Best Paint Contractors in Denver

Best Paint Contractors in Denver

I recently found my company, Walls by Design, on a list of the Best Paint Contractors in Denver for 2016 by the good folks at   My first thought was…Sweet! But then, I decided to do some competitive analysis on who made the list.  This is my competition right? I should know about them.  The first thing I thought when looking over the list was: why are these people on this list?  Because I have never heard of many of them.  Here is the list, and I’ll include a link to their website, oh, and it’s in alphabetical order, so no favoritism here:

A Masters Touch Paintingpaint contractor

A New View Painting

Aesthetica Painting & Contracting

Ambassador Painting

Brush Pro Painting

Carter Painting

Colorado Commercial & Residential Painting

Colorado Faux Painting

Coverwell Painting

Denver Paint and Repair

G.Go Decorative

Liberty Painting, LLC

Lime Painting

MVP ContractingTall ceilings

Mod Paint Works

Old Western Paint Company – this isn’t even a painting contractor!!

Painting Plus of Boulder Inc

Pro Painting LLC

Rob the Handyman

Singletrack Painting

Tall Pines Painting, Inc

The Color Lab

Tri-Plex Painting

Walls by Design, Inc.

Wheel of Color, Inc


Additional Paint Contractors

So that is the list.  I went through about 95% of the list, looking at their websites and their Facebook pages, and I have to say, overall I was not impressed.  I was by a few of them, but some didn’t even have a website.  It did help me understand that there is a lot of stuff on the web that is not the “best”, as this post would propose.  Why are these the “best”?  I know lots of Denver painting contractors, and several of them are not on the list. Companies like:

Bill Marks Painting

Vivax Pro Painting

Imhoff Painting

Ireland’s Finest

Stellar Painting

Patriot Painting

Five Star Painting

Certa Pro Painters

These are few of the companies that I consider my competition.  I think you will see a wide variety of contractors now.  There are small (two to three man shops) all the way up to the largest national painting franchise.  You can also do your own internet search for “paint contractor Denver” to create your own list.  So, I am not sure the posting from really has the ability and authority to identify the best painters in Denver, even if we are on the list.  While I would argue that we are at the top of this list, you have to know where the information is coming from.

kitchen painting denver

So, what makes a Denver painting company the best?

My guess is that this blogger simply did some research and aggregated a list.  They clearly didn’t put much thought into it, even though their own article claims their criteria is: Reputation, Credibility, Experience, Availability, Professionalism, and Engagement. I am not sure this is possible with a simple Google search.  I know I was never contacted for the article to find out my availability or to check my experience.

With this information, you must be thinking to yourself two things: first, how does one determine who is the best and second, why the hell are you doing a blog post on your competition?  Ah ha! Let’s tackle the first one.

How does a homeowner determine who is the best painter? Walls by Design google listing I think you have to first determine what you value first.  Is it price? Time? Reputation? Availability? Personality?  I don’t think any painter or paint company will fit all those criteria.  As you know, price is a big factor for most people.  If I gave you a bid to paint your 3000 square foot house for $1000, you might be a bit wary.  Too cheap right?  Even if I was on time, gave a good presentation, and had a good reference or two.  But if I came in at $10,000 you might be mad after the same presentation.  There is a balance right? Here is what I would do if I was looking to get a bid for my home (and I didn’t already own a Denver painting company):

  1. Ask anyone I knew that just got their home painted. Not just for the name, but what did they learn along the way. What went right and what went wrong? How did they handle any problems?  This can teach you a lot.
  2. Search online. This would start with a generic search for painting contractors, but it would also include a search for any specific companies that people recommended to me, or that I have heard about.  What comes up about the company?  You will find review, articles, and other things.  Then do a search on the company owner.  Is there anything good or bad that comes up?
  3. Call the top three companies to set up appointments. If I have a bad experience during this phase, I would take them off the list, and add a new one.  Think of this stage as the dating period. If you have a bad experience during this stage, you can only imagine what will happen later if you contract with them.
  4. Meet and greet. At the estimate appointment, you need to get to know them.  Ask them questions.  How do they answer? Are they knowledgeable? Do they give you good ideas?  Or do they only do what you ask?  This is added value in my opinion.
  5. Do they do what they say? I get frustrated when someone tells me they will get the bid back to me in a day or two, and it comes back in a week, or worse, I have to call to ask for it.  This tells you about how organized they are…and again, how it will be like to work with them.
  6. Make a decision based on my budget, and what was presented, how it was presented, and how they made me feel. You have to make me feel confident that you are “the guy.”

