How to Paint a Room the Sort of Easy Way
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How to Paint a Room the Sort of Easy Way

You can paint a room without too much stress.

If Father Time has gone medieval on your walls, it may be time to paint. Here’s how to go about it without too much stress:

Besides paint and primer, you’ll need a medium brush, a small brush, a roller, a paint tray, a paint pole, a paint stick, old sheets or drop clothes, a ladder, painter’s tape, and wet rags.

I recommend latex paint. It’s easy to clean up, which is a major plus in painting. You can clean your brushes and roller with water if you do it before the paint dries on them. Latex paint doesn’t smell much, is easy to use, and looks nice. Be sure to get latex primer to go with the latex paint.

You’ll have to make some decisions. What color to pick is the first big decision. This will depend on a number of factors. Do you want a new color? What colors do you like? Something that makes a bold statement, like red? Something soft and relaxing like beige? A summery peach or an autumn-like burnt orange? A serene pale violet? If you have a carpet, you might want to pick a color that will co-ordinate with it. Or, if your windows and trim don’t need painting, you might want something that goes with them.

Another decision you’ll have to make is which finish—flat, satin, semi-gloss or high gloss. Flat tends to be used more for walls, and semi-gloss for windows and trim. But I painted my bathroom with semi-gloss paint and it seems to discourage mold. Semi-gloss and high gloss are also easier to wipe clean. High gloss is used on cabinets, but may be a little too much shine for a whole wall. The best option might be satin, which is only a little shiny and still easy to clean.

Now you have to know how much paint to buy. Oh, no, math! A gallon covers about 350 square feet. Here’s the link to an article about how to estimate how much paint you’ll need: Estimating How Much Paint to Buy.

Take everything off the walls and windows, and clean them carefully. Be especially vigilant about getting anything greasy off of them, such as crayon, because paint has trouble covering grease. Fill in small holes with toothpaste, a time-honored method. If you have bigger holes, get some spackle and a putty knife. Fill in the holes and smooth them over with the putty knife. Don’t buy more spackle than you need, because it dries out quickly in the can.

Unfortunately, yes, you do have to take off the wallpaper before you paint. Otherwise, the wet paint will make it curl, and it will come off, taking the paint with it. Removing the wallpaper will take a while, even with steam. Somebody needs to invent something better!

You’ve assembled all your equipment and are ready to start. Put on some coveralls or some clothes that you won’t mind ruining. There’s no way you can paint without getting some of it on you. Move all the furniture to the middle of the room and cover it carefully with a drop cloth or big sheet. Make sure it’s all covered, because you will certainly drip paint from the ceiling. Cover the floor carefully with more drop clothes or big sheets. Pay the most attention to the part nearest the walls.

Open the paint can with a flat-edge screwdriver. Pry under the lid just a little, then move the can around in a circle, continuing to pry the lid just a little, until the lid is loose all around. Pry around it a bit more until it comes off. Stir the paint with a paint stick or something similar until it looks like the right color. Scrape the excess paint off the paint stick back into the can. Set the lid and paint stick someplace out of the way and remember where they are, so you don’t step on them later.

Something important to remember about painting is that you want to be neat and careful. You can avoid a lot of disasters that way. Always know where your lid, paint stick, paint can, and paint tray are. Always step cautiously and never get in a hurry.

You’ll probably only need primer if you’re painting on bare walls or covering a dark color with a light one. Put on your coat of primer, then wait until it dries before you start painting. This will be a few hours or overnight, depending on the room and the weather.

Paint the ceiling first. Pour some paint into the paint tray. Do most of the ceiling with the roller on the paint pole, then use the brush to get the edges. Don’t bother taping anything because you’re still going to paint over the rest of the room.

When the ceiling is done and dry, tape off the edges of the ceiling, the windows, the baseboard, and any other trim. Use painter’s tape, as masking tape can stick or pull off bits of paint. Then you can do the walls. It’s quicker to do the large parts of the walls with the roller, and get the corners and edges with the medium-size brush.

Use smooth, even strokes and fill in any rough parts of the wall with paint. You may need the brush to do this.

When you paint near the tape, pay attention to what you’re doing, because it’s easy to slop the paint past the tape.

When the walls are done and dry, you can do the windows and trim. Tape the parts of the walls next to the windows and trim. On the windows, tape around the edges of the panes. Use the small brush. Again, watch that you don’t slop the paint past the tape. If you get paint on the window panes, though, you can wipe it off with a wet rag. Be sure to do this right away. If this is making you nervous, you can use as small a brush as you want.

When the painting’s done, put the paint away as soon as possible. Pour any paint remaining in the tray into the paint can. You can save the paint in case you see a touchup you need to do. Put the lid back on the can and tap it down with the handle of the screwdriver. Store the paint in a warm, dry place. I like to put paint cans in plastic bags, because they’re almost certainly dripping paint. You can save the paint stick or throw it out. Wash the roller and brushes right away with warm water. Then you can move everything back.

Whew, that’s finally done. But it looks so great! It really was worth it!

Picture from Wikimedia Commons



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