Might Be In Over My Head…Maybe?

In our ongoing saga to modernize our house paint has played a major role and not just in our Family Room. I am convinced the cheapest way to make a huge impact is to paint. I will say that it was once a lot cheaper than it is now but it is still a really cheap way to make a huge impact.

In my years I have walked in to so many, many, many houses where walls were snow white. I may come off strong in the next  statement and I hope if you disagree that you will accept that it is my opinion. White walls are a copout. With the very and I do mean very rare exception of when white is being used as a monochromatic scheme, white walls is just a fear of not wanting to make the wrong color decision.

I am here to say, “Fear no more.” Color can be corrected if something does go wrong and it does not have to be complicated in the first place. And with guarantees like the Lowe’s Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee, if you don’t like the color, then the new color is on them. Application can be time consuming but most rooms can be painted over a weekend at the most.

Though one of the most interesting (and by that I mean challenging) rooms I have ever painted, the family room along with many others rooms throughout my DIY career have taught me a thing or two about painting. Hopefully they will help you.

Picking the “Right” Color.

This does not have to be a challenge. Look at your room you want to paint. What colors catch your eye? In my family room scheme it was blues, grays and beige. Then ask yourself, do I want my furniture and elements in the room to blend in or standout. If you want them to blend in, then I suggest of the colors you picked out choose the shade that is featured the most in your room. This will generally help things blend into each other. If you feel the color might be too dark, have the paint mixers add a shot of white to the gallon of paint. If you want to create an inviting, cozy feel, choose a darker tone of the color. If you want your furniture to stand out, of your colors picks, pick the one that is the least prevalent. This will, in general, will help your furniture and elements stand out against the walls. This is why I choose the blue as I loved the blue which despite its lighter color still feels cozy and intimate while creating a contrast to the furniture and other elements so they stand out in the room.

Once you think you have the color picked out, get a sample and try it. In a one foot by one foot square in the room you will be painting, paint the color on to the wall and see what it looks like. It’s worth the extra $2.50 to have that comfort that you are going to like the color. This was critical for our family room. I wanted a blue but getting my husband and I to agree on a blue took several samples. And while we did agree on the color, finally, I was still glad we sampled. The first blue I picked had too much gray in it and blended into the kitchen cabinets. Once you are happy with the color that is on your walls, go ahead and buy the paint.

Prep Before Paint.

This will go a long way to making your paint last and last through the years. Make sure your walls are free of debris, including dust. Take a cloth and wipe them down. I our family, we had the vintage Coke border that had to come down first…a whole other post needs to be done on the pains of removing wallpaper.  Patch any holes are blemishes the wall might have and then either prime it all or just the blemish areas. Speaking of primer, when do you use it and when can you avoid it. Here is my general rule of thumb. If you are going from light to dark, then just apply primer to the blemish areas. If you are going from dark to light…definitely prime. If you are going from a higher gloss level to a lower gloss level like from Gloss to Satin, then you should prime. If you had our border challenge, then you will definitely want to prime over any area there was wallpaper.

Prepping also means moving furniture either out of the room or covering it up. Lowes and Home Depot carry great plastic sheets that are about 3 feet by nine feet. Cover your floor too. It’s kind of a no brainer but let me also say everything needs to be off your walls – photos, posters, art, etc. Grab all your supplies at this point. I recommend:

  • Angled Paint Brush – for cutting around items with paint.
  • Roller and Roller Refills
  • Paint tray liners
  • Paint Tray
  • Paper Towels
  • Paint
  • Paint Can Opener or Flathead Screwdriver
  • Ladder if needed
  • Painter’s Tape Frog and Scotch Blue are good
    painter’s tapes
  • Burnish
  • Paint Sticks – Lowe’s and Home Depot give them for free with paint
  • Extender Pole if needed

Once you have your floor and furniture covered, make sure you tape things off like window frames, molding, etc. The key with using painter’s tape is the burnish the seam and edges so paint does not seep through. Also make sure you also dry brush the color over those edges. You are almost ready to paint. Make sure you shake the can thoroughly, even if you just had it mixed, to make sure all the colors are blended. Follow by stirring with the paint stick.

One Coat or Two.

In my years of painting, I have run across this debate of one coat or two when it comes to painting. The answer really depends on your technique and a question.  My preferred method requires two coats but uses less paint. My husband’s preferred coat sometimes only requires one coat but uses a lot of paint. Ultimately, ask yourself, “Do I want to spend more time on the project or more money?” The answer will guide your decision.

Two Coat Method

First, roll your roller into the paint. I recommend using liners in your roller trays so that clean-up is easy. Make sure the entire roller is covered but not soaking wet in paint. On your wall create a large M with the paint. Go back and fill in the M with up and down strokes. This will distribute the paint and allow you to cover more surface area. However, it does mean that you are applying a thinner coat and you must wait the time suggested on the can before you can start the next coat. However, the second coat goes fast and the technique works for all types of walls.

One Coat Method

You start off the same but the roller is more saturated in paint. Then you do up and down long vertical strokes. Once the entire strip has been covered in paint, move over in a grid pattern until the wall is complete. Because the roller is more saturated, it deposits more paint on to the wall, hopefully removing the need for a second coat. This method does eat a lot of paint and your roller does need to stay pretty saturated. And I have found that it does not work for walls of all conditions. Certain heavy textured walls, going from gloss to flat, and dark colored walls all require a second coat.

If you are doing an accent wall or painting the ceiling a different color than the walls, I recommend starting with your lighter color first as any hits from cutting can be easily covered by the darker color. Once the project is done and dry, remove the painter’s tape and admire your work.

In the end, regardless of the method you use, for about $20-$25 a gallon of paint, you can add big impact and a big change for any room. Hope the tips helped. See you next post.

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