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Recent surveys show that the bathroom has overtaken the kitchen as the most frequently remodeled part of the home. But unless your plumbing is wanting or your tile is intolerable, you can often beautify the bath simply by painting it.
"In a lot a cases, people remodel the bath not for functional reasons, but just to change and enhance the appearance. If that's the goal, it can almost always be achieved with an attractive paint treatment," said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute.
Fresh paint can enhance any room, but it can work wonders in the bathroom.
Applying a light-colored paint scheme can "open up" the room and make it seem more spacious. Darker paint colors do just the opposite: add intimacy.
Aside from lightness or darkness, there are psychological considerations when choosing a paint color for the bathroom.
Tints and tones of yellow, orange and red, including some browns and tans, are "warm" colors, which tend to arouse and stimulate – helpful in the morning, but not at bedtime. Conversely, "cool" colors, especially greens and blues, are calm and relaxing, creating a peaceful spa-like ambience for a bath.
Warm and cool paint colors can also affect our perception of room temperature. Since we associate yellow and orange with the sun, we may "feel" warmer when surrounded by these hues, whereas a blue or green space can seem cooler. As a result, warm colors are often favored in colder climes, and cool colors in the Sunbelt.
However, color isn't the only thing to consider when painting a bathroom. The typical bathroom is exposed to water, high humidity, and significant wear and tear. For that reason, it's important to select paint that produces a finish tough enough to stand up to these conditions.
Until recently, that meant applying a coat of latex primer, followed by two or even more coats of top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paint. But today, there's a quicker and easier way to complete your bathroom painting by using new "paint and primer" products.
Paint and primer products – also known as self-priming paints – are coatings with a dual personality. Like primer, they conceal the existing paint color, as well as many marks; like paint, they form a tough, colorful finish that is stain-resistant and washable.
Rather than taking the traditional approach by applying successive coats of primer, paint, and paint, you can usually complete a painting project with just two coats of a paint and primer product, thereby eliminating an entire application, saving lots of time and effort in the process.
To get the best result when painting a demanding area like the bathroom, it's wise to choose a paint and primer product that will produce a semi-gloss or high gloss finish.
The higher the sheen, the easier it will be to remove any marks or stains that may show up on the painted surface.
“It's also very important to choose a paint and primer product made with 100 percent acrylic, the same tough binder used in the highest quality traditional paints," Zimmer said.
"Paint and primer made with 100 percent acrylic offers the best hiding and forms the most durable painted surface. These are especially important characteristics when doing bathroom painting,” she said.
If you want to give your bathroom an entirely new appearance this year, maybe all you really need is a colorful new paint treatment. It's a quick and easy way to enhance and beautify one of the most important rooms in your home.
For more information on bathroom painting and the new paint and primer products, see the Paint Quality Institute blog at blog.paintquality.com.
The Paint Quality Institute was formed in 1989 to educate people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior paints and coatings. Its goal is to provide information on the virtues of quality paint as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of vehicles, including television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, and instructional literature.
The Paint Quality Institute is a trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.