Interior Painting Considerations & Ideas

Few additions transform the interior of your home more than a new coat of paint. Interior paint adds variety, color, and a touch of your personality to any room. Different interior paint colors can also be a great design tool, making larger rooms feel cozier and smaller rooms feel more spacious. Here’s a few tips when it comes to choosing paint for inside your home, so that you can feel confident you’re making the right paint decisions for your interior spaces.

Overwhelmed by the Options?

Most homeowners do feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing paint for the interior spaces of their home. It’s understandable, since there are literally thousands of colors to choose from. First and foremost, look for colors that are pleasing to you. Check your closet and take a long look at your wardrobe. The colors you see there are the ones you feel most comfortable in, and which best reflect your personality. Determining a baseline is always a good place to start, and makes for a great jumping off point when you pick up the color wheel at your local hardware store.

Think Design when Choosing Interior Paint

Besides choosing a color that reflects you, you also want to think about what impact different interior paint colors are going to have on different spaces. Light interior paint colors make a room feel more spacious, and are an excellent choice if you’re dealing with tight, confined spaces. Darker colors work the opposite, and are best suited for larger, spacious areas where you want to reign things in a little bit. On the flip side, darker colors are also more comforting and inviting, making them perfect for entryways, living rooms, and other areas where you entertain guests. Lighter colors lack the warmth of darker shakes, making spaces feel more formal and proper.

To Prime or Not to Prime

Once you’ve decided on interior paint colors, many homeowners are unsure whether a primer coat is necessary before applying the paint. The answer to this question is always “yes.” You might be able to get away without priming, especially if your new coat closely resembles the old paint in color, but a good coat of primer does more than just cover up the old paint. It also provides an ideal surface for your finish paint to adhere to, meaning your new paint job is going to look better, and last longer, than if you use a finish paint all by itself.

Flat, Satin, Eggshell, Semi-gloss, and Gloss

The last decision you’re going to need to make is which type of paint to use in each area. Flat paint is great for uses in areas that receive low traffic, and that you want to de-emphasize. Sitting side by side a high gloss variety, flat paint will be passed over every time. Satin, eggshell, and semi-gloss paints are better for high traffic areas, since they resist staining and are easier to clean than flat paints. And if you really want an area or architectural feature to get noticed, use glossy paint to get that perfect shine. Of course, remember, the glossier the paint, the more you’ll notice imperfections in the painted surface as well. For all these reasons, most homeowners choose the middle ground, and apply a semi-gloss or satin finish for their interior paint needs.

Consider Hiring a Professional Painter

Interior painting is certainly one of those home improvement jobs that any homeowner can tackle on their own. You’ll need the proper equipment (paint trays, tape, good brushes, rollers, ladders, and drop cloths), and a few weekends to get the job done, but this home improvement isn’t rocket science. Still, you might want to talk to a professional painter nonetheless, just to get an idea what they charge, and to mine for any ideas they might have for your home. Professionals are up on the newest design trends, paint innovations, and painting techniques, not to mention they can offer wall texturing and other services that are beyond the reach of most homeowners. If you’re thinking about adding a new coat of paint to the interior of your home, talk to a professional painter about your full range of design and paint options.

Don’t Ignore the Foundation of Your Home Repairs

The condition of every single home relies on the strength of the foundation beneath it and the shield of the roof above it. When a roofing system fails, often the first sign of trouble is a wet spot on your ceiling. So it is with your home’s foundation. When your concrete slab is no longer holding your home perfectly steady, walls and floors can begin to move, causing doors and windows from properly opening and closing, drywall to crack, or your siding to crumble and peel away from your home. More than visible markers, these problems are often the first sign that something is wrong with your home’s foundation.

One, if by Land: Unstable Soil and Shifting Foundations
Your home may seem immovable, but in fact, it’s vulnerable to the immense forces of the Earth beneath it. Geological events can make even sturdy, well-built homes seem like sand castles or cardboard cutouts. Soil erosion, shifting land masses, and sinkholes underneath your home are not things that can be easily prevented, but it is something to carefully watch out for. Quickly identifying problems with your home and having them checked out can reduce the cost of these surface repairs and the cost to fix the foundation itself.

