Easy Painting Tips


I am convinced that there are two types of homeowners in the world – those who hate to paint and those who love to.  Ask any of the “lovers” why and you might get a wide variety of answers from the practical, “It’s a cheap and easy way to transform a room” to a more Zen “I love watching the color roll on the wall”.  Here are some tips from a confirmed “lover”:

Set aside time:  Most paint jobs take one full day.  Start early in the morning when the light is good.  Painting at night is a challenge.

Clear the room of furniture as best as you can:  Do this the day before, removing as much furniture as you can.

Prep the walls:  This is the part most people hate, but think of it as getting to know your walls.  This is the “first date” stage of your budding relationship, and soon you will be showering them with the gift of color.  Go easy with the spackle!  Nobody likes an overstuffed date – there’s no way to go Salsa dancing after a full meal!!  The more you put on, the more you’ll have to sand off.  Use your finger if you’re a chronic over-spackler!

A little trouble saves a lot of trouble:  Not only is this applicable in painting, it is my mantra for life in general.  The more you do now, the less you’ll need to do later.  Dust the baseboards, lay out your drop cloths carefully and purposefully, close your paint can lids after a pour, and wash your brushes thoroughly – even when you’re just taking a “short” break.  Paint can lid closing tip:  take a plastic grocery bag (if they still make those) and lay it over your paint can before hammering down the lid.  This will catch any splatters from hitting you in the face or all over your beuatiful new walls.  Another secret tool (shhh, only painters know this)  is to hammer a nail several times in a row inside the groove of the paint can.  When you pour paint into your tray, the excess will fall back into the can!  Brilliant!

What about tape?  Good question!  Blue tape is a wonderful tool on smooth walls, but not so great on textured walls.  Paint seeps underneath the tape causing nastly little bubbles.  I recommend taping baseboards but not ceilings.  When you tape baseboards, give it your full attention, because your straight paint line will only be as straight as your tape job. Taping baseboards protects them from roller splatter.   For cutting in the tops of walls by the ceiling, make sure that you use an angled brush and place your brush just under the actual ceiling line so you can adjust your way up as you drag your brush from left to right (right handers only).

Rollers or brushes?  Another good question!  The short answer is rollers on the walls, brushes for the cutting in.  I use a 2 1/2″ angled brush and the skinny 6″ hotdog rollers.  They don’t hold as much paint, but are easier on the shoulders.

Use a pole!  Don’t be afraid to use a pole.  Poles are our friends.  Just use caution when:

Work in a left to right pattern:  If you’re right handed, start from the left at the part of the room that you look at the least.  This will give you time to practice and be in the flow by the time you arrive at the “showpiece wall”.  If you have helpers, organize them accordingly.

Charge your roller!  For goodness sakes, don’t keep on dancing after the party’s over.  Remember that the purpose of your roller is to apply paint to the wall, so re-charge it with paint as soon as you see blank spots on the wall.

Music helps:  Make sure that your painting session doesn’t turn into Karaoke night – whether you love classic rock or classical, pick something that has a calming yet invigorating effect.  Even though my favorite music is Gospel, I usually play Yoga music or Mozart to keep me calm yet focused.   

Make sure that the paint color you’ve selected is the right color:  Yes, this is the most important step because if you are worrying about whether you’ve selected correctly, the rest of your painting experience will be filled with worry and doubt.

Use the tools available to you:  Large paint swatches, color visualizing tools, friendly and fun professionals who will guide you! Go Forth and Paint!  4 Walls Color Design