FAQ Painting

DIY Painting Tips, Tricks, and a Step-by-Step Guide

My dad was a handyman, and I grew up helping him. I’ve painted my home from top to bottom, as well as the houses and apartments of countless other people. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years and I’m happy to share my tips and a step-by-step guide with you! It looks like a lot of information (because it is), but don’t worry or get overwhelmed. Painting a room is an easy, inexpensive DIY project and you can do it!

Finished Bamboo Floor
(Pictured above is my studio. I primed and painted the walls, installed and primed and painted the wood trim, ripped out the old carpet, and laid new bamboo flooring.)

Prep Work for Painting

  • Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle, wait for it to dry, and then lightly sand the patches. If you have a crack, you must first widen it slightly before spackling or the spackle will just sit on top.
  • Scape away any peeling, cracked paint, then sand the area smooth.
  • Clean the walls if they may be dirty (especially in a kitchen or bathroom), and always take a damp cloth to clean the dust off of trim and the tops of doorways.
  • Use paintable caulk to fill any gaps between the walls and trim before painting the trim. Fill any dings and divits in the wood with wood putty, wait for it to dry, then sand smooth.
  • When in doubt, prime. Using a primer can hide dark colors, block stains, and help your new paint job last longer. It’s also a must when painting exposed woodwork, and there are many primers that adhere to glossy surfaces (allowing you to skip sanding first).
  • Stir your paint before you begin, and don’t paint straight from the can. Obviously you would pour the paint into a roller tray if you were about to use a roller, but consider using a small bowl when painting with a brush. Its easier to hold, and decanting paint will keep the can free of the impurities (dust, wood particles, etc.) that your brush may pick up as you work.
  • If you want to use tape, buy painter’s tape (it’s usually blue or green, and marked as such). Apply it in short, overlapping strips, and press down firmly along the edge to ensure a crisp line.

Painting Tools

  • You will need the following tools to prep for a typical room: Spackle, putty knife, fine grit sandpaper, and a damp lint-free rag. You may also need paintable caulk and wood putty if you’re working on the trim.
  • Tools to paint a typical room: Paint, a tool to open the paint can, stir stick, angled paint brush, small bowl (I don’t recommend painting straight from the can), roller, roller cover, roller tray, and a roller extension pole (if you have high ceilings). Painter’s tape is optional, and a drop cloth to protect the floor is a good idea. You don’t need any funny little gadgets to paint edges.
  • A 5-in-1 tool is a painter’s best friend. You can use it open the paint can, open cracks in the wall for repair, spread spackle (takes the place of a dedicated putty knife), scrape loose paint, and clean rollers.
  • Use a good quality brush. I like a 2.5″ angle brush for most projects (painting trim, doors, cutting in), and a 2″ sash brush for windows.
  • Use a good quality roller cover. Cheap ones leave a messy edge and can shed little fuzzies all over. I use a fresh cover for each paint job, but they can be cleaned. A 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap is good for most walls.

Choosing Paint

  • I’ve tried many brands and I’ve been happiest with Benjamin Moore, though Behr impressed me as well. If you find a color you like from another line, a paint store can match it for you in the brand you like.
  • Choose a finish that is appropriate for the room and application. I like semi-gloss for trim, eggshell for kitchens and bathrooms, and flat for all other rooms. Glossy finishes are the most durable, but flat finishes help to hide imperfections. Most paint finishes now, even flat, will hold up to a little cleaning. Porch paint is the most durable option for painting wood floors.
  • Oil or latex? I always use latex (water-based) paint. It dries quickly, there are less fumes, and it cleans up with water. You can still choose latex if you are painting over oil paint, but you must prime first with an oil-based primer. You can test what kind of paint you have by rubbing it with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. If the paint comes off, it’s latex.
  • Get a low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint if you’re concerned about paint fumes (in a nursery, for example). Many brands offer a low or no VOC option, including Mythic, Benjamin Moore, and Behr. Consumer Reports ratings are available to CR subscribers.

Martha Stewart Paint Colors
(Paint chips from Martha Stewart’s line at The Home Depot.)

