What do I need to know before painting walls in my home?

Real Mom Problem

“We finally found a house and it needs some work. I haven't really painted much. Any advice?”

by marylandjoanne marylandjoanne

Quick Tips

  • 1. Tape off ceiling edges, moldings, baseboards and other areas you don't want painted
  • 2. Remove light switch and outlet plates
  • 3. Cover furniture and flooring
  • 4. Invest in quality paint and tools
  • 5. Take your time. It's better to put effort into prep work than to redo everything because of mistakes

Real Mom Solutions

Ready to paint but not sure where to start? The moms of CafeMom share tips and tricks for getting your walls to look great!

  • blueridgemama

    You can pick up sample sizes of the colors you like for a couple of dollars each. That way you can paint a decent portion of a wall and determine if you like it. Make sure to paint it back white before you paint over the colors you didn't choose. You don't want a dark spot.

    Also, take the time to tape off the trim, remove light and electrical plates, lay down drop cloths, move furniture, and whatever else prepping needs to be done. The paint will look crappy if your lines aren't clean and straight or if there are dribbles of paint on the floor. Taping off takes forever, but it is THE WAY to get a professional looking paint job, instead of people coming in and saying, "Oh, nice color, you did it yourself?"

    And regarding power rollers, we used one to do the exterior of our house. If you are doing a really big job like that, and you are doing it all at one time, power rollers can be handy. However, they are a real pain to clean because you have to take apart all of the little pieces and clean every single internal tube and part, or else paint will dry inside of there and it will not work anymore.

  • momof31997

    The most important thing is to take your time. Use painter's tape to tape off the edges and trim. Cover your furniture, and again, please take your time. Have fun! Painting is the best way to update anything!

  • Linds2Horse

    Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract per gallon into your paint before you begin painting. It won't alter the color but it will eliminate the noxious wet paint odor.

  • lgroves

    I have done so much painting I should have a roller for a hand! The most important thing, if you haven't picked out paint before, is to be careful! I have painted some walls 3-4 times because the color is all wrong. I've learned that with beiges/tans, the color on the swatch is going to look much darker on the sample than on the walls. So, with those colors, be brave and go with the color that you may think is too dark...you'll find out in the long run it really isn't. As for greens, they're a pain! I painted the accent wall in my son's room four times before getting a decent green. With reds, they look pinkish in the cans after they're mixed but they dry waaaay darker. I've had really good luck with blue.

    As for paint supplies, I always use a one-and-a-half inch angled brush for painting around trim. You should tape it off first, but I've gotten so good at painting I don't have to anymore! Then I use a regular-size roller to do the rest, always two coats. As for the roller material, I started using a yellow sponge roller because I found that it covers better and wastes less paint. You can squeeze a lot of paint out of it right back into the can. And it washes better than a cloth roller. Painter's tape is a little more expensive but it's worth it. I used masking tape before and I don't know how many places paint seeped under it and got on the trim.

  • mommybgood

    • Don't judge the color until you have TWO coats on. It's amazing how it changes when you have FULL coverage.
    • If you have to take a break, wrap your roller and brush in plastic wrap...they'll keep for up to a day.
    • When you are taping off....run the edge of a credit card over the tape where it will meet the paint....it really helps cut down on seeping under....granted, if your walls are heavily textured, paint will seep...I have a cheap set of little artist brushes that I use to touch up those spots.