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Painting Tips

Dining Room, How-To

Once again, we spent the weekend painting. What can I say – we like color. Alot.

This time, we took the dining room out of the pink and into something a little more natural. After much speculation and a few heated arguments, we decided to paint the top half of the room with Sherwin William’s “Emberglow“, a brownish-orangish-salmonish color that we used in a previous apartment and absolutely loved.


Anything orangey is tough – it changes alot in different lights, and the wrong tone can easily look garish. That’s why I was thrilled to have found Emberglow the first time around – and it didn’t disappoint me this time either.

We’re still debating on what to do with the bottom half of the room, which is covered in the original beadboard. We may just strip it back to the wood and stain it to match the floors. If we don’t do that, it’s going to get a coat of Bone China to match the trim throughout the downstairs. Anyone care to weigh in?

Since Teague and I have both painted interiors about three zillion times, we’ve got the process down to a science. Here are some tips for painting newbies:

1. Use primer. It may seem like an extra step, but it makes life easier and saves money in the long run (you’ll need less coats of the expensive paint). We swear by Killz – it knocked out 20 years of nicotine stains in 2 coats.

2. If you’re a color lover, don’t cheap out on the paint. WalMart and HD’s paints will never look as good as the good stuff. The colors are always just a wee bit off, and the coverage is terrible. You’ll spend more time painting and you’ll go through more paint. I’m a Sherwin Williams devotee, but I hear DutchBoy is pretty lovely too.

3. GET A GOOD TRIM BRUSH. I can’t stress this enough. I didn’t “see the light” until last winter, when Teague introduced me to the wonder that is Rubbermaid Professional Paintbrushes. Suddenly, I became a master at cutting in trim. I can get cleaner edges with my trim brush than with a roll of painters tape. When you invest in a good brush, take care of it. It’ll serve you well for a long time.

4. Get the right nap on your roller. Don’t get a heavily textured one unless you NEED it (if you’ve got super bumpy walls), because the paint doesn’t go on as smoothly.

5. If you’ve got high ceilings, invest in a long handle for your roller. They’re about $10 and totally worth it – it saves time and cuts your ladder use to a minimum. You could also steal the handle off an old broom for this purpose.

6. Make sure you save some paint for touch-ups, and mark your cans with the name of the room. Otherwise, you’ll spend way too long pulling out cans in the basement searching for the right match.

I am very serious about my love for trim brushes – I just got a new one (at WalMart, for $7.60, if you’re looking for one) and made sure to put my name on it in permanent marker so *someone* doesn’t steal it for his day job.

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Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

merideth had this to say on 05.15.06:

Dude! All your paint tips are good ones but i concur heartily on two of them in particular and will now lecture to anyone reading:

1. PRIME…seriously, even if you think it’s a waste of time/$ trust us and do in anyway

2. Dear god do not buy cheap paint…say goodbye to home depot…no more glidden and bher…to sherwin willimas or kelly moore or wherever and get good, good paint…anything else is just fooling around…you’ll be happy you hear

now i’m off to find this mythical rubbermaid perfect trim brush!

Nick had this to say on 05.16.06:

The best way to take care of a brush is to soak it in water (for water-based paints) or thinner (for oil based paints) PRIOR to painting. It makes cleanup so much easier. Afterwords, clean the brush with a bit of soap and water, then wrap the bristles in paper (we use paper towels.

Hmph – perhaps I’ve been missing out on the paint itself. I’ve never been unhappy with the HD stuff. Next gallon, I’ll try something more pricey.

Leah had this to say on 05.16.06:

I TRIED the more expensive paint a while back to see what all the fuss was about, and I must confess that it did not seem ANY DIFFERENT than the Home Depot Behr paint we’ve used for the rest of our house. It rolled on the same, still took two coats to cover completely, and the final look was no different.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I still don’t see the justification for spending all that extra money…

merideth had this to say on 05.16.06:

oh the dropcloth comment made me think of another one: Painter’s Pal i think the stuff is called…got it from hd…gets all lates paint drips off hardwood…even if it’s sat for DAYS..and AND! it gets it out of a lot of textiles as well, got paint off my rug (tracked there by dog) it got paint out of the upholstery in the car that had been there for a month…amazing stuff!

amanda had this to say on 05.16.06:

A few of my own tips-
I have noticed a difference between the Ralph Lauren and the Behr paint at Home Depot, but now I SWEAR by Benjamin Moore and will never go back. Once I bought paint at Wal Mart and totally regretted that. I LOVE my Purdy paint brushes from Home Depot. I’ve bought the Rubbermaid ones, too, but there is nothing like a 2.5″ sash brush from Purdy for trim. The good quality Purdy rollers make a huge difference too (no roller fibers in the paint). And for Pete’s sake, just buy the $1 throway roller tray liner. It’s worth it not to clean the roller pan. The HD ones have nice dimples that help get the excess paint off of the roller. Good rollers are important too- just keep washing them off and they’ll last years. I cut in against the trim now, but before I felt comfortable with that (it does require practice) I learned that if you run a plastic putty knife over the (only 3M only real blue painter’s tape- the other stuff sucks) tape, you can get a fantastic edge- it will adhere perfectly and give you a very nice straight edge. We painted almost everything in the entire house when we moved in, and much more painting is on tap for this summer when we finish the basement. I’ll do a post on my painting tips then!

Kristin had this to say on 05.16.06:

I totally agree about the good paintbrush. I have become a master cutter-inner. It’s way quicker than taping and actually looks better than taping if you have the right brush and a steady-ish hand.

Marc had this to say on 12.04.06:

Some of you may know that Sherwin-Williams owns Dutch Boy and used to own Ralph Lauren until they sold it to Glidden a few years ago.

Something to also consider about primer – for walls, have it tinted to 75% of the finish coat color. Coverage is easier (especially when the finish color is dark) and the color accuracy is higher (i.e. it more closely matches the paint chip from the store).

darcymae had this to say on 05.06.08:

i know you posted this years ago, but i just found you today. we are in the middle of our own fixer-upper and are loving it (are you sensing the sarcasm)? anyway, i was wondering, is caulking in the corners a good idea? will paint adhere well to it? does it need to be mudded and/or taped over? help!!

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