You guys! I have officially crossed the very first item off of our moving to do list! Well, kind of. I mean, it’s halfway crossed off.
Okay, it’s not really crossed off at all but I took a step in the right direction.
Last week, I painted our bedroom.
Go ahead and cry a few tears and take a moment to say goodbye to the old bold blue. It was a good color, it served us well, and we will miss it dearly.
The new color is a lot lighter and brighter, a lot more neutral, and probably something we wouldn’t have chosen if we weren’t prepping the house to go on the market. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it – I actually really do think it’s a great color, and I kind of love how much airier the room feels now.
But I still miss my bold blue.
I’m wanted to pop in today and share a few photos of the new color, along with a few of my favorite room painting tips. I’ve painted a lot of rooms over the years and talked to a lot of friends about painting, and one thing I’ve learned is that there are a few common mistakes that a lot of people make when they’re painting a room. So, I’m gonna teach you how to paint a room without making any of those mistakes.
But first – check out our new walls.
These photos are far from a “finished” look at the room. The bedding doesn’t really “go”, the lighting is awful, and there’s still a ton of accessorizing to be done. But, as a whole, I’m pretty pleased with how the walls turned out and I think it’ll be a good look for potential buyers. The color is Behr Offshore Mist and in our room it looks like a really pale blue most of the time, but in certain light it takes on a really pretty gray tone, and sometimes it looks just plain white.
Of course, it’s not all looking better. The wall behind the bed is still a hot mess.
I left one wall alone because we’ve got a really fun project we’re working on for it. You may have already heard a preview of the plan on my Instagram stories?! I won’t be able to share it for a while because it’s a collaboration, which means there are deadlines and other things to consider, but just know it’s looking awesome and you’re gonna love it. Also, keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram, because I’ll definitely be sharing a few peeks in the coming weeks!
And I promise next time I show photos of the room on the blog, I’ll clean off the nightstands first.
Anywho. Let’s get to chatting about how to paint a room. Ready? Go.
How to Paint a Room (Without Making These 5 Mistakes)
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MISTAKE #1: Not choosing the right paint color. When you’re eager to get started on a room, it’s tempting to just pick a pretty swatch from the paint store and call it a day. Don’t do that! You may love how a color looks on a piece of paper in the store, but when you get home and actually put the paint on your walls it may look completely different. My favorite example of this is the time that my parents decided to paint their dining room without testing the colors first – they chose what they thought would be a pretty, deep burgundy color…they got home, painted the room, and realized they had ended up with what was a lot closer to Pepto Bismol pink. It’s a pretty extreme example, but it happens!
The lighting in your room can play with a color way more than you’d ever guess, and it’s vital to bring a color home and try it out before you make any decisions. Thankfully, it only costs about $3 or so to get a sample pot of whatever paint color you’d like at your paint or hardware store, and it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. I like to grab at least three or four different colors, bring them home, and paint about a 1-foot by 1-foot square on every wall in the room. Why every wall? Because the light is going to hit each wall of your room at different angles and with different intensity, and you may love the color on one side of the room and hate it on the other. Paint your samples and live with them in the room for at least 24 hours or so before you choose your favorite – you want to see how it looks in multiple different lighting situations before you decide, because early morning light may make the color look significantly different than late afternoon light does.
Once you’ve lived with the colors for a while, then you can make your decision. You may not love any of the colors you choose the first time around – that’s okay! It takes time to learn how to choose the right colors to test, and for this room, we tested more than 10 colors before we were satisfied. Take your time choosing, think it through, and be sure you love it before you get to painting.
MISTAKE #2: Not stirring the paint before you get started. I know it sounds silly, but I know a lot of people who have forgotten this little step and you’re going to seriously regret it if you skip it. Even if you begin painting the minute you walk in the door from the hardware store, you’re going to want to take a moment to stir up the paint before you get started. Yes, the store mixes it for you, but it may not be thoroughly mixed and if you don’t take 30 seconds to do it yourself you may end up with a lighter color on the top of your walls and a darker color on the bottom! Just stir the dang paint, okay?
MISTAKE #3: Forgetting to prep the room beforehand. I’ve been painting long enough that I’ll admit I don’t always lay down drop cloths or get too terribly anal about preparing a room before I get started. But if you’re a rookie room painter, you’re going to want to take a minute to at least lay down a drop cloth on the floor, cover up any precious furniture, and move things out of the way before you get started. Ten minutes of prep work can save you hours of cleaning later if you make a mistake – I’ll never forget when my roommate in college spilled an entire gallon of paint on her bedroom floor in our apartment when she was trying to paint the room… it was not a fun job to get it cleaned up!
