DIY Tips for Home Painting

DIY Tips for Home Painting Projects

Applying a fresh coat of paint adds a new lease of life to your home. It can also significantly increase the resale value of your property. While painting is not difficult, there are a few tips to know that will greatly improve the way a finished wall, ceiling or surface will look.

It’s well documented that colors can affect people’s mood. But did you know paint color changes varies depending on the time of day?  Subtle variations between paint finishes can make or break the room.

Use these tips for your exterior and interior home painting projects.  Your home will be the envy of the neighborhood without breaking the bank.

DIY Exterior House Cleaning

Before embarking on an exterior house painting job, start with a little cleaning. Remove all loose or peeling paint by scraping and sanding the exterior house.  Follow this by washing with a power washer or garden hose and scrub brush to remove dirt and loose chalking.

If mildew is found on the house exterior, treat and clean with a solution of one part water and three parts bleach. Apply the bleach solution to the mildew and allow to set for 20 minutes. Rinse the bleach solution off, wash the area with soapy water to remove all traces of bleach and mildew, then rinse again. Allow the house exterior to dry completely, which can take up to a week depending on weather conditions, before painting.

DIY Repair, Replace And Prime

While waiting for the house exterior to dry repair or replace any rotten, cracked or split boards. Replace the dried chalking that was removed during the prep work and fill in any cracks around doors and windows. Apply a coat of primer to any new boards or other bare wood surfaces of the house exterior.

Mix Paint to Avoid Shade Differences

Subtle shade differences in paint color can occur if the paint batch numbers differ. Or if the paint is mixed at different stores or by a different sales person. To avoid paint shade differences after application, first mix all the paint together in a large container then return the paint to the original cans.

Paint a Small Test Patch

Paint a 2 foot by 2-foot test patch on a wall and observe the paint color at different times of the day before you commit to painting the entire exterior or interior. The way the sunlight reflects off the paint can turn a color you love into a color you hate.

* This is also a good DIY tip when painting the interior of your home.

Check Weather Forecast

A weather forecast of between 60 and 85 degrees with no wind or rain forecasted for at least 24 hours is an ideal weather setting for DIY exterior house painting. Applying the exterior paint in direct sunlight can cause the paint to blister, so don’t tackle the DIY painting job on a hot, sunny, summer afternoon.

Choose The Right Paint Brushes

A power spray painter will enable you to get the DIY painting job quickly, but there will always be a few surfaces that must be painted with a brush. Using the right brush is essential for achieving smooth paint coverage for the surfaces.

Choose a synthetic or natural bristle paint brush when using oil based exterior paint and only use a synthetic bristle paint brush for latex paint. Natural bristles are hollow and can clump during the painting process when using latex paint as the natural bristles absorb the water in the latex paint.

A paint brush with angled bristles will allow for better precision painting around the house trim, doors, and windows. Test the paint brush for a snug hand fit and dampen the paint brush before the first use so the bristles will load the paint more evenly.

Interior Painting

Before choosing a paint color for an interior space, consider how the room is used. Paint colors set the mood of a room and you want to select a paint color that embodies and evokes the desired mood. For example, red stimulates the senses and the appetite, making it a perfect paint color for a dining room or restaurant, but not for a bedroom.

Color Cues

When you don’t know where to start on the paint color wheel to pick a color, start by looking around the room you want to paint. What’s in the room that you love and what is the dominant color of that object? It could be a rug, a chair or a painting. If there’s nothing in the room you love and you plan to refurnish the room after painting, then it’s time to go shopping.

Find something that you want for the room and choose the wall paint color from the object. Repeating the wall paint color throughout the room will help tie everything together.

Be Bold

Any room can handle a bold color paint, even small rooms. Neutral paint color come in bold shades, so if you want to stick with neutral, go with bold neutral. Try a deeper shade of the traditional beige or green, like warm caramel or sage green, if you want to remain true to neutral colors but also add a pop of bold room color.

Look Up and Around

Consider painting the ceiling the same shade as the walls. It will erase the stark line between walls and ceiling and make the ceiling appear to be higher. Since the wall and ceiling surfaces are on different planes, the ceiling paint color will appear to be a shade or two lighter than the walls.

Look around the room and make any architectural elements pop by painting them in an accent color. Any unsightly elements you wish to minimize, paint in the same shade of wall color to make them blend in.

Flat / Matte Finish Paints

The paint finish needed for an interior room should be determined by the function of the room and the condition of walls, cabinets, etc.

A flat paint, also called ‘matte’ finish, will give a room an elegant chalky look. Flat paint hides imperfections, is easy to touch up, but difficult to clean. Flat or matte finish paints are best reserved for rooms that are seldom used, like a formal living or dining room. A flat finish is perfect for ceilings too.

Eggshell Finish

This is the most popular paint finishes because of its versatility. An eggshell finish has a slight sheen, hides imperfections and creates a surface that is easy to touch up and easy to clean.
Satin Finish

Aptly named for the smooth, satiny surface it creates, satin finish paint works well in high traffic areas like kitchens, children’s rooms, family rooms and bathrooms. The satin finish is durable, has a slight sheen and easy to clean.

Semi-Gloss Paint

Slightly glossy, this is the paint finish applied to trim work and molding around the room. Semi-gloss finish is easy to clean and very forgiving when a baseboard or door molding gets bumped or scuffed.

High Gloss Paint

High gloss paint is a finish that provides a lacquer-like look to whatever it’s applied too. It’s usually applied to kitchen or bathroom cabinetry, room molding, and furniture. High gloss paint provides the most durable, easy-to-clean finish of all paints, but it also highlights every imperfection.


Never skip applying primer when undertaking a DIY painting job. Applying a coat or two of primer will smooth out surface imperfections and make paint adhere better, leaving behind the smoothest and most durable finished surface possible. paint color sets the mood of a room and subtle variations between paint finishes can make or break the room.

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