Brushing up on the latest innovations in painting

By Melissa Bell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dial it in: A new breed of iPhone applications has taken paint planning to a new level of interactivity. For example, snap a photo of your room with your phone, then use PaintingWalls to see how different colors will look on the walls. Build a replica of your home in the app Home 3-D, and virtually sample wallpapers and paint materials. PaintRemedy helps identify problems, from peeling to mildew, and offers solutions for repairing the area. All programs are available at the iTunes applications store, PaintingWalls costs 99 cents, Home 3-D costs $4.99, and PaintRemedy is free.

Color inside the lines: To get the perfect paint line, tape company 3M has amped up the adhesive tack in its Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape for Delicate Surfaces. The higher level of adhesion keeps paint from seeping beneath the tape and outside the desired painting area. A roll of the tape is available at area Home Depot stores for $5.50.

A Stark wall: Stark Carpets teamed up with British colorist David Oliver to launch its first paint line of 240 colors. Oliver arranged half of the paint deck by complementary colors, numbered one to five. Each paint chip includes a coordinated palette, suggesting the trim, walls and ceiling that work best together. Oliver calls it a version of "color-by-numbers" to ease the confusion of choosing paints. He recommends using a crescendo of tones, starting with the darkest tone toward the floor and working up to the palest tone at the ceiling, to accentuate a room's height. A gallon of the flat paint is $76.70 at

Which white where: D.C. design guru Darryl Carter has teamed up with Benjamin Moore Paints to present a palette of his 48 favorite colors. He'll be talking about his pale palette in a series of videos at Carter said white can be a difficult color to choose because the differences are not very discernible. Moonlight White is Carter's "absolute go-to, always, in every context" for walls. He loves to pair it with the "chameleon-like" Simply White on trim. A gallon of Ben Interior Paint costs $39.99 at Monarch Paint, 2130 Wisconsin Ave. NW, and

Wall flair: Richmond painter Sunny Goode has long helped DIY homeowners add a flourish to their rooms with decorative wall stencils. Now for renters and time-crunched decorators, she has introduced a line of removable vinyl wall stickers modeled on her stencil designs. Our favorite is the Indian-inspired Presley.

A pack of eight is $340 at Sunny's Goodtime Paints, 5703 Grove Ave., Richmond, and

Caulk for one: Prepping for a paint job can be a sticky affair with unwieldy caulking guns. For small holes or tiny cracks in the walls, switch to GE Caulk Singles. The packs dispense the caulk in an even line, just like squeezing out toothpaste. A single pack is $2.99 at area Ace Hardware and Home Depot stores.

Erasable walls: Drawing on the walls has never been this much fun. To avoid the dusty film that painted chalkboards can leave behind, IdeaPaint came up with a water-based paint that turns any wall into a dry-erase board. The Cre-8 line comes in eight colors and can cover up to 50 square feet. Perfect for a brainstorming wall in the study, a memo board in the kitchen or a pint-size artist's bedroom. A 50-square-foot kit will run about $175 at

Keep the odors out: Expectant mothers planning a nursery can breathe a little easier. Nearly every major paint brand has nontoxic paints with no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and no odor. Sherwin-Williams's Harmony line can be ordered in any of the brand's colors. Freshaire Choice has a color palette inspired by the Earth, water and air. Harmony can be bought at Sherwin-Williams, 1120 Third St. NE, for $36.99 a gallon. Freshaire can be bought at Home Depot stores for $33.98 a gallon.

Paint it green: Oregon-based Purdy Professional Painting Tools has made the perfect accompaniment to low-VOC paint: EcoPro painting tools. The brushes, roller covers and paint trays are all made from biodegradable or recycled materials. Even their packaging is 100 percent recycled with soy-based inks. The paintbrushes are $18.79 and the trays are $5.69 at Duron Paint, 1805 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

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