It’s like interviewing a new hire.  If you do this at work, then you know how to do it for hiring a painting contractor.  Far too often I hear people tell me they wish they would have listened to their inner voice, but went with someone because of a lower price.  I’ll be honest, we will never be the lowest price.  But we will answer our phone, come when you ask us, do what we say, and stand behind our work for the long haul.  OK, off my soap box.

Denver Paint contractor Walls by Design

Okay, why am I writing about my competitors?

First, many of them don’t compete with us directly as they focus on commercial painting, exterior painting, or are in an area we don’t focus on.  And, to be honest, I don’t find many of the businesses on this list to be good competitors, and the ones that I do consider competition, I’m still not afraid of.  There are some good painters out there, and a few of them, we might refer you to for different reasons…we don’t do all types of painting. I believe however,  we are truly the best residential interior painting company in Denver.  Sorry if that sounds a bit egotistical, but if I don’t say it, who would…right?  I honestly believe if you do the 6 things above, called all the companies I have listed above, you would land on Walls by Design to paint anything in your home.  The only way we might not win on is availability.  While we have nine teams (and growing), we cannot always get to projects on a timeline that is requested.  If you call me to paint your 3000 square foot house next week, the chances are pretty slim.  Now, we do have holes in our schedule that pop up occasionally, but I can’t always promise.  In my next post, I am going to talk about referral services like Angie’s List, Tom Martino, and others, and why you can’t always believe them either.



Painting Shiplap Siding

shiplap siding dining room

Painting Shiplap Siding

If you know anything about me, you know I’m from the Midwest, well, Chicagoland to be more precise. And if you know anything about the people from Chicagoland, you know that about 90% of people from that area either have a cabin in Wisconsin, or know someone that does.  Well, I grew up spending every summer with my grandparents at their cabin on a lake in Lakewood, WI.  So, I have been going there since before I was born (literally). This last year, one of my dearest friends from high school, who also grew up going to the same lake (that’s a funny story all in itself), built a gorgeous new home on the lake.  And one of the most striking features about the home is the use of shiplap siding (some may call it clap board siding) throughout the home. The home is best described as a cape cod with big windows (and great views of the lake I might add), crown molding, white cabinetry, and shiplap walls…all painted white on white.  Just beautiful.


Imagine Home showroom in Atlanta



The funny thing was, however, after visiting my friend’s home over Memorial Day, I startedseeing shiplap siding in lots of places.  Kind of like when you decide to purchase a new car, let’s say a Toyota 4Runner, and all of a sudden you start seeing them EVERYWHERE!  I was at High Point Market, and it was in IMG_5384showrooms.  I was on Instagram…and there it would be.  As a person involved in interiors, I guess I just don’t pay as much attention as I thought.  I’ll blame it on living in Denver I guess.  We don’t get trends here quite as fast.  Anyway, it’s a thing.

One day, my friend messaged me and asked me about how to fix a problem they were having with their shiplap.  She told me that they had decided to go with pine (as it was much cheaper material than poplar), and everywhere there was a knot in the wood, they had a discoloration.  Most of the home is painted in white, but they have a few areas where they have painted with some light greys, and the grey areas were actually showing the problem (called shiplap siding with knot bleedsblead through) more than the white areas.  I explained to her that to solve the problem, she needed to use a stain blocking primer on all the spots, and zinzer 123I recommended a shellac based primer called Zinzer 123 (over Kilz), but then she would need to repaint the wall.  And not just the small area or the board, but the whole wall.  If she only painted the spot, she would get what’s called flashing where the touch-up area would be shinier that the rest of the board and she would see each spot.  If she repainted only the effected boards, those individual boards would flash causing the same problem, so the only solution would be to repaint the effected wall.  I knew that would not go over well, as she had this problem throughout the entire house: walls, ceilings, and on some of the other trim as well.


shiplap siding with knot bleeds 2

Why is this happening?  Well, the product they decided to go with, due to cost (and there is usually a cost with a less expensive product). If you are familiar with pine, you know that it has knots in it; whether you are looking at pine tongue and grove, pine 2x4s, or any other product made out of pine.  It is just one characteristic of the wood.  And these areas are what have more of the sap from the tree.  It takes a very long time, if ever, for all of it to pull out of the wood.  In order to stop it, you need to use a stain blocking primer, and I have found the shellac based primer to work the best.  As the sap comes out of the knot, it yellows the paint, leaving a mark that looks like a water stain.

