Updated: Jun 12, 2019
The DIY - universe makes it seem sooooooo easy to just paint a room. Throw on some cute overalls and cue the time sped up through music montage of laughing, painting and success. ummmm, not to be the bad guy here... but it's more likely unless you do it right, you get splatters, spills and swears.
So let's tackle a realistic way to paint. You START HERE...
1. Prep. Get your walls ready for paint. Sometimes when you have a freshly painted wall, the imperfections can be accentuated- like how did I never notice that giant bump or uneven texture!!!- I can't live like this- accentuated! Be sure to take the time to prepare the walls and patch any holes or dents in the sheet rock- seriously. If you spend all the time to paint, you want the finished product to look good. Be sure not to skimp on this step. Wash walls (more on that in our post on cleaning) patch walls and sand walls (hand sanding works too- doesn't have to be a huge sander!) before you get started. I was notorious for rushing this step and kicking myself when I had to do it all over again.
2. Get the right equipment. This means the right tape, paint brushes, rollers, extension rollers, etc. and sometimes the more costly ones. Dollar store rollers are a dollar for a reason (but P.S. I've used them in a pinch). If you have the right equipment, the ugly painting job just got prettier. The right tape is going to give you far better results than whatever tape you have laying around (blue tape vs. Frog Tape is it's whole other post.) But use real painters tape whatever brand you like. When it comes to interior painting, it really pays off to use nice equipment. Extension rollers are also nice, and help to give you the vertical edge. If anyone ever get's the product on instagram that is a sprayer that's shaped like a slice of pizza to cut into corners... PLEASE PLEASE tell me if that really works! ALSO- think clothing as equipment as well. This is the only time I wear crocs.
3. Like Chocolates... it's best to Sample. Always use a sample before you buy all the paint and get started. This step may seem like a pain, but it is a bigger waste of time and money to paint a room a color that you don’t like, and have to start over- MULTIPLE TIMES! Just like any sample (stain, carpeting, flooring, etc) it is very hard to visualize how an entire room is going to look when you are just going off of a swatch and a swatch not even on your walls. Some colors of paint can also bring out surprise hues in other things in your room, like carpeting or upholstery. Does it go with what is in the room already? Remember to review the samples at different hours of the day and into the night. Plus sample them on different walls (some that get light and some darker corners.)
4. Primer. This is the most-skipped step when painting interior walls. Please, please, please prime your walls. This is the step that everyone wants to cut out, but you will be sorry you did. Primer is made specifically so that paint will stick to it. This I learned from my friend who's really good at her makeup, it's like foundation for your face. Everything you put on top of it will look more polish and finished and flawless. You WILL have better results if you use primer, the end! Primer seals sheetrock and evens colors out, so that your paint will go on more even, and stick to the walls. PLUS- have you ever hung something on your wall and a chuck of paint pulled off when you removed it? That's no primer my friend. It also makes your paint stretch farther in coverage. Yes, there are paints with primers- and if you have the time- I'd love to discuss this argument further- but my primer would have already dried and I'd be successfully painting away long before you could make your point! PRIMER = BETTER RESULTS.
5. Sheen. This gets either really interesting or where your head starts to pound. You need to choose the right sheen of paint for your space and how your space is used.
Flat: works best in living rooms, bedrooms and ceilings.
Matte: works best in family rooms, dining rooms and hallways.
Eggshell: works best in foyers, kitchen and on trim.
Satin: works best in playrooms, laundry rooms and kid's bedrooms.
Semi-Gloss: works best on doors, trim, moldings and cabinets.
Gloss: woks best on trim, woodwork and doors.
Flat paint is very hard to keep clean, and rough to touch. High-gloss paint is really glossy and can cause a lot of light/reflection in the room. It also shows a lot of detail to the wall, so only choose high gloss if you have a wall with very few imperfections. Satin or semi-gloss is my favorite to use for interior walls, because it is the best of all worlds. It is not too shiny, but still cleans up pretty well.
You get the biggest bang for your buck with paint. It makes a huge difference in your home, for a very low cost, as home improvements go- and usually accompanies pizza and beer at the end. Oh, and huge DIY bragging rights!