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 It's like I have my very own paint store.


I probably have done more than my fair share of painting. In fact, I kind of like painting! Why? There's nothing like the HUGE transformation of a new paint color. It will change the feel of a room for the least amount of money.  I have a slight obsession with paint. I probably have more paint swatches than Lowes, Home Depot, and Sherwin Williams combined. So what qualifies me to be giving you tips? Oh, you mean beside the 18 gallons of paint I went through when we bought the house? lol I also do some volunteer work that involves rehabilitating homes. This is what I've learned along the way: 



     I have used Sherwin Williams, Behr, Glidden, Kilz, Valspar, Olympic, and WalMart's ColorPlace. I always use two coats no matter which brand I use and I don't think one is heads above the others. I like Kilz. The coverage is nice and thick. However, I did most of my house in ColorPlace and it turned out perfect.  



     Using quality brushes and rollers make a huge difference in the finished product. I like Purdy. It's a little expensive but worth it. If you rinse out the brush really well, it will last you forever. 


    Basic supplies:

  • Plastic sheeting to protect your floors and furniture
  • Painter's tape (not masking tape!) 
  • Paint tray and tray liners
  • Roller and roller covers
  • Brush for the corners, near trim, near ceilings 


    Some of my favorite additional tools:

These are a god-send if you don't want to try cutting in the ceiling with a brush. Doing it by hand with a brush isn't awful. It took me a while to get the hang of it but now that I have, it's not so hard. Even with my not-so-steady hand. 




This is the best $2 I have ever spent!! It's hard to pour paint out of the can without spilling it all over the place, down the side of the can, and clean it out of the grooves when putting the lid back on. There are different versions. They all work great.

To keep your roller from drying out between coats, put your roller into a bag. Wrap it up tight against the roller. It will keep for weeks if you keep it air tight. Trust me. I've tested it.



     Should you prime? I usually prime but I don't think it's always necessary.  Yes, to get the truest color, you should prime. If you are changing the color drastically, such as bright aqua to a sunshiny yellow, I might prime. If you are painting over a dark color, definitely prime with a white primer.


     If you are going from a light color to a dark color, use a tinted primer. You will need less coats of the actual paint. One example to the exception: if you are going from a tan to a dark brown, the tinted primer is going to be a tan color anyway. Don't waste your time. If you are painting red, use a gray primer. Red is notoriously hard to paint. It can take between 2 and 5  coats. My apartment livingroom took 3 coats with some touch-ups in spots. My kitchen took just two coats. If it looks streaky when it's dry, put on another coat. Don't be discouraged, it will get to the point that you'll like it! :)


    I really love Kilz's primer. Works the best and is super cheap! About $11/gallon. When I moved out of my apartment, I had to paint over the red so that the apartment complex's off-white paint color would cover in one coat. Of course, I'm a little OCD so I did two coats and you couldn't even tell what colors that I had painted. In most cases, one coat will do.


Choosing a Paint Color

     Swatches can be deceiving. If it's dark on the swatch, it might be cave-like on the walls. If it's a bright swatch, it might be neon on your walls. I'm not saying that the paint color won't match the swatch, but it can be much more overwhelming in a whole room versus a 2 inch square piece of paper. 


To Sample Can It or Not?

     My suggestion: pick up a sample can before you invest in a whole gallon or two. Not everybody does this and they do just fine. I never did it until this house and always had great luck. But if you are new to painting, go ahead and spend the extra $5 to make sure you've got the color you want. Lowes and Sherwin Williams sell them. I'm pretty sure other places do as well.


     The little can will cover quite a large area and then you can see if it's the right color. Live with it for 24 hours. A color can change in the different times of the day: morning, afternoon, and evening. A color will also appear different in different rooms depending on where it gets sunlight. Northern exposure is a little colder and southern exposure is a little warmer. Not huge drastic differences but it is noticeable to my eye. 



     Watch out for undertones. They aren't usually apparent when you are looking at the swatch by itself. When I was trying to pick a gray for the master bedroom, it was  hard to determine if there was a green undertone, a blue/purple undertone, or if it was completely neutral (which turns out to be a very cold concrete color.) So if you are shopping for a particular shade, pick up many many swatches in that color. When I had 10 grays lined up, I could detect the undertones much better.



     I am partial to satin. It's not too shiny nor too matte. But it's really personal preference. I would suggest using a satin or semi-gloss for high-traffic areas because they are easier to scrub without ruining the finish. Flat is easier to paint because the wall's imperfections and roller stokes are never detectable. Less light reflects with flat so I would shy away from it in areas  without a lot of light. (Lesson learned in my hallway. Plus all the handprints from two ADULTS are showing everywhere.)  However, if you are hanging something that is large and reflective and you want to call attention to it, flat is a great finish. The sheen doesn't compete. That is a little tip given to me by Sherwin Williams and I agree. (See pic below.)


Pre-house. Glidden's Rapture in flat. The flat finish really made the pictures pop. I loved this color. Loved! It just didn't fit in with the colors in the new house.





I told you I had a lot of swatches! So many that I had to organize them according to shade. I almost tossed my collection but it's really come in handy for friends that were trying to pick colors for their own houses.