While I don’t claim to be a professional painter by any means… over the years I have painted more rooms and things than I can remember. Before moving into this house in 1998, I moved 12 times in 15 years, and did some redecorating wherever I went.
These pants are the evidence of many of my painting adventures.. or should I say misadventures… especially when the cats are helping. lol. This is Lucky, aka Monkey, just one of my feline mischief seekers helpers.
When we moved into this house every room was covered in beige, striped wallpaper… and that just wasn’t going to do for this girl who loves colour. It had to go… and go it did.
In this house alone I’ve painted the living room 5 times; the upstairs hallway 5 times; the kitchen cupboards and walls 3 times. I’ve redecorated the downstairs bathroom 3 times; the family room 4 times; the master bedroom 4 times; the guest room, the upstairs bathroom, John’s office, and my craft room all twice.
Whew… that sounds exhausting, but I love doing it. Really. Well, most of the time anyway. lol.
After I finish reorganizing my craft room, I’ll be redecorating the master bedroom… for the 5th, and probably not the last, time.
I tend to get bored when a room looks the same way for too long. So now instead of moving I just redecorate… it’s much cheaper, and it keeps me happy.
So here are a few painting tips that I’ve learned along the way.
10) Use the proper brushes for the job.
There are different brushes for different jobs… for example there are angled brushes for cutting around baseboards, window and door moldings. Synthetic bristle can be used with most paint but specifically water based. Natural bristle brushes are for oil based paint. Ask at the paint store to make sure you’re getting the brushes you need.
9) Poke holes into the lips of paint can lids.
This allows the excess paint to drip back into the can. It’s such a pain when paint dries inside that lip and you can’t get the lid on right. I use a large nail and hammer and usually poke 6 holes, evenly spaced, in gallon cans, and 3 into quart cans. This has always worked great for me.
8) Check the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for Ooops paints.
I always do this before spending 4x as much, or more, at the regular paint store. Here I can get a gallon of paint for $10, and a quart for $2. That’s a huge savings.
I always ask them to open the can so I can see the paint before I buy. If it’s completely separated I wouldn’t buy it because I don’t have a rotary mixer and it would be too hard to mix it really well by hand. So far, I’ve had excellent luck with Restore paint.
I actually check on the paint every time I go and if I see a colour I love I buy it right away, whether I’m going to use it soon or not. It might not be there when I need it.
7) Use frozen food tins under legs.
John likes the frozen meat pies that come in the little metal plates.
I always save them to use under table and chair legs when painting.
They clean up easily and can be reused again and again.
6) Primer is a girl’s best friend.
I know some would say diamonds… but for me, it’s primer. I always use it, especially when painting light over dark… or dark over light. If you don’t chances are you won’t get the actual colour that you chose from the paint chip, or you’ll have to do more paint coats. If you’re OK with either of those things then forego the primer, but be forewarned.
I recently tried a primer/paint combo that I got at the Restore when I repainted the guest room. It was a Robin’s egg blue and it covered a heritage sort of sagey green colour very well with just one coat.
5) Use a grocery bag to cover a paint tray.
Whenever I’m using a paint tray I cover it with a plastic grocery bag, which I only get from thrift stores now because I use handled bins for all my grocery shopping.
We’re on a well, and our water is like gold to us… so I don’t like using a ton of water to clean up a paint tray. Using a bag is the lesser of two evils for me.
I make sure there are no holes in the bag, and if it has a logo on it I turn it inside out so there’s no chance of the ink running into the paint.
When I’m finished painting I remove the roller and place it on the bag, sort of roll the bag up as I remove it from the tray, tie it up with the paint roller inside, and put it in the garbage.
4) Use old sheets as drop cloths. Second hand flat sheets can be found at thrift shops for cheaper than buying drop cloths at the hardware store, at least here anyway. Or you may already have some you can sacrifice to the painting gods.
3) Paint rooms for when you’re actually in them.
This is probably different for everyone. For me this means our cold, snowy winters and night time… for several reasons. John and I both work full-time days, and in the warmer months we’re outside most of the time until dusk… and sometimes later.
This doesn’t mean I don’t take other things into account as well, but winter and night time are my main considerations.
2) Preparation is everything.
If you need to fill holes; fill them. If you need to sand; sand. If you need to jump on your head and do an ancient painting dance… then dance.
I truly believe that any painting job is 90% preparation, 10% actual painting, and 150% perspiration… or at least it seems like that sometimes.
1) Don’t be afraid of colour… any colour.
My most important tip of all, unless you’re decorating strictly for resale, then that’s a whole other gallon of paint.
Otherwise, this is just decorating… not life and death. If you love it… go for it. It’s only paint after all. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or says. Trust your own instincts, and have a sense of humour about it. If you love white, white, and more white… by all means go white. If you love pink and green… go pink and green.
All I’m saying is be true to yourself.
Life is just too short to not fully enjoy the home you’re spending so much of your time in.
I hope these are helpful, and I’m sure there are a lot of other tips that I haven’t even thought of. If you have a tip to share I’d love to hear it.
Have a wonderful day, and thanks so much for reading!