When asked by homeowners what is the easiest, quickest and most cost effective thing that they can do to spruce up the inside of their house, I simply ask them if they know how to paint a room…. True fact, adding a fresh coat of paint to your dingy walls puts new life into the room and change the entire look of the room. The cost is minimal compared to most other repairs of annual upkeep. It is something that can be done in a day, unless of course you are painting a huge room. (If that were the case, you are probably pretty well off and you would hire professionals to do the job for you.) Painting updates the look of your house; it gets old musty smells and stains to vanish as if by magic. Painting a room has been known to inspire a “spring house cleaning” effect that seems to just snowball possibly throughout the whole house!
If you are concerned that it might be difficult to learn how to paint a room, you will find that the next part of your project will seem elementary and sensible after all you might have gone through the “choosing of the colors.” I know of more people than you‘d think who have taken weeks if not months in search of the perfect color in just the right shade that they could agree on. Two of my indecisive friends got so tired and frustrated with the task that they never did learn how to paint a room. Good luck to you and your family (husband; wife; better half) finding a color everyone can agree on. Did I mention that choosing the colors was the part of the job people agreed, was the hardest and most time consuming. I don’t know if there is a database somewhere that has an exact count of how many colors are out there to pick from but I am confident the amount is in the tens of thousands.
With your color choice in hand, go to the hardware store, a paint store or your local Walmart type of outlet. There are simple mathematics deciphered by the dimensions of the walls and ceiling. Your friendly Paint pusher will figure it out right before your eyes. These simple calculations will determine exactly how much paint you are going to need to do a thorough job on the room. Most of the time you are going to want to buy latex paint to do the walls. With latex paint you only have to make up your mind between limited kinds of finish textures. The top three latex sheens are: the time tested favorites, flat, satin and eggshell. Satin and eggshell latex paint won’t hide the flaws in your walls like good old dependable flat latex, but it doesn’t resist the dirt and stains that the other two do. Surfaces covered with a flat paint are harder to clean, and some paints can actually be washed off if any sort of harsh chemical cleaning solvent is applied. It’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s specifications on upkeep so you will understand how to keep your walls looking just painted. A word to the wise; of you are painting a room that sees a lot of activity, the walls won’t stay as nice if you use a flat finish. Here the eggshell and satin are better.
In the process of learning how to paint a room, you have no doubt come upon the look you get by the use of accent or contrasting colors for the trim. This other paint that you’ll be putting on the trim has to be a much durable paint with a semi-gloss or finish. This paint dries to for a hard outer shell meant to protect the trim, which is often touched and banged up or sun into. White is the most popular color used by people redoing a room, but I think white trim is so”1980” but you are free to paint your trim any color of the rainbow, as long as it is a complimentary color combo or you have the perfect contrasting or accent color and you don’t have a great amount of trim.
At t his point in your education on how to paint a room, you are ready to get at it, but hold on there. While you are already standing in the paint department, is there something else you think you might need? Could it be you might want to buys some good brushes in a variety of sizes and bristles? You’ll need rollers and an extension pole if you don’t already have access to one. You know you’ve seen painters using tarps and drop clothes to cover anything they don’t want splattered or painted. What else do you think they will need to do a professional looking job and aren’t set back by unavoidable mishaps that can pop up along up throughout the project from start to finish you can suffer through if you don’t have everything you need when you need it. I am going to share my complete list of tools and supplies and the added extras that a lot of teachers may not take the time to point out specifically while they are instructing you on how to paint a room properly.
There is a good chance that you will already have some or even most of the following things at home in your garage, or shop, so you don’t have to spend the money buying this you really don’t need to buy. Must have are: drop clothes or tarps, masking tape an or painter’s tape, plenty of old newspapers, paper towels, a clear plastic coves or two,, safety razor blades or a handy utility knife, rags, straight edge rulers or a wide yard stick like tools for, you got it, crisp clean line when you are edging anything, anywhere. I hope you picked up a couple paint trays, and screens to put in the paint bucket to keep you from over saturation your roller or brushes. Be certain to have a screwdriver, a good putty knife, an assorted variety of sandpaper and a tub of wall spackle for repairs and holes in the wall. Be sure to have the appropriate household cleaner and plenty of it.