ServiceMagic compiles data on homeowner service requests for each major U.S. city, including foundation repair. Some of the cities known for their loose soil, landslides, and damage to residential foundations include Atlanta, Dallas, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. That said, just because you don’t live in one of these cities doesn’t mean your home is safe from “slow landslides” and eroding topsoil. Likewise, just because you do live in one of these cities don’t necessarily mean your home’s foundation is under eminent threat of damage. If your house showing signs of movement, such as windows, doors, drywall, or siding damage, you should probably have someone look at your foundation for signs of trouble.

Two, if by Sea: Water Damage and Lawn Drainage
A perfect catch-22, while homes on severely sloped lots tend to be susceptible to landslides, homes on relatively flat lots tend to be susceptible to sitting water and inadequate lawn drainage. Gutter damage, poorly designed downspouts, and/or the inability of your lawn to divert water, can cause water to surround your foundation. This can, in turn, lead to basement flooding, soil erosion, and freeze/thaw cycles that can actually cause cracks in your concrete slab. Water damaged foundations tend to create even larger headaches than those of slow landslides, but water damage is also more easily preventable. So long as you keep up on your guttering system in good working condition, get semi-annual roof inspections, and watch out for the build up of water on your lawn after a heavy rain, chances are you’ll be able to identify and fix problem areas before they fester into costly damage.

If your home is on uncommonly flat terrain, you may some trouble keeping the water off your lawn and away from your foundation. Installing a drainage system isn’t difficult but finding out where this water can be diverted is often a bigger issue. You can’t simply point a trench drain at your neighbor’s lawn. Local governments also tend to be reluctant about letting you divert your rainwater runoff into a municipal sewer system. As a final resort, you may need to dig and install a dry well that will send your runoff into the groundwater. Installing a dry well requires securing a building permit from state of federal environmental agencies.

Fighting Back: Mudslinging
Actually, the professionals call it mudjacking. Regardless of what initially caused problems with your home’s foundation, the ensuing expansion, contraction, or compaction must be dealt with. The foundation should be raised or altered to its original specifications, but mudjacking is what helps keep it there. This process involves pumping soil-cement using low-pressure hydraulics to ensure the soil-cement will properly fill the voids beneath your foundation. Another method of foundation repair is called piping or piering, a technique that uses steel pipe reinforcements to salvage failed home foundations.

Going Green: Foundations, Retaining Walls, and Waterproofing

When it comes to green remodeling, high profile items like low e, multiple paned windows, photovoltaic solar panels, and ENERGY STAR rated appliances get all the press. But some of the greenest things you can do for your home are a lot less visible— like greening your foundation, retaining walls, or taking on a basement waterproofing project. Whether you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly form of foundation construction, or are more interested in green basement and foundation waterproofing solutions for a healthier home, here’s a handful of suggestions from HomeAdvisor that should help you get off on the right foot.

Going Green with David Johnston
HomeAdvisor understands that it can be tough for homeowners to wade through all the “green” remodeling information out there, which is why we’re happy to announce that we’ve teamed up with green remodeling expert David Johnston to provide you with the best, most accurate, green remodeling advice in the business. David Johnston is the founder of the green consulting firm What’s Working, Inc., the author of multiple books on green remodeling (including the Nautilus Award winner Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time), and he happens to know a thing or two about going green when it comes to building foundations, waterproofing below grade, and even how to add a green touch to things like retaining walls and backfill. Here’s a green project guide from the man himself to help ensure your home is built green from the bottom up.

The Cost of Green Remodeling
Before we get to specific suggestions, let’s take a moment to look at the cost of going green. After all, budget is a big concern on any remodeling project, and rumor has it that going green can add to your bottom line. The truth of the matter is that greening a foundation or waterproofing project is very cost-competitive compared to conventional means, and it can even save you money. And if going green does end up costing you a little bit more at the outset, don’t forget that green foundations are generally stronger, better insulated (which means lower energy costs), and more waterproof, which can save you some major headaches, repairs, and ultimately a lot of money, as the years roll by.

Cost vs. Value: Assigning Worth the Green Way
Despite all that, Johnston is also quick to stress that homeowners should be careful about getting too wrapped up in dollar figures when deciding whether to go green. Why? Because the true value of going green is far higher than any bottom line. Going green with foundations and waterproofing leads to healthier homes, higher quality builds, low maintenance foundations and basements, and most importantly, it means you’re supporting a more sustainable way of doing things and contributing to a better world to pass on to future generations. When you put it that way, it’s easy to see what Johnston is getting at when he says that the true value of going green is impossible to put a price tag on.

