All this painting has convinced me that just in case this nursing career thing doesn't work out, I definitely have a future in painting. Seriously. This is one of those areas of DIY where a little OCD is a good thing! That being said, I've also discovered that a painter is only as good as the tricks up her sleeve, so here are my tips for painting like a pro (even if you're not!)
Invest in Quality Tools
This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Being on a budget makes it easy to want to save a couple bucks by scrimping on brushes and rollers. Let me save you some time (and money) by telling you up front that this is not the way to go. Believe me, I've tried every level of brush (you know, Good-Better-Best?), and the Best brushes will give you the best results. Higher quality bristles are stiffer, allowing for more precision with cutting in and less splaying over time, as well as less of those annoying bristles that fall out and stick in your paint. If you take care of them, they'll also last you a lot longer than the cheaper alternatives. My hands-down favorite is Purdy, and no they're not paying me to say that nor have I received anything to review. It's my honest opinion after trying all the rest and learning my lesson.
You'll also want to invest in the highest quality roller brushes that you can, as they give more even paint coverage and leave behind less fibers than the less expensive ones. Trust me, nothing ruins a paint finish faster than those little pieces of cotton fiber gummed up with paint.
Prep Your Surface
I'll be the first to admit that I don't always prime my surface...
That being said, I'll 'fess up that in this case, do as I say and not as I do, mmmkay?! Priming not only helps cover up the previous paint color and any stains, but it provides a better canvas for your new paint. This is especially important when you're repainting a surface that you didn't originally paint. Different paint finishes, patches, adhesives, etc., that may be hiding behind your wall color will become quite evident when you repaint without priming.
In my first home, being the naive painter that I was, I painted the existing pink glossy bathroom a deep red without priming. Where the previous wallpaper border had been, the paint was left darker than everywhere else. AND, the paint peeled off of the glossy surface like bad nail polish. No lie.
Luckily, there's now paint with primer so you can technically kill two birds with one stone. That means there's no excuse for me either, right?
Never Underestimate the Value of Tape
For a crisp, clean edge, you can't go wrong with a good painter's tape. I swear by Scotch Blue, but I've also heard great things about Frog Tape. Whichever you use, be sure you clean your surface first with a damp towel to help the tape adhere better. That fine layer of dust that likes to collect on walls and baseboards can make for a less than ideal adhesive surface. Without a good seal, you can have issues with paint seepage, especially on textured surfaces.
Be sure as well to remove your tape within 24-48 hours if possible. The longer it's left on, the more difficult it will be to remove later and the higher the risk you run of pulling up some of your painted finish along with it.
Take Your Time
I am the world's worst about wanting a project done and wanting it done yesterday, but when it comes to painting, a slow hand leads to more even coverage, more precision, and a better end result. Case in point... I unfortunately paid a lot of money to have someone paint my kitchen cabinets before we moved into this home, and because he rushed and took shortcuts, I'm not only out the money, but I already want to repaint them!
Even if you only have an hour or two at a time, do what you can do as best as you can and save the rest for another day. The walls will still be there when you have time to tackle them again.
One wall at a time, sweet Jesus!
I*helpful hint* If you know you'll be revisiting the painting soon, save your paint and roller for the next painting session by covering it with Press and Seal. Works like a charm.
Don't Be Afraid
Last but not least, don't talk yourself out of it. Painting is sometimes a daunting and scary task, especially when you roll that new color on the first time, but it's something anyone can do! It truly is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to change the way your home looks. And best of all, when you change your mind, you can just do it all over again!
So what are you waiting for? Pick a color, pick up a brush, and color your world today!