How Often Do I Need to Repaint My Apartment?

How Often Do I Need to Repaint My Apartment?

Mark Chamberlain
Sep 29, 2009

Good question! Here's one for the archives, and the answer depends on many things. Do you have children or animals — those twin enemies of beauty/essences of beauty, depending on the day? Is the space a kitchen, bathroom or high-traffic area? Is it a bathroom prone to moldy ceilings? Are you someone whose mood about color changes every six minutes?

New York law requires a landlord to repaint every three years, though they'll dip your whole apartment in glossy enamel the color of slivered almonds and paint right over lost cigarette butts. Three years seems about right, but let's look at a case in point — me.

I moved into my studio exactly three and a half years ago, and here's what I've found. Surfaces like windowsills I'm repainting seasonally and I'm always dabbing at the doorframe (but I own a bike that I keep in the apartment). I keep repainting my bathroom according to my mood ring. First there was my gardens phase. Then birds, now fish — I'll keep you posted on future developments!

But the main wall was painted a dark brown, like an espresso bean, which was also the first entry in a nascent Color Therapy lo, these many moons ago. Originally I used Galvanized from Ralph Lauren, but I wanted to upgrade to Fine Paints of Europe, mostly for it's Teflon finish. The specific hue is basically the same thing, but my new wall has a minky luster that no photo will capture. It's like the difference between devil's food cake and devil's food cake frosting. After three and a half years, it was definitely time to repaint, and already I'm guessing that Fine Paints might be up to the challenge of lasting past ten years.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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