Choosing a Paint Color

  • Choosing colors is a bit of an art, but here’s a “rule” that I think you can ignore: Don’t pick a color and then ask for a half-strength or lighter version. Some people swear by this, but I’d suggest choosing a lighter color instead if you feel like the one you’re considering will be too dark.
  • Most people prefer slightly muted (tinted with gray or brown) colors, as opposed to a pure or primary color.
  • Your ceiling does not need to be white! If the wall color is not too dark, I use it for the ceiling too. If you do choose a dark wall color it may be a little much to use everywhere, you can have fun choosing another color for the ceiling that will work with the rest of the room.
  • Most paint companies are offering sample sizes now, so it’s easy to try a few colors out before buying a gallon. If you don’t want to paint the samples directly onto your wall, paint each color on a board of foam-core (paint stores sell them).
  • Choosing a paint color should come at the end of the decorating process.
  • The worst thing that can happen if you hate the color you choose is that you’ll have to repaint. It would be unfortunate, but not catastrophic.

Painting Techniques

  • Keep a wet edge, and always paint from dry to wet. This will minimize brush strokes and roller marks.
  • Don’t stretch your paint. You don’t want to glop the paint on, but scrimping will leave you with a patchy, blotchy paint job.
  • Taping is optional, especially if you have a reasonably steady hand. Using an angle brush, start slightly away from the edge and then curve in to meet it. This will help you avoid leaving a big blob of paint where you begin.
  • Holding the brush the narrow way (not the way you would naturally hold it) makes it easier to get a crisp line when painting trim.
  • Painting a room is best accomplished by first cutting in (painting along the trim, ceiling, and corners) with a brush. After that has dried, you can go in with a roller for the walls.
  • I find that it doesn’t matter whether you paint the walls or the trim first. My preference is to paint the trim first because I find that I can get a cleaner line when I cut in to paint the walls. If you like to tape off your edges, you may find it easier to paint the trim last.
  • Wet your brush and then blot out most of the water before you begin. This will help to keep paint from creeping up into the ferrule (the metal part where the bristles are attached) and save your brush.
  • Only dip your brush about a half or quarter of an inch into the paint, then wipe off one side on the edge of the paint container. This will help you avoid paint runs (from using too much) and keep your brush in good condition.
  • Paint in long, continuous strokes. Not doing so is one of the most common mistakes.
  • When painting with a roller, aim for covering a three foot wide section at a time. I typically go from the ceiling to a midway point, load more paint, and then go from the midway point down to the floor. Then I move left or right to the next section, always remembering to keep a wet edge and working from dry to wet.
  • When painting with a brush, don’t dab the paint on or move in a short back and forth motion. You can paint with the brush left and right (or up and down) to get the paint on, but then take one long finishing stroke from the dry side and tapering off into the wet edge.
  • Put on a second coat. Your paint job may look OK after just one, but it will look better after two. If you’re using a dark or vivid color, you may even need three (or more) coats.
  • Let your paint fully dry between coats. The paint can should tell you how long to wait.

(That’s me “cutting in” while painting my library.)

Cleaning Up

  • You can keep your brush or roller wet between coats by covering it tightly in plastic wrap or using a plastic bag. And don’t forget to put the lid back on the paint can right away.
  • I use a fresh roller for each paint job, but you can clean them with water and a 5-in-1 tool.
  • Remove painter’s tape as soon as the paint is dry.
  • If you taped off your room’s edges with painter’s tape and the paint is peeling as you remove it, score the edge lightly with a razor for a clean line.
  • If you notice a paint drip while it’s still wet, you can wipe it away with a damp cloth. If it has already dried, you will have to take more drastic measures.
  • Stop to clean your brush if you’ve been painting for more than an hour or so. Otherwise, the paint will start to dry towards the top, gumming up your paint job and ruining your brush.
  • Clean your brush with a little dish soap (assuming you’re using latex paint) and a brush comb until the water runs completely clear. A quality brush can hold a lot of paint, so give the bristles a little squeeze to wring out the excess water when you’re done and make sure there is no more paint in the brush. Smooth the brush into shape and then let it sit to dry completely.

Step-By-Step Guide to Painting a Room

Getting Started

  • Clear the room, gather all of your supplies, and lay out your drop cloth.
  • Scrape off any loose paint, if needed.
  • Remove any nails from the wall and spackle any holes or imperfections. Sand smooth.
  • Clean the walls and trim, if needed. Dust along the baseboards, windows, and doorways with a damp cloth.
  • Caulk along the trim, if needed.
  • Tape off the room if you like to use painter’s tape.

