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Behr gets hip with its new paint picks

Behr gets hip with its new paint picks

How do you know when a subculture has gone mainstream? When it becomes the name of a new paint sold at Home Depot. Today’s example: Hipsterfication, a new paint color from Behr. Featured in Behr’s Urban Alternative palette for 2014, the burnt orange hue is part of a color scheme that includes Boho (olive green), Offbeat (off-white), Film Fest (metallic gray) and Coffee Bar (think French roast). While true hipsters may reject this appropriation, in Consumer Reports’ paint tests, Behr was no slacker.

Along with its Urban theme, Behr introduced three other schemes, and 15 more colors, including: Grand Reign (“romantic glamour”), Natural Avocation (“exotic flora and fauna”) and Seaside Harmony (“sun, surf and sand”). The paints are now available at Home Depot along with decorating ideas and free smartphone apps that let you mix and match colors before selecting any.

In our paint tests, Behr’s interior paints made our top-picks list in all three finishes—semi-gloss, satin/eggshell, and flat/matte. Behr Premium Plus Ultra Semi-Gloss Enamel, $34 a gallon, was excellent overall and left a very smooth finish that resists stains and scrubbing while holding its gloss. Because it’s self-priming, you can skip that step. It was also better than most at resisting mildew. Behr came in only a brush stroke behind our top-rated semi-gloss, Clark + Kensington Semi-Gloss Enamel, $33, sold at Ace.

Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel, $34, is a self-priming satin paint that was impressive at hiding and superb at resisting stains and scrubbing. It left a smooth finish and was better than most at resisting mildew and sticking, a plus for windows.  But it did lose some of its gloss with rough cleaning. Our top satin/eggshell is Clark + Kensington Satin Enamel, $32. In our tests of flat/matte paints, Behr Premium Plus Ultra Flat Enamel, $32, also a self-priming paint, was very good at hiding and excellent at resisting stains and scrubbing. And it offers one of the smoothest finishes of the flat paints we tested. It was nudged out only by Valspar Signature Matte, $32, sold at Lowe’s.

If you’re trying to pick a palette for a paint job, Debbie Zimmer of the Paint Quality Institute recommends that you start close to home. Your favorite colors may be right in front of you. Take your wardrobe, for example, where most of your clothing likely falls into one or two color families. Another clue is the color of your car, says Zimmer. If you own a beige sedan, you may be happier with a more neutral color scheme inside as well.

Or you can take a paint chip from Behr’s book and try the colors from one of their four new themes. With colors like Ocean Liner and Edgewater, Seaside Harmony is suppose to evoke a feeling of “modern resort chic.” South Peach anyone?

—Mary H.J. Farrell

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S.

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