What would have been the correct thing to do from the beginning of the project?

In order for this to not happen (did you see what I did there?), the builder should have specified to the painting contractor to prime all the shiplap boards with a stain blocking primer, and for insurance, I would have recommended that they prime all the knots with an additional spot coat.  So all the knots would receive two coats, then they could paint the boards with whatever top-coat they wanted.


My friend is trying to work through this with her builder, and who am I to say, but in my opinion, the builder needs to own the problem, as I am sure he did not specify a stain blocking primer.  Some builders will claim that the painting contractor should have known to use a stain blocking primer, but the reality is, he or she probably was not privy to what kind of wood was installed, and who knows, some people want this kind of rustic look in their homes.  So in my opinion, the problem and the cost is  what the builder needs to solve.

One more note, I also explained to my friend that before painting the whole entire house again, that she should do a test area in one room.  Because I am sure the contractor does not want to paint TWO coats of primer and two coats of finish, she should have them do ONE room, and test.  Spot priming the knots, and applying two coats of paint, and then letting the area sit for at least 3 months to make sure the problem does not come back.  If the proper materials are used, it should work; but it will also ensure that the spot priming does not cause flashing as well.  If it does not flash (look shiny at the areas where the knots are painted), then move on to paint the rest of the home.  This is a tricky and costly problem.  Can you imagine if they painted the whole house again, just to have the knots come back again in three months?  Yikes!

shiplap siding stairs

So, the lesson in this one is; if you are going to install shiplap siding, you need to either choose the right material (and I would spend the additional cost and get the poplar, especially for a small project), or you need to prime the wood with a good quality stain blocking primer.  If you are interested on a blog I found on installing shiplap, check this one out that I found at  Another solution would be to stain the boards, but that is another topic for another day.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White, why so popular?

So you are thinking about painting kitchen cabinets white? There are a lot of Denver paint contractors to call, but few know how to properly paint white kitchen cabinets.  Whenever I go to see a customer and ask them what it is that they don’t like about their cabinets, they always tell me, “The color! I can’t stand how they have turned orange!!” It feels like almost every kitchen in Denver has an orange, or yellow/orange kitchen…so if you are shaking your head right now, you are not alone.
I get asked by new transplants to Denver, why are all the kitchens Oak kitchen cabinets - Painting Kitchen Cabinets Whitelike this here? And the truth is, cost. You can put it back on the builder, but the choice to put these cabinets in, always lies with the original home purchaser. Not too many homes were built as specs in my opinion. If they were, most of the time, those are the ones that have the higher level finishes in them. So, just like my wife and I were on a budget when we built our first home (I can even remember being okay with the popcorn ceilings. YUCK!), people are always trying to get the most house for their money. They cut corners on finish details thinking they can always upgrade later. Hardly anyone does.
The next thing that has contributed to the rise in painting kitchen cabinets white is the fact that so many people wanted solid surface counter tops and were tired of the laminate counter tops that use to proliferate the home landscape. So, in order to sell a house in the last 10 years, you had to be able to advertise “granite counter tops.” Well, once you have granite on the counters, very few people want to trash the tops in order to replace the cabinets.  This brings the cost of redoing a kitchen from $20k to over $30k usually.  So painting kitchen cabinets white to match the trend is a great option.
refacing kitchen cabinetsWhy not re-face the cabinets?

