Angie's List: Color your life: Time to give your home a lift

Home improvements can be overwhelming, but a quick paint job will give your house a new look and increase the value of your home.

According to a poll by the consumer review website Angie's List, 57 percent of people who responded said they are planning an aesthetic home improvement this year. The paint in and on our houses can take a beating over the years, so a simple upgrade can transform the look and value of your home.

If you want to hire a professional for the job, Angie's List suggests getting multiple estimates. "Be sure that you understand what it includes. Does it include prep work? How many coats of paint will in entail? What products will they be using?" says Angie Hicks, creator of Angie's List.

Hicks also warns that if your home was built before 1978, you need to hire someone who can prove he or she has current federal certification to deal safely with lead paint. If lead-based paints are removed improperly, it can produce lead dust which poses serious health dangers.

Angie's List also has some tips for handy readers who want to tackle the job without hiring help.

  • Popular colors: Earth tones tend to be popular choices for both the interior and exterior of the home. However, the exterior tends to be the easiest part to choose a color for because there is less space to cover and fewer outside factors to consider. For the interior, shades of red tend to be the color that homeowners get tired of most. If you're weary about red but really want to incorporate it into your home, try a smaller dose of it. You can try using red for an accent wall or trim instead of as a base color.

  • Maximize your space: Darker colors can make a room feel smaller. If you want to incorporate a darker, bolder color into your home, use it on just one wall as an accent and choose a lighter color for the others. Professionals usually match the accent colors to the furniture you have in your home. You can do this by taking note of the color schemes that already exist and them matching them up with paint colors.

  • Stick with names you know: Brand-name paints have the durability to last a long time and they'll likely be around should you need to buy more for touch-ups down the road. Brand-name paints are often grouped in color families, and accent colors are suggested for use with main colors. This is helpful when painting trim and other smaller areas of the exterior.

  • Painting vinyl siding: It's vital to use the right type of paint to make your project a success. A good rule of thumb is to choose a color lighter than your current vinyl siding. Painting with a darker color may cause the siding to absorb too much heat, which can cause it to warp if exposed to hot sun. One downfall to painting vinyl siding is that some manufacturers will void your warranty if the siding has been altered in any way. If you are worried about losing your warranty, you probably shouldn't paint your siding.
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