How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips}

Serene white kitchen with Belgian linen and window seat by Hello Lovely Studio

Artist brush and paints - Hello Lovely Studio

If there is a paintbrush in my hand, my eyes are smiling. Mostly. I love creating abstracts on canvas and transforming dark furniture with paint. Painting walls is a different creature entirely though.

As a blogger with a passion for interior design, by now you know I don’t just write about home improvement, I truly live it. As DIYers, my husband and I have worked on more than a dozen homes, which…oy…adds up to hundreds of walls requiring interior painting! For most of our projects, it made financial sense to do the interior painting ourselves and for a few, it was wise to leave the job to professionals.

It’s true that paint will transform a space dramatically, and our Chicagoland fixer upper had been freshly painted top to bottom in an unfortunate shade of “pale margarine yellow.” What a shame all that effort and expense was spent just in time to be erased entirely! The paint color chosen not only dated the place, it cast a yellow tint on everything we brought moved into the home. I don’ t have anything against painting a room light yellow if yellow is your thing, but this shade everywhere? Combined with the golden natural light we get here? Made me sad. So we only left one room alone (the media/family room in the lower level) and DIY painted over every other wall and ceiling surface.

Belgian style modern farmhouse living room by Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} Photo: Hello Lovely Studio

How about you? Wondering whether to paint walls yourselves or to hire a pro? I’m sharing a few straightforward considerations to mull over as well as images of spaces we have painted recently:

Time is Money. Will you have enough time to do it yourself? Hiring a professional may save you time, labor, and headache.

Let’s Avoid the ER…Oui? Painting walls is a physical workout…do you have physical limitations, vertigo, shaky hands, or issues impacting your safety and health? Allowing someone else to climb the ladder is money well spent, and your joints will thank you.

Ballerina etching and rustic sheles - Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} Photo: Hello Lovely Studio

Scaffolding Woes. If you have high ceilings or a whole house of rooms which require paint, it’s likely a job to leave to a team of professionals with the proper equipment and expertise. When we built our prior French Country home, we left all of the interior painting to a team of professionals who used high tech sprayers and knocked out the job in no time.

Money Talks. Have a budget to pay for the the work to be done by professionals? Lucky you! Go pro, mama.

French Country romantic dining room by Hello Lovely Studio

Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore White Sand (walls) and White Dove (furniture). Photo: Hello Lovely Studio

My go to whites: In our prior home, we had most of our walls painted Benjamin Moore White Sand, and here at the fixer upper, the bright white that worked best was Benjamin Moore White (yep, that’s right, W H I T E…the folks at the paint counter are destined to make you repeat the underwhelming mono-syllabic name of this color!).

Marble topped bathroom vanity - Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} – Abstract on wall by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio

If DIY painting is new for you, here are 6 SMART TIPS to keep the stress level low and the WOW factor high.

  1. Remove furniture, lamps, and objects from the room or move them away from walls. Remove outlet and light switch plates to save time and effort taping off those areas.
  2. Cover the floor with a dropcloth.
  3. Prep work is important when you want to execute it like the pros. Repair any wall damage, cracks, and holes with joint compound or spackle. Allow to dry completely, then sand and smooth. Remove any dust by wiping down and vacuuming wall surfaces.
  4. You will most likely need to mask off with painter’s tape those areas you don’t want painted (trim, light fixtures, etc).
  5. To cut in, use an angled 2 1/2″ or 3″ quality paintbrush, using light pressure and smooth strokes. Move around the room, along the edges, as fast as you feel comfortable, keeping a wet edge. First cut out the wall – ceiling, then corners, then around outlets, then windows, then vents, and then the wall – floor. When the room is cut in entirely, you’re ready to roll.
  6. For rolling, start at the top of the wall and work your way down. Load your roller with paint and roll it on the wall in a W pattern. Then, fill in the W area with paint. Work quickly and keep a wet edge moving along the wall. If you notice you missed a spot, let it dry, keep moving, and go back later for touch-ups.
White kitchen with marble subway tile and window seat - Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} – Hello Lovely Studio

How to paint walls more like a pro 6 tips - Hello Lovely Studio

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Modern farmhouse living room by Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} – Photo: Hello Lovely Studio

If you are feeling extra geeky and game for a few BONUS painting hacks, check out these brilliant ones:

This is Tray Smart. (See what I did there? Ha!) Line your paint tray with a disposable insert, aluminum foil, or a plastic bag for easier clean-up and less paint down the sink drain.

Glove Love. Consider wearing disposable gloves to avoid messy hands and to store paint brushes that you don’t want to dry out.  And don’t forget a mask…your lungs will thank you.

Not Just for Laundry. For easier paint brush cleanup, add fabric softener to the water in which you soak brushes to prevent dryness and hardening of the bristles.

Modern farmhouse interior with white oak wood floor by Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} – Photo: Hello Lovely Studio

Knotty alder rustic front door - Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} – Hello Lovely Studio

Diptyque candle on rustic wood stool in white bathroom - Hello Lovely Studio

How to Paint Walls More Like a Pro {6 Tips} – Hello Lovely Studio

Your turn: HAVE A PAINT TIP OR WOE TO SHARE?

Peace to you right where you are.

~michele

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10 Comments

  1. Marie
    November 13, 2017 / 10:04 am

    I love this house and everything about it everything. I also love the Arizona house also you have a nack of talent it shows love your homes thank you for sharing I come threw all the time may not comment all the time but I look at all your post’s thank you .

    • November 13, 2017 / 10:42 am

      So great to hear from you, Marie. Thanks for following along and all the kindness! xox

  2. holly
    November 13, 2017 / 11:40 am

    Brushes and rollers keep better wrapped in plastic and in the fridge. Don’t rinse, just wring out excess paint as best you can and wrap in plastic bag/wrap. This doesn’t mean indefinitely but it does mean you can overnight/couple of day save and reuse. Save a little $$ on additional rollers/brushes.

    • November 13, 2017 / 12:29 pm

      Great tip! Definitely. I do the same with my brush sometimes!

  3. November 15, 2017 / 12:57 am

    “If you notice you missed a spot, let it dry, keep moving, and go back later for touch-ups.” This tip is a must. I have personally experienced this while doing DIY projects people make this mistake. You should be very quick as well as careful about the finishing of the walls.

    • November 15, 2017 / 2:33 pm

      Thanks for reinforcing this tip, Lisa. And thanks for reading! 🙂

  4. November 15, 2017 / 8:52 am

    well done! is this your new place? the front door and all the rooms turned out amazing, awesome eye candy Michele!

    • November 15, 2017 / 2:32 pm

      It’s the fixer upper in Illinois we bought 2.5 years ago…it feels new though since we re-did everything! Thanks, Elaine.

  5. November 17, 2017 / 8:41 am

    Beautiful place! Looks very cozy and home-y. I was just wondering where you are sourcing your materials? Btw, very helpful tips! 🙂

    – Sam

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