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Painting Tips for Beginners

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

When we shifted into our house two years ago there was a LOT of work to be done. Some walls were completely unfinished, and others needed a bit of a freshen up. I had never done any painting before. Now I’ve almost painted every wall, ceiling and skirting in the house now! At the start I had a real tough time trying to figure out how to do it properly. Now that I’ve had a bit more experience, I just get in and get it done really fast! Here’s a few painting tips I’ve picked up along the way. 

Before we get under way, I just want to say that I’m by no means a professional and some of these painting tips are more of just personal preference. You might find them helpful though! Also, I most definitely searched on Youtube ‘how to paint a wall’ before ever touching a paintbrush.

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

Prep, prep, prep.

Getting a good final result starts with preparing the surface first. When painting a room, I give it a sand first with a rougher sandpaper (100 grit) and then a finer one (300-600 grit). For the walls, I use an electric sander, on the skirting I use sandpaper on a block, and on the ceiling I use sandpaper on a pole. It’s important to then make sure you clean your dusty walls. I like to use a microfibre mop to pick up all the dust!

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

Get the big paint tray.

There’s a lot to be said about choosing the right tools and equipment. I started off with a small paint tray that wasn’t wide enough for the roller. Once you load up the roller with paint, you want to roll it over the raised bumps on the paint tray to get rid of the excess. The pain tray on the left, was too narrow so it left a lot of excess paint on the sides of the roller. The paint tray on the right was WAY better.

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

Get quality tools.

Hardware stores sell a tonne of various devices in an attempt to make you spend more money. I bought this little tool to use for cutting in. It makes cutting in really fast, but provides only a very thin layer of paint. My recommendations for painting tools would simply be a fine bristled brush for cutting in, and a good roller. Go for the more expensive ones and then be vigilant with cleaning them and keeping them nice.

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

Know your paint.

Just as you need decent tools, you also need decent paint. Invest in good quality paint for a better finish with less coats, and longer durability. My favourite brand of paint is Valspar as its great quality but also affordable. Talk to your local paint shop for their recommendation on what paint is best for the job. They might even have some sweet painting tips for you! In terms of paint types, I go for low sheen for walls, flat paint for ceilings, and gloss for skirtings. The flatter the paint, the better it conceals imperfections as it doesn’t reflect light, so perfect for ceilings. Glossier paint reflects light far more but is also washable and handles water better, so it works in bathrooms, kitchens, skirtings and window sills. A lot of our walls had been painted in semi gloss paint which gave a terrible finish on walls that were not perfect. Every little notch, bump and brush stroke was spotted as soon as you walked in the door. With a little sanding and a coat or two of low sheen paint, the walls looked waaaaaaay better. WAAAAAY BETTER.

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

Use a ladder, not a pole.

When I first started painting I used a pole to do the walls and ceiling. What I found was that I couldn’t clearly see what I was painting, resulting in an un even finish. I then decided to use a ladder and move it often. Then I could ensure a nice even finish all over. I’ve started using a pole to paint ceilings in order to save my neck muscles but it’s taken a lot of practice to master it. P.S. If you are using a ladder, try not to rest your paint tray on the top of it and then knock the ladder over. Just a little tip from someone with experience. #oops

Painting Tips for Beginners - How to paint a wall

Get the order right.

The way I paint a room goes as follows: walls, ceiling, skirtings and trim. Then you can be messy and quick with the walls because you’re painting over the ceiling and trim afterwards. That is of course if you needed to paint every surface in the room like me. One other very important tip, ALWAYS SEAL YOUR TAPE LINES. For example, if I was taping the top of the walls in the photo above so I could paint the ceiling, I would paint very thinly along the edge of the tape with grey paint. This seals the edge of the tape, so the paint doesn’t seep through and bleed.

Let’s hope those painting tips were useful! Have fun decorating!

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