6 tips to paint a room successfully

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Is your home in desperate need of a make-over or the baby colors are just not working for your growing child? If you don't want to spend too much budget remodeling a home, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders.

When you’re faced with a room that needs redoing, you don’t always have to call a professional painter to get the job done.

With just a few preparatory considerations and a few useful tips to keep in mind, you can tackle the job yourself and achieve success.

Think about the room and the flow

The first consideration you should make before even choosing your paint is to think about the room you’re going to be painting. Is it a central part of your home, that should reflect the central theme of your lifestyle? Is it a child’s room, that should be colourful and stimulating?

Will the traffic pattern in your property result in the room being seen alongside another room, so the colour patterns should be harmonious? Does the room have wide expanses of open wall, so that large sections of the colour will be on view all the time? A lot of the decisions you’ll make next about colour, finish, and paint will depend on your assessment of the room you’re about to paint.

Consider the colour

Probably the most important decision about your paint job that will determine its success is the colour you choose. Think about the floor of the room - is there coloured carpeting? If the floor is wood or tile, what colour is it?

The colour of the walls should be a good complement to the colour of the flooring material. Is there standard furniture in the room that isn’t going to change? If you have a dark blue couch, you probably don’t want to paint the walls of your living room purple.

If you’re painting a child’s room, you may want to choose a darker colour, which will be less likely to show the stains that little ones are prone to making. If the room has plenty of windows and natural light coming in, your options for choosing colours are unlimited - darker colours won’t interfere with the openness of the room.

But if there aren’t many windows or the room is small, a darker colour can be cloying and claustrophobic. When you have an idea of the colour you’d like, go to the paint store and bring home some swatches you like. Tape them lightly around the room.

Check out the colours at different times of the day, in different lighting situations, both artificial and natural.

Finish should be a starting point

Before you go to pick up the paint, you need to consider which finish you’re going to use. Flat or satin finishes work well for bedrooms, living rooms, and ceilings. Flat paint doesn’t reflect light at all, so it will hide any imperfections or irregularities in walls. Satin finish, however, has a very slight sheen, so it looks a little richer and is easier to clean than flat paint.

For a kitchen or bathroom, you may want to go with semi-gloss paint because it is more durable than flat or satin. For moldings and trim of any room, semi-gloss or even gloss is probably a good option, since those areas of rooms usually get the most abuse from hands, feet, and furniture.

Preparation is everything

Before you even bring the paint into the room, be sure you have the floor adequately covered with a drop cloth or sheet of plastic, or even sheets of newspaper. You don’t want to have a perfect paint job on the walls be accompanied by an unsightly splotch of paint on the carpet.

After the floor is protected, examine the walls for any cracks, holes, or imperfections that need to be smoothed out. Use spackling paste to fill in any spots that need it, and then apply a coat of primer to ensure a flawless finish with the real paint. A primer is especially important when you are changing the colour from dark to light.

Tools can make or break the final job

One of the essential tools for a good paint job is quality painter’s tape, or even quality masking tape. Mark areas you don’t want to paint, such as window moldings, the edges of ceilings, or air vents. Be sure the edge of the paint is firmly pressed down, so paint won’t seep beneath it.

A 2-inch angled paint brush is essential for being able to "cut in" corners, and a roller brush with an extension for reaching high places, especially if you’re going to be painting ceilings. You’ll also need roller trays, rags, paper towels, and a bucket of water or nearby sink for cleanup.

Pick the best paint

Chances are that you’re going to be living with this paint job for a long time, so you don’t want to scrimp on the most important part - the paint itself. Buy the best quality paint that your budget will allow. Good quality paint is easier to apply, is less likely to face, affords better coverage, and is going to be easier to care for in the long run.

Painting a room shouldn’t be intimidating. You have nothing to lose - if you’re unhappy with the results, you can always call in a professional then. But if the results are stunning, just think of the complements and admiration you’ll get from people when you’re able to say, "Thanks, I did it myself!"