With longer and warmer days ahead, homeowners across the nation are preparing their properties for painting season. Paint is applied for its practical, protective or decorative purposes, but a savvy and well-informed individual will be able to achieve all three outcomes at once.

Paints can be used to visually shape, enlarge and brighten any space. A dull exterior can be totally transformed by a few cleverly-selected contrasting colours. A cramped interior can trick our eyes into seeing larger, brighter rooms with just a few applications of bright, light paints.

In today’s blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the wonderful world of architectural painting to prime you for some gorgeous interior design work this summer.

Let’s dive in…

The components of paint – what’s in your tin?

Like any good recipe, top-quality ingredients make the most delicious and healthy meals. The effectiveness, sheen and colour appearance of your paint depend quite heavily on the quality of its ingredients, and the ratio by which they have been mixed.

To ensure that you get the best mix for your money, let’s take a closer look at each ingredient individually.

A recipe for paint

Paint is composed of three vital ingredients: pigment, binder and solvent. Put in their simplest terms, the pigment is the ‘colour’ component of your paint, while the resin works as the binder and the solvent as the carrier (or the liquid that keeps the paint wet while you apply it). The solvent will eventually evaporate as your paint dries, leaving the remains of whatever percentage of pigment your product promised on its packaging.

Your paint might also feature a number of useful additives such as stain resistance, UV resistance and mould resistance. None of these features will ever be ‘forever’ proof, but with clever shopping and careful maintenance, you’ll be surprised by how far you can get with your fresh coat of paint!

The pigment-to-solvent ratio

You wouldn’t pay for a full tank of petrol if you knew it would only last for a few hours’ worth of driving, right? In the same way, paying for buckets of cheap, poor-quality paint with a solvent-heavy ratio will not get you very far. Cheaper paints can end up costing you more in the long run when you consider the time it takes to ‘make them work’. These less-pricey paints are light on the pigment and heavy on the solvent, meaning they’ll mostly evaporate; leaving you with a barely-tinted wall that requires several coats more before it starts to look like the shade on the swatch that you’re aiming for.

If you’re painting your home yourself, this will waste your time and some money. If you’re paying a professional to paint with these cheaper paints, you’re wasting more money still in the hours it takes them to keep recoating your wall (probably more money than it would have cost to cover a more high-end paint)!

Oil and water – solvent

Each type of paint - be it for interior or exterior use - falls into one of two categories: water-based or oil-based.

Water-based paint products are known as ‘latex’ paints. Many water-based paints contain acrylic (a type of plastic). Acrylic paint is fast-drying and water-soluble but becomes water-resistant when dry.

Oil-based paints are made with either synthetic or natural oils. Your synthetic options will feature alkyd while your natural oil-based options will contain natural linseed oils. The alkyd resin can be thinned with mineral spirits in the same way that latex (or water-based) paints are thinned with water. Alkyd paint is more commonly used in kiwi homes due to its affordability and durability.

When choosing between the two types of paint, there are a few important factors to consider. Beyond its cheaper price tag, oil-based paint is usually the more durable option of the two, but the price for durability is paid through a longer drying time and a more complex cleaning job (involving turpentine or mineral spirits). Water-based (latex) paints are much easier to work with and clean. They also dry much more quickly, making the best option for ‘painting newbies’.

The verdict

In summary, we suggest that you apply oil-based paint to places that you expect to receive a lot of wear and tear. An oil-based paint’s durability will serve you best when applied to ‘constantly in use areas’ such as doors, skirting boards, window sills and draws. For your bathroom, oil-based paint is a clear winner due to its toughness and moisture-resistant properties.

Water-based paint, on the other hand, is perfect for general painting such as walls and ceilings. It is easy to apply, dries quickly, looks beautiful and is extremely forgiving when it comes to cleaning.

blue paint bucket tray2

Paint sheen: Just look at that shine!

Ingredient ratios also determine the glossiness of your paint. The percentage variations of resins, binders and pigments will result in paints that vary from completely matte, satin-sheened, or wet-looking and glossy. A lower pigment percentage results in more gloss, so be sure to observe the pigment value when purchasing your paints.