Green Suggestions for an Environmentally Friendly & Energy-Efficient Foundation
So, just what are your options when it comes to going green with foundations, retaining walls, and waterproofing? Here’s a list of suggestions on going green, drawn from the wisdom, experience, and writings of Johnston himself, that will help you to increase energy efficiency, reduce your environmental impact, and create a healthier home.

  • Use Concrete that Contains Recycled Waste—The bad news is that cement production is a major source of world carbon dioxide emissions. The good news is that as much as 50 percent of the Portland cement added to concrete can be replaced by recycled waste materials, including fly ash from coal fired power plants, rice hull ash, and ground blast furnace slag. Even better, these additives can increase the strength, water resistance, and durability of the concrete (though they will slow drying times).
  • Insulate Your Foundation Using Rigid Insulated Concrete Forms or Rigid Foam Insulation—Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are innovative interlocking rigid foam blocks and panels that hold concrete in place during the curing process, and serve as an extra layer of insulation for your foundation once things have dried. If you don’t use ICFs, consider adding a 2-inch layer of rigid closed cell foam insulation to the exterior of your foundation before you backfill.
  • Use Environmentally Friendly Building Products—Many products associated with foundation construction, such as petroleum based form-release agents and damp proofing materials, can release harmful VOCs into the air and lead to soil and groundwater contamination. Use environmentally friendly, biodegradable options instead.
  • Reuse Form Boards or Use Metal Forms—Form boards often consist of larger, solid lumber harvested from old growth trees that are discarded after a single use. Use reusable metal forms instead, or save old form boards for use on future projects.
  • Use Recycled Concrete for Backfill and Retaining Walls—There is a lot of old concrete out there that can be broken into blocks and used to build retaining walls or crushed to provide backfill and facilitate good drainage. You’ll save money over buying more expensive materials, and save some useful “waste” from ending up in the landfill.
  • Install Non-vented Crawlspaces & Insulate Crawlspace Areas—Since crawlspaces are uninhabited, outdoor ventilation isn’t really necessary. Unventilated crawlspaces will stay cooler in the summer, and drier in the winter when moisture buildup can be a problem. Furthermore, consider insulating your crawlspace walls and applying a layer of polyethylene sheeting to the floor and walls to keep moisture levels down.

Green Suggestions for a Healthier Home from the Bottom Up
While energy efficiency and environmental stewardship are both at the top of the green remodeling priority list, creating healthier homes is just as important. When it comes to creating healthier foundations and basements, addressing radon mitigation and waterproofing should be center stage. High radon levels are closely linked to lung cancer, while moisture issues can lead to a host of indoor air quality issues, including the development of toxic mold that is associated with everything from immune and nervous system disorders to cancer and respiratory issues. Here’s what you can do to green your new foundation or basement in the health department.

  • Test for High Radon Levels—Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, invisible radioactive gas that leaches into your indoor environment from the surrounding soil, making it particularly dangerous for below grade living areas. How dangerous is it? It’s been identified by the EPA as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., behind smoking cigarettes. Professional and self-administered tests are available to determine if radon levels in your home are at dangerous levels.
  • Install Radon Mitigation—Radon mitigation is a must if radon levels in your home are high enough. There are many measures you can take, including installing sub-slab ventilation systems, airtight membranes over sub-floors in main living areas, and polyethylene air barriers over exposed dirt in crawlspaces. You can also seal cracks and joints in your foundation with caulking or foam, and install a gas trap in floor drains and sump pumps. If radon levels continue to be a problem, a fan powered radon mitigation system is the weapon of last resort.
  • Extend Gutter Spouts Away From the Home—Sounds almost too easy, but this is one of the most efficient ways to divert moisture away from your foundation, helping to eliminate the health and structural issues that excess moisture can cause.
  • Add Gravel Filled Drains (Dutch Drains) at the Bottom of Drainage Pipes—If you have moisture problems in your basement or crawlspace, consider installing gravel filled drainage pipes beneath ground level at the bottom of drainage pipes or in other areas where water collects close to your home.
  • Install a Rooftop Water Catchment System—Rooftop catchment systems collect runoff in cisterns, wells, or drums. They help to reduce the moisture that reaches your foundation, while at the same time collecting runoff that can be reused for landscaping purposes.
  • Properly Slope Landscaping Away from the House—Sometimes the most obvious solution is the most effective one. Making sure that landscaping slopes away from your home is the best way to prevent moisture from infiltrating your foundation or basement in the first place.
  • Install Basement Waterproofing—If these simple drainage solutions don’t solve your moisture issues, you should consider more extensive waterproofing measures, including sub-slab drainage systems, sump pumps, or a more comprehensive moisture mitigation system if necessary.

