What I’ve learned about Paint

 When you are painting a house, there are a few things you are going to realize.

  1. The online calculators that tell you how much paint you need over exaggerate, by a lot. Even the terrible paint we got for an oversized room that needed 4+ coats didn’t even finish out the first gallon.
  2. Everyone has an opinion on what “good” and “bad” colors are and the fact that they change every year.
  3. The finishes you use in your rooms will depend on your preferences and your lifestyle. Some finishes are easy to clean and some are more pet/child-friendly than others at hiding slobber and handprints. Plus you will get choice paralysis when you realize there are 5 brands, each with three different kinds of semi-gloss and thirty different shades of white.

Most importantly, you are going to realize painting is not a CHEAP change like everyone says it is. Yes, it is less expensive than a full remodel or maybe even wallpaper, but you will shill out quite a bit of change for paint. Unless you are going with all white, you are going to need a color for the ceiling, trim, and walls. Don’t forget that a lot of places also push primers, which are important if you are going from oil-based paint to latex paint or visa Versa.

Now we actually lucked out on a lot of these things. Our local waste/recycling company makes their own recycled latex paint product. It comes in 11 colors, one finish, and is available in one gallon, two-gallon, or five-gallon sizes for almost nothing. I’m talking $11 for a gallon of low sheen latex paint that has great coverage and can be scrubbed without worry.

Before we bought our local recycled paint, we checked in with friends to see if anyone had used it. The reviews we got back were all extremely positive, so we went with it. Ironically, it was so much better than the paint we got that cost almost 3 times as much.

My husband and I talked a lot about our color pallet before we bought the paint. We have lived in a lot of rentals. We’ve lived with white walls, beige walls, pink walls, cream walls, and walls that were probably a different color before 20 years of heavy smoking (though we learned how to get cigarette smell out of walls and carpets at that rental). We could never go back to any shade of beige or tan, and white walls seemed a little boring. We decided to go with gray as our base color, and luckily there was only one shade of gray in our local recycled paint so there were no arguments over what shade of gray was the right gray. The local recycled paint also had a nice low sheen white that would be perfect for trims, ceilings, closets, and walls if needed.

For our accent colors, we picked four colors that could be used for accent walls and in our decorating: Teal, Red, Gold-toned Yellow, and Purple. The colors all coordinate, but they also make each other pop!

Pops painted this room for us and it really highlights how well the teal and gray went together. 


When it comes to applying the paint to the walls, here are the tools we recommend you have on hand ahead of time.

  • Roller
  • Extendable handle for roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paint stirring sticks (should be free from the hardware store)
  • Edging paint brushes
  • Drop cloths (we used old sheets, broken down cardboard boxes, and an old shower curtain we hadn’t used in three moves.)
  • Ladder or step stool depending on the height of your walls

We didn’t use painters tape. This might be controversial, but edge painting actually isn’t that hard if you are careful, which you should be if you tape off the edges anyway. Plus it takes for freaking ever to put up the tape and it’s not even straight half the time. By the second or third room, your edging will be looking professional-grade quality. Also, no one is going to notice if your edging isn’t exactly perfect, because when was the last time any of your guests studied where your wall meets the ceiling?

There are many schools of thought on the proper order for painting. The one thing they all agree on is that the ceiling should go first. Now you may think, the ceiling is already white, why should I paint it? We had the same thought and said let’s skip it for our living room. Biggest regret in our DIY process so far. The fresh coat of white paint really lightens and brightens up the room.

Next, you can either do the trim or start edging the walls. My dad goes trim first, and I go wall edging first. There is something relaxing for me about doing the trim last. Plus I feel less bad if I get some of the wall paint on the trim if the trim gets painted last.img_20190911_211748808

Once the wall is edged, you can start rolling. The edging will keep you from rolling onto the ceiling or trim (hopefully) and gives you a nice guide.

You will usually need a second coat if your walls or textured at all or if there was interesting paint on the wall before. Even with the thick coverage we got from the recycled paint, we had to do two layers of gray or white in pretty much every room. Despite sanding, the stencil on the stairs took about 3 coats! It’s important to let everything completely dry between coats, so what we found worked is to do the edging and first coat in the morning, break for lunch and then do the second coat in the afternoon.

Then I do the trim in a nice crisp white and do a thin layer on the doors as well to freshen them up.

Painting can make a huge difference in making a house feel like your home.


Our in-progress reading nook highlighting three of our color scheme colors! 




3 thoughts on “What I’ve learned about Paint

  1. It looks amazing. Wonderful job 🙂

    I admit that I’m kind of lazy when it comes to painting and some other things, but your post intrigues me and kept me engaged. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experiences. Have a great day.


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