Each level of paint shininess actually serves more than just an aesthetic purpose. You can enjoy practical value from shinier paints when applied in the right places. Let’s take a closer look at the different shine values of paint; their characteristics, benefits and potential downfalls.

Gloss and Semi-Gloss Paint

As the name suggests, gloss paints give you highly-reflective results. A glossy paint’s smooth surface makes it wonderfully easy to clean; a perfect pick for areas exposed to heavy traffic, fingerprints, grease or grime. Colourwise, glossier paints give bold, beautiful life to any shade of colour. Colours mixed into high gloss paints are more crisp and intense than flatter variations of the same paint shade.

We would recommend gloss and semi gloss paints for the exterior of your property, where their reflective properties will work to deflect damage from harsh sunlight. Gloss paints are also a perfect compliment to the shiny surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, both aesthetically and practically.

The only real downfall of gloss paints is their tendency to draw attention to any surface imperfections. A scratch will appear more prominently upon a glossy-painted wall, for example, whereas a mattified wall can hide a myriad of imperfections.

Satin Paint

Satin paints are a lovely ‘in between’ choice for anyone who isn’t ready to commit to anything too glossy. Satin paints are a step back from semi-gloss paints, delivering a comfortable amount of light reflection and warmth. Unlike its much glossier counterparts, satin paints are less stain resistant while still proving to be more forgiving than more matte paints. In 2018, satin paint has become a popular choice for roof painting.

Low Sheen Paint

Low sheen paint is certainly the people’s choice when it comes to interior decorating. Low sheen paints are the perfect pick for family homes; they provide enough gloss to possess cleaning properties, while still appearing matte enough to seem aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eyes. The slight sheen will still highlight some surface imperfections, so perhaps opt for a more matte alternative when painting an older, more worn wall.

Low sheen paints look stunning on timber, concrete and plaster finishes, so be sure to flirt with the idea of a low sheen exterior when painting the facade of your home.

Matte/Flat or Eggshell Paint

By far the most visually forgiving and subtle paint sheen is the paint that packs no sheen at all: flat paint. Flat paint conceals surface imperfections while effortlessly diffusing light. A surface with an application of flat paint is easy on the eyes and works well on walls and ceilings. Flat paint is a popular choice for older homes and second-hand surfaces, where homeowners hope to hide evidence of wear and tear.

While flat paint stains easily, it is an excellent option for anyone hoping to achieve an elegant interior. We would also recommend flat or low sheen paints for large walls or ceilings, as these areas are best enjoyed when they sit subtly in the background rather than out-shining your decorations and furnishings.

Colour my world

As with most aesthetically pleasing views, it’s always a good idea to let nature guide your design choices. The three main interior surfaces that you’ll be colouring are your floors, walls and roof, so let’s use a clever painting technique to help these surfaces mimic the way we see the natural world.

When walking outside, you’ll generally observe the ground beneath you as the darkest colour value in view, while the sky above is seen as the lightest. Your home’s interior paint colour palette should adopt this natural gradient, starting with dark floors, medium-hued walls, and a light, bright paint for your ceiling. These surfaces work best when you use complimentary shades of the same paint. If you’re feeling daring, you could try contrasting paint colours by selecting paint shades of an opposing nature that bring out the best in each other when combined.

A contrasting paint palette works best outdoors, as an exterior that marries light and dark across its trimmings and larger surface areas can look truly outstanding. For example, you might like to try white window frames contrasted against dark blue painted weatherboards for a sharp, polished look.

From curb appeal to cupboard doors, selecting a paint colour palette that creates a coherent and comfortable atmosphere is essential. If you’re new to the world of interior design and eager to learn how to establish a strong colour scheme, read on!

Composing a colour palette that reflects your personality

Research suggests that our unique personalities tend to inspire our colour preferences. Such is the case for homeowners on the hunt for paint shades; you’ll instinctively be drawn to colours, tones and styles that seem to ‘talk’ to you.

