5 Essentials to Consider Before Painting

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So your finally ready to pick up a paintbrush and get to work on your walls!

This can be a really exciting step that many homeowners dream of one day doing but may be too scared to take the first step.

Aside from choosing the perfect color for your space, there is alot more that goes into making sure those freshly painted walls turn out the way you hoped.

Afterall, painting your home can either enhance its beauty or tear it to pieces if done incorrectly.

If you want to be successful in your project (which I'm sure you do!), follow along to find out the 5 things every person should know before painting a room.

(1) Choosing the Right Finish

Just because you picked your paint color doesn't mean your done making decisions yet!

Understanding the pros and cons of different finishes (also called sheen) will help you choose the right finish for the job.

To make things easier I created a quick overview of the different finishes below from lowest to the highest.

  • Flat: A no-sheen finish that is great for hiding wall imperfections and commonly used on ceilings, formal dining rooms and low traffic areas
  • Eggshell: A smooth, low-sheen finish perfect for living and dining rooms, bedrooms and dens with moderate cleaning capabilities.
  • Satin: A beautiful, multi-purpose, low-sheen finish making it excellent for hallways, kids' rooms, family rooms and other high-traffic areas.
  • Semi-Gloss: A mid-sheen finish created for stain resistance and repeated washings. It is most commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms and trim.
  • High-Gloss: A high-impact sheen that provides the highest durability but shows imperfections easily; rarely used on walls.

Overall, the general rule of thumb is that the higher up you go on the scale it will be more durable and also more susceptible to showing imperfections.

(2) Painting Samples Before Committing to a Color

Have you ever compared paint swatches you find in the store to the finished product and noticed that they look different?

That's because the swatches are printed on cardstock, not painted, making them almost impossible to match.

This is why it is so important for you to get paint samples that you can paint up on your wall in order to choose the right color for your space.

You can avoid buying a whole bucket of paint for testing by opting for little 8 oz cans of each color.

Just make sure you put enough coats on the wall to cover up the previous color in order to get a real sense of what it will look like.

(3) Prepping the Room for Painting

While prepping your surfaces is important, you also have to factor in the other pieces in the room. Let me share a little story with you:

Last summer I was working on tile selections when one of my clients frantically called me over to their home after it was painted by professionals. The issue?

The painters sprayed on new paint without covering up any furniture or floors.

I came into the home to find every single item in the home covered with a thin layer of particles from the spraying process. 

Luckily for us all of the furniture and items were paint free (phew!).

But we all know who ended up paying the cleanup crew due to that costly mishap, *ahem* the painters!

So learn from my experience and don't forget to cover everything you own with drop cloths or plastic sheeting.

(4) Application: Spraying vs. Rolling

Aside from hiring professionals (which I highly recommend!), choosing how you decide to have the paint applied plays a big role on its outcome.

If you need a quick turn around time and are dealing with a lot of textures and details in your paint job, spraying is the way to go.

Due to its thin application the paint goes on seamlessly, especially if you plan on using semi- or high-gloss for a finish. However be warned that this process tends to waste more paint than roller application.

On the other hand, rolling can be a great option if you are doing it on your own as supplies are cheaper.

Once it comes to my clients I typically opt for spraying for the primer and rolling everything else. That way I get the quick coverage I need for priming while using every last drop of my paint by rolling.

(5) Determining How Much Paint You Need

There is nothing more frustrating in this world than having too much paint left over.

Or even worse, running out of paint halfway through a project.

This can cause some major headaches as it is almost impossible to recreate the exact formula used in your previous cans as each machine and paint specialist can vary.

So how can we get the right amount of paint the first time around?

After sitting here for almost an hour trying to explain the formula and only confusing myself, I decided I would find a better way to help you out ;)

Thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to find a great tool to use at your disposal provided by Sherwin Williams called the Paint Calculator.

Simply put, by typing in particular measurements for your walls, it will use the formula and calculate how many gallons you need to by.

Do you have a favorite sheen you like to use for your home? Or do you have any crazy paint stories you'd like to share? I'd love to hear your thoughts!