Decorating Tips

You’ve decided to paint a room in your home and you’re ready to get started. Or are you? Before you start slapping paint on the walls, look at these painting tips that will make your job easier and make it look like it was done by a pro.

1. Choose a Colour
Choosing a colour is the hardest part. What’s most important is to find one that will create a desired mood and make you happy.

  • If you really don’t have any idea about what colour to paint try pulling a colour out a piece of art or area rug that’s in the room. It’s a guaranteed way to find a complimentary colour.
  • Take home several paint chips and see how they look in the room. Hold them up to the furniture, floors, artwork, cabinets, and anything else that’s already in the room. Try to narrow it down to three or four choices.
  • Get a small sample pot of each colour and paint a large square on the wall.
  • Watch how the colour changes as the sun moves across the sky and the amount of light in the room changes.

2. Using More Than One Colour
If you’re using more than one colour in the room remember these paint tips.

  • If you have a chair rail or wainscoting and you want to paint the top and bottom of the walls different colours it’s best to use the darker colour on the bottom portion and the lighter on top. The light colour will dominate and the dark colour will have a grounding effect.
  • To accentuate trim paint it a shade lighter or a shade darker than the walls. The same goes for the ceiling. Painting it a shade darker will make the room feel cosier, painting it a lighter shade will create an airier feeling.

3. Paint Effects
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try some different paint effects. There’s a lot you can do with paint so there’s no need to do the walls all in the same colour. Some fun techniques include colour blocking, stencilling, and colour washing. You can use different colours on the same wall, or for a subtle effect you can use different finishes. For example, try painting a wall in a flat finish and then stencilling a design (such as damask) overtop with a glossy paint. The effect is subtle yet elegant.

4. Choose a Finish
Once you’ve chosen a paint colour and design you’ll need to decide on a finish (or finishes).

  • Flat: Offers a matte finish, which is perfect for covering walls with a little wear and tear because it doesn’t reflect light. Use flat finishes anywhere you want to cover imperfections.
  • Satin and Eggshell: Popular for walls because they have a very slight shine and are fairly easy to clean.
  • Semi-Gloss and Glossy: Both are quite shiny which is why they’re popular for trim. They also hold up very well to cleaning.

5. Determine the Amount of Paint Needed
Add the width of all the walls in the room together and multiply the number by the height of one wall (from floor to ceiling). Take the total and subtract the total area of all the doors, windows, archways, etc. This will get you the exact area of wall space you’ll need to paint.

6. Prepare to Paint
Proper preparation is one of the most important painting tips and is key in getting a professional looking paint job.

  • Move anything out of the room that might get in the way and remove all necessary hardware and fixtures.
  • Wipe down the walls with a solution of water and a little bit of dish soap. This will remove dirt, dust and grease.
  • Fill any cracks with plaster filler and sand down any surfaces that will be painted. Wipe off any excess dust from the sanding with a damp cloth.
  • Make sure you have all the brushes, rollers, and paint trays you will need before starting. Having to take a break in the middle of painting to run to the hardware store will be frustrating and slow you down.

7. Tape Off Areas to be Painted
It’s time consuming but it’s worth it. Use painters tape to tape off the trim, ceilings, windows, doors, and any other necessary areas. It will ensure you get a nice straight line and you don’t cross over onto an area you don’t want painted.

8. Paint From the Top Down
Always start painting from the highest area to the lowest. Start with the ceiling or top of the walls and work your way down. This way you can catch any drips and it won’t ruin a freshly painted wall.

9. Thin Coats Are Better Than Thick
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to put too much paint on the brush. It’s far more effective to put a small amount on the brush or roller and use long, even strokes to apply thin coats. It’s tempting to slather on a lot of paint in the hopes of not having to do another coat, but the end result won’t look as good.

10. Paint the Trim Last
There’s some debate on this topic, but quite often the trim can catch some of the spray that comes off of paint rollers. For this reason it’s best to paint the trim last since it will be done with a brush and excess paint won’t get on the walls.

A room looks wonderful with a fresh coat of paint. But if you have a “Love-Hate” relationship with painting, you’ll want to read our tips on getting a great finished product. You might even enjoy the project as much as the finished product!

Start Out Right

  • You’ll enjoy the job more if you get everything together at the start. Organize a tool station in the middle of the area you’ll be working in. Gather together your paint, brushes, rollers, hammers, screwdrivers, plastic bags, plastic wrap, rags, paint can opener, and drop cloths.

Plan a Day for Prep

  • Don’t try to get everything done in one day. Use the day before painting day to gather furniture in the centre of the room, patch cracks and holes, put blue painter’s tape around doors and windows, and cover wall and ceiling light fixtures (light bulbs removed, of course!) with large plastic bags.

Clear the Decks

  • If you can, clear out all the furniture and accessories. Take everything off the walls. If you can’t move everything out, place the furniture and lamps in the middle of the room and cover them with a good drop cloth. Be sure that you tape the cloth around the furniture. Then put a second cover of plastic or old sheet over everything.

Remove All Hardware

  • It may seem easier to paint around door knobs or cabinet hinges, but unless you’re a professional, very experienced painter, you’re bound to get drips around. So carry around some zip top bags and remove all cabinet knobs and hinges, door knobs, light switch plates and outlet covers, and light fixtures. Place the pieces together in separate bags and clearly mark the contents and location (top left cabinet, bathroom door, etc) you took them from.

Don’t Paint Over Problem Walls

  • If your walls have holes or cracks, fix them before you start with the paint. Geo-paint has knowledgeable personnel to guide you to the best products for the job. Wide cracks and large holes can be “bridged” with fiberglass tape, spackle will fill small holes and cracks, and texturizing products are available to match your existing wall finish.