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Okay, so they’re maybe the most successful band in rock and roll history, but the Rolling Stones got it wrong when they sang, “I see a red door and I want to paint it black.” In fact, I took my black front door and painted it fire engine red! A red door symbolizes hospitality, good luck and refuge and I wanted to make people feel welcome in my home. It also helps me give directions, “It’s the white house with the red door.”

But, doors and the Rolling Stones notwithstanding, color is even more important inside than out. Colors have an important impact on our feelings.

RED can make you feel energized and excited. It can even raise your heart rate!

YELLOW can either make you feel optimistic and “sunny” or irritated. Some studies have even shown that babies in yellow nurseries tend to cry more. (That explains my daughter!)

GREEN can make you feel peaceful because it is the color of nature. It’s even been shown to reduce blood pressure which is why many hospitals have green walls. (And prisons, too.)

BLUE is the most popular color in America and can make you feel calm and cool.

PURPLE comforts and reassures.

BROWN is stabilizing and secure. Think “down to earth.”

WHITE gives the feeling of cleanliness and can make you feel quiet.

But, white’s also a BORING color for the walls of a room! Honestly, when you live in a rental and you’re not allowed to paint, you have to live with the white walls. But when it’s your own place, nothing makes it feel homier than color on the walls. And the easiest, fastest, and most inexpensive way of adding color is with a coat or two of paint.

Paint consists of pigments suspended in an oil- or water-based binder. You probably already noticed that if a can of paint has been sitting around for a while, there is a sludgy substance at the bottom. That’s the heavier pigments that have “dropped out of solution.” For the best results, you have to use paint that is uniformly mixed. Kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

The binder or base of the paint makes a difference. Water-based or latex paint cleans up with soap and water, dries quickly, has less odor, is non-flammable and easier to work with. On the other hand, oil-based or alkyd paint is harder and more durable which is why generally all exterior paint work is done with oil-based paints.

The proportion of pigment to binder in the paint dictates the amount of gloss the finished product will have. As a rule of thumb, the glossier the finish, the more hardwearing it will be.

FLAT or MATTE FINISH helps hide surface imperfections and it’s normally used for ceilings and walls in areas that don’t see a lot of wear – dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms for grown-ups.

SATIN or EGGSHELL FINISH is great for walls that take a bit of a beating like hallways, stairwells, kids’ rooms and family rooms. I also happen to like the soft reflective quality that gives the room a little luster. I used an eggshell finish in my own bedroom.

SEMI-GLOSS FINISH is very durable and stain resistant. Because it’s easy to clean with a damp cloth or sponge, it’s a great choice for bathroom and kitchen walls and on wood trim and cabinets.

GLOSS or HIGH-GLOSS FINISH is the hardest, most durable and stain-resistant finish. It’s the best choice for heavy wear areas like floors, stairs, handrails, high-traffic doors and trim.

Now that you know a little about paint itself, I’m going to tell you the secret to a great paint job: prep, prep, PREP. And that’s all I’m going to tell you for now.

Check in for my next column where I’ll give you the step-by-step guidance to painting perfection. In the meantime, pick out a color for your fabulous new room, throw on a Stones album, and dance around in your underwear.

If you have any home repair questions for Sarit, please e-mail them to To find out more about the wonderful Sarit Catz, visit her website at / Issue 55 - September 2018
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