Selecting paint colors for the exterior of your home can be fun and exciting. However, for historic homeowners, the decision is often more complicated. It’s often helpful to know what the original colors were and then research what is historically accurate. A good place to start is the year your home was built. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, most paints were mixed in small batches using naturally found earth pigments; reds, yellows, and greens. After paint production was industrialized, the pallet for exteriors became more bold and ornate; purple, burgundy, yellows and bright greens.

When deciding to paint a Victorian home, there are two common mistakes. The first is to paint it white as white has the potential of covering the details that are important in this period. The second is to paint too bright, as bright colors and the contrast between adjacent colors is too great. It is important to mention that light, or white, trim colors were not commonly used until the 20th century.

Here are a few general things to remember when choosing paint for your Victorian Home;

  1. Highlight architectural elements by using breaks between colors.
  2. Avoid stark contrasts and excessive highlighting of small architectural details.
  3. Use a transition color to break-up light and dark colors.
  4. Use darker colors at the bottom and lighter colors at the top of an architectural element.

It is important to note that Victorian is a term that covers lots of different styles. Elements include carved columns, gables, gable posts, scrollwork, porch railings, spindles, brackets, ornate molding, and gingerbread trim. Each call for specific techniques to paint effectively. Luckily, Hand On Painters specializes in painting historic homes.


Why do some five-year-old paint jobs peel and flake while others done decades ago look as if they were painted last week? It’s simple: good preparation and quality paint…plus, it was probably painted with an oil based paint. Yes, oil based paints are very durable, but they take longer to dry, and cleanup requires turpentine or paint thinner. Now, don’t start to worry, latex, with the proper preparation, can last for years, plus dries quickly and cleans-up with water!

After some 300 years of use, the EPA is banning most oil-based paints in order to reduce ground-level ozone that can trigger a variety of health problems. However, there are many great choices for non-toxic paints with low VOC’s (Volatile organic compounds). These paints are all safer for your health and safer for our environment! 

Switching to latex can be challenging. If surfaces initally covered by an oil based paint are not properly prepared, latex will not adhere and can flake and peel. Considering that oil base paint will eventually be completely gone it is a necessary step to switch to latex paint wherever you have oil base now. And if the surface was painted prior to 1978, please consider the hazards of lead. Removal of old/lead paint by sanding, scraping or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead and exposure to lead dust may cause adverse health effects, especially in children.

There is a lot to consider and you do have to be careful about who to hire and what products to use. Hands On Painters is EPA lead-safe certified and uses quality, low-VOC paint products that will provide the interior and exterior, of your home with a premium finish that WILL last for years!

CEILINGS…are looking up!

Ceiling paint is often thought of as a necessity, and not a design choice. For decades, white has been considered not only the best but also the safest choice. Fads come and go, generally there are four easy ceiling painting solutions.

#1 White flat is the choice for all rooms big or small, tall or short, bathrooms or kitchens. The reason is white flat paint touches up easily when small repairs need to be made, it also hides imperfections, goes with every color and shows nice contrast. Light painted ceilings make walls feel higher and rooms more open, “frames” color walls and draws attention to architectural features like crown molding.

#2 Add a darker color to a ceiling. This can add excitement and drama to a room. It can also make rooms with high ceilings seem more intimate. It’s often effective for a bedroom or bathroom where you want to relax and linger. Generally, it is not recommended for heavy living areas.

#3 Paint your ceiling slightly lighter than your walls. We suggest selecting a color that is 30% lighter than your wall color to compensate for how indirect light hits the ceiling surface.

#4 Lastly, choose to paint your ceiling the same color as your walls. This can be a real timesaver. No cutting in or masking, less paint needs to be purchased and it help hide odd wall angles.

When it comes to finishes, we do recommend a flat, but higher-sheen paints may be appropriate in some small kitchens and bathrooms. Higher sheen paints do show more surface flaws, but can be wiped clean much easier. One of our consultants can help you raise your expectations for ceiling paint options!


Red roses, red hearts, boxes of red chocolates…the color red is everywhere this month!

The color red is a warm and positive color associated with passion, energy, and action. It exudes a strong and powerful energy that excites emotions and motivates us to take action. It can be energizing and classic in a living room, spicy and appetizing in a kitchen, and a bit sensual in a bedroom. However, choosing the right red can be tricky. Here are some general guidelines; darker reds produce a soothing-calming effect, while bright or golden reds offer excitement. A shade that is too bright or too glossy will be hard to live with over time. Look for inspiration from items that you may own or find appealing, like a red velvet chair or tapestry. Another option, is to look to nature for inspiration. Natural red-clay colors can be very soothing. 

Whatever shade you choose, remember to get good quality paint and be prepared to use a grey prime coat and two to three coats of the red. Give us a call and we would “love” to help you plan your red room project!

Join Our Referral Program!

