How do you breathe new life into your home or office space without having to spend a fortune on fancy remodelling and decorating? Simple: with a fresh coat of paint.
If you think it’s the kind of massive job that you’ll never manage yourself, think again. Painting your interiors can actually be a fairly simple and rewarding task once you know these key tips.
1. Understand your finishes
Glossy, flat, satin, matte, eggshell, pearl. Who knew that the world of paints was so complex?? While you don’t need to go out and get a PhD in house painting, it does help to understand that different finishes are better for different purposes. Gloss paint, for example, is great for highlighting areas like doors and wood trim. Semi-gloss is ideal for those areas that you need to clean a lot, like kitchens and bathrooms, while a satin finish also helps to hide all the smudges and fingerprints that come with highly trafficked areas like hallways and kids’ rooms. On the other hand, if your painting surfaces have roughness or imperfections, you’re better off opting for a matte finish: it’ll help to smooth things out.
2. Invest in quality paint
All paints are not created equal. Quality paints are known to provide better coverage, to be more lasting and durable, and to provide better protection for the walls and trims underneath. Many good painting brands will also offer specialised paints that are designed to exactly fit your needs like easy-to-clean coatings and anti-bacterial or anti-mould paints. Ultimately, shopping for quality is worth it because it will save you money in the long run.
3. Don’t fear color
Do you walk on the wild side, or do you have a tendency to play it safe? When it comes to color, sometimes you just have to dare to go bold if you really want to make your space stand out and have some design flare. Now that’s not to say that bold has to equate to glaring hot pink or eye-watering fluorescent orange. It may just mean adding in some darker accents or opting for a feature wall. You can also take mood and color psychology into consideration for example, if you find blue calming, choose it for your bedroom, while perhaps yellow accents will make your office feel energetic and optimistic.
4. Use paint to make a room seem bigger
Interior painting also allows you to do some nifty little optical illusion tricks like making a room seem bigger or more spacious. One way to do this is to pick one color family and paint the whole room in different shades of it. That means painting the trims and details in the same color (but different shade) as the walls.
To make ceilings seem higher, paint them a lighter color than the walls. And if in doubt, you can always go for a full white scenario: a white-washed room will always feel bright and open and fresh.
5. Use samples
Most good painting brands will offer samples that you can use to test on your own walls. The benefit of doing a live test is that you’ll get to see exactly how the shade looks in person, in the unique lighting situation of your space. Often times paint shades can look different to what we expect once they’ve dried. Similarly, contrasts and reflections from objects in the room can change the way we perceive them. Starting with a sample let’s you know for sure that you like a color before you commit to buying.
6. Prime your surfaces
Walls and other surfaces need to be prepared and primed before you set to work on them. That means removing old paint flakes with a paint scraper, smoothing out any cracks or bumps with sandpaper, patching any holes and cracks, and dusting and cleaning all the surface area. Next, you’ll probably want to apply a primer. Primer seals the surface so that paint doesn’t absorb too much or dry in an uneven way. It’s also helpful if you’re going from a dark color to a light one. There are a few situations where you may not need to use a primer: like if you’re painting over the exact same color, or if you’re using a combination primer and paint (also known as a self-priming paint).
7. Prep properly
Ever painted the walls blue only to find your beautiful wooden floorboards were splattered with it too? If you answered “no”, then good: let’s keep it that way! Prepping your space before you paint means getting furniture out the way, covering the floor properly, covering or removing door handles, and sticking painting tape to any exposed areas you don’t want the paint to go (like trims, window frames, light switch covers, skirting boards, etc). Be sure to wipe these areas clean of dust first, or the tape won’t stick properly, and for the best results invest in specialty painting tape rather than all-purpose masking tape.
8. Paint from the top down
Always paint from the top down because, well, gravity. The last thing you want is to paint the ceiling after you’ve finished the walls only to find drips and splatters ruining your freshly finished masterpiece. Start with the ceiling, then the walls, then the trim.
9. Roll in a zig-zag pattern
Rollers save time because they cover more ground than brushes. But there’s a kind of trick to really using them the right way, and it involves painting in a zig-zag pattern rather than painting in straight up and down stripes. Another way to think of this is to paint in a “W” motion. The key thing here is that you always want to overlap wet edges, so that each stroke of the roller can blend properly with the last.
10. Try for dry weather
It’s not always easy when you’re in a humid climate, but try and aim for the driest environment possible. The key to painting even when it’s unavoidably humid? Take your time. Don’t rush it. The more humid it is, the more time you’ll need to give the paint time to really dry properly. You can also use climate control and dehumidifiers indoors to help balance out the humidity of the air.
11. Mix same-color paints for consistency
Even very good paint brands can experience slight variations in tone between paint pots of the same color. For absolute consistency, mix several pots of the same color paint into one larger bucket. That way, you know that the resulting mixture will cover all your surfaces in exactly the same tone with no variation.