Choosing paint should involve thought, but too many of us just run to the home center, pick a color and start slapping it on. Here are things to consider:

1. Go online before hitting the store. Manufacturer and retailer websites and Facebook pages offer a wealth of tips on choosing colors, including photo galleries of finished rooms and calculators to help consumers figure out how much paint they need.

2. Find the perfect color. Certain hues are specific to a brand, but retailers can often match colors. Formula books and color-matching technology mean consumers don’t have to rely solely on the skills of a salesclerk, though one with a good eye and mixing equipment with clean nozzles may be able to match colors, too.

3. Match sheen to surface. The best low-luster satin and eggshell paints offer easy hiding and durability, making them ideal for most surfaces. Flat paints hide flaws better but are less resistant to stains and smudges, so use them in low-traffic areas. Semigloss works well for trim and other surfaces that don’t need to be wiped frequently, because repeated cleaning will dull most finishes.

4. “When choosing paint, don’t assume a leading brand you swore by last time will do just as well this time around,” said Bob Markovich, home and yard editor for Consumer Reports. “Our tests found paints can vary year to year — and a bigger name does not always equal a better product.”

— Alan J. Heavens

Philadelphia Inquirer