With the New Year well under everyone’s belts, many people have desires to update their home. After all, what better time to do so, when you have a chance to start fresh in life? One of the easiest ways to bring new life to any room in the house is by painting. It is cheaper than spending an arm and a leg on multiple accessories or on art to hang, and you can even choose a different color for each room, if you like.
However, when it comes to painting your home, there are some environmental concerns that you should take into account. If done right, you can keep the environment happy and your house will look like new. All it takes is a little extra planning and effort to do the job right.
Put these six tips into practice the next time you decide to pick up a brush and the environment will love you back.
Use Safe Paint
Before even beginning a painting project, do some homework and look for low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints to use in your home. VOCs are the ingredients in paint that damage the environment and can pose a threat to your health if they wind up in the air. For those with small children or pets, low VOC paints are especially important. It is also wise to use low VOC paints if you happen to be pregnant.
A variety of companies offer low VOC paints, so finding them shouldn’t be hard. They usually don’t cost a whole lot more than regular paints, either.
Buy Only as Much as You Need
Determine how much paint you’ll need before putting it up on the walls. Many people have the tendency to simply buy extra, thinking that they’ll use it eventually, but that paint often gets forgotten about and goes to waste. While it can be frustrating to make an extra trip to the store if you do end up needing more, it is better than wasting money in the beginning on what you don’t need.
There are many helpful resources online for determining how to properly measure the amount of paint you need. And if you happen to want some touch-up paint, opt for a quart instead of a full gallon.
Store Your Paint Properly
Keep any unused paint in a cool, dark place. Ideally, leftover paint can be stored inside your home, where the regulated temperature will prevent it from drying up too fast.
However, if inside your home is not an option, a cupboard in the garage is always the next best option.
As beneficial as it is to to able to reuse any leftover paint that you have, it’s not always a feasible option. In that case, allow any unwanted, extra paint to fully dry up in the can before recycling it. Paint that’s dry doesn’t release as many chemicals and toxic elements into landfills, so it’s better for the environment.
Discarding dried paint without the can also means you could use it as a planter in your garden, or recycle it at an appropriate facility – both are great options to avoid extra waste.
Repurpose Your Leftovers
Remember your days as a young child, when fingerpainting was the greatest way to spend an afternoon? You could mix paints together, creating new and exciting colors. Fortunately, the same can be true for you as an adult. The leftover paint you have in different colors can be transferred into the same can to create a unique color. Use this paint somewhere else in your home or for craft projects later on. Transfer leftover paint of different colors into the same can to create a unique color. You can use this color somewhere else in your house or for craft or art projects.
However, take note from your childhood and avoid mixing paints together that will result in an unpleasant color, making you unlikely to use them again.
Prep Without Purchasing
Covering the floor and furniture pieces before you start painting is a must, but buying new canvases or tarps isn’t. Gather old sheets and tarps you already have to protect your surroundings from paint splatters, saving you both time and money. If you do have to buy something to cover the floor and your furniture, reusable canvas or plastic tarps are better for the environment than disposable plastic.
Adding a fresh coat of paint to any space in your home – even an accent wall – can make it feel fresh and new. Many people even choose to paint small portions of their home in accent colors based on different seasons throughout the year!
While that might not be for you, painting really impacts how your home looks, especially if it has been awhile since you updated. Whatever you do, just make sure you take care not to negatively impact the environment and you can enjoy your home’s new look guilt free.
Gwen Lewis is a freelance writer in Southern California. She enjoys finding new ways to update her home without spending a lot of money, while at the same time staying green. She contributes to HarrisHousePainting.com.