Decorating and Painting Tips

Painting a room is the least expensive way to renovate. A painting project can give a room a completely new life. Be it to change colour or repair water damage, nothing is too complicated. From the first brush stroke to the last paint drop, here a few tricks to help you with your project.

1) The Right Equipment

Before you even start grabbing your roller, you should round up your material and take a look at your equipment. Painting is easy, but bad equipment can make a project go south quickly. A quality job starts with quality material. Forget your old brushes, hard as rock, they won’t be of any help.

First, you will need a brush. An angled 2.5in (63mm) brush in polyester is ideal. Polyester brushes are perfect for latex paint, and natural bristle brushes are made for oil-based paint/stain. The angled tip is made to cut around door frames and baseboards.

Here are two tips for choosing the right roller. For an interior project, go ahead with a 15mm roller. A thinner roller will not apply sufficient paint and a 20mm one will leave you with too much of a thick coat. Furthermore, a 2-4ft. extension pole will make your life easier when rolling ceilings and walls. Do not forget your drop sheets to cover your furnitures and protect your floor.

The room you are painting may have underwent the tests of time. If you find a couple of holes, peeling paint or cracking, get yourself a little bit of putty. You will also need a sealing primer and sanding paper, 125 and 150 grit, the first to start the work and the second to leave a smooth finish.

Don’t forget that the right material makes all the difference! You will now be able to go through the next step: choosing the right paint and color for you project.

2) Choosing the Right Colour

Now that you have gather the necessary tools and equipment, you are ready to plan you project. The first step is to choose the color palette. In general, painting projects are the last to take place during renovation or room redesign. If you are only painting you can go ahead and make you color choice, otherwise, you should wait to pick you furnitures, decoration, and style. By choosing a color too early in a design project you might be limiting your ideas and restricting yourself to one style. Also important, if you have never painted a room before or, chosen a color by yourself, it is better to start with a smaller room first.

Paint Types

Before we get into design tips, here are a few words on the different paint finishes available, their particularities and common use.

A) Matte

A matte finish does not reflect light (or fairly lightly). Due to the low shine, we can hide some of the surface imperfection. On the other hand, a matte finish is harder to wash than a glossy one. For this reason, it is perfect to paint ceilings. In a new condo, such a finish can also be used on walls and moldings. It is important to remember that a matte finish does not reflect light, if applied on walls of a very small room, the room will feel smaller.

B) Eggshell

Eggshell finishes are glossier without being too flashy. It is perfect for a wall application. Easier to clean, it is also ideal in rooms with more circulation.

C) Semi-Gloss

A semi-gloss tint will reflect light considerably more. For this reason, it should not be applied on a large surface. An other disadvantage is the application process; it is harder to paint with semi-gloss than eggshell. Such a finish is perfect for baseboards and moldings, the natural light makes them stand out and drastically changes the depth of the room.

D) Gloss

Gloss finishes are not used as commonly. For those of you who like oil-based paint finishes, you could emulate the look with a glossy finish.

Design

Multiple guidelines exist to help you find the perfect colour for your project. First, it is important to know how colour dresses a room. In general, you can follow the 60-30-10 rule, 60% of the colour is on the walls, 30% on the floor, and 10% through furnitures and decoration. A good approach is to use different elements of decoration in your room. It can be a painting, a picture, a piece of furniture or even a pillow. Whatever is it, designing a room around one or more objects is a good way to start.​

An other element of design to consider is the use of an accent wall. Painting a room in its entirety in a single colour can create an impression of confinement, especially with darker colours. An accent wall can completely change the room’s atmosphere.

Choosing a colour also depends on the room usage. Different colours bring out different emotions; for example, a room reserved for relaxation should not be painted in orange. Cold colours can create a more relaxing atmosphere, and warm colours bring more of a social character. It is important to consider the lighting of a room before committing to a colour palette. Incandescent lighting tints the original colour in a yellow tone and fluorescent lighting gives out a blue tint. Only daylight can give out the true original colour you chose.

The most important thing is to always consider your home as a whole. Consider the transition between rooms and the overall fit of your new design.

3) Setting Up your Room

Don’t grab your roller yet! Before you start painting, you need to make sure you have properly set-up your room and fixed what needed to be fixed.

The first step is obviously to move all small objects to another space for the duration of the project. You then want to stack bigger furnitures at the center of the room. Once this is done you can start laying down your drop sheets. This is very important, always make sure you are painting over a drop sheet, especially when using a roller. Rolling a wall or ceiling will send very small drops of paints flying everywhere, you won’t even see them. If you miss this step you might find yourself with drops all over your floor. Plastic drop sheet are usually used to cover furnitures and fabric drop sheets are commonly used on the floor.

