I love to paint. I know some people just hate it and would rather hire someone to do it, but I just loooove seeing a room become new again with every brush stroke of color. The whole prep part I really dislike, but other than that, I actually get really excited to paint a room. Painting provides endless possibilities!
I have painted quite a lot in my day. I’ve helped my mom paint many rooms in our house growing up, and now that I have my own house, I’ve painted all of that, too. My amazing mom has most definitely painted her fair share of rooms, so I picked her brain on some of the things she’s learned in all her years of experience. Together, we came up with these 10 painting tips to help you save time and money!
1. Do your Research!
Before you go out and buy your paint, make sure you’ve done all your research. It’s important to measure your room to get an idea of how much paint you’ll need. To estimate the amount of paint needed for your room, add together the length of all the walls. Multiply that number by height of the room (measure from floor to ceiling). Now you have to determine how much of that square footage is paintable surface area. Because you will use a different paint on the doors and windows, subtract those areas from the room total (You can just subtract 20 square feet per door and 15 square feet per average sized window in the room – these are average measurements). You’ll end up with a number that is pretty close to the actual wall area you’ll have to cover with paint. For more help, Behr has a fabulous and easy paint calculator that you can plug your measurements into. See it HERE.
Usually you can expect 1 gallon of paint to cover about 350 square feet. You’ll need slightly more than a gallon if the walls are unpainted drywall, which absorbs more of the paint. You also need to consider whether to paint more than one coat. If you’re painting unfinished walls, heavily patched, or dark in color, plan on applying two coats of paint for sure.
Make sure you also know what supplies you’ll need as well. Do you need a roller, or a small brush? Make sure you also invest in good brushes; they’ll last you longer and will cost you less in the long run!
2. Know your Paint Finishes
This was totally foreign to me when I first started painting. Paint finishes? Isn’t all paint the same? It’s totally not, my friends! Paints come in a wide variety of finishes: flat, satin, eggshell, gloss, high gloss, etc. Each serves a purpose for different rooms/furniture pieces. For example, flat paint is reaaaalllly hard to clean. It’s nice because it doesn’t have any shine, but it shows a lot of flaws (if any) in the wall or furniture because it doesn’t reflect the light. So, based on that, you’re not going to paint your child’s bedroom with flat paint when they’re probably going to be scuffing up the wall and inevitably using their markers on it to draw you a pretty picture. You’d have to paint over it all again and again to keep it looking nice. For your child’s bedroom or a place with high traffic, you’ll want to use an eggshell or satin. It has a little shine, but is a lot easier to wipe down and clean! If you’re not sure about paint finishes and what kind you’ll need, Behr Paint and Bob Vila have great information to get you going.
3. Use Those Free Paint Chips!
Most, if not all, stores will have paint chips and samples all organized by colors for you to take. Take them! Bring home all your favorite colors that you like, and place them with furniture, curtains, pillows, bedding, anything that will be in the room you’re painting so you can get a feel of what it’ll look like and if the colors will match. Clearly I took the above paint chip with me everywhere; it was the color we chose for Jade’s nursery, and I kept it with me just in case we were at a store and needed it! (And, when you’re all done with those paint chips, you can use them to make some really neat stuff like these adorable Ombre Paint Chip Earrings or this gorgeous Paint Chip Wreath!)
4. Paint A Few Sample Colors
Once you’ve narrowed down your few favorite colors from the paint chips, go back and get a couple of small sample tubes of those colors. Paint them on your wall next to each other in fairly large sections. Make sure you look at the colors at different times of the day. They may look different depending on lighting and where the sun is. A color may appear to look white with a light on in the room at night, but when the sun shines in on it in the morning, it might appear beige which can change the look of the whole room. sit on it a few days before deciding so you don’t choose a color you end up hating, only to have to spend more money and time repainting!
5. Go BOLD
Our tendency sometimes with paint is to go the safe route and get a neutral color. I’m all for neutral, but don’t be afraid to go bold! Having an accent wall of a bright color can really add some dimension to a room and give it a little extra character. We chose a neutral gray for our living room, but I painted an accent wall green for fun. I recently painted over it with the same gray paint to match, but I really loved having something different as a focal point in our huge living/dining room area. There are so many beautiful bright colors out there. BE bold and GO bold! Check out Behr’s 2015 Paint Color Trends for inspiration on some bright and fun colors!
6. Get High Quality Paint
I know this may sound like the opposite of saving money, but it’s truth. When we moved into our house, we were on quite the budget. I really wanted to paint our living room and kitchen gray to get rid of the ugly yellow beige color we had, but didn’t want to spend a ton. So, I went and got the cheapest paint I could find. Let me tell you; though it’s tempting to save a buck, it was NOT WORTH IT. We ended up using a ton of paint, and I had to go back and get two more gallons just to finish. It also was super thin, and we needed 3 coats just to cover up a light beige! And since then, there’s so many little chips here and there from things banging on the wall. Even hanging birthday decorations with tape ripped off the paint when we pulled them down. Moral of the story? Use QUALITY PAINT! It might mean it costs more, but you’ll use less and save more in the long run. It’ll go on smoother, cover more evenly, and last so much longer. Behr is the only brand we use now, and they have fabulous quality paint!
7. Do the Prep
As I said above, I HATE prepping to paint. And by prepping, I mean all. the. taping. Now, there are a ton of tips and tricks to not having to tape off your baseboards and doors. But in reality, you’re either going to spend the time taping, or spend time going really slowly along those edges as to not get any paint where you don’t want it. I’d rather just spend some time taping everything off to ensure I don’t have any paint where I don’t want it, rather than having to repaint and touch-up later. When purchasing, make sure you get good quality tape. Cheap tape doesn’t stick as well and causes paint to leak through underneath. Been there, done that! Frog tape is a great alternative to painter’s tape and I think works even just a little bit better! (Because ceilings tend to have more texture, I do use the cutting in method with a good brush for the top of the walls. Taping the ceiling may result in leakage because of the texture! Canary Street Crafts has a great tutorial on how to cut in that you can read about HERE.)
8. Paint High to Low
Always start painting from the highest area to the lowest. Start from the ceiling or top of the wall and work your way down. This way, you’ll catch any drips or splatters, and you won’t ruin your beautiful freshly painted wall!
9. Use Thin Coats
It’s tempting to start by rolling on a super thick coat to help with not having to do another coat, but that doesn’t always work. Painting a thin coat is better than loading up your brush or roller and getting too much paint on the wall. Otherwise, you’ll have drips and the paint won’t look as even. A second thin coat will cover anything you may have missed the first time around, and it will look much more even!
10. Paint Trim Last
This might just be our preference, but we’ve found it’s a lot easier to paint the whole wall first, then go back when that’s dry and paint the baseboards and trim. When you’re rolling the paint on the walls, it splatters all over and can get on the trim. Even with tape, it still can splatter or drip on the untaped places. You can easily use a small brush and paint the trim without worrying about the other paint colors dripping in.
These are just some of the things we’ve learned in our painting endeavors, but I hope they can help you save some time an hopefully some money next time you have some painting to do!
Do you have any paint tips? I’d love to hear them!
Have a great rest of the week!
(I link up at these fun parties!)