Some tips and tricks to paint like the pros

It is a wonderful time of year for renovating and building, nothing says spring like putting a fresh coat of paint in a room.


It is a wonderful time of year for renovating and building, nothing says spring like putting a fresh coat of paint in a room. Paint is the least expensive way to spruce up your space and it carries one of the largest impacts. Years ago I went bold in a space in my house and painted it a vibrant red, I spent the next several days walking into that room just to stare at it – it was stunning.

As I am getting older I find the thought of painting a room to be less thrill and more trial. The procedure to take down all the pictures, tape off the baseboards and repair walls is daunting and I can almost convince myself that the colour is okay just as it is – almost.

These days I hire my trusted painter/brother-in-law to do my decorative painting and the satisfaction of having a freshly coloured room is much more fulfilling without all the hard labour. Maybe it’s laziness but mostly it is just too many years of renovating and painting, the magic is lost.

I still run into several of you do-it-yourself people who ask advice about paint. Not only colour but basic tips and tricks to get a professional finish in your home. My best advice starts here, don’t buy cheap paint. Spend a few dollars more per gallon and buy the mid-range or even the premier products that are offered by your paint professionals. Premium paint has superior coverage and better scrub ability than ‘spec’ paint and it is more easily touched up when you have a bump on the wall. Over the years I have had many ‘opportunities’ to touch up walls and trim as life takes its toll on the house.

Preparation is important and it is a good idea to wash your walls with TSP, this chemical cleans the existing paint and creates a rougher surface for the new paint to adhere to.

If you have larger repairs that you have filled and sanded be sure to roll a quick primer coat over the patch to prevent the pigment in the new paint from soaking in. This is especially important for dark colours, the porosity of the patch material will soak into it faster than the surrounding paint and you will be left with a dark colour blotch on the wall.

The general rule of thumb for painting is eggshell finish for walls, satin or semigloss finish for base and trim and a flat finish for ceilings. You can create many layers of texture even if using only one colour if you employ different gloss levels in your paint. Ceilings as a rule are a shade of white or you can opt to finish ceilings in a 25% tint of the wall colour to create a unified look.

My second best advice is, if you pick a colour from a line of paint (such as C2 or Benjamin Moore) buy it from that company.  Many paint stores say they can match any colour but years later when you try to buy a touch up can from the original store you will find that the colours just do not match. Unless you keep the original can with the formula sticker on it you will be in for a surprise when you use a different brand of paint. Happy painting!

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.