For a home improvement project that makes a big impact at a rather low price, it’s hard to beat painting. For the price of a gallon of paint, some brushes, and some drop cloths, you can completely transform a room in a matter of hours or maybe a day or two, depending on the size of the job. Best of all, it’s a pretty simple job to do, too! In most cases, even somebody with no painting experience can easily paint a room themselves without having to hire someone to do it for them.
But just because painting is a pretty simple task, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for error. There are lots of common mistakes people make while painting a room that can mar an otherwise nice paint job. By avoiding these mistakes, you can make sure your paint job turns out wonderfully and your room will look fantastic afterward!
Not Looking at Paint Samples in the Room’s Light
When you’re trying to choose a new color to paint a room, you go to the hardware or paint store and see samples of thousands of colors available. If you have a specific color in mind, you’ll have hundreds of different shades of that color to choose from and when you finally find the right shade you want, it can be tempting to go right ahead and buy a gallon.
Always take a paint sample home with you to see how it looks in the room you’re planning to paint. Since colors can look a little different depending on the lighting conditions, the shade that looked fantastic in the store under fluorescent lighting might not look as great when it’s on the walls of a room that gets a lot of natural light. For best results, have a small amount of a color you like mixed up at the store and use it to paint a sheet of white paper or poster board. Hang that paper or poster board on the wall and see how it looks throughout the day.
Choosing the Wrong Finish
Once you figure out which color paint you want, you have to choose a finish of your paint. Since the type of finish you choose can have an impact on the price of the paint, you might just want to choose the cheapest option so you can get to work.
The best finish for you depends on the room you’re planning to paint. Gloss and semigloss finishes are the most durable and easiest to clean, so they’re best for kitchens and bathrooms. Satin finishes aren’t as shiny as gloss finishes, but they’re durable enough to stand-up to being used in high-traffic rooms like living rooms, a child’s bedroom, or a hallway. Eggshell finishes are less durable than satins, so they’re great for areas that aren’t as heavily used like dining rooms, but you don’t want a completely flat finish. Flat finishes can chip very easily, but since they absorb light rather than reflect it, it’s the most forgiving if you’re painting a wall that has a lot of flaws. The shinier the finish, the more flaws on the wall it will show, so keep that in mind when choosing your finish.
Buying Cheap Tools
When you’re planning to paint a room, one thing you absolutely don’t want to cut corners on is the quality of tools you use. Good quality brushes and rollers are essential to making sure you get the get the best possible results. They’ll do a much more effective job of applying the paint to the wall evenly and won’t shed bristles throughout the job. It’s perfectly normal for even a high quality paintbrush to shed a few bristles when it’s being used for the first time, but you certainly don’t want to risk have brush bristles getting stuck to your walls and drying in place there.
If you’re going to use tape to create a clean line, don’t use regular masking tape. Painters tape is designed to prevent paint from bleeding through so it will help you get that nice sharp line you’re looking for.
Skipping Proper Prep Work
We know how tempting it can be to just grab your can of paint and get to work, skipping any real prep work beyond covering the floor with a dropcloth. But proper prep work will ensure that all your effort is worthwhile. Always patch up any holes and sand down uneven textures if necessary before starting. Washing your walls first will make sure any dirt, grease, or other debris doesn’t get stuck to the wall. If you’re trying to paint over a surface that already has a coat of gloss or semigloss paint on it, don’t forget to sand it down first or use a deglosser, otherwise you’re going to have a hard time getting new paint to stick.
If you’re painting a surface that’s already been painted, it’s fine to use a paint with a built-in primer as long as you aren’t making too drastic of a color change, such as from a dark red to a pale blue. But priming your walls first will help to ensure your paint looks true-to-color once it’s on your wall.
Painting in Dim Lighting
Painting a room takes a lot of energy. The last thing you want is to go through all that time and effort, only to realize you have to go back and do more work to fix a job that looked fine before, but doesn’t look so great now that you’re seeing it in brighter light. Painting in low light is a recipe for disaster, so make sure you have lots of light to help you see how you’re doing. If a room has lots of windows, try to paint on a sunny day. If the room doesn’t get much natural light, bring in other sources of light to help you out. You’ll be glad you did!