Do It Yourself Nation is here to stay! Certain upgrade jobs around your house should always be left to the professionals, but if there’s one thing any homeowner can do by themselves to bring new life into an old, tired space it’s paint. Painting is one of the most popular renovation/remodel tools. It’s a bold new look for any room that’s incredibly easy to implement, all you really need is the right tools and a carefully planned weekend and you’re set! Best of all, once you’ve invested in your basic tools, the next job is only a can of paint away. All this being said, it is possible to make mistakes along the way and turn out a less than perfect job. Have no fear, we’re here to help turn your painting adventures into a beautiful (and successful) end result.

Finding The Time
You may think, I just need to clear the walls, lay down some tape and drop clothes, and throw some paint up there. What’s the big deal? The big deal is, you could be setting yourself up for a much harder project than originally anticipated. You need the right tools, but you also need the time to be meticulous and detail oriented so you come out with a job that looks like a professional handled it. In general, it takes time. You have to remove everything from the walls – including switch plates for outlets and light switches – pull all the furniture to the middle of the room, tape all the edges, cover the floors and furniture, prime, paint two coats, and factor in drying times. When the weather is less than optimal, drying times extend, thus prolonging the rest of the work.

Your best bet is to check the weather and choose a weekend you can completely devote to painting your room. Plan to begin your prep work for Friday evening; clear the room of hangings, push all the furniture inward, tape, and cover. Once everything is cleared, covered, and taped, clean the walls of any spots that could affect your paint (particularly important in kitchens where grease and food trash are likely to splatter on the walls). Wake up bright and early the next morning and begin with your primer. You should wait one hour between coats and you’ll be applying a minimum of 3 coats to the walls (1 primer, 2 color). Allow it to dry overnight so that by Sunday afternoon, you’re able to take off the tape, fold up the drop clothes and restore everything else back to normal.

The Right Tools
You’re taking on this job in an effort to save some money. That being said, choose where you invest wisely. Drop clothes are best if they’re a thick, impenetrable canvas, or plastic. But if you happen to have 5 sets of old sheets lying around that you don’t mind messing up, power to you. Tape doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, but a really cheap tape will most likely bleed through. Brushes and rollers are much the same. You don’t have to buy the best, but something of a good quality that will last you through this and future paint jobs. Spending a little more on applicators now will save you money for future paint projects. The type of paint, however, is where you really want to put your money. A cheap paint will look cheap.

Aside from the basics, you’ll need a solid idea of what you’re painting and the tools it will require. High walls and ceilings will need a ladder or extension handle. Painting the corners works best when you have an angled brush. The texture of your walls affect the type of roller you need. Smooth to lightly textured walls need a thinner nap (fluffiness of your roller, not the thing all adults crave), whereas highly textured walls and popcorn ceilings need a very thick nap to coat all the crevices without a whole lot of extra work.

Lastly, you want to apply your paint with the same method the professionals use. The last thing anyone wants is streaks and lines from the rollers and brushes. The best practice for applying paint is to start with the edges and work your way inward. Using your angled brush, paint around all the trim and in the corners. From there, fill in the rest of the wall with your roller, painting in an N pattern. Instead of painting straight up and down, this N technique blends the paint better for a seamless, classic look. It’s also best to focus on one wall at a time, and move in a circle. Walls that have lots of windows are going to take more time because there’s more detail painting to be done. You don’t want your edgework to dry too much before filling in the rest of the wall.

Party On
DIY room painting is one of the best money saving tools a homeowner has at their disposal. It’s not a job that requires certification for employment. Still, that’s no reason to go about this all slap-happy. Taking the time to do the job well the first time around will save you time and money in the end. With these guidelines, however, you’re sure to succeed.