If there’s one minor home renovation you can easily manage it’s painting. After all, you’ve been painting since you were a toddler. While this is a much bigger job than what fingers can handle, it’s still within the skill set of even the most novice DIY-er. That being said, there’s a little more to it than merely slapping a coat or two of paint on the walls. Here are some tips and tricks for results that will look like you hired a professional, but spend about half the cost.

Timing

Not where you thought this was going, did you? Well, it’s true. You want to take a look at the weather forecast and opt for a weekend that’s clear and dry. If you’re working on a three day weekend because it’s the only time you have and it happens to rain, it’s not a deal breaker. But you will need to take more time than usual between coats of paint and replacing the furniture. Humidity slows dry times and applying a new coat before the previous dries can pick up paint more than it lays down.

Preparation

Also along the lines of timing, understand this – it’s going to take time. You want to prepare fully, which means:

  • Move all furniture to the middle of the room (or another room entirely) and cover with drop cloths (old sheets will do the trick if they’re thick enough to prevent bleed through).
  • Remove all hung items and switch plates from the wall.
  • Tape all baseboards, trim, switches and outlets.

Ideally, this should be done the night before you paint if you’re on a super tight schedule, such as a regular weekend or you prefer to be completely finished before the weekend is up. When it comes to taping, be meticulous and don’t leave any gaps. You want a tight seal to prevent any bleed through or messy edges.

Supplies

You don’t have to throw down for the fanciest brushes on the block. But there are some areas where you want to focus your budget and be mindful of what you grab.

  • Paint: Make sure the paint works for the texture of your walls and don’t skimp on quality, especially for your color.
  • Primer: if you’re starting from white or a neutral color you can go bargain prices, but if you’re changing from a darker to lighter color, you’ll need something that can handle the transition.
  • Tape: Not the most expensive item, so going name brand like 3M or Gorilla is worth it. Cheaper tapes tend to be thin and don’t stick as well.
  • Brushes: You’ll need an angled brush to cut around edges and in corners. Natural or synthetic, doesn’t make much of a difference. You just don’t want loose hairs coming out while you’re painting. You’ll need a width of at least 2”.
  • Rollers: Know your Nap! The nap of the roller refers to the thickness. The more textured your wall, the thicker the nap you’ll need to cover all those tiny valleys and ridges.
  • Accessories: Drop cloths, handles and extensions for rollers, paint trays, etc. … don’t break the bank for them. All of these items can be reused for future projects, so you want something durable. But between brands and generic, they’re all pretty much on the same level as far as quality. Go for the best price.

Process

Remember how we said it’s more than just slapping some paint up there? Here’s the best way to ensure you get a nice even coat of paint of professional grade.

  • Work from the outside in: Start from your edges and work in towards the center from there. Use the brush for your edging (taking care not to smear any trim) and the roller to cover the large middle sections of your walls.
  • Paint in an “N” pattern: Avoid creating lines in your roller strokes by painting diagonal lines in the shape of a capital “N”.
  • Allow time to dry: If your weather is moderate, an hour between coats is perfect; this includes between primer and paint. More humidity in the air and you’ll have to keep an eye on it. You want it to be mostly dried, but not completely.
  • Remove the tape: It’s totally expected to get a little paint on your tape. That’s why you use tape in the first place. But you want to be cautious as you pull your tape. Pulling fast and loose and you could accidentally pull a section of paint off the wall with it.
  • Always keep an eye out for spills: This includes spill on the drop cloth. Step in a drop of paint and you’re likely to track it all through the room or even house. Be aware of your surroundings and wipe up spills the moment they happen to avoid any stains and having to use a chemical to remove it.

Reassemble

For best results – and to completely avoid any accidents, let the paint dry overnight before replacing furniture and wall hangings. Again, if it rains at all during your process, give it as long as you possibly can before moving on to the next step (which makes waiting overnight even more essential). But before you move anything back, you’ll want to do one more sweep for any paint spills you might have missed and tend to them hastily.

If you’re looking for an easy way to save money on your major reno, or you just want to shake things up with your decor, painting a room yourself instead of hiring a professional is an excellent option. It’s a lot of work, especially if you take care to be meticulous, but the results will shine through in the end.