Apartment Interior Decorating: How Much Paint Should You Buy?

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Apartment Interior Decorating: How Much Paint Should You Buy?

Staff Writer · Apr 19, 2010

Painting your apartment interior is a great way to show off your personality and tastes. With forethought and planning, painting is easy and quick. One of the biggest issues to tackle prior to beginning painting, however, is how much paint to purchase.

Factors Determining the Amount of Paint

How much paint you need to purchase depends on three factors: the size of the room, the paint color and whether the paint is high or low gloss.

Room Size

Simply stated, the larger the room, the more paint you will need. It is best to measure the room, including wall height, to be exact in your paint purchase. High ceilings and few windows will require more paint than a room with more windows and open wall space.

Paint Color

Typically, darker paint colors require more coats of paint for uniform and full wall coverage. This means that if you choose a dark color you will need to paint the walls several times for them to look their best. Because of this, you will need to purchase more paint.

High or Low Gloss Paint

While low and high gloss paints each offer benefits and drawbacks, which one you choose impacts the amount of paint needed. Higher gloss paints tend to show imperfections more easily, meaning that you may need to use several coats or make multiple touch-ups. Lower gloss paints dry faster because they absorb into drywall easily and quickly, but this does not necessarily eliminate the need for multiple coats.

Most importantly, though, is that the amount of paint you will need is dependent on whether you are painting over a high or low gloss base. Low gloss paints will quickly absorb the new color, but high gloss paint is more difficult for adherence. Not only will the higher gloss paint base require preparation, but also multiple coats.

Typical Paint Needs

A gallon of paint covers 350 square feet. You must calculate the room’s square footage to determine how many gallons of paint you will need. To do so, add the length of all the walls and multiply by the height of the room. Next, subtract the size of non-paintable areas, such as windows and door spaces and then divide the number by 350. The result will tell you approximately how many gallons needed. If you are unsure of your calculation do not hesitate to ask the professionals at the store.

Purchasing Your Paints

You should purchase a little more paint that you estimate needing, at least a half-gallon. This will provide you with extra paint to make up for spillage, cover mistakes and for touch-up work. Purchasing extra at the same time will significantly reduce shade differences as all the paint will have been mixed at the same time.

Once you have purchased your paint, it is time to start painting! If you have prepared and calculated the amount of paint needed for your task, it will be much easier.

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