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When painting a room, don't neglect the closet

The best colors and sheens to paint all the closets in your home

Published: March 04, 2015 05:30 PM

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You may not give much thought to the inside of your closets when painting a room but paint pros say that choosing the right color and sheen will not only improve the appearance of your closet but yours as well. No more reaching into a dark closet and grabbing the navy blouse instead of the black one. Debbie Zimmer of the Paint Quality Institute has some pointers on what to consider when painting a closet and adds that now is a good time to undertake this project since winter has put a chill on other home remodeling tasks.

An open closet. Your best bet with a closet or storage space that’s open to the rest of the room is to paint it the same color as the room or a slightly lighter shade. That way it’s more integrated and less likely to draw attention to what’s inside.

Your primary closet. You’ll want the closet where you store your wardrobe to be bright so you can actually see the color of your clothing. White or a light color are good choices. Choose a paint with a shinier sheen such as semi-gloss, which will reflect more light.

Pantry or bathroom closets. Use a durable paint in your pantry and other closets where you store things that may spill or get sticky. Use a semi-gloss sheen that stands up to scrubbing. As for color, choose one that blends in with the room.

Your junk closet. For those catch-all closets where you stash off-season sporting goods, boots, cleaning supplies, or other gear, think about a darker color that deemphasizes what’s inside. And keep the door closed

Guest room closet. You can be more playful with a closet in a guest room that’s used infrequently. Try a contrasting color. That way when your guests open the door they get a pop of color. Zimmer says that darker colors are more forgiving and can make dust less noticeable.

Best interior paints

If you have leftover paint, painting your closet is a good way to finish the can. If you’re buying new paint, our interior paint Ratings tell you how well a paint hides what’s underneath and how smooth it goes on. You’ll find out how well the paint resists stains, scrubbing, gloss change, sticking, mildew, and fading. Some of our top-rated paints can be found at your local home improvement store.

Home Depot. Behr Marquee Interior, $43 per gallon. This top-rated paint was superb at hiding old paint and impressive at resisting stains, but not as smooth as some. The paint withstands scrubbing, but aggressive cleaning will change the sheen.

Lowe’s. Valspar Reserve, $44. Superb at hiding old paint and impressive at resisting stains, but not as smooth as some. This paint withstands scrubbing and aggressive cleaning didn't change the sheen.

Ace Hardware. Clark+Kensington Enamel, $32. Impressive at hiding old paint, it left a smooth finish but wasn't great at resisting stains. The paint withstands scrubbing but aggressive cleaning changes the sheen.

Benjamin Moore and independents. Benjamin Moore Aura, $54. The most expensive of the top picks, it was excellent at hiding old paint and left a smooth finish, but wasn't great at resisting stains. The paint withstands scrubbing but aggressive cleaning causes the paint to lose much of its sheen.

—Mary H.J. Farrell (@mhjfarrell on Twitter)

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