Colour palettes tend to be grouped in seasons. Once you’ve found a season of colours that suits your unique design personality, you’ll have the base upon which to build your unique palette.

You can discover and define your individual colour season with the help of Resene’s ‘What's your colour personality?’ test as well as watching the video below:

The wonders and woes of white

Because of its neutrality and light-reflecting properties, white is the most popular colour choice for homeowners when selecting a paint for their interior or exterior. You’re likely to find an entire paint colour wall dedicated to shades of white in most interior design stores. Needless to say, pinpointing the perfect white can be a little overwhelming.

A well-selected shade of white can retain its trendiness and appeal for decades. If you plan on selling your property one day, a white interior will be an appealing feature to future buyers – it offers a clean slate for colour inspiration.

Understanding the many shades of white starts when you know what has (or hasn’t) been added to your white paint’s pigment. Simply put, white can be cool or warm and light or dark. Warm whites will typically feature a subtle amount of red or yellow, while cold whites are generally left pure, or will feature a touch of black or blue to seem cooler or more ashen.

When selecting a white paint shade, the most important requirement to consider is simply the mood that you wish to convey through your interior or exterior. For the cosiest paint colour outcome, we recommend a creamy white that isn’t too cool or bright. Accumulate a range of paint test pots and apply several shades of white to one wall. Observe each shade throughout the day as sunlight shifts through your home. Take notes and be sure to pick the shade that is easiest on your eyes. Be sure to avoid anything too stark or cool to keep your home from looking like a dental clinic.

Let your imagination run wild with a feature wall

For daring colour-lovers who are eager to experiment with paint, we recommend trying an artistic feature wall. A feature wall can be created by simply selecting one special wall in your home that you can paint with a bold, contrasting colour. Feature walls do well in bedrooms, entrance ways, or behind the TV in your living room. With the help of a few beautiful interior paints, you can create a beautiful feature wall that’s bursting with life and character.

The paintwork on your feature wall is meant to make a statement. It can be one single bold hue or a group of colours that work together to form a pattern. For a more aesthetically pleasing feature wall, be sure to use a paint colour that ties in with your colour palette – more specifically, your ‘accent’ shade.

Exterior Painting - Prep is key!

There are endless opportunities for colouring the world outside your home, which you can achieve with the right paints and stains. Painting, staining and maintaining your exterior can keep your home and deck looking beautiful while working to preserve and protect your building materials from the elements.

The key to getting your money’s worth with exterior paints is finding a type that delivers the following qualities: hiding power and blistering resistance.

As the name suggests, ‘hiding power’ refers to a paint’s ability to achieve coverage. When painting any colour onto the exterior of your property, you’ll want to see that specific colour with no other shade sneaking through. The less layers of paint required to achieve this desired colour on your home, the better! Maintaining this satisfying shade of full and rich colour is another desirable feature found in some exterior paints. If you can find a colour that confidently withstands exposure to the elements, you’ll save yourself a few costly touch ups down the line.

Speaking of the elements, keep in mind the fact that your paint is your home’s first line of defense against wind, rain, mould, sun and sea spray. Each element is going to wreak havoc upon your paint, causing it to eventually peel, crack and blister. At the very least, your paints will fade in hours of bright sunlight (especially if you’ve painted your roof). Preventing blistering can be done by investing in quality mixtures that feature weatherproofing additives such as UV deflection and cooling properties.

While your coloured paint of choice can feature any of the above qualities, you’ll compromise its effectiveness altogether without proper preparation. As they say, a successful exterior paint job is 80% prep and only 20% paint, so invest in the surface that lies beneath your paint to ensure its attractive and effective longevity.

Must be flush

When painting an older home, it’s important to take the time to establish a smooth (or flush) surface upon which to prime and paint. Regardless of whether your home has been previously painted, this step is vital for a long-lasting and professional finish. Whether you’re looking to paint or stain, start by inspecting your exterior for any signs of damage or mould, then get to work on cleaning, sanding and sealing each surface.

