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Repaint your walls like a pro with these top tips by Jillian CariolaPublished: February 10, 2016Updated: February 12, 2016

Does your home need a color makeover? Do it like an expert with these helpful tips for DIY wall repainting.

When buying a pre-loved home, you don’t always get everything you want, but you can make adjustments to make your new property suit your wants and needs. Take wall color, for example. Bad wall paint doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker when you’re considering a home; all it will take is a bit of repainting. (Even renters get to have a say in what color they want their temporary home to be, granted the landlord allows it.)

If you’ve never painted your home before, don’t assume it’s as simple as putting a soaked brush to a wall. Here are a few things to consider when repainting walls.

Protect your assets
Before you start doing anything, you need to keep everything in the room as far away from the walls as possible. The best way to do this is to relocate everything to another part of the home so you have lots of space for accidental splatters and spills. If this isn’t possible, move everything into the center of the room and cover everything with a large sheet of tarp or plastic, or with layers of newspaper. Tape all the edges down, too, just to be safe.

When repainting walls, one tip is to cover your furniture for protection.
Use a large covering to protect your furniture when painting a room. (Photo via IngImage)

Next, apply masking tape around doors and windows so you don’t get paint all over them, and be sure to lay down drop cloths or tape sheets of newspaper on the floor under the walls. Don’t forget to protect baseboards or crown moldings with masking tape as well.

You also want to make sure you’re wearing the right type of clothes. No matter how far you stand from the wall while brushing it, splatters will always find their way onto you. If you don’t want to bother with painter’s overalls, put on your oldest, rattiest clothes and cover your hair with a cap or a bandana. If you want to go the extra mile, pull on some goggles, a mask, and a pair of gloves.

To prime or not to prime?
That is the question, indeed. Some say if you’re using the same shade as the original color (or one that’s close to it), you don’t need to, since it probably won’t show after a few coats. But if you’re applying a completely different color, or the walls have sustained damage over the years, priming’s the way to go.

Start by using a paint scraper to remove any peeling paint. Then, using a putty knife, apply patching compound to any holes or cracks, making sure to smooth excess compound into a thin layer over the damage. Once the compound has completely dried, sand over the patches to make them smooth and use a piece of cloth to remove the resulting dust.

One tip for repainting walls like a pro is to sealing holes and cracks with patching compound.
Applying patching compound to holes and cracks will ensure a smooth and even paint surface. 
(Photo via IngImage)

Now you’re ready to prime. Choose a thick roller brush and use it to apply the primer as evenly as possible across the wall. Don’t be stingy; you want a thick layer of primer to make sure the paint adheres well to it.

What’s in a color?
Choosing a color is probably the toughest decision you’ll have to make in the process as it can make or break a room (no pressure, though). Wanting to move away from the bad hue the previous owner had picked is well and good, but it’s also important to choose one not just because it’s your favorite.

To repaint walls like a pro, choose a color that best suits the mood you want the room to have.
Choosing the right paint color can create the right mood, so figure out what you want people to feel when they walk into a certain room in your home. 
(Photo via IngImage)

When selecting a new color, it’s necessary to know if it will match the mood you’re trying to create in the room. In the living room, for instance, the right color will keep things lively. You can also create either a serene atmosphere or a romantic one in the bedroom with the color you decide to use.

If you’re a little nervous about making a drastic change, choose a small portion of the house to paint first, like the powder room or a wall in between rooms. Need a guide? Get inspired by what’s in the room: choose a color from an artwork, a rug, or a throw pillow and start there.

Oil or latex?
Both options can work for or against you, depending on the circumstances. If you’re looking to paint with a color that you plan on keeping for a long time, oil-based paint is the better choice. Aside from being long-lasting, it goes on smoother and can hide wall blemishes better. On the other hand, this kind of paint takes longer to dry, has a stronger odor, and tends to bubble during the application process.

Choosing whether to use oil-based paint or latex paint is important when repainting a wall.
Oil-based paint goes on more evenly, while latex is less likely to crack or peel. 
(Photo via IngImage)

Latex is water-based so it’s a bit thinner, which means it dries much faster than oil-based paint. It also doesn’t crack or peel, and it’s more porous so it’ll let moisture in the drywall pass through. But latex has a tendency to be sensitive to temperature changes and can stain when it comes in contact with a water-soluble mixture. It also shrinks more than oil-based paint, and if you use it on bare wood, it will swell the grains, so you have to sand the surface in between coats.

A brush or a roller?
Why not both? A roller will cover a lot of ground (or wall, so to speak) in a shorter amount of time, and a brush can touch up parts that your roller can’t reach. When using a roller, make sure the entire surface of the roller is covered in paint, but squeeze off the excess and maintain the pressure so you apply even layers. Before using a brush, run it briskly against your palm to remove loose bristles that might stick onto and dry on the wall as you paint.

To repaint a wall like a pro, you need both a paint roller and a paint brush
You don’t have to choose between a paint roller and a paint brush: you need both. 
(Photo via IngImage)

Watching paint dry
Ever heard the expression “I’d rather watch paint dry than (insert unwanted task here)”? Waiting for paint to dry is a mundane task, but it has to be done. You need to wait for the wall to completely dry before doing things like pounding nails into it for hanging photos, or shoving furniture against it. If you don’t, not only will you be risking scratching a perfectly polished wall, but a light smearing of powder blue might not go so well with your grandma’s brown vintage china cabinet.

Waiting for the first coat to dry before painting a second time is essential in repainting a wall like a pro.
To avoid ruining the first coat of paint, wait for some time before applying a second one. 
(Photo via IngImage)

Just because the paint’s dry to the touch doesn’t mean it’s ready for another layer of paint. If you want to avoid damaging your work with pulled-off paint or visible brush strokes, a good rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours before applying the second coat for oil-based paint. If you’re using latex paint, it usually dries after an hour, but wait another three to apply coat number two.


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