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Painting your house is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to completely transform your space. But it can also be a messy and time-consuming process. Ted and I have painted every room in our house, and we have made all the mistakes you could possibly think of. Fortunately, over time we have figured out how to do a great paint job in a reasonable amount of time. Here are our top 8 basic tips to paint like a pro every time:
1-) Always buy samples
Colors will look different on swatches then they do on your walls! Therefore, you should always, always, always buy paint samples and put them up before you paint a whole room. I normally like to buy about 3 samples in slightly different colors and look at them over a few days in daylight. If you’re not sure of what color you want at first, it should slowly become clearer to you over a few days with the samples on the wall.
2-) Take the time to prep
The quality of virtually any project will depend on the prep work, and painting is no different. So make sure you fix holes, remove grime, caulk gaps, and clear the walls of dust before you open that paint can! You can also remove face plates and registers as well for a super clean-looking job.
3-) Buy all the paint you’ll need at once
Calculate the area of space you’ll need to cover and then buy the appropriate amount of paint all at once. This will help minimize inconsistencies in paint color in each gallon. If you can it’s also a good idea to “box” the paint, where you mix all the paint together before you start. This will practically eliminate any minor differences in color between gallons that will show up on your walls. In my experience, this is especially important with rich or bold colors where slight differences in color become very noticeable.
4-) Learn how to use a paintbrush
Many people opt to use painter’s tape for clean paint lines, but putting up painter’s tape is time consuming. In addition, even though you will end up with straight paint lines there’s a risk of pulling off paint with the tape when you take it down.
When we had a professional painter paint our living room, we watched how he used the paint brush when he edged in. Using a paintbrush with good technique allowed him to do a good paint job without using painter’s tape, which saved a ton of time in our large living area.
Since then Ted and I have been practicing our paintbrush technique and have improved significantly. We also save hours of time now when we paint rooms. So practice using those paintbrushes for long-term painting success!
5-) Paint in the right order
If you’re painting more than just the walls, the best order to work in is the ceiling, followed by the walls, and finish with the trim. Going in this order will give the cleanest paint job and make your life easier.
6-) Use good rollers
The first time we painted a room we ended up with paint lines everywhere. When we had a professional come paint our living room I asked him what we were doing wrong that was causing the lines. To see what was going on he tried out the rollers we were using and had the same issue. He said that cheap rollers can cause the issue, and suggested we use better quality rollers with a thicker nap.
I gotta say, once we made the suggested changes we never had a problem again! Most of the time now we use at least 3/8″ nap microfiber rollers. The only major issue with the microfiber rollers is that they shed, but it’s an easy problem to take care of if you get the fibers before the paint dries.
7-) Don’t cheap out on tarps
The first time we painted we bought cheap plastic tarps. While they did the trick, they were difficult to work with. Because they are light, they don’t drape well and they will catch on your feet and move around. Eventually we switched to heavier fabric tarps and they are sooo much easier to work around. Trust me, it’s well worth your sanity to invest in good tarps!
8- ) Keep your paint brushes clean
A good quality paint job will require clean paint brushes. Make sure you thoroughly clean paint brushes immediately after finishing a paint job. For larger jobs you may even want to clean brushes in between coats, or any time paint starts to dry and build up on the brush. If you haven’t kept up with cleaning your brushes, let them soak in paint thinner and remove the paint with a brush comb.
One last thing before I wrap this post up…
Most painting mistakes are easily fixed. If your paint job doesn’t turn out as good as good as you wanted, don’t lose hope! Keep practicing, and over time you will become a painting pro!
Remember to PIN THIS POST so you have these tips on hand when you’re ready to start painting!
For more DIY advice, check out inexpensive tricks to make your old home look new again, decorating rules to break today, and buffalo check home decor under $100 for your whole house!