Exterior Primers

An application of primer is necessary to ensure your paint adheres to the surface of your home, providing a uniform appearance that’s ready to withstand the elements for years to come. An application of paint primer is especially handy if you’re trying to ‘cover up’ any dark or obnoxiously bright shades – these can be tricky to conceal under just one or two coats of more neutral or light paint! You can apply primer to your home once you’ve successfully cleaned, sanded and sealed the surface. If you have a brand-new wooden home that’s begging for a lick of paint, start with a thorough clean of your exterior and leave each surface to dry before applying a coat of primer (for a long-lasting finish).

Ready for colour!

When you’re ready to paint, you can apply two to three coats of your chosen exterior paint shade. As with interior painting, you’ll have a few options to consider when choosing your paint mixture here; your choices should be influenced by your lifestyle for best results. More on that now...

Flat, glossy, water-based or oil-based?

We’ve already run through acrylic and enamel paints and their differing gloss levels for interiors. Now, let’s take a look at their individual benefits for painting your exterior.

Semi-gloss paints are perfect for family homes that expect to receive a lot of wear and tear. You’ll appreciate being able to wipe away scuffing and dirt on the shinier, more forgiving surface. Flat paints, on the other hand, are merciful on any already-rough surface; their matte finish effectively reduces any obvious bumps and scratches.

In terms of water-based (acrylic or latex) and oil-based (enamel) paints for your exterior, it is recommended that you choose the former over the latter. Oil-based paints tend to become brittle and chalky over their years outdoors, while water-based paints are more durable and retain their colour beautifully. Oil-based paints still come in handy when painting pipework, masonry and window sills, however. They are considered the better paint option for trimmings.

Budgeting for your buckets

Pinpointing a paint quote can be tough. Fortunately for you, the team at Resene have prepared a useful Paint Price Estimating Tool to help you get an idea of how much you’ll be spending on your paints (as per your surface area).

Always get the best quality paint that you can afford and leave painting to the professionals where possible to ensure the quickest and most effective job. Higher quality paints mean fewer coats, and fewer coats mean less time is needed to paint; if you’re paying a professional to paint your home, this will save valuable time that you might have spent on fixing your own mistakes and messes.

The tools of the trade

In addition to your paints, there are a few essentials you’ll need to add to your shopping list if you’re looking to DIY your paintwork. Here are just a few…

Interior Painting Tool Kit

Tape measure: Measure your walls, ceiling, cornice and skirting board to find how much paint you’ll need to order. Typically, four litres of paint will cover just under forty square feet of wall or ceiling surface area, but it always pays to order extra to compensate for errors and future touch-ups.

Primer: To prepare your walls for paint, primer works to ensure paint’s longevity and vibrance.

Stirrer: Always be sure to thoroughly stir your paint before any application with a stirrer.

Pouring spout: Attaching a pouring spout to your bucket will make it easier to distribute the liquid into your paint trays without making a mess.

Large paint bucket with screen: Combine your cans of paint into one large bucket – preferably one that features a screen upon which to roll out some excess paint.

Roller trays: Find a sturdy roller tray with a generous paint well and deep paint grooves that you’ll run your roller over to allow for more even paint loading.

Roller frames and roller covers: Purchase sturdy roller frames in suitable lengths (depending on whether you are painting your walls or ceiling) and a selection of covers upon which to load up your paint. Paint roller covers come in a wide range of textures and sizes, so be sure to read their descriptions carefully to know which will best suit your painting situation.

Angled sash brush: An angled sash brush is ideal for painting skirting boards, door frames, window trims and other such hard-to-reach details.

Masking tape (or blue painter’s tape): Use masking tape to protect edges from paints. Masking tape is a special sort of tape that can be peeled easily without leaving any sticky residue or damage. Masking tape can be applied to light switches, skirting boards, ceiling edges and door frames, to name a few examples of edges you might like to protect.