I hope you bought the good quality brushes and a few rollers in different depth and thickness I recommended. You can’t do a good job without an extension pole so you will be certain to apply enough paint to the high, hard to reach areas of the ceiling and tops of walls. You are going to need a step ladder or two, but this is not so you can paint the ceiling. The only way to get a good look overhead is to apply a generous coat of paint with a roller on an extension pole. The trick to making your ceiling look great is by moving quickly across the room using parallel strokes, being careful to keep “wet edge” where your strokes will overlap and blend together, avoiding thin spots and an uneven look to the ceiling.
Congratulations! You have completed the first part of the basic fundamentals of how to paint a house (without losing it, screwing it up or making a big old mess.)
Are you ready to get down to painting?
- Start clearing out the room, taking the curtains, art work, pictures out first and then move all the heavy furniture away from the wall. If the pieces you are moving around are strong and durable it is possible to stand on them once you have everything completely covered with the tarps. You will now be using your screwdriver to remove all the outlet covers and light switch plates so you can paint under where they will be. The screws you are going to be removing are tiny and to avoid losing them, just screw them right back into place.
- This step is the one most everyone would skip if they could. You have to wash the ceiling and walls thoroughly using a household cleaner to really get the grime, grease and unexplained nasty stains off. I always used to think of painting the room as an alternative to having to wash the walls, how silly I felt when I discovered, you needed to do both. If you are met with stubborn stains that have an organic attachment to your walls, then you will have to prime the walls with an oil based primer to keep the stains from bleeding through onto your pretty newly painted wall.
- Cleaning off the walls will now give you a clear view of the spots on the wall making it easy for you to see which marks are holes and dings that you will want to fill and repair using the spackle and your putty knife. Using your finger or the edge of your putty knife, forcefully fill the holes, smoothing down the excess outside of the hole. Let the spackle dry the recommended length of time and then sand it off so the repair is flush with the walls’ surface.
- You begin the painting around all the edges of any part of the room. Some folks refer to this process as “trimming in” or ‘cutting in” (depending on what part of the country you live in)t he space around your baseboard, windows and doors, and the corner edges where the walls and the ceiling come together. If the trim or doors are to be left as they are and not to be painted by all means tape those areas not be painted with making tape or painters’ tape to protect the surfaces from runaway drops of paint. It is really tough to get drips and runs of paint out of a natural wood door or baseboard.
- Finally what you have all been waiting for; paint, trays and rollers meet for the first time and you are off! Now we will see if you have learned how to paint a room, because now you may paint. Start applying the paint on the wall at one top corner and work your way down and across the whole area. You should try to work it in small sections about 4 ft by 4 ft. which incidentally is approximately how size of the area you can paint each time you load up your roller.
- Don’t dilly-dally. Begin each new section right next to the last taking care to work quickly. The best looking walls have had their sections carefully blending taking advantage of the wet edge which leaves no lines or seams showing. Don’t stop your painting or even take a break until you have reach the far side of the wall or a door, so you don’t lose your wet edge advantage.
- Give the paint time to completely dry and cure before you go touching it to see if it ready to paint a second coat or it the color you see before you will be the finished color. After waiting the recommended time as suggested by the manufacturers and anyone else who knows if you feel the wall need a second coat, then you are welcome to start it all over again.
- Do you know why when you are painting the trim, the doors or windows why you always start at the top? That is so you can catch any drops that run down the wood ahead of you. It is always best to blend them into the area below where you are working, so the big fat droplet won’t be a forever reminder of the one that got away. The last things to be painted are the baseboards. Once you’ve reached them you are almost finished. Give your walls a chance to dry over night or at least a full day before you begin moving furniture back up against them and hanging the pictures and curtains.
At this point if you went right out and bought the paint and the above listed tools and supplies when you started reading this article, you might have just completed one of the coolest home improvement projects, something that was made so much easier for you because you followed the clear and complete set of instructions I have given you on how to paint a room. Was that really so bad? How about the next room, anyone ready to do it again?