Painting the Room

  • Prime. Pour your primer into a small bowl and cut in (paint the corners and edges of the room) with a brush first. If you’ll be painting the trim, you can prime it now too. Clean your brush when you’re done.
  • Grab your roller and a roller cover, and pour your primer into a paint tray. Prime the walls.
  • Paint. If you are painting the walls and the trim, decide which you will do first. Here, I’ll assume you’re doing the walls first. Again, cut in first with a brush and then paint the walls with a roller. Wrap your roller and paint tray in plastic and clean your brush and paint bowl while you wait for the room to dry, then do a second coat.
  • Clean your brush, bowl, tray, roller, and roller cover (if you plan to reuse it).
  • If you used painter’s tape, remove it as soon as the paint is dry to the touch.
  • Wait for your paint to be completely dry before taping off again for the trim. You may want to wait a day to be sure.
  • Apply two coats of paint to the trim, letting the paint dry in between. You can wrap your brush in plastic or clean it while you wait for the first coat to dry, then clean everything up when you’re done.
  • Again, if you used painter’s tape, remove it as soon as the paint is dry to the touch. If the paint begins to peel, score the edge lightly with a razor.
  • Clean up, put the room back together, and pat yourself on the back. You’re finished!

If you have any questions, I’ll answer them in the comments. And if you have any other tips you’d like to share, please do!

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  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for all these great tips! Do you have any advice for painting trim (baseboards) in a room with carpet?

  • Reply
    Carol Harris
    March 9, 2010 at 10:34 am

    thanks so much for responding so quickly! I love to paint, I know, it’s a sickness… as far as painting trim with carpeting is to tape it off, tape the carpeting as close the wall board as you can get, the bonus here is two fold, one… keeps paint off carpet… two… when you pull tape off it takes with it all the yuck that your vac won’t or can’t get. thanks again!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:34 am

    This is going to be my new bible! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

    This is such a fantastic and friendly guide! Thank you so much Nicole! Hubby and I have taken the wallpaper down from one of the spare bedrooms and now we need to peel off the rest of the paint left in there and move into the painting. Your step by step is a Godsend!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

    wow. YOU did all this? incredible. ok- i´m able to paint walls, too. but not in this perfection. brandon must be very proud about his “handygirl” (is it called handywoman??)
    thank you for your tipps.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I also like Benjamin Moore. Their new Aura line (low VOC) is a bit more expensive but it’s the best paint we’ve tried yet (and we’ve tried a bunch!). Another great brand is Yolo Colorhouse. Their paint is zero VOC and comes in a limited (which is sometimes nice) but beautiful color palette.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I have a hard time (as in your photo above) separating the ceiling and the left or right wall..or lets say a middle wall and a left side that may be in another color. I am referencing both issues when the ceiling and walls are different colors. I dont know how to separate them so that the lines are straight and where I start the separation.

  • Reply
    Jessica Zee
    March 9, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Every time I move, I vow I’m not going to be the one painting again, and yet… It’s so “easy” to do yourself, and it means that you don’t have to have regrets when the color turns funny in the light and you’re *forced* to repaint. (The reason I vow not to do it again is because painting a whole house at once takes forever…) Thanks for these tips!

  • Reply
    michelle @ blissful musings
    March 9, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Wow this guide is amazing. Saving it for future reference! Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Nicole, thanks for such a thorough guide. We’re gearing up to change homes and this will come in very very handy when we’re renovating the new place. I plan to print this out and have hubby and any helpers study it! :)
    I have a question about your floors. How do you like bamboo?? I have heard so many conflicting opinions that I’m not sure what to think. I really like the eco friendly feature.
    Thanks so much. Love your blog and check it every single day.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

      They are softer than traditional hardwood floors. We have a few dings and scratches, but that doesn’t bother me much, and I’ve been happy with the bamboo.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:26 am

    My baseboards have a stained finish. What can I use to fill in the gap before I paint? It was previously wallpapered and wasn’t so noticeable. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

      You can use clear caulk, just look for a brand that is paintable.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

    can you give me a name of a primer for trim that would allow you not to have to sand? thanks for the guide!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 9, 2010 at 11:43 am

      Zinnser will adhere to glossy surfaces. You can also ask at the paint store, or just check the can (they will advertise that on the label).

