50 Shades of Gray Paint

4-things-you-need-to-know-about-paintBI’ve spent the past few days mulling over paint colors, calling contractors and gearing up for a labor-intensive weekend.

If there’s one thing that can make an absolute difference when you move into a new home, it’s a fresh coat of paint. You can clean until your fingers are numb, but to me, new paint is the only way to really start fresh. I’m talking walls, ceiling and trim–the whole works… Out with the old, in with the new!

When we moved into our house in Denver, Mike called me “50 Shades of Gray” for nearly three months because I insisted on painting every room gray. Aside from selecting the perfect shade, I actually had no idea what I was doing. I accepted the assistance of the nice older lady working in the Lowe’s paint center, and may have over-trusted.

She was convinced that we would need at least eleven gallons of Quill (shade #1) to cover the main areas of the house. When we had finished painting the house, we still had an entire 5-gallon bucket that we hadn’t even opened.  (Whoops.) A year later, we painted the entire basement with the same Quill gray, and still had at least two gallons left over…

From that experience, here are the lessons I learned:

1. Tint the paint as you go. You can totally return paint before the color is added, but once you buy 11 gallons of Quill you’re stuck with it. If it makes sense (i.e. Sherwin Williams 40% off sale! What.) go ahead and buy a lot of paint, tint as you go, and then return what you don’t need.

2. Start small. If you don’t need to buy it all at once, then just start small and buy more if you need it.

3. Two coats isn’t really two coats. It’s more like 1 1/2. You only use about half of the paint on the second coat, so you may not need as much as you calculated.

4. Calculator, schmalculator. There are a lot of different factors that can determine how much paint you use. Climate, wall surface and the color underneath are all contributors, so just know that your math is merely an estimate.