When I think about painting a room there are two basic ideas or styles:
1. flat finish paint - (not to be confused with the base of paint; flat, eggshell, semi gloss, etc) I am talking about flat painting; applying paint in a single color to the wall. You can use a different color on an accent wall, but pretty much this is the use of one color on a wall.
2. faux finish painting- applying paint in more than one color to the wall. You can use two or more colors, sometimes mixed with glaze, to give a dimensional appearance. This is where understanding tints and shades will really come in handy.
Within the category of faux finishing there are so many finishes or decorative ways to apply paint to your walls.
Here are few faux finishes that you may be familiar with:
• ragging on
• ragging off
• tissue finish
• venetian plaster ( one of my favorites, but the hardest and most time consuming to do)
...the list goes on and on.
Within all these techniques, there are the various tools you can use and styles each painter has that can make each type of finish look so different. Tools, as mentioned above, can be extreme and expensive like the "professional" tools sold in stores, OR the make shift tools that you find in your home. Sometimes the best tools are the ones you have in your house. You do not need to spend a lot of money on tools to get a professional faux finished look, only to learn a few shortcuts and rules to apply when doing it yourself. I will cover tools I have found helpful for finishes in another entry, as this could be a tangent that would be hard to return from!
How do I know what colors look best in my house? What color should I put in the dining room, or the living room? Should I use flat painting or faux finish?
Each style of painting whether you choose to give your room a flat finish or a faux finish, can work in many different environments, with many different decors. Some work better than others - for example, when using a chair rail, you can mix the two styles; flat finish painting on the top section with faux finish on the bottom portion of the wall is a great compromise when you can't decide what to do. This is a good look for a French Country decor in particular. It can also work with other styles of decorating. With the right color combinations, this can be applied to almost any style.
The questions that seem to come up most often are how do I know which I will like, what would look best in the room?
SPECIAL TIP: I suggest you use the experiments ( one for learning about tints and one for understanding pure colors) that I have posted in past entries for color choices. By painting a board in the colors you like and placing them in the room, you will get a better feel for what looks best. Look at these sample boards at all different times of the day, so you can see how the colors will look with the different lighting in the room; morning light, daylight or at night when the lamps are on.
Which you choose to use is all about the feeling you want to get in the room you are decorating.