Which Shade of Green is Right for You?
While thinking green when it comes to foundations, retaining walls, and below grade waterproofing is a smart choice for your pocketbook, your home, your health, and the environment, it’s not unusual for homeowners to feel a little overwhelmed when presented with the full scope of green remodeling options. If you’re feeling unsure about how green you’re willing to go with your upcoming project, there’s no need to worry. Going green is not an all-or-nothing proposition, whether you decide to test for radon and extend your rain gutters, or go all out with recycled content concrete, full basement waterproofing, and a radon mitigation system.

Interior Painting Provides a Fresh Perspective

Interior Painting Provides a Fresh PerspectiveMost homes, whether new or pre-owned, are originally designed to attract potential homeowners, and the best way to draw people into a house is to make it look like they could possibly live there. To do this, home builders and realtors intentionally create a neutral look, which means light-colored carpets, wood cabinets, beige countertops, and most importantly, there’re going to be lots of white walls. However, when you move into a new house, you want to make it feel fresh and comfortable, and there’s nothing more boring and lifeless than being surrounded by drab interior painting.

Get the White Out
As we’ve said before: never underestimate the power of a fresh coat. Though white walls can certainly open up a space, if every surface lacks color, it can also feel claustrophobic. They can be neutral and modern, but white walls also tend to look institutional and impersonal. Plus they’re hard to keep clean and they quickly reveal any imperfection. You always want your home to feel, well, homey. And the only way to do this is to give your walls a splash of life. And don’t fear brave color choices: bold statements often lead to pleasing results. Here are some tips to help you get started in your color quest.

Selection Stress
The toughest part of interior painting is the selection process. What color works best for which walls? What will each room cost? To ease the stress, always focus on one crucial design principle: Matching.
Match Your Taste: Don’t worry about color coordination. It’s your house, so don’t listen to anybody’s opinions but your own. You’re the one who has to look at the walls everyday, so choose whatever is most appealing to you and you alone.
Match Your Décor: If you don’t know what you want, look at rest of the house. Consider your furniture, decorations, and style and harmonize with other room colors. Think about borders or wall paper and how to make everything feel uniform.
Match Your Mood: Each room comes with a different mood. A family room wants to be active, a kitchen wants to be airy, an office wants to be studious, and a bedroom wants to be cozy. Make sure you match the ambiance of each room’s function.
Match the Size: Think of the room size and how interior painting will affect it. Darker colors are moodier and cramp an area, whereas lighter colors can open up a space, so be careful about color shades as you make your selection.

Daring Design
After most homeowners get their paint swatches, debate different shades, and make a final selection, people tend to have a very universal concept about interior house painting: cover the entire room in one color. But why not get more creative? Don’t be afraid of experimentation. Unique, custom paint jobs have become quite popular and can really make a room pop. Here are some creative options you may want to consider:
Accent Walls: Accents have become a growing trend in interior home painting. In fact, you can actually compliment your other three walls by covering a fourth wall with a bolder, contrasting shade.
Faux Finishes: Creatively texture your walls in order to create mood and depth.
Murals: Turn your walls into actual artwork. Hire a professional artist to paint a picture in the nursery. Use stencils to create a new border in the kitchen. Or maybe rubber stamp a striking pattern across your bathroom wall.
Unusual Surfaces: Why not paint your floors, ceiling, tile work, cabinets, or wood paneling? It may be interesting to turn these overlooked areas into unique focal points.

Professional Interior Painting
When it comes to custom paint jobs, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional. They are better trained to work on uncommon projects. In fact, when it comes to any interior home painting, professional painters are well-equipped with experience and know how to deal with taping, trim work, baseboards, and any other problematic dilemmas. But even if you hire a pro, there are still some things you can do to prepare for their arrival:
Room Removal: Before you paint, always remove all furniture and wall fixtures, including towel bars and electrical outlet covers.
Lay the Groundwork: Put down and secure a drop cloth to protect your floors. Also, fill in any holes and thoroughly clean the walls.
Prime the Project: You may have to use primer to make the project go faster. If you’re going to apply a lighter color over pre-existing dark hues, bright shades, or oil-based paint, you’ll always need to prime your walls first.