The next step is to fix what is broken before you paint. Here we will take a look at any hole, crack, mold or peeling paint. All of those are extremely simple to repair but can be a real pain if they are not handled in time.

 

A) Hole in the Walls

If you find a hole in one of the walls or ceiling, you first need to evaluate how to handle it. For fairly small holes, a couple of centimetres wide, you can directly fill them with putty. To proceed, try and hit lightly with a hammer on the perimeter of the hole. This will allow the putty to sit flush with the wall, otherwise we would still see a ring shape in the form of the hole after the repair. Once that is done you can go ahead and apply putty. Putty is usually colour indicated and changes colour once it dries (i.e. pink when wet to white when dry). You can then start to sand the dried putty with 100 grid sanding paper. When you feel that the putty is getting flush with the wall you can start sanding with the 150 grit paper. The next thing to do is prime the putty with a sealing primer and let it dry.

B) Cracks Between the Baseboards and the Wall

If you can see a crack appearing between your baseboards and the wall you might want to use caulking to repair it. Apply caulking in the crack with your caulking gun. Here is a trick to spread the caulking; wet your finger a little bit and pass it very lightly from left to right (right-handed) or right to left (left-handed). There is no need to prime it you can just wait for it to dry.

C) Peeling Paint

You might have some peeling paint somewhere in your room. If this is the case, grab a putty knife or scraper and remove as much as you can easily take off. You can then start to sand the edges of the superior level of paint and try to smooth out the bevel. It is recommended that you prime the scraped area, especially if you don’t know what paint was previously used.

D) Mold

Last but not least, you might find some mold, especially on bathroom ceilings. You can mix water and TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) and use a brush to wash most of it. Once that is done, it is strongly recommended that you apply a coat of primer on your ceiling.

4) Where to Start? Ceilings and Baseboards

You are now ready to get to work and paint your room – but where to start? The first step is to structure your project. There are millions of ways to paint a room and the order in which to proceed is an open debate. Here is the most common way to go: In an interior room, the order usually goes from top to bottom. This is only partly accurate and we will go into detail as to why we proceed in a certain order.

A little side-note about painter’s tape; it usually does more harm than good. Using tape will take you substantially more time than otherwise, and will inevitably leave lines of paint. For this reason this article is written without the use of painter’s tape.

Ceilings

You want to start with your ceiling for multiple reason. The first and most obvious is that you do not want to spill paint on your newly painted walls while you are rolling the ceiling. It is also important to consider that the ceiling is considered one of the hardest things to paint and getting rid of it first is a good thing. The last thing to know is that you usually want to paint the wall over a couple inches with the ceiling paint. The only time you do not want to paint your ceiling first is when you have crown moldings, in that case, go to the next section first and come back here after.

To start you want to paint the ceiling edges, paint at least half a roller length from the wall and a couple of inches on the wall. If you can, use a mini roller and an extension pole, this will save you a lot of time, otherwise you can do it with a brush. You can then proceed to the rolling. First, identify the main natural light source (like a window). Then, you want to paint parallel to the direction of the light. This will reduce the appearance of lines left by the roller and give a more uniform look.

It is very important to paint a ceiling in a single paint session. Try not to take breaks, the ceiling will be more uniform if you finish in a single sequence.

Moldings

Once the ceiling is done you can jump to the moldings. This includes all the baseboards, door frames and window frames. The same principle applies here, you want to paint the moldings and paint over the wall by a couple of inches. It is strongly recommended that you quickly clean the moldings up before painting. If you paint over dust, the paint will not stick and you will be stuck with peeling paint in a couple of days.

5) How to Finish? Walls and Clean Up

The logical next step is to paint the walls, and you can split this stage in two: Cutting and rolling.

The first one is the cutting, and is done with the brush. You need to paint all the edges of the wall first, painting over the couple of inches we left when we painted the ceiling and moldings. When painting the top of the wall, you can choose to cut directly in the joint between the wall and ceiling, or to leave a white line. Leaving a white line can look more professional but will be harder to do if it is your first time cutting by hand.

​​You can then proceed to the rolling. Using an extension pole, you will be able to roll straight and leave a uniform surface.

If you are changing colour, you will need two coats of paint to get the desired colour. For certain colours, you might even need a third coat. Usually red and yellow colours do not cover very well. You can get these colours in specialised base (accent base) instead of white base paint.

The last step is to clean up all of your equipment. If you know you will use your brush or roller the next day (with the same color) you can put them in a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer. Otherwise, you should wash them all; if you do not they will harden and you will never be able to use them again. Put them under the tap and remove as much paint as you can. It is long but necessary. Once they are clean, you need to dry them immediately; go outside, far away from any car and shake the brush and roller. You can buy a brush cleaner and a brush drier to help you.

Here we are, you have just completed your painting project. There is no need to paint every year, good quality interior paint can look fresh for 7-10 years.

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