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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Do it yourself: Giving things a splash of paint

Do it yourself: Giving things a splash of paint

MANY homes and apartments in Cambodia are beautiful, with high ceilings and open spaces, but too often they feel worn and tired. Adding colour to the walls is an excellent way to refresh a room and - although painting can seem like a colossal task - the results are worth the effort.

Choosing a paint color is the first and sometimes most difficult part of painting. Room size and wall space are important factors. Smaller rooms lend themselves well to soft colors and earth tones. Shades of violet, blue and green create the sense of a larger, more airy space. It is often said that blue-green shades are the lightest and airiest. Earth tones - browns, beiges, greys and taupes - add elegance and sophistication to a room while also giving it a larger appearance.

Strong, bold colours work well in big rooms, especially with high ceilings. Reds, oranges and yellows are high-energy colors that bring a room together and create a sense of closeness. These colours are good for common areas as they increase social interaction. Bolder shades add a dramatic effect to a room, while lighter shades create a sense of movement.

Natural lighting plays a big factor. Rooms that get a lot of sunlight can appear hot and small if they are painted in dark shades, and rooms with a lot of shadow can feel cold without enough contrasting colour.

Dulux paints from Singapore are high quality paints, and the Dulux store on Monireth off Mao Tse Toung Boulevard can match any color using computer technology. This store also carries the best painting supplies and has over ten years experience in the business.

On a roll

After you have decided on colours, you'll have several options of quality and sheen to chose from. Satin, eggshell, matte, flat, semi-gloss and high-gloss are different types of sheen. The best interior paints are eggshell and matte. Eggshell reflects light more but it can also appear a bit shimmery, so it's best for lighter colours. Matte gives the paint a flat, dull appearance and is better suited for darker colours. Ask which types of paint are easy to clean, as some will spot when washed with water.

The basic tools you'll need are brushes, rollers, masking tape and a putty knife. When choosing brushes, make sure that the bristles are even and solidly held in the brush. Nylon brushes with longer bristles are best. There are a huge number of roller covers and handles to choose from, and the first thing you will want to do is test the roller handle for rigidity. A weak handle will leave lines when it rolls the paint onto the wall, so try to find one that doesn't flex. Roller covers differ in their nap, and the texture of the walls will determine what nap to use: longer for porous or uneven walls, and shorter for smooth walls. Buy the widest masking tape available and a narrow putty knife.

Before you begin painting move everything out or to the centre of the room and cover the floor. Make sure that all surface areas are clean and dry including door and window frames. Mask off the floor, electrical outlets and door and window frames using the putty knife to press the tape down especially where it meets the wall. Paint from the top down and start by cutting in the ceiling. Find a container to paint from - do not paint directly from the can. A cut-up bleach bottle, for instance, has a handle and is a good size.

When cutting in, try not to have too much paint on the brush and slowly work around the edge of the wall where it meets the ceiling. This is the most skilful part of painting and requires a steady hand. Keep about a half-centimetre from the ceiling and paint about ten centimetres down the wall. Next paint corners and around all taped areas.

The key to a good rolling job is making sure that the roller is not over-saturated with paint. It helps to fill the paint pan only about half full. Keep the pressure on the roller firm but not heavy. Use long vertical strokes and watch out for thick paint lines that your roller might leave. After the first coat has dried, go back with the brush and touch up any thin spots. After the first coat is dry, apply a second, and then sit back, relax and have a glass of wine in your bright new space.

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