At Hands On Painters we pride ourselves on our commitment to providing only the highest level of customer satisfaction. We know that a great painting experience is something you will want to share with family, friends and neighbors. 

As a Thank You for your confidence, we would like to send you a $25 Gift Card for every referral you make! Here’s how our program works. Locate and print out the Referral Form in the DISCOUNT & REFERRAL section of our website, fill it in and pass it on to someone you want to recommend to us. Once a Hands On Painters representative makes contact and provides an estimate, they will send you your $25 gift card! But that’s not all…we will do this for every referral you make, provided an estimate is given! It’s a very simple way of saying “Thank You”!


A Gift Certificate from a painter? An extra special gift for all those life changing celebrations!

New BABY coming? Nursery to paint! Want to send a HOUSE WARMING gift? Turn a new house into an inviting home! HOLIDAY GIFT for a newly MARRIED couple? They will think of you every time they enjoy their new room!

How to spruce up your home for the holidays…with paint!

The holiday season is here and, even if you’re not planning on a full home makeover, you might consider some minor repainting to give the interior of your home a fresh look. With a few strokes of a brush, you can really make your home sparkle and leave a lasting impression on all those guests – both invited and unexpected!

Here’s some quick holiday painting ideas:

  1. Repainting heavy daily traffic areas, like hallways, foyers and kitchens can make a huge difference. These rooms get the most fingerprints and scuff marks.
  2. Bathrooms always take a beating. Look up, your guests will, do you have mold growing in the corners? Look down, have the walls near the toilet been clean recently?
  3. Walls look ok! How about your trim? Sometimes just repainting trim can make your room look brand new!
  4. Add an accent wall! Really want to impress? Paint the wall behind the bed in your guest room! Your guests will feel like they are in a fancy hotel!
  5. How about painting the inside of your bookcases?

Lots of people think painting is for the spring and summer, but with the help of our professional team, you’ll be ready to welcome all your holiday guests!

Choosing the RIGHT Paint Color Doesn’t have to be Spooky!

Picking a paint color can seem scary. The paint store paint swatches are too small for you to be sure your paint is a wonderful treat and NOT an ugly trick!

Here are some simple tips can help guide you to the right choice for your specific room. Start with painting sample colors on the walls. Small containers of sample paint are available and typically covers approximately 75 sq. ft. This is enough to visualize the color in your room with your lighting and décor. Now, take time to look at the samples in different light, in the morning, during the afternoon, at dusk and at night with your room lighting.

Specific colors can emphasize certain features and minimize others. A long narrow room will look wider if you use a slightly darker color on the shorter walls and a lighter color on the longer walls. You can make a ceiling appear higher by applying a lighter color to it, or lower with a darker color. Dark colors absorb light, making a room look smaller. While lighter colors make rooms look bigger. To help a big room feel more intimate, paint the walls in colors that are warm, such as red, gold, orange and brown. To help a small room seem larger, try cooler colors such as blue, green or violet.

You can emphasize your home’s unique architectural features, like crown molding, mantles, window/doorway trim, with contrasting paint (lighter or darker than the wall) or by painting them with a glossy finish. Remember, all trim and moldings tend to look best in a lighter color than your walls.

Create an accent wall by painting it a different color. The wall to accent is generally the first thing you see when you walk into the room. Some rooms have a natural accent like a wall with a fireplace or large window. However, if there is not a focal point to a room, you can choose the wall where the headboard of your bed will go or wall behind your television.

Don’t let the wrong color haunt you! Following these simple tips can help carve a smile on your face and save you time and money!

What’s the right finish for you?

Flat, matte, gloss, semi-gloss, satin…sounds simple right? Just choose one! So, how glossy is gloss? Flat sounds dull – who would use that?

Paint finishes matter more than you might think. For instance, if you have a room that has a lot of imperfections, small cracks, bumps and rough areas, then flat/matte is a good option because it does not reflect much light and will help hide these blemishes. However, flat paint is harder to clean. Ceilings are often painted with a flat finish. And if you have an adult home without kids and pets use flat and matte on everything! Eggshell has slightly more luster than a flat finish, but walls will not be shiny. It resists dirt better than flat and can be wiped with a wet rag. Eggshell is good for high wear and tear areas, like, mudrooms, kids’ rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and hallways. Low sheen and satin look best in for living rooms and dining rooms. Semi-gloss paint is tougher than eggshell, so it holds up better over time, but since it reflects more light, imperfections will stand out. Semi-gloss is also a good choice for a kids’ rooms or bathrooms. This finish is also often used for trim and doors. Gloss paint is a good choice for furniture, mantles and built-ins, because of its hard and shiny-durable finish.

A New Look at Doors

Doors: white, black, slate or perhaps a bold red are all a part of past traditions. Now, the color design adventure can include an unconventional color spectrum for your front door. A burst of yellow sunshine can mark entrance ways. Limey-green can brighten a shaded porch and burnt-orange adds a splash of color to white-brick or grey siding. Jonathan