How can I get the best possible results when painting?

Real Mom Problem

“I hate painting! Any tips to make it easier?”

by xElizabethx xElizabethx

Quick Tips

  • 1. Don't skip the prep work
  • 2. Invest in quality paint and tools
  • 3. Be sure to prime, when necessary
  • 4. Choose the correct amount of shine for your surface
  • 5. Paint a small area and let it dry before committing to a color

Real Mom Solutions

She's no pro, but this mom has done enough painting that she's discovered 11 surefire steps to success!

  • obx_Mom

    I'm on my fifth house, and I love to paint and change things up to keep them fresh and interesting! Paint is also one of the least expensive ways to change the look and feel of a room. ?I'm certainly no expert painter, but I've learned a few things the old fashioned way...trial and error! Here are a few tips I've learned the hard way! Hopefully some of these tricks will help you avoid some of my mistakes!

    1. If you're painting cabinets, paneled walls, or furniture, prime with KILZ (or an equivalent product). I'm thrifty, but it doesn't pay to cheap out on this step. If you don't prime, the paint will most likely wipe/wear off and scratch easily, also the paint may not adhere to paneling well without a primer. The paneling colors and patterns could also seep through the color layer without primer.
    2. Although flat paint is more forgiving and doesn't show flaws in the wall as much as other finishes, it also doesn't hold up to high traffic areas very well. It's great for ceilings! If you're doing a kid's play room, a hallway, bathroom or other high traffic area, I'd go with a semi-gloss or satin, or at the very least an eggshell finish so you can wipe up any fingerprints, splashes or other crazy things kids do to walls. Semi-gloss is probably the most washable and it's great for high traffic areas, but the higher the gloss, the more it will reflect light and the more it will show imperfections in the walls. Semi-gloss works great on trim and baseboards!
    3. Found a funky new color that you absolutely LOVE? Take that color and back it down two shades. Color always looks darker once it's on the wall. I'll paint a 1x1 foot square in the new color and then walk away from it and let it dry all the way. After about 20-30 minutes if it's too dark, I'll then add a 1/2 gallon of white in the same finish to lighten it up. The trick is to write down how much white you added in case you have to get more paint. Record your recipe!
    4. Invest in a good set of brushes and rollers. Again, I'm thrifty and a Class-A cheapskate, but cheap roller heads will leave lint, blobs and fuzz on the walls. Better to have a good set of tools that you can keep clean and use over and over than buy cheap ones that won't give you as good of a job.?
    5. Use the right paint for the job. It's ok to use exterior paint inside, but never try to use interior paint outside. It won't hold up. There's a reason there is exterior and interior. Once again, I'm the queen of cheap and I always check out the "Oops" paint section, even if I don't have a project coming up! "Oops" paint is paint that's been mixed to match a sample that didn't match or someone's bought and it's been returned because it didn't match once they got it home.
    6. Cheap paint is like a cheap might look OK on the shelf, but once you put it on, it probably isn't going to hold up very well. Paint is expensive, but if you refer to #5, always check the "Oops" paint! A good interior paint will run about $10-20, depending if you catch it on sale, the type of paint you're buying, or where you live. Most likely, the cheaper the paint (unless it's on sale) the more coats you will have to apply.
    7. It takes more coats of a dark color to cover a light color. You would think it would be the other way around, but it's not. Example: If you have a tan wall and want to paint it a navy blue, be prepared to use twice the amount of paint that you think you'll need.
    8. Prep before you begin. Fix any damaged places; fill any nail holes; remove all of the picture hangers, nails, and tape from the walls; scrub any stains and finger prints before you start.
    9. Use a hammer and a small nail to put a half dozen holes in the lip of the rim of the paint bucket so the paint will run back into the can instead of globbing-up in the rim. When you put the lid back on, the rim of the lid will reseal the holes!
    10. You've painted until you can't move! You're tired, sore, stiff, dirty, sweaty, stinky, covered in paint and you're ready for a shower and the bed! You just don't feel like washing out brushes and rollers! Never fear! Wrap up your brushes and rollers in a plastic bag and store in a cool place for up to five days! (Maybe longer, but five days is the longest I've ever done it personally). Although you should always thoroughly wash out your brushes and rollers to make them last as long as possible, this will work in a pinch.
    11. Store leftover paint in recycled laundry detergent jugs. Cool Whip or butter containers (AKA "Redneck Tupperware") are also another favorite of mine for storing leftover paint! The lids stay on so the paint doesn't dry out, and it's a great way to recycle/reuse!