What’s Best For a Mess?

by Quinn Larson

It’s early morning and the rising sun is pouring its light through your windows and across the room’s interior.  Cup of coffee in hand you contemplate the glorious brilliance of morning and, what has now revealed itself- a smear of unknown constitution and origin on the wall.   Morning tranquility quickly dissipating into morning irritation, you take a breath, a large gulp of coffee and trek off to the kitchen to once again to gather a bottle of spray cleaner and the cleanest sponge you have. 

Kids are messy.  Depending on their age they may lack the motor skills which would enable them to walk five steps without spilling something, or they might be rebelling because they think the current wall color is in need of some coolness factor.  Or, perhaps they were just overcome by that strange other worldly force that inexplicably draws writing implements, dirty hands and food items towards pristine blank walls.

What paint finish is the best then to withstand the onslaught of culinary projectiles and the artistic exploits of budding Picassos you ask? The rule of thumb for paint sheens is, the shinier the stronger.  Matte sheens such as Flat and Flat Enamel, though they have easy clean and scrubbable attributes, are not necessarily the best line of defense for a home of mess makers.  For messy family members it might be preferable to start with a finish that can provide a bit more durability.  Eggshell is a popular choice in finishes as it maintains an appearance that could still pass for flat (good for hiding wall imperfections), yet it has added durability and resists dirt and grime better.

Satin and Semi gloss are tough sheens that are very durable.  Not only do they resist dirt, but also moisture and wear.  These sheens are preferable in areas where there is heavy traffic (an entry), moisture (the kitchen/bath), or where walls may be subject to marker, paint or crayon -where you might be scrubbing vigorously (your little one’s room).  The trade off for increased dirt resistance with these finishes is that they show wall imperfections more so that flats do.

If you know that your family is going to be hard with your walls, buy an extra quart or gallon for touch ups later on.   If your touch up paint is mixed at the same time as your wall paint, it will match better than purchasing and mixing a new quart at a later time.  Store your paint properly and it can happily last several years.

Colorfully Yours,



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