Painting your home can be a fun way to add some change, redecorate, and enjoy a fresh take on your space. However, it can be a pain to do, especially if you are trying to do-it-yourself with no experience. Rather than hire a pro, we put together pro tips for painting your home so you can get it right, and save some cash.
Top 10 DIY Painting Tips
- Inspect your space and plan
- Get the right tools
- Choose the right color and buy it at once
- Prepare your walls
- Wait for the right weather to paint
- Paint in the right order – How to paint a room
- Keep a wet edge to avoid lap marks
- Get the right nap (we aren’t talking about sleep!)
- Touch up work: get a paint pen and tools
- Clean up and finish
1. Inspect your space and plan
Plan your paint before you start! Now you should have the right tools and paint. The first thing to do is take time to inspect your walls, ceiling, and trim for any imperfections or needed repairs. Make a list of any patches, scratches or imperfections to take care of and let your local store help find the right fixes. Some imperfections will be handled with priming your walls, some may need a patch or light mud and sanding to take care of the fix. Take your time to fix as much as possible and it will reduce your painting headaches and lead to a smooth job down the road. A 220 grit sandpaper can do the trick for most spackle and sanding needs.
Clean and wipe your walls if necessary. This may be an issue if there is a lot of cobwebs, dust, or dirt in a room, or even heavy smoking can leave a film that makes it difficult for paint to stick to walls.
Start with the right tools for your painting job. When you purchase your paint, ask for the right brush and roller combination that is best for your type of paint and your wall. The hardware store or paint store should ask about any texture on your walls, ceiling or trim or any special considerations. This may include tight areas that will be difficult to paint, how many layers of paint are on your walls or repairs you will need to make.
Here are some basic considerations and tools you will want to have or consider purchasing that may make your job easier. This is just one simple tips for painting: get the right tools! Also try the Purdy tool selector to help find the right tool. Also grab any fixing materials like spackle, tape, sandpaper, patches etc.
For painting tape, some swear by Frogtape which claims to keep paint out and your lines crisp. There are different types of tape for your projects. We do love the delicate surface tape, especially if you are starting out.
Blue painter’s tape also works, but check with your paint store for other options specific to your projects.
A good trim brush should be angled and about 2-3″ in length. Purdy makes a great brush and has different sizes and types depending on the job at hand.
Paint Rollers & Sizes
For your main walls, find the right roller size for the job, and you may need more than one. Bob Villa has a great article about roller sizes and types to consider.
For the nap of your wall, or texture, you will need different rollers depending on a smooth or textured finish and the type of paint. Get help from your paint store on the right roller for your walls.
3. Choose the right color and buy it at once
When mixing paint, there can be slight inconsistencies in the color and tone if you purchase paint over time. It is best to buy all your paint at once, then mix in a large 5 gallon bucket to ensure all your paint is one color on the walls and trim. This is a pro tip for painting that many don’t think about for a large project. In a small room, this is less of a concern but for a large space that requires a lot of paint, try this tip to ensure your room color is beautiful and consistent throughout, especially if it is a strong or dark color.
4. Prepare your walls – tips for painting
Now you have your plan, prepare your walls by fixing any imperfections, holes, or issues you found during inspection. Take your time here, a good job preparing your space will save a huge headache during your paint job. One pro tip for painting is a lot of prep work and planning so things run, and paint, smoothly.
Preparation is also taping off your trim work first. Many pro painters start by painting the walls first and tape off the trim or ceiling. Why is this? There is typically less trim to tape off than wall. Some pros recommend removing any baseboards or crown molding if possible, and saves time on painting. These trim pieces can be painted separately and then there is no worry about taping them off or cutting in your trim area, besides windows, doors or areas without trim. See the video in #6 for how to paint your room, which can help with your preparation work.
5. Wait for the right weather to paint
A wet, rainy day is a terrible time to paint, as it can be difficult for paint to dry or open a window for ventilation. The spring and fall are great times to paint, as long as the humidity is low and the temperature is below 80 and above 40 degrees Fahrenheit according to HGTV.
6. Paint in the right order – How to paint a room
This is a great video from Home Depot on how to paint a room. Like with cleaning, start top to bottom. This will catch any drips or splatter as you paint and roll.
The first step is to cut in your room, which means to use a trim brush and draw an outline around the room next to any trim, windows, doors, grates, or other areas that cannot be rolled. Brushing on the wall first and brush back and forth. If you are using tape and got it on the wall right, you can brush onto the tape to get a clean, straight line. This may make removing your tape an issue later, but some choose to do this if they are not confident in their skills. If you do paint onto the tape, take care removing it later!
After your trim work is done, use a fully loaded roller to paint in 3′ lines in a “V” shape. Make sure there is enough paint on your roller and begin rolling in smooth, even strokes in a “V” shape, do not pick up your roller. In the video, they demonstrate how to roll your wall to perfection.
The last step is to remove your tape and start to paint your trim if you choose to paint trim, or fix any imperfections. When removing tape, you can cut your tape with a utility knife and leave it behind if need be as a tip for painting.
7. Keep a wet edge to avoid lap marks – pro tips for painting
Those dreaded lines when rolling a wall can make anyone cringe. What is a pro tip to get rid of them? Keep a wet edge. These lines are called “lap marks” and happen when paint is drying and is “lapped” with wet paint. If you keep your paint wet and smooth over with more wet paint, you will avoid these lap marks.
A second coat of paint can also help smooth this out, but keep in mind dark paint is very unforgiving. Dark paint can be difficult even for the most experienced painter. Go slowly and paint in small sections so your paint sections are smooth and line free.
8. Get the right nap (we aren’t talking about sleep!)
Your wall nap is the texture of the wall you are painting. Older homes may use texture, like on a ceiling, to add depth and interest. When painting, the nap of your wall makes a huge difference to get the right coat and look. Ask your hardware store for the right paint type, tools and tips for your specific wall nap to get it right the first time.
9. Touch up work: get a paint pen and tools
Touch up work is an important step to the painting process.
These refillable touchup pens are not only great for fixing small areas after the main paint job is complete or touching up trim, but for maintenance on your house going forward.
Having kids can mean scuff marks, scrapes, dents, dings, and more on your walls and trim. These inexpensive touchup pens help keep your home looking fresh, clean, and top notch.
10. Clean up and finish tips for painting
While you are still painting, wrap your brushes with saran wrap to keep the paint wet without washing it out. After everything is done, keep things clean by washing your brushes, rollers, and other tools out thoroughly. This is best done with soapy water and a lot of patience. The Purdy brush site has tips for cleaning your tools so they can be used again and again.
Take care to remove any painter’s tape, thoroughly clean your tools, and let things dry. Now is the time to enjoy all the hard work! If you want to hang artwork, try our article on how to hang artwork 101.