Drop cloths: Protect carpets, furnishings and tiles with reusable drop cloths. Do your best to find drop cloths that aren’t too slippery to avoid trips and spills as you travel over the material.

paint drop sheet

Exterior painting tool kit

Painting your exterior is a lot more complex that your more straightforward interior. While your exterior can be fashioned with all manner of materials (ranging from bricks to corrugated iron), we’ll be focusing on wood for today’s toolkit advice.

As with interior painting, items such as masking tape, measuring tape and stirrers are still essential. Here are a few extras you’ll need for exterior painting projects.

Cleaning: Before you pick up a brush, be sure to have cleaning supplies on hand. If you’re using water-based paints, you’ll need clean water and rags to wipe up spills and slips. Oil or enamel-based paints require mineral spirits or thinners to clean – be sure to carefully read the cleaning instructions for your oil paints, which are usually provided on the paint tin itself.

Drop cloths: As with indoors, you’ll need to lay down some drop cloths to cover your gardens, paths, deck area and plants. Cleaning paint splotches off your plants is a tiresome activity, so the more coverage you can provide on your property, the better.

Ladder and bucket hooks: To reach every inch of your home, you’ll need a good, sturdy ladder. If your ladder doesn’t come with bucket hooks, you’ll need to pick up a few of these to help you hang buckets of paint at your side while you paint the tallest corners of your home.

Sugar soap and sponges: Clean your exterior thoroughly with these and let it dry completely before you do any sanding, sealing or painting.

Mould killer: If your exterior inspection turns up patches of mould growing on your house, you’ll need to treat this before taking any further steps. You can purchase mould-preventing additives for paint to keep the pesky growth at bay once the paintwork has been completed. Be sure to investigate the ingredients of your mould killer to ensure it won't interfere with your paint – you can ask for recommendations at your local DIY store.

Scraping and sanding: After your walls have been cleaned and dried, it’s time to scrape and sand. Pop down your drop cloths (or sheets), adorn a pair of safety goggles and a mask, and arm yourself with a paint scraper. Work away at the old paint on your exterior, then finish the job with a healthy sanding. Power tools make sanding your exterior a lot quicker, but if you’re borrowing or hiring a tool you’ll need to purchase packs of sanding disks to get the job done.

Gap filler and sealant: There are a wide range of gap fillers and sealants on the market. These products are perfect for filling the scratches, cracks and nail-holes in your wooden weatherboards. Gap fillers and sealants can come in putty or powdered form, the latter of which will need to be mixed before it can be applied.

Primer: Invest in a top-quality primer with excellent weatherproofing properties to prepare your exterior for paint.

Brushes and rollers: Save yourself the awkward task of picking out loosened brush bristles from your paint by investing in a quality set of house painting brushes. Be sure to buy extra brushes so that you can keep clean brushes readily available to replace with your used ones. As your exterior is generally made from rougher, tougher stuff than your interior, you should avoid ‘fluffy’ textured paint rollers if you choose to roll paint onto your exterior.


deck painting

The ideal DIY painting guide, brought to you by Resene

Ready to take on the task of painting your own home? We wish you all the best for your summer painting project! Before you head out there to purchase your paints, be sure to read these handy tips from the paint experts at Resene!

Tip 1: To avoid lap marks, roll the full height of the wall and keep a wet edge

Tip 2: Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent color throughout the room

Tip 3: Let the paint dry, then cut the tape loose for a perfect edge

Tip 4: Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls

Tip 5: Prime and texture wall patches to avoid a blotchy finish

Tip 6: Clean dirty surfaces so the paint can form a strong bond

Tip 7: Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic

Tip 8: Feather out paint where you can’t keep a wet edge.

A good paint job effortlessly adds character to any home, indoors or out. Beyond beautifying a space, paint also serves a greater purpose in ensuring the longevity of your walls, ceiling and doors. When applied properly, paint can perform like a beautiful shield against the elements – Its chemical nature renders wooden surfaces unattractive to insects, and some paints feature hi-tech waterproofing properties that will work to shield your home from wind, rain and harsh sunlight.

Essentially, paint can preserve your home aesthetically and practically. This is why we recommend investing in quality products and taking the time to learn about their application and maintenance.