Save on mistakes with test coats

Shopping With The Experts

Your Money

October 24, 2004|By Laurie Squire

The product: interior paint.

The expert: Debbie "the Queen of Paint" Travis - TV celebrity (Debbie Travis' Painted House, Debbie Travis' Facelift) and author of several best-selling decorating books. "People don't really love white. ... They're just afraid to make a mistake."

What I want: Good coverage. Pricey, but if you don't use a quality paint, you'll end up using more.

I must have: Matte with a chalk finish is lovely. ... Light bounces off really well and, unlike traditional flat paint, you can clean it.

What I hate: Paint chips are so bloody small: How can they expect people to picture a whole room based on that tiny paper?! And the neon lighting in hardware stores is not helpful either.

Savvy shopper: Select from a color chart and then go down three shades (paint dries a couple of shades darker than the can indicates). Before you paint, invest in a quart and paint a 4-by-4 section of wall; live with it a few days. Water-based paint cannot go on top of oil. (To test, put a small glob of water-based paint on a wall and leave overnight; if it flakes off the next day, the base was oil.)

My pick: Benjamin Moore Regal Premium Matte ($26 a gallon at Benjamin Moore dealers).

Laurie Squire is a staff writer for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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