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How To Prepare And Paint A Room

We recently moved into what was a previous B&B that was built in the 90s. Surprisingly, many paint and wallpaper choices have been resistant to time and require little updating. However, the seemingly unending trim and countless doors -the things that first caught my eye are now the banes of my existence. I am willing myself patient and to find the peace to take it “room by room.” There is such reward in design – something as simple as choosing a paint color and seeing that transform a space is invigorating.

Painting is one of the least expensive and most rewarding ways to transform a space. Whether you paint an entire room in a light and airy color, choose a rich deep base to wrap yourself in comfort, or showcase one wall with a brilliant paint color; paint is an easy decor staple.

Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash

However, one thing that is so important is to prepare each space for painting. Sometimes, this can be hard because we often want to start immediately by painting a room without any preparation. However, it is essential to prepare a room for painting properly. Regardless of your painting skill, here are a few tidbits and tricks to readying your space for paint.

Make a Plan

The most important aspect of planning is to have a vision in your head of how you would like your space to be. You can keep the look cohesive with the same color on every wall, or you can choose to accent a wall with a contrasting shade.

  • Start with the ceiling. I HATE painting ceilings as much as the next person, but a dirty or stained ceiling can immediately detract from all your hard work. Then move to your trim and walls. The argument over painting your wall or trim (if you are painting trim) first is ongoing -regardless, you will be taping (most likely).

Prepare Your Space

This is the most critical step in painting a room – preparing it for paint. While this is the least impactful or fun, it is important to do well. However, think of this as a great way to spring clean, which is great for your mind -and health! Here is a list of items to check off:

  • You can make space to paint by clearing out all your artwork, mirrors, and furniture (or as much as possible). If more oversized items need to stay, pull them to the center of the room so you can work around them. Also, remember that if you paint a ceiling, clearing as much out of your way will help you move about the room more efficiently.
  • Inspect your walls for any areas that need repair: fill any nail holes with spackling paste and any areas that may have been damaged. Fill any nail holes, dents, or grooves in the wall by pushing the spackling into the regions and then even out the spackling as much as possible. Check out this link for a visual on how to repair holes. Then, once these areas are dry, you will need to sand the sites so they are smooth and free of excess spackling. If you have an area that has a large hole or dent, you can buy wall repair kits that you can use to repair the site with.
  • If you have walls with a high-gloss sheen, you should sand your walls so that much of the polish is gone (so your paint adheres and soaks in well). Also, if you are removing (adhesive/glue) wallpaper, please ensure you have thoroughly removed any paste left on the wall. You may need to wet the wall and, using a large putty knife, scrape the remnants of the wallpaper away. If you are removing peel-and-stick wallpaper, a light wash should be sufficient.
  • Now you are ready for the most fun part (#eyeroll), washing your walls, trim, and doors (or whatever you are painting). Put on some household gloves, and with hot soapy water, wash your space. Then let it dry thoroughly.
  • Remove any light plate, switch plate, and vent covers.
  • Finally, clean up any mess in the room from this process, and vacuum the floor thoroughly. Now you are ready to paint!

Calculating Paint

Measure the length and height of each wall, then multiply both numbers to get square footage- being sure to minus the area for your doors and windows. However, I often calculate the square footage without taking off for doors and windows – it is nice to have extra paint left over. For trim and doors, add up the length and width of trim or area of doors, multiply length x width -then divide by 400 to get the number of gallons you will need (for one coat). Here is a link for more information on estimating paint.

Ready To Paint

Okay, so your room is prepared, the paint is ready, and now you are ready to begin painting -but do you have a strategy? What you need for supplies:

Here are some general guidelines and helpful tips to make painting easier; however, this site gives excellent detail into painting techniques.

  • Work top to bottom, so ceiling down. If you need to paint your ceiling, do that now. Then, I suggest working in no more than 3 feet wide areas. This allows you always to have a “wet edge.”
  • Prepare your roller by removing excess lint (I usually run my lint roller over the roller sleeves, although I am unsure this is the recommended method).
  • Tackle one area at a time, and when painting with your brush, “cut in” along the trim, molding, ceiling, and corners. In general, trim an area along the top, then roll below it down to the floor trim in 3×3 sections. Lastly, cut along the trim board.
  • When using a roller, use long strokes in a linear, vertical “W” pattern which helps to avoid roller marks. You can apply a second coat once the wall is dry.
  • If you are painting the trim, remove the painter’s tape and wait for the walls to dry before taping the walls.

Finally, enjoy the fruits of all your labor and your (newly painted) space!

Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash


Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash




Editors Note

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