Paint colors & tips from the pros + a giveaway

Open paint cans of differnt colors, photo

Remember last year when I mentioned that I would share my brother Troy’s painting tips? Well, now is as good a time as any to follow through — especially because Sherwin-Williams has proclaimed this National Painting Week.

All this week Sherwin-Williams is offering design, color, and painting ideas at Each day has a designated color with a fun project idea to try in your own home. Best of all, in honor of National Painting Week, Sherwin-Williams will provide one lucky Crafty Nest reader with five gallons of FREE paint! Keep reading to find out how to win.

I paint a lot of furniture, so I’ve offered advice on that subject. But I’m far from an expert when it comes to painting walls. Instead of giving you the same canned advice that we’ve already heard over and over: fill nail holes, paint in a W shape, etc. (yawn), I interviewed two pros who aren’t afraid to name the best tools and colors.

First Becky Ralich, a Sherwin-Williams color and design expert, will share her paint color advice. Then Troy Ewing, a builder and house painter (who also happens to be my brother), will share his best painting tips and favorite tools for getting the job done fast — and right the first time.

Becky Ralich’s color tips

QWhat are some current paint color trends?

APopular colors are blue and teal and shades of tangerine and orange for inside the home. Neutrals in rich, warm shades are being used frequently on the outside of the home.

Bright, colorful Sherwin-Williams paint colors, photo

QPersonally, I’m sick of seeing taupe/tan walls everywhere. Are there other neutral/warm colors you can suggest instead?

AIf you are thinking about warm, neutral colors but want something a little different, Decor White (SW 7559), Sundew (SW7688), Travertine (SW 7722) and Ivoire (SW 6127) are great options, as well as, Netsuke (SW 6134) and Sedate Gray (SW 6169), which are part of our Neutral Nuance color palette from the HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams collection.

Warm neutrals Sherwin-Williams paint palette, photo

QWhat colors would you choose for someone who wants light-colored walls but is bored with white?

AThere are a lot of light colors to choose from aside from white, as an alternatives think about: Summer White (SW 7557), Destiny (SW 6274), Topsail (SW 6217), Sea Salt (SW 6204), Roycroft Vellum (SW2833) or Hinoki (SW 7686).

Pale Sherwin-Williams color palette, photo

UPDATE 2/10/21: Trends and tastes have changed in nine years. Some have not. I still love white walls, but I’m not opposed to pale colors. My house is actually filled with them. And, like everyone else, I love the cool farmhouse hues made popular by Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. Here is a sampling of popular colors that I like. (I would include Sea Salt and Topsail from the palette above in this list as well.)

One of them (Mountain Air) is gracing my kitchen and office walls right now. And Dover White is similar to the color in my living room and dining room. I’m planning to paint the guest room a pale gray.

Pale, cool Sherwin-Willimas color palette, photo

Troy Ewing’s favorite paint tools and tips

I feel compelled to reveal that neither Troy nor I were paid by Sherwin-Williams to write this. It was just an uncanny coincidence that Troy loves SW products. And I just got off the phone with my dad. He said he’s been using SW paint and stains exclusively for 40 years, and he never had a reason to switch. The exterior of the house I grew up in was painted twice in 20+ years, and the paint never flaked. That’s quite an endorsement. Maybe Sherwin-Williams should be paying us!

5-gallon bucket and tools for painting, photo

5-gallon bucket with bucket grid

Paint trays are old school, and they’re a pain because you get paint everywhere. I use a 5-gallon bucket with a bucket grid. Buckets are big, deep, and all the paint stays where it’s supposed to stay.

Paint roller and extension pole, photo

Paint roller frame and extension pole

Sherwin-Williams KWIK-Release paint roller frames are commercial-grade quality. They spin better and have a sturdier handle. Cheaper models bent as I was rolling them. And the quick-release makes roller covers easier to get on and off.

The Wooster 2 ft.- 4 ft. Sherlock extension pole is lightweight, sturdy and just the right length to reach standard height walls.

