Your Most Common Paint Questions Answered

Q&A with Mark Masica, Hirshfield’s Color Services Manager

Q. When someone is looking to remodel an entire room (or start from scratch), where do you recommend they begin?

A. I suggest choosing the most expensive item first, then finishing with paint to tie everything together. With paint, you have the most options, and it’s the least expensive design element.

Q. Is it always necessary to prime before painting? 

A. Always prime any new surface. Self-priming products work great if the walls are in good shape. Apply two coats and you’re done.

Q. What are “necessary” supplies needed before painting a room? What supplies/tools might make the job easier?

A. Using a quality paint is the most important “supply.” A quality roller, brush, and disposable tray liners are must-haves. If you’re painting a ceiling, using an extension pole and rolling in front of you (so that you’re not getting a face full of paint) are helpful tips. Cover anything you can’t remove from the room with plastic. Preparation is 80 percent of the painting project; the easy part is actually doing the painting. My favorite tip is using tapes with self-sealing edges. Pre-wet them with a rag and your edge will be razor sharp.

Q. What do you take into account when someone is debating between different colors or shades? 

A. Room size, sun exposure, what mood the customer is looking to achieve, as well as any fixed assets—areas of color that will not be painted, inside or out. Taking these into account creates a harmonious space.

Q. When do you recommend that customers buy a sample first? 

A. Always! I—even after four decades—personally do this before painting. Remember light in your room is unique to that room and affects color. Today there is no reason to make a bad color choice.

Q. What color is the most challenging to look true to its paint chip color?

A. Today, with everyone using grays, the most common problem is that it looks too blue. People can easily get a first-read on color, but it’s the undertones that can be a challenge. You can’t judge a color in the can as it dries completely different.

Q. What’s the most requested paint color? 

A. Greige—it’s a cross between beige and gray. It’s the new neutral.

Q. Do you have a personal favorite (tried-and-true) paint color? Why? 

A. I have two go-to colors. For a neutral, Hirshfield’s 0211 Light Lichen. It just works with everything. My other favorite is Hirshfield’s 0477 Ocean Cruise. I love using this in a master bedroom. It instantly creates a calming spa-like feel.

Q. What brands of paint do you carry at Hirshfield’s? 

A. Hirshfield’s own brand—made right in Minnesota!—also Benjamin Moore, Magnolia Home, and at our Edina store, Farrow and Ball.

Q. Why do you think so many professional painters swear by the Hirshfield’s brand?

A. Quality, value, and Minnesotans like supporting local businesses.

Q. If someone has wallpaper they dislike, can they paint over it?

A. Always remove old wallpaper! It’s not designed to be painted.

Q. Are people welcome to bring kids to your stores while they concentrate on color choices? 

A. Of course. With that being said, I do see people struggle with watching the kids and trying to concentrate on choosing color. Color fan decks are always available to take home and look at color where it’s going to be used. Narrow it down to two or three choices, and then buy your sample pints.

Q. What services do your color stylists offer? 

A. Expertise, experience, and knowledge of undertones. We remove the anxiety from the color experience.

Q. Would you like to add anything else? 

A. It’s simple: The right color makes a room!

To find a Hirshfield’s near you, visit

Hirshfield’s is a proud sponsor of Midwest Home’s Life in Bold Color Contest.




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