Painting 101


DIY is in my blood.

When I was little, if I broke something I never got upset because I knew my dad could fix it. I once witnessed him rig a dust pan to the front of our washing machine to catch the leak and trickle it into a bucket. Another time, I ran over my favorite sterling silver ring in the gym parking lot and he took a solder gun and warmed it enough to bend it back to shape. When I leaving for PT school, I told him I wanted a new bed and he went out in the garage and built me one that would make Pottery Barn green with envy. This man has talent.

My mom on the other hand is insanely creative. She has an eye for color and decorating. Her home is beautiful. She is my favorite antiquing partner. She can quilt. And she can sew anything you ever wanted. I am one of five kids (yes, I love it! Siblings are amazing!) and she would make us clothes. I remember going to Jo-Anns fabrics and looking through the clothing templates and picking out dresses I wanted and BAM she would make them. She makes curtains, bags, blankets, pillows, cushions….the list goes on. When I was getting married, I knew I wanted the longest veil I could get my hands on. (When do you EVER again get to wear one? I wanted to do it right!) So, we were looking at them at the bridal shop and about died when we saw they were HUNDREDS of dollars. Well, mom took me to a fabric shop in Atlanta and helped me pick out the most beautiful bridal lace and she bought some tulle and hand sewed the most beautiful, amazing veil you will ever lay eyes on. I mean, it is stunning! I took it with me for my final dress fitting and all the girls in the shop were drooling. It’s my favorite thing she has ever made for me. Wanna see? Ok:)


So, I’ve just been tuned to try to always do things myself before calling for backup. Especially painting! My parents ALWAYS painted the house themselves, so I’ve learned a thing or two….or three. I once skipped school with a friend and painted my bathroom. Things were looking good until I couldn’t get the towel rack off the wall and had to call my dad for instructions. HA! I have come a long way since that day…from not knowing how to remove a towel rack to safely using power tools…my dad is so proud!

Painting a space can be the single best, budget friendly way to change a space. I LOVE to paint. It’s therapeutic and I love that it’s an immediate huge change. You can transform the whole feel of the room with one good can of paint and some brushes. I have had a few people ask me some basics about painting, so I thought I’d share! I am by no means a pro at this, but I want to share my favorite ways to get a good looking paint job without hiring out. Go get on your grungy paint clothes and lets get to work!

Please know this post contains affiliate links. Read more about it in my {Disclosures} 

{Chose the Right Color}

samplesThis is important. Like…really important. You don’t want to paint an entire room just to realize you hate the new color, do ya? First, get some inspiration for the color scheme you are going for. Pinterest is obviously the best place for this type of behavior. Search and pin and narrow down to at LEAST a color and a shade. Head to your local home improvement store and pick up tons of paint chips. I like to hold them next to a true white to mimic what the color will look like against my trim. You can take them home and hold them up all you want, but BUY the paint samples! There is nothing like really painting it onto the wall to truly pick a good color. I usually get my top 4-5 choices mixed into samples. When you paint your test spots, make them big!! Don’t be shy. I paint them on each wall of the room, as different light coming through windows will make it look different on each wall. Check the samples in the morning, afternoon and evening. Also, be sure to check it with artificial light from your lamps or overhead lighting. What might look gray in one light, may show a light purple or green or blue undertone in other lights. Do not skip this step…it makes a huge difference when choosing!

{Choose the Right Paint}

paintI cannot stress this enough—get a good paint!! It is SO worth the extra few bucks per gallon. Everyone has a preference and there are a lot of great paints out there! My absolute favorite paint of all time is Behr Marquee. It is a paint and primer in one and provides the most amazing one-coat coverage. It only took me one coat to cover navy blue and lime green with a very light gray. It goes on super smooth. I have a crush on this stuff. AND, remember—this can be color matched to ANY color you can dream up. Just tell them at your local home depot paint counter what you want and they can do it! My house is painted in Farrow and Ball and Sherwin Williams colors…just color matched with Behr paint!

{Choose the Right Brushes}

woosterJust like step one,  getting a good brush is where it’s at! You don’t want bristles from your Walmart clearance brush all in your paint job. See that beauty on the left? That’s my favorite brush EVER. It’s made by Wooster and it’s called a shortcut angle brush. The bristles are super soft and hold just enough paint while the short stubby handle makes it oh-so-easy to control. If you have never painted with this guy…do it! I’ve linked the wooster brush here for you! At under $6…you will stay in budget and have a friend for life.



{Prep the Crime Scene}

prep2Your paint job is only as good as your prep job! I admit, this is the ONE part of painting I don’t like, but it is so so important. If your walls are not smooth, cracks not caulked and holes not filled…new color is not going to fix that! First I like to remove any picture hangers and dry wall screws. Yes, remove them…don’t just tap them into the wall! Get some putty and fill the holes with a putty knife as shown. I like this spackling for patching walls. It goes on pink and dries white so you know you’re ready to sand it. Fill in the hole really well, let it dry and sand it with fine grit sand paper for a smooth finish. I like to run my hand across the wall with my eyes closed to make sure it really is smooth before I commit to painting that spot. Caulk any spots around your windows and baseboards. Sand any rough patches with fine grit sand paper to ensure your walls are smooth.

{Don’t be a Jerk}

Nothing screams “I painted this myself and I have no idea what I am doing” more than painting over your outlet and light switch covers!! STOP IT! Don’t be a lazy jerk and go get a stinking screw driver and remove them!! When we moved in, someone had literally taken the paint roller over all the outlets and switches with lime green paint! So, instead of just getting new white covers, we had to actually remove each outlet and switch and replace them. It’s stupid and it looks awful and it is not okay. Yes, I am judging you if you did this.

{Cut in First}

cuttingThere are people who roll first and there are others who cut first. I always cut first. I don’t know about you, but when I first start a project I am most fresh. I am more precise and I take my time. As the project continues, I tend to get a little more sloppy. That is why I always cut in first. Maybe this is sinful, but I don’t use painters tape. I can never stick in on straight and it bleeds sometimes so I just carefully use my short-cut angled brush I linked above. I promise it is easier than you think. Just don’t load up the brush too much to avoid drips and take your time to avoid mess-ups. If you do get a little on the trim, just quickly wipe it with a dry paper towel.


{Paint W’s}

Once you are done cutting, load up your paint roller and paint a “w” in about a 4 ft square area. I continue to make this pattern over and over as I am overlapping “w’s.” This seems to help me avoid roller marks. Once I get good coverage, I reload the roller and move on to the next 4 ft area.

{Paint Tight Spaces}

behindI’ve painted a bathroom a time or two and always have to plot painting behind a toilet. No one wants to take that sucker apart, so just buy a small baby roller to get back there! I tape some newspaper to the tank to protect it and just roll the paint back there. The good thing is, it is such a tight space and no one is sticking their head back there to check out my paint job so I don’t get super fussy about my roller strokes. Just get it covered!



{Press Pause}

Need a snack? Need a break to rest your achy arms? Need to go yell at your dogs to stop wrestling in the house? Don’t let your brushes dry out! Stick brushes and rollers in plastic baggies and rubber band them shut. This will keep them from getting dry and you can save your house from the total and utter destruction that your dogs are plotting.



How about y’all? Any good painting tips or tricks you can share with me? I love hearing new ideas!


2 thoughts on “Painting 101

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