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KidSmart Style: The Best Paint Choices for Kids Rooms & Other Busy Areas

KidSmart Style: The Best Paint Choices for Kids Rooms & Other Busy Areas

We've been asked by several website visitors and customers which paint type and finish is best for nurseries and kids' rooms. The staff and contributors to KidSmartLiving seem to make a hobby of painting our homes, and while we're not professional painters, we do feel qualified to tackle this question. Happily, it's an easy answer...

When painting interiors in a busy family home, paint formulation and finish have as much impact on long-term satisfaction as color choice. Happily for parents, selecting paints and finishes that can stand up to busy kids is not difficult, as long as you're armed with a few facts about interior paint types and decorative faux finish options before shopping.

Here's a look at the basic differences between interior paints commonly found in home improvement stores, plus some low-maintenance ideas for painting high-traffic areas and busy kid spaces.

The Basics: Interior Paint Types and Finishes
Latex paint and oil-based enamel paint are the two most common paint types used for home interiors. Latex is water-based thus easy to clean up with water when painting, versus oil-based enamels which clean up with thinners. There are some differences between the two paint bases, some may argue that oil-based paints are more dirt-resistant, but for interior home painting purposes durable, fast-drying and easy-cleanup latex paints are usually ideal.

Interior paints also come in several finishes, referred to as "sheen," which describes the amount of reflection or shine the painted surface has when dry. Listed here from the lowest sheen to the highest sheen, paint finishes range from; flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss. Semi-gloss or gloss is usually reserved for trim and bathrooms where you might want a brighter, harder finish. Walls generally are painted in a less glossy finish, usually flat or eggshell.

Best Choices for Durability and Cleaning
Years ago, people chose a shinier satin or semi-gloss wall finish for dirt prone or high-traffic areas since it was easier to clean. Nowadays, flat and eggshell wall finishes are desirable for most home decorating looks and paint manufacturers have responded with easy-cleaning "scrubbable" versions of these low-sheen finishes. So style-conscious families no longer need to sacrifice finish for function, the new scrubbable flat or eggshell paints are ideal choices for use in both high-traffic areas and kids' rooms.

Consider Faux Finishes for Worry-Free Kids Rooms
Faux finishing, such as ragging or sponging is a fun, creative and less-worrisome finish for kids' and family rooms. In addition to the variety of textures you can easily create, faux finishes tend to hide dirt and fingerprints. And if disaster strikes in the form of a crayon, it's easy to camouflage with a few strategic sponge pats. When painting a base coat to faux finish over, choose a satin or semi-gloss which won't absorb the top coat too quickly, allowing you to get creative with the faux finish.

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