Great question, and I’m glad you asked. The reality is, it is almost as expensive to re-face cabinets (meaning you replace all the doors and drawer fronts and put a skin, or veneer, over the boxes to completely change the look of the cabinets) as it is to buy new cabinets.
Can you change the stain color? No, not really. You can try to do one of two things. First you could try to strip the cabinets and then stain.  It is very labor intensive to strip the cabinets, and it might be MORE costly to do this than to replace. I’ve investigated dipping the cabinet doors, but even the guys that do this process (and you could not pay me enough to work with those chemicals), can’t guarantee that all the finish will come off. If all the finish does not come off the surface, you cannot re-stain them and get an even color. Stain needs to penetrate inside the wood, unlike paint.


Some people try to do a gel or over stain on the existing

finish, but those products do not hold up over time. The will wear unevenly and look worse than what you had to begin with. It’s like painting with stain, but it doesn’t have the binders like a paint does (think prime coats, bonding primers, etc), to hold up over time. This might be an option if you are selling your house, and don’t care about what happen 3 months down the road, but I do not believe it is a great solution.

Last thing that has contributed to the popularity of painting kitchen cabinets white is the trend of light and bright. The last decade, all we used was earth tones that were progressively getting darker. We hit a turning point about 5 years ago into the light neutrals and grays, and we are not turning any time soon. Have you gone to or Instagram, or Pinterest lately? Just do one search for kitchen cabinets, and about 90% of what you will find will be white painted cabinets.
White kitchen cabinet painting in Denver

With the trends and the reality of granite counters, and people not wanting their yellowed-out cabinets (oak or maple), painting the kitchen cabinets white is a really great option. It is a third the cost of re-facing and can be as much as a fifth (or more) the cost of replacing. Not to mention, you can keep your counter tops.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White in Denver

Are you only painting kitchen cabinets white? No, we are doing some grays, blacks, and the occasional blue, but about 80% is some form of white for the cabinets. If you need help picking the right color, we have you covered. We have color designers that will come out and help you find just the right shade.

Will they hold up? They sure will, but they do scratch. Customers always want to know if they can scratch, and I always remind them that their car, which has the most durable finish I can think of, will scratch or chip if you impact it. The good news at Walls by Design is that we offer a free touch-up program for all our painting projects, including painting cabinets. We will come out each Jan/Feb to do up to one hour of free touch-ups.

How long will it take? Most kitchens can be painted white or any other color in about four days.

How much does it cost? Every kitchen is different. It depends on the type of wood, the number of doors and drawers, and the configuration, but our average painting of kitchen cabinets white is about $3,200.  Since we started out new process for painting cabinets white, the cost has increased as we have learned what can happen if certain things happen.  One of the things we have learned is to do more prime coat when we are painting oak cabinets, so as to reduce the grain appearance.  This cannot be eliminated from a cost perspective, but we can minimize it.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting cabinets white is one of the most technical painting procedures, and I highly recommend that you work with a paint contractor that has painted a lot of kitchen cabinets.  Whoever you talk to, should be able to walk you through their process, and should do a good job of educating you on the process.  Know that the preparation, number of coats, application process, and the paint that is used are HUGE factors in making sure you get a good end result.

So, if you are considering to paint your kitchen cabinets white  or any of your cabinets, please contact us. We are one of the biggest, and I might ad best paint contractors in Denver. We would love to give you a free estimate.

Popular Paint Colors for Your Cabinets

Is your kitchen ready for a facelift? Do you have that beautiful yellow golden oak cabinets and just wishing you could afford to replace them? There is a cost effective way to change the look of your kitchen with out breaking the bank. Paint them! Many homeowners are opting to paint rather than replace their kitchen cabinets. Not only is this cost effective, but you are also saving the trees and helping the environment.

If you do opt to paint your cabinets, please make sure you choose a painter who has experience painting cabinets. I have been into many homes where a painter has ruined the cabinets and caused the homeowner a big headache and punch in the wallet. Walls by Design knows how to paint cabinets! They have invested time into doing this correctly as well as training their painters to produce a product that will stand the test of time. They also offer a lifetime warranty on their work!

