paint can

Painting 101

So my daughter and her hubs have bought their first home. Lots of phone calls between us have taken place but the BEST call yet came today. “Mom, paint is mean.” Huh? I replied, “Paint does not have an emotion.” To which she responded, “No but it can be mean.” Okay then…so tell me more. She proceeded to tell me about the nature of paint – specifically how it changes color/hue depending upon lighting. Because of this, it is hard to tell what color will look good in what space. Ah, now I get her comment.

Here are some basic tips on painting any room in your home. These are my tips and I am not a professional painter, however, I have used a paintbrush since the age of 4 🙂

Tip 1:

The pigmentation in the paint will change its appearance based upon the amount of light it receives + the type of light + the disbursement of the light. Example, I painted my closet recently (see my post on the closet redesign I did). The closet is 5 foot x 5 foot – nice square closet with only a single bulb light fixture. Due to there being NO OTHER LIGHT source, and the closed nature of the space, the first color I picked, purchased and painted was way too dark for the space. There was no disbursement of color – just pure concentration of color. Ewww. Yuck. I went back to the paint store and purchased the same color family but two shades lighter. It worked much better in the space.

Tip 2:

PRIMER PRIMER PRIMER. Primer is the MOST OVERLOOKED step in any painting process. Why? I don’t know but maybe it has to do with time and money. Usually people don’t think about the additional cost and time of adding primer as the first step in painting. I recommend priming a wall (or surface if painting cabinets) for the following reasons: a) it will stick to any type of base paint that might exist. Example, if you don’t know what type of paint is on your walls, it could possibly be oil based paint and latex paint is water based – oil and water do not mix – the new paint will peel right off the walls; b) if your wall has semigloss paint on it, a flat or matte finish paint will not adhere well to the semigloss paint; c) it creates a great base to paint on (artists used primed canvases before painting).

Tip 3:

Use latex based paints. I am not a fan of oil based paints. Just not a fan. End of story.

Tip 4:

Use more expensive paint. I use only Benjamin Moore paint. Yes it is ghastly expensive. However, it holds up a long time and looks fresh. I have scrubbed my walls between tenants 5 times and after 10 years, some of the walls are now looking like they could use a fresh touchup. 10 years — 5 times scrubbing walls and marks from tenants — that’s worth it to me!

Tip 5:

Use the low fume paint that is available these days – I prefer the term “not smelly” because if you don’t use this paint, be prepared to be HIGH as a kite from all your painting fumes!

Tip 6:

Home Depot sells some great painting tools to make cutting in and corners a breeze. I use the Shur line of edging pads, along with their corner pad/brushes.

Tip 7:

If you have a lot of rooms to paint, invest in these tools and get additional pads. I have a paint supply of multiple roller handles, small roller handles, and extension handles so that there is less climbing up and down ladders. I keep a stock of the roller refills on hand as well.

Tip 8:

Buy the heavy duty drop clothes…fore go the plastic ones. Why? Because it’s so easy to trip on the plastic ones. They’re great for covering up furniture, however, since I had the experience of stepping INTO my paint tray and splashing the paint all over my legs and the wall and the drop cloth, I have never regretted the expense of the heavy duty clothes. I was the only casualty in that mess!

Tip 9:

Okay, so this is a weird tip, but its my own: paint barefoot. Why do I paint barefoot? I can FEEL paint if I step on it and can wipe my foot off easily. I am also better aware of whats underfoot. Maybe those shoes that look like feet might work? Don’t know. But I have never worn shoes while painting. Just my own thing.

Tip 10:

Back to paint colors: pick out your color by looking at swatches in two lights – natural outside light and light in the location where you are painting. You may realize that you need to change the inside lighting and you will also see how the light plays on the paint pigmentation (back to where I started with my daughter’s phone call).

Lastly, ENJOY! You can always repaint if you don’t like how it looks. I love painting…I hope you enjoy it as well 🙂