  • Reply
    Marie Carter
    March 9, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Nicole, this guide is fantastic. Please let me know if I would follow the same rules for exposed woodwork for my doors.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Yep. You can sand first or use a primer that will adhere to glossy surfaces, then two coats of paint (semi-gloss is good). If the door has panels, you should paint the inner-most areas first, then finish off with the most raised portions. You don’t have to take the door off its hinges, but laying it flat can help if you tend to have drips when you paint.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Dh and I owned a home improvement business before the economy busted. Your guide points out how easy it really is to DIY painting. Some get scared when the word “paint” and “DIY” appear in the same sentence. You put a lot of thought into this guide and it shows. After a while you will be able to “free hand” your cutting in and its a rush! Thanks for the great post!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

      Exactly. Once you’re good at cutting in, it goes pretty quickly and you can skip the taping step!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

    This a phenomenal guide! We’re getting ready to pretty much paint our whole house, so this will come in more than handy!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for the helpful guide! We’re getting our second bedroom ready for our 1 year old daughter and will be painting it. I’ve never painted before and your guide makes it less daunting. Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    You said when spackling a crack in the wall, you need to widen it. Could you explain how? We have a few cracks in the walls and they really bug me. I would love to be able to patch them and repaint. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      You just need to widen it enough so that the spackle will go inside the crack instead of skimming over the top (so that the cracks don’t reappear). Even just an eighth or a quarter of an inch is enough. You can use the pointy end of a 5-in-1 tool, or you can improvise with a small tool like a flathead screwdriver.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I’m addicted to reading your blog. You have lovely taste and have inspired me to upgrade my decor. I’m remodeling my bedroom but it has 10′ high ceilings and is a little over 240 sq ft. so the room appears ginormous. How would you choose a ceiling color to bring down the scale of the room? I’m thinking of a color similar to Chocolate Froth. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      If you want a subtle effect, just go one shade darker on the paint strip (i.e. ‘Wheat Bread’ for ‘Chocolate Froth’). If you want a more pronounced look, feel free to choose a totally different color, though I wouldn’t go too bright/bold/vivid on the ceiling or it will make your whole room glow!

  • Reply
    Your Mother
    March 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    okay, so you always impress me but the fact that you even know the word “ferrule” amazes me. I bet dad doesn’t even know it’s called that.

  • Reply
    Ashley Brown
    March 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    My husband and I are in the process of buying our first house (yay!) and we are definitely going to have to paint EVERY single room in the house – there’s currently a RedSkins football themed room… can we say PRIMER! haha

    Anyway, we are also getting the hardwood floors refinished. So my question is should we paint before or after the floors are refinished? I realize that refinishing is super messy so I’m kind of torn on when to paint. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      I would paint after. Refinishing floors is very dusty and messy, and you’ll probably have to wash your walls afterward (use water with very diluted dish soap). Might as well just do so once!

      • Reply
        September 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm

        Before we moved into our house, we had the floors refinished. The baseboards got stained everywhere, but we never did anything about it. It’s been 3.5 years, and it’s driving me crazy! I may just have to tackle the job myself after reading your super detailed guide. :)

        My walls also got really dusty when the floors were refinished. Do you just use a rag to wipe them down?

  • Reply
    Sara Moriarty
    March 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    This is great Nicole. Definitely something to print for future reference. Thanks.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    This is so timely for me! We just bought a 1940 cottage and are currently debating paint colors and DIY vs. professional painters. I’m just wondering: do you have a favorite “white” for crown moulding, trim, etc.?

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    This is one of the best paint guides I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing! I also like the zero/low VOC paints but didn’t realize I could maybe get them in better colors!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Hey Nicole! Thanks for all the advise! I have a few qs…

    -I heard that if you’re keeping paint on your brush in between painting days you’re supposed to cover it up with plastic and stick it in the fridge/freezer. Have you ever done this or heard of this? I’ve never done it myself so I’m curious.

    -When you say “cut in” does that mean you paint the trim and then paint into the open wall space?

    -When you say paint “dry to wet” does that mean if you have previous paint on the wall you start where its dry?

    -You said you’ve painted apartments. Did you always ask your landlord about painting or did you just do it? Did you paint over it before you left or just took the hit out of your deposit?

    Thanks for all the help!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      I haven’t heard the fridge/freezer tip, though I have heard of people storing nail polish in there which seems kind of similar.

      “Cutting in” just means painting all of the edges of the room.

      Painting dry to wet… Let’s say you start on the right side of the room, where the wall meets trim or another wall. Once you’ve begun, you want to move slightly to the left (where the wall is dry) with your next paint stroke and then feather into the wet paint. Does that make more sense?

