Take your time, take breaks to stand back and appreciate your work and enjoy the present moment. Painting can be fun. Photo: Ebony King by Benjamin Moore
Be sure to buy painter’s tape—it will give you the most even line and come off the easiest. Photo: Sherwin Williams
Planning includes making a complete list of what you’ll need, and coming up with a budget for your project. Photo: Sherwin Williams
If you’re purchasing multiple gallons of paint, get a 5-gallon bucket and stir all of the gallons together for color consistency. Photo: Peony by Benjamin Moore
With a little planning, you can take the element of surprise out of your painting project. Photo: Sherwin Williams
A Note about Safety
If you need to sand or scrape old paint from surfaces, be aware of the dust and fumes that can result. Depending on the age and type of paint you’re removing, that process could kick up lead dust or other hazardous fumes. It’s wise to use protective equipment for potentially hazardous work. A respirator is a smart investment, and goggles and gloves make good sense, too. Also, be sure to follow the law regarding the cleanup of old paint and other finishes. Your local public health office can guide you, or you can call the National Lead Information Center (1-800-424-LEAD) in the United States.
Painting Project Success
Get the results you’re after with these painting prep essentials.
- by Sam Gaines
Have other painting projects left you frustrated? In the past, did you find that you had to run back to the store for supplies mid-project? Or, did you wind up cleaning paint splatters off the floor? With a little planning, you can take the element of surprise out of your painting project. If you’re going to be painting a room soon, remember the 3 P’s—plan, prepare, paint. A fourth P (patience) can help, too.
Once you’ve picked the perfect color for your painting project, it’s time for the “3 P’s”— planning, preparing and painting, in that order. While this may sound like simple, generic advice, it’s actually essential to any good painting job. A lot of heartache can be avoided while painting if you put enough effort into the first two steps.
Planning includes making a complete list of what you’ll need, and coming up with a budget for your project. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are good resources available to help, and be sure to check the sidebar Your Basic Painting Toolkit in this article for a list of the paint-project essentials.
When you head to the store, be sure to talk with your local paint retailer about your project. “They’re your local experts,” says Sonu Mathew, Interior Designer-ASID, IIDA, and senior interior designer with Benjamin Moore & Co. “They live paint, they love paint—and they love an opportunity to help you with your project.”
If you’re still deciding what color to paint your room, our Color Visualizer will help you figure out what shades will look best in your space.
You’ve been to the paint store, made a few notes based on what the retailer shared with you, and now you’re back home. But before you start painting, there is work to be done—work that will help make the big day much easier.
Now look at the walls of the room you want to paint. What needs to be done to make them ready? “Before the big day comes,” Mathew says:
- Move furniture and lay down drop-cloths. Protect your valuable furniture and flooring.
- Remove everything you don’t want paint on. That includes receptacle and switch cover plates, any hardware that can be removed, area rugs, and of course, draperies and pictures.
- Tape off surfaces. Buy painter’s tape—it will give you the most even line and come off the easiest.
- Double-check that you’ve bought all the supplies you need.
- Clean the walls, if needed, and allow time to dry.
- Prime or spot-prime. The best results come from primed walls.
- Repair any damage. Dings, holes and other flaws can detract from your final paint job.
It’s also a good idea to paint a small section of a wall, just to be sure it looks exactly the way you want. If you’re considering a faux finish or other special finishing technique, Mathew has a suggestion: “Try it on poster board first.”
Painting—The Big Day
It’s painting day. You’ve taken care of all the preliminary steps; all that needs to be done now is actually putting paint on the wall. “Get an early start,” Mathew says. “You want to use as much daylight as possible, and that way you have time to run out and buy what you’ve forgotten.” Mathew suggests having food and drinks ready, along with favorite upbeat music. “Be comfortable and have fun!” she advises.
Keep in mind that sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. “Don’t paint immediately after rain (or if rain is predicted),” advises Jackie L. Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, “or during foggy weather or when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, unless you’re using paint products specifically designed for these conditions.”
Be careful of the hottest days of summer, too. “Don’t let it get too hot in the room you’re painting,” Mathew says.
Mathew also suggests mixing all your paint in one large bucket to get the most even consistency. “You want a consistent color throughout,” she says. “If you’re purchasing multiple gallons of paint, get a 5-gallon bucket and stir all the gallons together.”
Add a fourth P to the process, as well: patience. “Have a little dose of it on hand,” Mathew says. “Take your time, take breaks to stand back and appreciate your work and enjoy the present moment. Painting can be fun!” All the more so if you’ve planned and prepared.