Painting the walls inside your home is a tried-and-true way to make an old space feel new again. While some homeowners hire professional painters, others do the job with their own two hands.
But be forewarned: If you’re a DIY kind of person, a seemingly simple paint project can go awry. It might seem like all you need are a few rollers, paintbrush, ladder, and paint. In reality, pulling off a professional-looking paint job requires much more than that.
It’s crucial to equip yourself with the right tools and do your homework beforehand, lest you risk losing time, money, and your patience.
To help ensure your next painting endeavor plays out smoothly, take these interior painting tips into consideration.
1. Use room-specific paint
Wall paint is not one-size-fits-all. Different rooms need different kinds of paint, based on the location and activities that happen there.
“Bathrooms and kitchens may require moisture-resistant paint, while high-traffic areas may need more durable paint,” says Phi Dang, CEO of Newline Painting in Melbourne, Australia.
Besides factoring for a room’s function, you should choose a paint that fits your lifestyle, advises Bill Nishanian, owner of Nash Painting in Brentwood, TN.
“If you have kids, you need durable, scrubbable, easy-to-touch-up paint that won’t leave marks when you clean it,” Nishanian says.
Considering this, Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Interior Paint is an excellent choice for busy areas in the house. It can withstand scuffs and marks and is easily cleaned with soap and water.
Paint sheen should also always be factored in.
“The higher the sheen, the more visible the imperfections,” Nishanian mentions.
2. Walls should not be painted from the bottom up
A successful paint job requires planning, and that includes figuring out where on the wall you’re going to start with your brush. And painting a wall from the bottom up might be more of an issue than you think.
“Always paint from the top down,” says Harry Adler, co-founder of C2 Paint and president of Adler’s Design Center & Hardware in Providence, RI. He explains that this helps prevent unsightly paint drip marks that often happen if you paint from the bottom up.
“You want to cut in the perimeters and frame everything out with a brush first,” Adler says. “Then paint from the top down, so that gravity is your friend.”
He also points out that high-quality paints are better at leveling, which means brush marks will blend better.
3. Undertones matter
“Things like lighting sources and the direction the windows face can have a beige paint looking pink in no time,” McIntee explains.
To ensure you’re 100% satisfied with your color, she recommends consulting a professional at your local paint shop. These experts can explain each color’s undertones and how the color can change based on a space.
“Paint a test sample on your wall—ideally a wall adjacent to a window,” McIntee advises. “Alternatively, you can locate a staging professional in your area who can work with you on proper color selection.”
4. Let paint dry fully between coats
Patience is critical when painting walls. Even if you’re eager to wrap things up, you can compromise the end result if you don’t give the paint enough time to dry between coats.
“Make sure you allow enough time for the first layer of paint to dry—especially in hot, cool, or damp conditions,” says Kerry Sherin, consumer advocate at Ownerly. Not allowing the paint to dry correctly can cause wrinkling or bubbling in your finished product.
“It’s important to not underestimate small paint problems, such as bubbling, as they can quickly become major issues if left untreated,” Sherin adds. “Properly preparing your surfaces and ensuring they are dry before painting typically solves this.”
If you do this and still have a problem, a deeper moisture issue could be to blame, Sherin says. In this case, you may need to install vents or set up exhaust fans.
5. Don’t use low-quality supplies
Although tempting, you should rethink buying budget brushes to tackle home painting projects.
“When painting, it is incredibly important to use high-quality paint brushes,” says Shaun Martin, owner and CEO of We Buy Houses In Denver. “Not investing in the right brush can cause streaks, uneven coverage, and other issues.”
McIntee adds that not all brushes are created equal, and quality really is paramount.
“Certain rollers will have a higher nap and hold more paint, allowing you to cover textured walls more evenly,” she says. “Some may leave lint on the surface, and you want to avoid those.”
She adds that high-quality rollers and brushes will go a long way in making your walls look top-notch.
“There are some paint brushes that, even for the inexperienced, will make you look like a professional when cutting your edges,” she says. “Don’t discredit the power of a great brush!”
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