Nothing enhances a dull room like a coat of paint. Whether you are brightening dingy walls by painting them white or adding a dramatic splash of color, paint is the least expensive way to make a noticeable decorative change in your home. If you are planning to paint a room soon, remember these handy tips and tricks to help you get the job done.
When you set out to paint, there is a lot of work to do before you get to the fun part of adding colors on the walls. The prep work can seem tedious, but you should never skip it, because if you prep your room correctly the painting will go faster and the end results will be much better.
Start your painting project by taking stock of what supplies you will need. If you are painting your room a dark color such as deep red or navy blue, you might need more paint than if you were painting the room white. These colors tend to soak into the walls and often need more than one coat to achieve the depth of the color on the paint sample. You will also need to purchase painter’s tape, pans and rollers, or brushes and special tools or brushes to cut into the tight places next to the floor boards or ceiling. Don’t forget a drop cloth for your floor. You might be tempted to use an old sheet, but this isn’t really a great substitute for a real drop cloth because if you spill paint it can bleed right through a cloth sheet and ruin your carpet.
Once you have your basic tools, you can prep your walls. Clean them thoroughly with a solution such as TSP or Simple Green. This will take away any grease that has built up on the walls and might keep your paint from adhering well. Let the walls sit for a day after you clean them so that they are completely dry before you apply any paint. If the walls need to be sanded or there are repairs that need to be done, make sure you do that before you clean the walls, so that you eliminate any dust that might interfere with your paint. Once the walls are repaired and cleaned, tape off any areas that you don’t want paint on. This includes, door jams, base boards, window sills, and electrical outlets and light switches. Remove the light switch and outlet covers before you tape them. Blue painters tape works best, because it comes off easy and doesn’t remove the paint you just added to your walls. Once you have taped the room and covered the floor and furniture, you are ready to start.
Sometimes getting the painting started doesn’t begin with the paint. Depending on the paint color you are planning to use a coat of primer can really help with the application of the paint. Using a coat of primer on the walls when you are planning to paint them red or purple can save you two or three coats when it comes time to put the color on the wall. There are even primers that are made special to blend with the color your walls will end up. Let your primer have a chance to dry before you paint. This usually doesn’t take as long as regular paint and once it has set, you can move on to the fun part of the job, coloring the walls.
It can be very tempting to glop on a lot of paint in one open spot just to see what the color will look like when it is done, but avoid this temptation and paint in nice thin even strokes. When you glop a lot on, it is hard to even it out and often the initial test spot will always show up darker on the finished wall, so if you plan to do this, make sure you have a nice picture to hang up on the wall to cover the spot. If you are using a brush, catch any drips quickly so that they don’t dry as bumpy streaks and if you are using a roller, roll the paint in many directions so there is no obvious stop and start marks in the paint once it dries.
Once you are done painting and you aren’t planning to add anymore coats, it is a good idea to carefully remove the tape while the paint is still a little wet. Sometimes if you wait until the paint is dry pieces of paint can flake off with the tape. Wait a day or two before you move any furniture back into the room, just to make sure everything is completely dry