Practical DIY 13: How to Paint a Room

We are repainting the entire interior of our home. 4 bedrooms and a main living spaces. Here are several tips for how to paint a room yourself.

1. Did you know you can buy sample jars of paint? Before you paint any room, narrow your choices to 3-4 colors that you may like. Buy samples of those colors and paint swatches throughout the house so that you can see the colors in your own light. The light at the hardware store is bright white light meant to reflect natural light. In your home, walls receive different types and amounts of light. Paint colors throughout. I once painted the same colors in three different rooms of my house and use the color in only one room because it looks drastically different in the other rooms.

Write the name of each color under each swatch and label A, B, C,…. so that you can keep up with colors throughout the rest of the walls.

2. Understand LRV – Light Reflective Value. Some paint chips have this listed but, if not, you can always Google search the paint color to find it. LRV is how much light the color reflects back into the room. A higher number, means a brighter room. Lower number means the color absorbs more light. In the bottom photo above, I had narrowed down to A and D. You can see in this photo, these colors do not look extremely different but A had an LRV in the low 70s and D had and LRV in the mid 80s so I picked D because I wanted a brighter room.

3. Use an angled brush to paint above baseboards and where the wall meets the ceiling. Use a good quality 2 inch angled brush to paint smooth lines where needed. See a video here. This will allow you to skip painter’s tape. Keep a wet wash cloth handy incase you do hit the baseboards or crown molding. Use a wash cloth that is disposable because the paint won’t wash out. Wall paint dries fairly quickly so you want to be able to wipe it off immediately. I usually paint the wall edges before I roll the large wall spaces.

4. Use a good primer to cover reds and pinks. Deep hue colors are hard to cover with paint. I use Kilz 3 to do a primer coat in between colors especially if I’m trying to cover a dark paint with a light color.

5. Invest in a better quality paint. It doesn’t have to be top of the line, but you want a good one coat coverage paint to save times. I use the Sherwan Williams line from Lowes. I like to paint with a flat finish and I find that a higher quality covers better and looks nicer longer. It’s worth it to pay more per can for one coat then twice as much paint to do two coats.

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