Painting an Apartment

A fresh coat of paint can liven up a dingy room and give a small space some personality. Here you will find some great tips on how to paint an apartment.

In a rented space, a coat of paint over the whole place or on an accent wall can add dimension and interest. Before diving in, there are a few important things to do first before even buying paints, safety wear and welding equipment.

Talking with the Landlord

Before any painting happens, make sure to talk with the property owner. Making any permanent decor changes prior to getting permission means that a tenant may not get a security deposit back.

If the landlord grants permission, make sure to type up a lease addendum or put the agreement somehow in writing. Both the tenant and the landlord should sign this agreement to avoid any discrepancies at the end of the lease term.

Do some research ahead of time and bring some paint colour possibilities to the landlord. Recognize that some buildings, especially if they are historical properties, may have some restrictions on what colour they can be painted.

Choosing a Paint Colour

Painting an apartment, even if it’s just an accent wall, can be an intimidating task. It’s important to do some work ahead of time to make sure that the paint colour is the right choice. Here are some helpful websites that allow users to see paint shades in action:

Ralph Lauren’s paint site divides paint colours into “lifestyle” categories, including Urban Loft and Vintage Masters.

The interactive Room Painter on Glidden’s site lets users choose from a colour palette and apply it to two interior walls. Also includes a “coordinating colour” tool to help pick accent wall or trim colours.

Test out the colour at home prior to buying any paint. Bring home a selection of paint chip possibilities and tape them to a wall across from a window to see the colours in various lights. Or use a piece of plywood and paint a few sample stripes on it. Place the board against a wall to see a little more surface area.

Buying Paint

Once the paint colour has been chosen, it’s time to calculate how much the space requires. Use a paint calculator to figure out how many gallons of paint are needed. Always buy a quart or two over the estimated amount to ensure that there is extra for touch-ups later.

Keep in mind the different finishes available for interior paints. A flat or matte finish is most often used on interior walls. An eggshell or flat enamel surface will provide a bit more gloss and is appropriate for bathrooms or kitchens, where walls may need to be scrubbed more often.

Remember that there’s always the option to darken or lighten shades. Talk with a representative in the painting or home improvement department for advice and help with mixing interior paint.

For an eco-friendly paint option, look for paints that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Federal restrictions now prevent paint makers from producing paints over a certain VOC level, but some companies do offer interior paints that come in well below the federally-regulated levels.

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