Painting Tips From a Virgin Painter
I wanted to paint my son’s room. And at the time that I started this project, I was a 39-year-old painting virgin. Don’t get me wrong, I’d worked with tons of clients on paint for their homes but when it came to the physical part? New to me. Frankly, it was a bit intimidating getting started (and I navigate this business all the time!). Well I survived the project and am here to say that it’s totally doable. Still unsure? Check out these painting project tips.
Painting Tips: Don’t Go to a Big Box Home Improvement Store.
“Wha?”, Yeah. None of that. They’ve got way too much going on, awful lighting and too many choices. Over. Whelming. “Great, Jen. So where do I start?”
Painting Tips: Start Online
You may notice a pattern with me? An introvert who prefers computers to people? But this is really a time where it’ll help even you extroverts. Go to a website like Sherwin Williams and use the incredibly fun tools they have.
**Side note: I’ve got an account with Sherwin Williams, so they’re who I’m familiar with. But I’ve also heard great things about others, Benjamin Moore, Farrow and Ball, etc.)**
They’ve got all the colors where you can choose a family (and ignore the hot pinks for a second) and narrow down.
They’ve got a way to visualize your color in a room (“Whoa! That looks way more powder puff blue than I thought!”)
They’ve got a way to visualize the color in YOUR room (“Oh! That really looks nice with the fireplace!”)
They’ve got a tool that will tell you the paint name/number for anything you’d like to match. Upload a picture (or take one on your phone), drag the cursor to the color you want and bam. There’s your answer.
Painting Tips: Go to the Store
“Waaait, Jen. You said don’t…” I know. And I’ll still say skip the DIY stores. Head to the real stores with the real paint people. You come in with a color or two already selected, walk directly PAST the huge wall of colors and ask for a paint sample of your chosen color.
Side note: these sample sizes are genius. I painted an entire wall twice with some left over; it really gave me a good feel for how my room would look
They do come in gloss finish, which most likely isn’t the way you’d like to paint a whole room. But it’s a start!
Painting Tips: Paint
Yep! Paint a pretty good-sized patch. I’m not saying the whole wall (you might hate that color with a passion once you see it) but enough that you can see it from across the room. If you can, paint it in several places to get different light at different times of day.
Things to note:
Paint will look better with several coats and differ in finish.
I pretty much hated how streaky and watery my Tony Taupe looked at first but with two solid coats it’s exactly the chocolate milk color I craved
Paint as close to things that are staying (say, fireplace, tiles, trim) as you can.
If you paint a random swatch in the middle of the room you’ll see your color, but you’ll see it in the middle of another color (which you most likely don’t like). Cream will look pinkish next to a red, etc.
Another trick is to tape up sheets of white paper or poster board next to your swatch. You’ll get a feel for the true color without influence/contamination of other colors.
Got it up? Now live with it for a few days and let it marinate.
Painting Tips: Back to the Store.
We’ll assume you’ve got a color you love (how could you not after following these fantastic paint tips??) and you’re ready for more. Go back to the PAINT store and find a salesperson.
I know, I know, the talking to people. But I’ve never met one who a): didn’t truly love paint, b) really know the ins and outs of all the details I can’t remember and c) really enjoy helping people. Are there surly paint people out there? Surely. But the chances of getting a fantastic one way outweigh that risk. They’ll give you the scoop.
On my last (okay, who am I kidding, first) painting project I looked at all the different types of paints (latex, oil-based, etc.) and….my eyes glazed over. The guy asked me a few questions (my most important was having no VOC/horrific vapors) and pointed me in the right direction.
In my case, this was not at the top of the line/most expensive one. Could he have gone straight for the jugular and sold me the elite stuff? Probably. I wouldn’t have necessarily known. But he was honest with me, weighed my project and gave me just what I needed.
Painting Tips: Get the Right Stuff.
While you’re at the paint store (okay, with this they might actually be less expensive at Lowe’s, your call) buy your supplies.
Grab your paint brushes in a few sizes, some
(there are 30 thousand variations of painter’s tape, but I have it under good authority that unless you’re doing trim they’re all pretty much the same)
Painting tips exclusive: this new tool I discovered: a paint shield.
Super handy. Put it between you and the thing you don’t want to paint (trim, ceiling, etc.) and paint along the edge. Remove and voila! A great line!
If you’ve got the chance just move it along without stopping as you paint.
Yes, this is tricky on ceilings unless you’re exceptionally tall.
Painting Tips: Get to it!
Lock yourself in your space if possible, put some good tunes on and paint away.
Painting tip exclusive: parents, this is an excellent excuse to get some solitary time! You wouldn’t want children tipping over paint, would you?
Painting Tips: Beyond
Well, you’ve probably got that covered, right?
More coats as needed. Rinse things before they dry. Peel the tape off if you’re using it (my personal favorite. Man, does that feel good).
Oh, and most important? When your painting’s all done, congratulations! Get yourself a beverage, plop down to rest your achy body and admire your hard work. Ya done good.
If at any time during this process you get stuck, I’m more than happy to help. I’ve got services starting with “Gimme a general color family you’d use with this rug” all the way up to, “I’m expecting a baby in June and I’m working straight up until his due date. Can you help?”. Find the right package for you here.
Hi! I’m Jen, a kids’ rooms designer extraordinaire and only semi-apologetic Hostess/Little Debbie addict. Read more about me here: