We’re big “do it yourself” folks in our household so it surprised me the other day when someone said “I’ve been thinking of repainting my bedroom but I need to find a painter.” Find a painter? I don’t have to look any further than under our roof – we’ve never hired a professional painter.
If you’ve never painted, don’t be afraid to give it a try. It takes time but it’s not hard (unless you have really high ceilings that require scaffolding or heavily damaged walls that require extensive repair during prep). There are three “P”s to a paint project: Plan, Prep and Paint.
First decide what wall(s) you want to paint (remember, the ceiling is a 5th wall) and select the color direction. Read Terrie’s series of posts on Color for Home Decor Explained to help understand the color family you’ve selected and how to narrow it down to a specific color.
In addition to the color you need to select a paint finish. The finish you choose for your paint depends on the final look and wearability you want. Your choices include:
Flat - Provides a matte appearance that softens a room, helps hide imperfections and makes walls look smooth. This finish easily cleans with a damp sponge and is suitable for adult bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms and ceilings.
Satin - Provides a slight gloss finish and has the same benefits of a flat finish but with additional cleanability. It is great for high-traffic areas including hallways, wood work, kids’ bedrooms and family rooms.
Semi-Gloss - Provides a lustrous and extremely durable finish. Use it in areas you need to clean often such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, trim and doors.
Gloss – Provides a very hard, shiny and cleanable finish for trim, cabinets, doors, and furniture.
The amount of paint needed depends on the size of the space you’re painting. The easiest way to purchase the correct amount is to take your room measurements to the paint store when you go for color samples. Paint professionals use a formula to quickly determine how many gallons you’ll need for good coverage.
Gather the tools you’ll need for painting. Large areas are most easily painted with a roller, paint pan and, perhaps, a roller extension for higher walls and ceilings. A brush works to paint small areas. You’ll need an angled brush to easily ”cut in” close to molding around the floor, door, window or ceiling. Use drop cloths to protect your floors and furnishings. Depending on your room, you may need a step stool or a ladder. Painter’s tape protects areas to which you need to paint closely and rags help erase small spatters or drips (get to them right away and they clean up easily). You can protect door knobs by taping a plastic sandwich bag over the handle.
Make sure your surfaces are clean and in good repair. Firmly and evenly press painter’s tape to areas where you want a straight line (be sure to rub the edge of the tape down so paint doesn’t seep underneath) or over areas you want to protect. Use a screw driver to remove electrical switch and outlet covers as it’s easier to paint under them and then replace them than it is to cut in perfectly (tip: place the small screws back in the holes so they don’t get lost while you’re painting – you’ll know right where to find them when it’s time to replace the covers).
Paint sample swatches first! Paint color that looks good on a paint stick or a magazine picture may not look good in your home. Paint color changes with the light throughout the day and also in context to the color of your furniture and accessories. Before you buy paint for the room, buy a couple sample pots to paint swatches – good size swatches – and then watch how the color changes during the day. The same paint looks different on a wall washed with northern light than it does on a wall with bright southern exposure. Natural light affects paint differently than incandescent light does so be sure to examine the swatches during the day and at night when your lights are on.
If you are painting a wall that is a bold or dark color you should prime the wall first so the color doesn’t bleed through your lighter color paint. You should also use primer on drywall that has never been painted. If you’re applying a dark or bold color (like red) you should prime with a colored primer so you won’t have to paint as many layers to get a deep, even coat – and primer is cheaper than paint. With colored primer a red wall should take only the usual two coats – without primer it might take up to five coats of paint to get a smooth, even, deep finish.
This YouTube video gives a quick overview of the painting process. The only thing I hope you will ignore is the small size of the sample swatch they paint in the video. It is too little to give you a good look at how the color will look in your room – paint a bigger swatch!
GIVE IT A TRY
If you’ve never painted but want to give it a try, you may want to start with an accent wall. An accent wall is often the first wall you see when you walk into the room or it may be a wall with a special feature you’d like to highlight with a color change. Painting a single accent wall provides an easy start and simple success for your first time painting.
So how about you – do you paint or hire it out? What tips would you give a first time painter? Share your successes and your tips and tribulations with us. To send us photos with your message attach them to an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment below to leave a message, tip or painting tale.