rollers. For the latter, the tougher the surface, the better the grade, Pilcher said. (Think popcorn ceilings.)

There are different grades of tape that promise to prevent the surfaces from paint bleeding through, and there are smaller sized brushes for tending to spaces around window fixtures and doors.

And if a certain color isn't in available, Pilcher can make it onsite, she said.

Ready your paint, brush or roller, tray, painter's tape, drop cloth, and make sure the walls are clean before getting started, Pilcher added. Tape around moldings, and apply one to three coats. One tip: With paint on your brush, slap it on the side of the container before getting started. That'll help you get a better coat and avoid dripping, Pilcher said.

Most paint has no- or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds), so you don't need a lot of ventilation. Just open a window.

If there are leftovers, seal and store your paint in a warm place to avoid freezing. You can tell paint isn't in its prime if it's "cottage cheese-y lumpy," Pilcher said, or if it has an odor.

At Denny's, she sees Northlanders are opting for gray paint with blueish and greenish tones, and we're opting for one accent wall. Paint durability is always improving, and the industry has switched from oil-based to latex, which is easier to clean, less smelly, with less drying time, she said.

And remember hypercolor shirts from the '90s? Well, there's a ceiling paint that goes on purple and dries white. It helps you see where you're painting so you don't miss a spot, and there's the added bonus of a purple ceiling when you shower.

There's also new lines for what goes inside your home. There's chalk paint — different from chalkboard paint — for furniture, including couches. There's also powder paint and cracked finish paint — for an aged look. It can be used on glass, metal.

In Rivas' home, she's painted gray, white and beige walls with accent pieces that change with the season. During summer, it's bright pops of green; in the fall, it's jewel tones of maroon, navy or deep purple. She said serene interiors come by pairing complementary colors (blue and orange) or analogous colors (blue, blue-violet and red).

"Every color emits energy and emotion in people," she said.

Melinda Lavine

Lavine is a features and health reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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