      And yes, I’ve painted apartments. We’ve always asked permission first. Some landlords are fine with it, and some are OK but they want the walls painted back to white afterward.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    You’re so awesome! How long does it take to paint one room (say a living room dining room) from beginning to end? I’m asking so I can work out what to do with my kids. Should I break it up into several days and paint while they’re out or try to go for it in one day?

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      These days I’ve been breaking it up into small steps over several days… and it’s taking forever! Of course, I’m doing a million other things too. I can knock out a room from start to finish in one long day if uninterrupted. I think it’s more satisfying and less daunting if you can just devote a day to it!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I used to paint walls first and then trim, but often I’d procrastinate doing the trim for weeks and weeks because I dreaded it so much. With my textured walls, taping didn’t work and so I painted the trim freehand and found it very hard to get a nice clean trim line, especially when my wall colors were darker (my trim is always cream).

    Now I paint trim first and walls last, and have found this method is much quicker (less taping and no procrastination!), less painstaking, and it produces a razor sharp trim line every time. I paint the trim first, overlapping onto the wall a little bit. At this time I only need to tape off my tile floor. I wait a week for the trim to cure, then I tape along the top of the trim and create with the tape the exact line I want between trim and wall. Then I cut in the ceiling and windows and wall corners (two coats), roll on both wall coats while getting within an inch or two of the taped-off trim (which still hasn’t been cut in). Then after the walls dry to the touch (an hour or so), I run my finger along the tape to make sure there’s a tight seal, then I use the brush to quickly go around the room painting the inch or two between the wall paint and taped trim, overlapping onto the tape. This step goes very fast. I wait 30 minutes or so (Benjamin Moore Aura dries very fast) and do it a second time, again going around the room very fast. Then 20 or 30 minutes later, I remove the tape. Beautiful results every time.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Thank you so much for the bible on painting!! We will definitely be putting your guide to use soon!

    But, I really have an off topic question about your floors. How do you feel about the color of your floors? We are thinking about putting dark hardwood in our house and I’m concerned about every single speck of dust, lint, cat hair, and fuzz showing. How do you keep them clean? If you had to do it all over again, would you pick the same floors?

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      Um, yes. Every little thing shows. It’s not too bad since the rooms we have dark flooring in are upstairs with less traffic, but they do take more cleaning. I usually just use a vacuum with a bare floor attachment to pick up all of the dust/lint/hair, fuzz. Or I learn to ignore it. ;)

      That said, the dark floors are beautiful, so I’d probably pick them again.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Wow, you’re great for offering so much information! That was a lot of work, Thank you.

    I just bought the greatest little book called Colours For Your Home , 300 designer favorites. (house Beautiful) Most of the paints were Benjamin Moore.
    I think there’s definitely a need for more books like this one. How to pick a colour with samples of real rooms AND the brand and name of the paint.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Yes, I love seeing actual rooms with the paint colors listed too. I’ll have to go check out that book!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    what wonderful tips, and so comprehensive. You can tell you’ve done a lot of painting! I wish I’d had some of your tips years ago when I first started painting. Would’ve shared lots of aggravation ;)

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for this, we’re about to paint our entire new house. I hoped to do it before we moved in, but snowstorms and a delayed closing prevented that. At least the hardwood floors were done. The one good thing is that we have time to use tester pots and decide if we like the color at different times of the day.

    Anyway, my one tip, which I actually haven’t tried yet, is to line the roller tray with a plastic bag before putting in the paint–you can tape it down to get it flat. Then when you’re finished painting, just turn the bag inside out and toss the entire thing, paint and all, no cleanup required.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    thanks for the GREAT guide

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I was at Home Depot last week to purchase paint. I was interested in a color in a glidden paint line but wanted it in a behr base. They will NO longer mix and match paint colors outside of their paint lines. I asked them if this is new because I’ve had it done PLENTY of times and they said it’s somewhat recent policy. Who knows, it could have just been the lady/store that helped me (it wasn’t my normal/local store).

    But, I love the new Martha paint line and I think it’s worth trying out for quality and durability.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      Huh! I haven’t experienced that, but I always go to a local paint store for Benjamin Moore when I need a color matched. I trust them more. ;)

    • Reply
      March 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

      My Home Depot has started carrying a low-VOC paint. The low-VOC has powder tints instead of liquid tints that Glidden/Behr have. Trying to match low-VOC colors into Glidden/Behr was causing a lot of oops/mistints, so they made this rule.

