Sometimes we get asked such a great, in depth question that can be helpful to so many others we have decided to answer such questions (with permission, of course) right here. Today’s question comes from a couple that just moved into military housing–their first place they are allowed to paint:
I am in need of some help, and since I have been going through your blog posts for about 2 hours, I now know more than ever JUST how experienced you are in painting walls (among other things :)) So, I just moved into military housing, and discovered the wonderful joyous news that I am ALLOWED TO PAINT! I have dreamed (dreamt?) of living in a place with painted walls for oh about 5 years now. The catch: I’ll have to REpaint it all back to white before leaving. But we will be here for at least 2 years, and it is worth it to me! But, it does make me want to be selective with how much I paint. maybe an accent wall here and a bedroom there. anyway…the whole purpose of this: What is essential? brushes, rollers, tape, newspapers, primer, best types of paint, foolproof techniques…please, TEACH ME!
First of all, I am very excited for you! We only lived in our last house for just over two years and painted (almost) the entire thing and it was absolutely worth it to live in a place that you love. Since you will have to paint it back to white before you move on, I think it is wise for you to be selective and choose areas and walls that will bring you the most happiness and impact. Now, first things first–working with what you have. White walls.
White walls are actually not a bad thing at all. They are neutral, bright and are quite trendy these days. Without seeing your living space, I might advise you to keep most of your walls in the main area just as they are and focus on accenting them with great art, furniture, accessories and textiles (area rugs, pillows, throws, curtains) you can bring with you to your next place. In that sense, I am almost jealous of your already white walls! We just barely painted our main living space an almost white and are now trying to inject us
into the new lighter and brighter digs. This post
from awhile ago has 8 things to add to your living room to instantly liven it up–even without paint, but here are a couple examples of some beautiful living spaces with white (or off white) walls to get the creative juices flowing:
Now, let’s talk accent walls and painting entire rooms. Accent walls are, well, everyone has a different opinion on them. But, I’ll give you my two cents. If you are going to paint an accent wall–commit to it. Do it on purpose and not just because you are too afraid to paint the entire room that color. It can be so effective in adding a ton of visual interest and/or defining a space or architecture or even to create depth in a room, but it can also leave question marks when done just to get another color on a wall. Here are some of my favorite examples of an accent wall that works:
When it comes to painting rooms in your house, whether a bathroom or bedroom or foyer, the best advice I can give is to look at a lot of photos of spaces that you love and take note of what they have in common until you become more confident in your style. We painted a lot of rooms twice in our last house while we were figuring things out and there will most likely be rooms in this home that will change hues over time even though we have our style pretty well pinpointed. As you are choosing colors, whether it is accessories or accents or paint colors–they should tell a connected story throughout the whole house. If you are struggling choosing a color, ask yourself, “How do I want this room to feel?” Classic? Moody? Peaceful? Dramatic? Lively? Once you’ve decided, as for my go-to-tools, there are just a few necessities when it comes to painting a room for us.
1. An angled 2″ brush for cutting in corners, ceilings and baseboards. I always use the Wooster shortcut brush
with the short, flexible handle. When we paint a room, I do all the cutting in and Chris usually rolls (if he’s home). This brush gives me a lot of control since the handle is so short, which means I don’t tape a thing off. Also, the flexible handle keeps my hand from cramping up. Worst. So, skip the tape and go for a brush like this
. I’ve seen them in all the big-box home improvement stores for around $6.
2. A roller
. Obviously with a brush for cutting in, you are going to need a roller to paint out the rest of the wall. I’ve tried a lot of the brands, even the generic ones and I just flat out prefer Purdy. They are more durable. We wash ours out after every use and reuse them over and over. Probably every 5th room or so, we’ll get a new one. You’ll notice there are a lot of different nap depths on these. If your walls are smooth or have a slight texture (like an orange peel), the 3/8″ nap
is most popular and most likely right for you. ;)
3. A canvas drop cloth. Paint comes up really easily on tile or wood surfaces, but if you have carpet in your home, invest in one canvas drop cloth. Paint will bleed through a sheet, and stay wet a long time on a plastic drop cloth which means you’ll most likely step in it and track it somewhere. Been there. The canvas drop cloths are designed to catch and absorb paint quickly and can be reused over and over. We got ours at Home Depot for under $10.
4. Lastly, paint. The best type of paint is the best you can afford. Most brands will color-match paint colors to their brand, but note that they won’t always be identical. At the beginning of our marriage, we could only afford a cheaper paint and we didn’t know any better anyway. Now that we have been around the paint block and are more financially secure, we opt for a paint that does cost more but is also night and day in quality. We’ve had a positive experience with Benjamin Moore, Kwal Paint, Clark + Kensington, Sherwin Williams, Valspar and Behr Premium Plus. Other brands shall remain nameless. ;)
I hope this helped you, Tiffany, as well as others who may be in your same exciting boat–just getting started. There’s a lot of fun and learning experiences to be had. It’s all a part of the process. Keep us updated and feel free to ask follow up questions about this topic in the comments section below.
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