Paint roller covers, photo

Paint roller covers

I use the roller covers that are sold individually in green packaging at The Home Depot (there is no name brand on the packaging). The cheaper brands and economy roller covers don’t hold or spread paint well. I use ⅜-inch nap for interiors, and ½-inch nap for rough surfaces such as exterior stucco.

Purdy and Home Depot paint brushes, photo

Paint brushes

I think Purdy paint brushes are the best. The brushes made by the same roller-cover manufacturer above are also good. I usually buy the 3-pack at The Home Depot because it’s economical and the sizes are just what I need.

2-inch blue painter's tape on walls and ceiling, photo

2-inch blue painter’s tape

I use 2-inch blue tape almost exclusively because it’s mistake-proof. If you’re not painting the ceiling, and you roll up the wall and your roller touches the ceiling, the 2-inch tape covers the surface area of the roller. You’re covered.

Dynoflex 230 white caulk in a caulking gun, photo


I only use Dynaflex 230 White, for a few reasons. It costs more, but I have used regular painter’s caulking and have had problems with cracks and shrinkage after one week. Dynaflex 230 has Elastomeric latex in it that prevents cracking and shrinkage. It’s paintable too.

Sherwin-Williams paint cans, photo

Sherwin-Williams paint

I’ve used Kelly-Moore, Benjamin Moore, Behr — all the major brands — but I like Sherwin-Williams the best. I’ve never had a problem with SW paint. It lays down on the first coat. The other brands are watered down and require more coats. One brand chipped after just one year — even though the surface was properly prepped and primed.

I like Emerald or Duration for interior walls, ProClassic for trim, and Duration for exterior. They’re pricey, but you get what you pay for.



Make super straight paint lines on
a semi-smooth to rough surface

Mask off with blue tape, then run clear caulking along the tape edge. (Use the same brand caulking as above, just clear instead of white. It goes on white and dries clear.) You only need a ⅛-inch bead along the tape, so cut the tip of the caulking accordingly.

Smear the caulking along tape edge, then paint the surface. Pull off the blue tape within 30 minutes after you finish painting that wall. If you wait too long, the caulking will have time to dry, and the tape will stick. Tape, caulk, paint, and remove the tape all in the same day. (You can also tape the night before.)

The caulking prevents the spreading of paint under the tape. Frog tape on rough surfaces doesn’t always work. This trick does. The caulking tip also works good in corners, such as ceiling-to-wall, wall-to-wall, or where two different colors meet and you want a straight line.


Another caulking trick
for baseboards

When caulking the top of a baseboard, hold your finger at the end of the caulking tip and squirt the caulking out as you go across. Your finger wipes excess ans seals as you’re caulking along the top edge at the same time. Huge time saver!

Taped-off window sill, photo

Don’t forget to do
the prep work

Painting is 90 percent prep work, and 10 percent painting. If you do it right, you tape off every surface: windowsills, baseboards — everything. Remove all switch plates and outlet covers too. And always use drop cloths.


The right way to
paint the exterior

If you paint the exterior of your house with a paint sprayer, always go back over it with a paint roller. If you don’t, the paint won’t last. You’ll have to paint again in a year. If you hire house painters, make sure they don’t skip back rolling the exterior after they spray it.

Remove painter's tape at an angle, photo

The best way to remove
blue painter’s tape

Remove painter’s tape at an angle, not straight on, to prevent peeling off the paint with the tape.

The paint giveaway

To enter to win five gallons of FREE Sherwin-Williams paint, leave a comment on this post telling us what room(s) and what color(s) you plan to paint. The deadline is Friday, April 27, 2012. One commenter will be chosen at random. Good luck!

UPDATE  5/8/2012: My apologies for taking my sweet time to announce the winner of this giveaway! The randomly chosen recipient of free SW paint is comment #4, Claire, who wrote, “My husband and I are planning on painting our stairwell and hallways a grey color in the next month. Maybe that Sedate Grey! Great suggestion.” Congratulations, Claire! The rest of you can all go out and buy your paint now. :)

Crafty Nest paint colors and tips from the pros Pinterest image

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