Painting Tips for the Home

Furniture and decorative objects are just one facet of room decor. Paint can also make a huge difference in the way a room looks or feels. Giving your home a fresh coat of paint in a new shade can help make the place feel brand new, but it can be expensive and inconvenient to hire professionals to do the job. If you want to make a DIY go of it, these tips will help see you through. You don’t need any previous experience to repaint your home’s interior. All you need is the right tools, some patience, good paint and some enthusiasm for the finished product.

Pay attention to the type of paint you’re choosing, not only so the color will match your decor but also so you can be sure to pick out the right tools. Don’t just randomly pick up a paint brush – oil-based paints and stains work best with a natural-bristle brush, while latex paint pairs best with synthetic brushes with bristles made out of materials such as polyester or poly blend.

No matter what material they are, most paint brushes come in different widths and with either angled or straight bristles. Choose narrow, angled brushes for trim edging and getting into hard-to-reach corners or small, narrow wall strips. Thinner sash brushes can also be helpful for getting paint into corners or edging around trim. Brushes with wide, straight bristles are best for filling in large, flat surfaces. The smaller the area you’re painting is, the smaller your brush should be. Think about what will make your paint job most efficient and give you the cleanest finished product as you pick out your brushes from our selection at Pottery Barn.

Paint rollers also make quick work of filling in open, flat areas of wall that need to be painted. Rollers allow you to work more efficiently, filling the space more quickly, and it also creates less fatigue than using a brush. They’re also helpful for allowing you to apply even coats of paint without leaving behind unsightly brush marks. But like brushes, it’s important to select the right roller for the job.

Rollers are also made with either natural or synthetic fibers, and you should be sure to select the right kind based on the variety of paint or stain you’re using. It’s also important to choose a roller with the right thickness for the texture of the surface you’re painting. A thick-pile roller is best for roughly textured walls such as popcorn ceilings, while a thin pile is best for a smoothly plastered wall with very little texture. The thicker the roller’s pile, the better chance it will have of getting into nooks and crannies on a textured surface.

Handheld roller handles work well, but you can also purchase an extension handle for hard-to-reach places. Many extenders work by simply screwing into the base of a handheld roller handle, giving you a quick and easy way of getting those hard-to-reach places in the room without having to get on a ladder.

Once you’ve got your tools, assess your strategy. Line the trims and edges of your walls with masking tape, making sure to make an even line and clean seal with no gaps for the paint to get through. If you have a separate container to decant your paint into, do so now. Using a separate container other than the paint can will help prevent dripping and dried-on paint can lids. If you decide to dip your brush straight into the can, tap the brush to remove excess paint rather than wiping it so you can avoid creating drips on the exterior of the can.

When you’re ready to paint, pick one wall to start with. Use an appropriately sized brush to "cut in" and line the edges of the walls where a roller can’t reach. Once you’ve done the lining, you can start using your roller. Keep going until you’ve finished an even layer that covers the whole wall, if you can.

Once your paint can starts running low and you only have about a third left in the can, take a fresh paint can and pour some of that paint into the nearly-empty can. That will help you maintain a consistent color as you move from can to can. When you’re finished, use a piece of painter’s tape and a permanent marker to write down the color and finish of the paint so you can buy more for touch-ups later if needed. Attach the painter’s tape to the inside of the plastic cover to an electrical outlet or light switch for safekeeping.