Painting a Room - A beginner's guide

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Paint a Room

Painting your home interior may be as easy as paint by numbers for some, but for those uninitiated yet willing to give it a go (and save hundreds of dollars), having a bit of background knowledge is a boon.  This past weekend I painted my entire apartment.  It’s pretty small - only 3 rooms - so, I figured it would be a breeze.  Wrong.  I’m sure that as with most other people, the assumption may be that painting is a no-brainer and hey with a roller, fast too.  While it isn’t rocket science, there are a few pointers that can be very helpful (which I now wish I’d had before hand) for first timers.painting A Beginners Guide on How to Paint a Room

I suppose you might want to start out with how to pick colours.  Although I flirted with some ideas of setting a Mediterranean Island feel/California terra-cotta look, in the end I went with a light cream to open up the rooms which had been previously coloured light olive, mauve, and yellow - all hideous shades.

If you’re not sure about which colours you’d like, or even where to begin, you can watch Mag Ruffman’s video tips or read the article. She basically recommends using more than an itty bitty paint chip as a reference.  For further reiteration Style at Home’s article also suggests viewing your chosen hue in different lighting.

Now that you’re sure about the colour(s), what other tools do you need?

1. masking tape

2. drop cloth

3. wall brush & trim and sash brush

4. roller

5. painting paint

6. cleaning supplies

Perusing a number of articles, I was surprised to learn that a number of professionals suggest washing your walls first.  Or, if the existing paint is glossy, you might have to wash with a special solution or else the new paint may not even adhere properly.

I also asked around and the general consensus was to cover everything of importance with a plastic drop cloth, cover edges with masking tape, cut the edges (line with paint) and then fill in the rest with a roller.

I thought this was all I needed to know.  Instead this is what happened …

Top 5 things I learned about painting:

1.  Make sure you have enough paint.

Seems obvious right?  Well, you might not want to end up with a bathroom door and one bedroom wall baby blue as I did.

2. Go towards the light:

Daylight reveals imperfections that are hidden in dim lighting that you’ll be quick to want to correct.

3. Tape the edges:

It will actually save you time in the long run.  I thought that painting the baseboards would be easy since as a fine art painter, I can draw straight lines on canvas no problem.  But as I cut across the baseboards, the effort it took to wipe up dribbles each time it happened collectively took longer than the couple of minutes it would have taken to put down tape in the first place.

4. Don’t overload the roller

Dipping your roller where the paint starts to pool in your paint tray and rolling it until the paint covers it thinly and evenly, tip it so that joint where it attaches is pointing to the ceiling as this will help to avoid gobs on the floor.

5. Start from the Middle

When applying paint with a roller, start about midway on the wall, roll upwards first, then pull down - this way the paint has less of a chance of running onto the floor.

Looking for more detailed instructions? One of my go-to sites - sort of like an online Dummies equivalant - HowStuffWorks.com has a great section on various aspects of painting.

For a host of painting tips, paint decor ideas, the low down on paint, materials, accessories and more, the Home Renovation Guide’s article library painting section is chock full of useful information; from the difference between Latex vs. Elastomeric Paint or the secrets to How to Make a Room Look Larger with Paint.

I wish I had been armed with all of this information, so I hope this post will help out others out there with the determination to beautify their space with paint.  When all is said and done, next time, I’d seriously consider just hiring a professional.

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Bedros Manikian

Bedros Manikian

Real Estate Broker
CENTURY 21 Innovation
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