It has to get messier before it starts to look better. That’s just the way it is, friends.
MISTAKE #4: Relying too much on painter’s tape. Painter’s tape is a great thing to use when you’re new to painting and don’t want to accidentally get paint on your ceilings – but I’ll let you in on a secret: I never use it when I’m painting walls. It’s my best friend when it comes to painting furniture or painting patterns on things, but I find that for painting rooms it often just makes me lazy. See, painter’s tape is not infallible. Paint often seeps through in little places here and there, and when you’re relying solely on it to help your paint lines stay clean you’re going to end up sorely disappointed.
So, what should you do? My best advice is to get a high quality, short-handled, angled paintbrush (this one is my favorite forever and always) and freehand the ceiling and floor lines with a ton of patience and a steady hand. It takes a little bit of practice, but I started doing this several years ago and never looked back – it’s faster, more effective, and way easier than using painter’s tape, and you’re completely in control of the situation so you aren’t relying on tape that might fail you. If you’re nervous about it, give it a shot in an inconspicuous spot (maybe along the baseboards behind a large piece of furniture, or just practice in a corner where you’ll be painting the other wall anyways) to get comfortable with it. Trust me – it’s the way to go.
MISTAKE #5: Not taking care of your brushes. Listen, I am absolute worst when it comes to keeping my brushes clean. Seriously – no one goes through more paintbrushes than me. But, over the years I’ve learned a few key tips and tricks to make it easier and at least slightly reduce the number of perfectly good brushes that I absolutely destroy.
My first trick? If you’re going to be taking a break from painting for more than about 15 minutes or so, wrap your paintbrush and roller in a plastic bag and pop it in the refrigerator. It will prevent the paint from drying and ruining the brushes, and when you’re ready to get back to work you can just grab them out and go straight to work. This even works if you’re going to be stopping for the night and picking back up in the morning. I’ve left paintbrushes in the fridge and successfully continued to use them up to about 48 hours later, but that’s really pushing it – this trick is really just mean for those times where you need to let your first coat dry for a few hours. If you’re going to be stepping away for longer than 6 hours or so, your best bet is to thoroughly clean the brush and let it dry back out before using it again.
The easiest way to clean your brushes is with a good ol’ hose in the backyard. There’s no way around it – it’s tedious, not fun, and annoying. But it’s a great way to save some money (especially if you’re using high-quality paintbrushes) and prevents you from needing to run to the store anytime you want to paint anything. Of course, there will be times when you accidentally leave a brush out too long and the paint dries out. Don’t worry, though – it may not be ruined yet. I have a really simple trick for bringing paintbrushes back to life when they’ve been left out, and you may be surprised at how well it works.
When it comes to paint rollers, I find that they’re generally not worth the effort it takes to clean them. In order to actually be used again, they have to be 100% clean of any traces of paint, and that’s often more trouble than it’s worth. When I’m feeling particularly budget-minded, I’ll take the time to do it after I’m done painting, but most of the time I just toss ‘em after I’m done and buy new ones next time I need to paint.
Finally, when it comes to the paint tray, the easiest way to clean it is actually to pour whatever paint is left back into the can and then let the remains dry out in the tray. Once it’s totally dry, you can peel it right out – it’s oddly satisfying, like the grown-up version of when you used to put Elmer’s glue all over your hands in elementary school. You can also buy paint tray liners if you’re feeling particularly lazy, but I find they’re a bit of a waste when it’s so easy to just clean the tray out!
Here’s a quick list of all of my favorite painting tools – I’m pretty particular about what I paint with, and these are the very best of the best!
- Paint: Behr’s Marquee line – the quality is absolutely incredible, the coverage is fantastic, and you’ll be amazed at how few coats you have to do. I won’t use anything else if I can help it.
- Paintbrush: Wooster 2-inch angled brush
- Paint roller: I prefer microfiber roller covers – these are my favorite.
- Painter’s tape: Frog Tape
- Best painting accessory: Handy Paint Pail – I always use it for cutting in!
- Other painting tools you may need: drop cloth, paint tray, paint stir sticks
Now that you know how to paint a room and all of the common pitfalls to avoid, you’re ready to do it! Pull all of the furniture away from the walls, pick a good podcast to listen to, and get to work! I find it to actually be pretty relaxing, and I never really mind painting rooms.
Do you enjoy painting or do you dread it?