      However, I’ve found that if I ask for a department manager (my paint manager is amazing!) and explain the situation he will oblige. I think some paint associates are confused about why the tinting across brands isn’t working.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    ahh… i just finished painting our bathroom today – my first effort ever – and this post would have come in handy prior to starting! thanks for taking the time to share your tips.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    One of the best posts I’ve ever read (I mean that too). Thanks to your wonderful advice I think I could do my own painting now. I really love the step by step guide. Next up…wallpapering a room?

  • Reply
    March 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Hi….I never saw a response to my question? Are you able to assist?

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      I’ve been going through and answering questions today. Sorry if I missed yours.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 2:43 am

    thank you, I learned a lot!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 5:38 am

    thank you so much! it’s a great tutorial
    and I’m going to bookmark this when I get my new home ^^

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Oh thanks for this! I’ve been wanting to paint my bathroom but have been intimidated …

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

    You’re a DIY rockstar! I’ve always been happy to paint my own walls, but this gave me some new tips for a better result.

    Now we just need a tutorial on how to lay flooring like that!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for the tips! I’d already learned a few of them the hard way. :) We’re in a trailer house for a few years but I insisted on replacing the carpet with faux wood vinyl & painting the walls. Since the walls are covered with a wallpaper-like substance that can’t be removed, we used 2 coats of primer & 2 coats of paint.
    Just FYI, I’ve loved those nailhead curtains from West Elm ever since you featured them – they’re on clearance & the bedding’s 20% off so I just placed a big order! Thanks for pointing those out – I prolly wouldn’t have found them otherwise.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Wow! This is fantastic! I’ve wanted to freshen up my boring bedroom for ages now, and paint is definitely the first step. This guide is so so so so helpful!! Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Found your fab blog via Chez Larsson, and like hers have
    gone back as far as you allow and read – and loved –
    every post!

    You have really great tips. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    Bridget B.
    March 10, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for the tutorial. It was very helpful. One thing I’d like is advice on how to blend a new paint job with an existing one. For example, we recently fixed a a coaster-sized hole in one of our walls and I’m concerned that when we paint over the spot it will be obvious that this section was done separately.


    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      Just try to feather the paint out at the edges as best you can. It will be less obvious if the paint is flat, but if there’s a sheen there isn’t much you can do to avoid a slight difference.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 10:42 am

    An excellent guide! Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Awesome tips!!!! maaaan you’re talented!!!!!

  • Reply
    Brandi H.
    March 10, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Nicole, this is such a great post. Thank you for taking the time to place all this information on your blog. It will be very useful.

    I have one question, if you have time:

    In my condo, there are really high ceilings. I painted these walls once, with a very long extension rod, and some flat thing with roller wheels on it. It was so bad, but some paint did get on the ceiling, which is still there :(

    Any suggestions for really high ceilings going up a staircase?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      You need to get up on a ladder. It’s a little scary though – we did it when we painted our stairway. We used an extending convertible ladder that bent and folded into a whole bunch of configurations, including an extra long straight ladder. That was the only way we could have ever maneuvered a ladder like that into the space.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Great, great post!

    I have noticed that you are swarmed by questions, and I have one, too, in case you decide to tackle them. What do you mean by “keep a wet edge and working from dry to wet”? It seems important, but I really have no idea what it means. To overlap coats of paint to make sure you have covered everything? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      March 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      I tried to explain it further in another comment above.

      Let’s say you start on the right side of the room. After you put the paint on and load more onto your brush or roller, you would move a little over to the left (where the wall is DRY). You would then paint from the dry area towards where you started (where the paint is WET), overlapping and feathering out where the paint meets. Does that help?

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    thank you SO MUCH for all of these tips! i saved them and will definetely refrence them the next time i paint a room :)

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I get it now. I kind of did this when I painted my bedroom, without really knowing why. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    This is so helpful. I hope you consider doing more tutorials- this is very well thought out. I am wondering how you manage to paint with your daughter being so young. Do you stretch it out over time or try to tackle a room in a concentrated day or two?

    Also, have you ever painted IKEA furniture? I want to buy the IKEA Kura bed for my two young sons to share but I can’t live with the pine. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks for such a great blog!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      July 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm

      Somehow we still find time to tackle home improvement projects! And yes, IKEA furniture can be painted, especially the untreated pine. Just use a good primer first, and count on using at least two coats of paint.

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