10 Interior Painting Tips And Techniques

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

1. Select your color

Selecting a color is often the most difficult part of the process. It’s crucial to settle on a color that will help inspire the right mood and make you feel relaxed in your home or workplace. If you have no clue as to which color to select, why not try pulling a color out of a piece of art you admire, or a rug in your living room that you’ve always liked? It's a sure-fire method to find a complimentary color. Also, you could take home a dozen paint chips and judge for yourself how they appear in the setting. Put them up against the furniture, floors, artwork, cabinets, and any other surface that you’re thinking of painting in the relevant space. Aim to get it all down to three or four main choices.

2. Aim to use more than one color

If you're using more than one color in the space you’re planning to paint, remember these points. First of all, if you have a chair rail or wainscoting and you are aiming to paint the top and bottom of the walls in different shades or colors, then always apply the darker of the two on the bottom portion and the light above. The lighter will dominate and the darker should have a grounding, subduing effect. To make trim stand out, use a shade lighter or a shade darker than that applied to the walls. The same principle can be used for the ceiling. If you complete it using a darker shade, the room feels homier, painting it a lighter shade will result in a more spacy effect.

3. Read up on paint effects

Be original and innovative in your approach; think outside the box! There are many techniques to learn and there is absolutely no need to complete your project in one color. Some fun practices include blocking, stenciling, and color washing. You can apply different colors on the same wall, or for a gentler impression you can experiment with different finishes. For instance, try painting a wall in a flat finish and afterwards stenciling a design (such as damask) overtop with a glossy paint. The appearance you can expect to achieve with this is understated yet impressive.

4. Decide what your finish should be

When you've made a final decision on your favored paint color and design, you'll need to choose on a finish.Flat can give a matte finish, which is ideal for improving walls with some wear and tear since it does not reflect light. For that reason, it’s recommended to use flat finishes in any space where you are planning to obscure imperfections. Satin and eggshell are common choices for walls because they give only a modest shine and as an additional benefit are quite easy to clean. Finally, semi gloss and glossy are shiny and thus top choices for painting trim. They also withstand vigorous cleaning.

5. Calculate the amount of paint required

First of all, add together the width of all the walls in the room, then multiply that number by the full height of one wall, from floor to ceiling. Now, take this total and subtract the total area of all the doors, windows and archways. You have arrived at the precise area of wall space you will have to paint. Remember, a flat surface typically demands one gallon for every 400 square feet. You may need more than one coat.

6. Prepare to Paint

Shift all objects out of the room that are likely to be obstructive. Get rid of all hardware and fixtures in your way! Then, wipe down the walls with a soapy water to remove dirt, dust and grease from the surface. After that, fill all the cracks you find with plaster filler and sand down all surfaces that you are planning to paint. Wipe off all the remaining dust from the sanding, using another damp cloth. Try to be sure that you have all the brushes, rollers, and paint trays and other equipment on hand and nearby in a convenient spot, before you begin.

7. Tape off spaces to be painted

This takes up a lot of time but it is worthwhile. Use painter's tape for this. You will be aiming to tape off the trim, ceilings, windows, doors, and any other necessary areas. Using this method you will achieve a straight line and you will have both a reminder and a physical barrier to stop you moving over into a space you didn’t want painted.

8. Always paint from the top down

Start with the ceiling or the top of the walls then move down gradually. This method helps you to catch any accidental drips and to avoid ruining a freshly painted wall.

9. Thinner coats are better

Don’t add too much paint to the brush! Use only a tiny amount, or roller - and aim to use long, even strokes to apply thin coats. Despite what you may believe, thick coats do not yield a pretty result. A number of thin coats will cover the walls satisfactorily.

10. Leave the trim until last

This is a controversial point! Typically the trim can catch a bit of the spray that leaves the paint rollers when they’re in action. So, it's best left the trim until last – it can be covered with a brush and excess paint won't get on the walls.

Written by Sandra Smith. She is an interior decorator who loves working on old and antique houses. On her spare time, she often goes out for some hiking and trekking.

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  1. Excellent article! I definitely agree that selecting paint colors (especially ones that don't clash) can be the most difficult part of any interior paint job. Woodruff


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