Painting like a pro – without the price tag

January 24, 2011


It really doesn’t matter if you’re buying or selling, a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference. So many times I have gone through houses with buyers and it’s obvious that its been a do-it-yourself paint job. While there is nothing wrong with that, there are some simple tricks of the trade that can make your next coat of paint look like a million bucks…but not cost that much.

The paint itself

The most important thing to keep in mind while painting is the quality of paint that you’re using. While discount home improvement stores offer a tremendous selection, there are different densities that effect coverage. Consult with your paint store professional or big box home improvement specialist as to the best choices to suit your particular project.  The higher quality of the paint, the less dripping and more coverage in color, especially when using a lighter color over dark. In some cases you will need to prime first, typically with reds and dark greens. (Or when moving into a home where someone was watching too much HGTV and whipped out 289 of their favorite stencils and went to town.)

Where to start

If your ceiling needs paint, do yourself a favor and start that first. The last thing you want to do is have perfect walls and then realize the ceiling needs to be done and end up with drips all over your masterpiece. (And if you have a 12 year old who wants glitter ceilings like mine did, do yourself a favor and just say NO…a post for another day.)


Getting all your supplies beforehand will sure save you in the aggravation department. And as tempted as you may be to use your dining room chair at an angle to fit your handmade drop cloth; using a roller that doesn’t quite reach the top of the wall; all the while balancing on your big toe so you can hit that one last spot; well, you really should have a ladder, inexpensive drop cloth that actually covers the floor, paint pan, a hand-held plastic cup for touch-ups and fine line painting and a wet rag for any oops-es. New rollers are a must and depending on the quality and flexibility of your current paintbrushes, you may need to get a couple more. Foam brushes are great for the edges and if you are doing a ceiling I highly suggest a roller with a guard.

Other items I have found that come in handy:

Painter’s caulk to make a seamless edge between wall and ceiling.

Painters Tape to protect molding and trim…Painters tape is blue and removes nicely unlike its evil counterpart known as masking tape that makes a choppy line and requires scrubbing to remove residue after a month’s time due to dust settling on the "sticky stuff" that you thought you got off.

Plastic zip lock bags, so when the coffee wears off you can toss your paintbrush in it and set it in the freezer for the next day’s use…after it warms up, it’s good to go without endless washing and drying while using latex paint.

Painters patch for small holes made by paintings, photos or small children playing with kitchen utensils while unsupervised in that one moment it took you to get the chicken fingers out of the microwave. I know the internet tells you that toothpaste works just as well for those small spots, but please trust me on this- it shrinks up after a year’s time. (Not speaking from personal experience at 9 on a Sunday when the last thing I wanted to do was go to the all-night Walmart.)

There are lots of online places you can get more hints and ideas…just Google *Do it yourself painting.* The advice is endless and far more than I can get into here. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to give your home a WOW factor and I hope I have inspired a few of you to tackle that paint job you have been putting off.

There is nothing better than a fresh coat of paint and the satisfaction that comes with a job well done!

 Article written by Dawn Olander, First Weber Group North Shore Office. Originally posted on Dawn Olander’s Real Estate Dame blog.

Thanks for sharing the tips and humor, Dawn. And thank you for reading the First Weber Wisconsin real estate & Wisconsin living blog.

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