So once you have decided to paint your cabinets, the big question is – What color do you paint them? I have been helping clients choose paint colors for a while now and I’d like to share some popular paint colors to consider. But before jumping onto the popular paint color choice – please make sure that the color you choose works with your fixed elements – your tile and countertops and even flooring. Your “popular” color could look oh so beautiful in these photos but then fall flat when applied in the wrong context. Lets begin –

1. White – Many homeowners are opting for white cabinets. It is a classic look that refreshing your space.

a. White dove (For the love of a house)

 whiteDove (fortheloveofahouse)

b. Chantilly lace (Décor Pad)

 Chantilly lace

c. Cloud white (Our House)

cloud white

If you have a darker backsplash or counter, you may want to consider adding a little hue to that white to allow it to flow or feel better in your spa

2. Grays and Greige – These colors are popping up in homes, and colors vary upon the style of kitchen and it’s fixed elements. Here are a few popular colors.

a. Chelsea gray (Studio McGee)

chelsea gray

b. Stonington Gray (Refined LLC)

stonginton gray

c. Gray Owl (Brooklyn kitchen and bath)

gray owl

d. Timber Wolf (Remodelista)


3. Island flavor- this is where I love adding a contracting color to the kitchen. Fun colors create personality with out washing out a room. Black or Bronzes can create a classic look and ground the center of the kitchen.

a. Poolside (Homebunch)


b. Wedgewood Gray (Mountain Cabinetry)

wedgewood gray

This should give you a great starting place when considering a color for your kitchen or cabinets in your home.

Certified Architectural Color Consultant Kelly Paulson is a color consultant with Your Color Consultant. She works regularly with Walls by Design and will be providing her color insight quarterly. You can find more information about her at

How to Pick the Perfect Gray


For about a decade we were painting nothing but earth tones.  It all seemed to start with Shaker BeigeHC-45, but then we progressed to HC-44 andHC-43. Color was like a drug. We started with the light tones, and got progressively darker and darker.  Soon we were looking at colors like Townsend Harbor Brown,HC-64 and Van Burren Brown HC- 70.  It was as if Shaker Beige was the gateway drug.

painting with earth tones

Then one day, and I can still remember that day… everything changes.  It was a beautiful day, and I was headed to Boulder, Colorado. I was headed to see a long-time customer who had painted for at least three times. Several years prior we had painted their new house in a myriad of earth tones.  After a few minutes of chitchat and catch me up she made her announcement. I want to go gray. She had several swatches from Benjamin Moore. She had done her homework. She had the telltale sign of someone truly ready to make a change: Color squares painted on the walls in various places.  I remember telling Wiesley that today was the start of the change. Which she loved because she liked being the trendsetter. This was at least six years ago, can’t quite remember exactly when, but it feels like a decade ago.


Over the next few years we started to paint more and more houses in the gray. Now it is about all we do.  Everyone is talking about the color gray right now.  We are painting on walls and ceilings and on cabinets; mostly, the lightest gray.  I get questions all the time on Facebook, “What color is that?  I love it!”  To which I usually reply, “The perfect gray walls to paint fabulous.”  I don’t like to share details like that with the universe. Color is so personal. It’s not just that we don’t share color because it’s one of our competitive advantages, even though it is.  The truth of the matter is a color that looks great in your friend’s house will not necessarily look great in your house.The perfect Gray walls to paint

Color is affected by two major things. First color is affected by light source. Do you get natural light or is it artificial light…and how much of it? The next major factor of how a color will look is what are you seeing it with. If you see a medium tone gray next to white doors it will have a tendency to look much darker then if you see that same gray next to a dark brown.  It may even look white.

When picking the perfect gray, I would start with looking at the other colors that you have in the space. Look at your artwork, your window treatments, your photos, couches, and your rugs.  Are they all cohesive? And if so, can you select a color from them. If you do I would grab a Benjamin Moore Classic color deck, and see if you can match one of the colors. Once you were able to find a color that matches if you have a large walls and a lot of natural light and I would go two shades darker than the match.  This is because in big spaces colors will have a tendency to look lighter than what you selected. Before you go and buy 20 gallons of this color though, buy a pint or quart and paint it on at least a 2 x 2′ square board and look at it in the space at different times of day. I also recommend not holding it over the existing color on the walls but hold it in front of things that will still be in the room such as couches and doors if they will remain the same color.

I see people agonize over color all the time. The one thing they are afraid of is change.  Don’t be afraid. It’s only color.

Go bold and have fun!