You get to try on clothes before you buy them and you can test drive a car before signing on the dotted line. Doesn’t it make sense to test out a paint color before you break out the tarps and rollers?
Painting a room is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to completely change the way a space feels. The worst thing that can happen is you end up with a color you don’t like and the space has to be repainted. Not the end of the world by any means, but if you want to avoid the extra time and expense, testing your colors first is the way to go. With a few simple steps, you can narrow down your choices and decide on a color you’ll love.
Step 1 - Buy a sample of each color you are considering. I recommend purchasing a sample in the sheen you’ll be using. An eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss finish will make a difference in how the paint looks on the walls. Paint stores like Dunn Edwards and Sherwin Williams don’t have options with their samples so my recommendation is to head to Home Depot. For a few dollars and change (under $5 in most instances) you can purchase a small sample in the sheen you’ll be using. They can color match just about anything so even if you’ll ultimately use a different brand of paint, their sample will give you a good indication of the final result.
Step 2 – Paint an area with your color sample. If you’ll be painting a wall or entire room, you want a sample space big enough to really get a sense of how the color will look. A 2x2 square is a good size.
Good – Grab a piece of cardboard or poster board and paint a few coats of the color you’re considering. Because you’re painting on paper it may curl and the paint may crack. If you’re using cardboard, you may want to add an extra coat otherwise the color of the cardboard may skew the final result.
Better – Paint a canvas board (available at craft stores like Michael’s) with at least two coats of your sample paint. The light in a room and the texture of the wall affect how a color will look. While not exact, the texture of the canvas board will give a better sense of how the light affects the color than a flat piece of poster board will. And the canvas board won’t curl.
Best – Paint an area of the wall itself. Paint a couple different sections of wall in the room to see how the light affects the color. If you have a featured item in the space like a favorite picture or bedspread, paint an area nearby to see how they look together.
Step 3 – Live with it for a day or two. If you’ve used a board, hang it in different places or move it around the room. Sit with your color samples for a couple of days. How does each color affect the feel of the room? How do they look with your favorite throw pillows or the chair you can’t live without? You may find yourself drawn to one color over the others, making the choice clear.
Step 4 – Paint and enjoy!
You’ll find that taking the extra time upfront to select a color is well worth it once the work is done and you have a space you love.
Chalkboard paint is easy to make and fun to use. Yes, you can use it to make a traditional chalkboard but why stop there? Create a space to keep your grocery list by using it on your pantry door. Paint an old table with it and let your kids discover their artistic side. Tape off a space on the wall of your home office and make a calendar. The possibilities are limitless.
What you’ll need
That’s it. Super easy. Now grab your paint brush and make something amazing!
Taking a few seconds to care for your paint brush before you step away on a break can save time and frustration later. Paint left on a brush can start to thicken and dry after a few minutes, mucking up the paint job and making the brush harder to clean. Fortunately you don’t have to clean your brush every time you stop for a snack. The solution is simple. Slip your brush into a plastic baggie and seal it. The key is to leave paint on the brush so the bristles stay wet. If the brush will be left for an extended period of time, I’ve even lightly dipped it in water before putting it in the bag. This has kept paint on a brush wet for over a week, although I don’t recommend leaving your brushes unwashed that long. This same trick works for roller covers. Slip them into a gallon zip lock bag and they’ll be ready to go when you are.
Note: You’ll find brush and roller storage covers for sale at the hardware store. Save your money. The plastic baggies you already have in your kitchen drawer work just fine.
To tape or not to tape. That is a question I’m often asked. The answer is that it depends. In most instances I find taping a hindrance. It adds time to a project and can result in frustration and extra work if not done properly. Have you ever pulled off the tape only to pull paint with it? Or you pull the tape while the paint is still wet, as is often recommended, only to find the paint has bled under the tape? Now you have to go back and touch up all those spots. I also find taping gives a false sense of security and the painting gets a little sloppier.
Patience and a steady hand can produce clean lines along trim, baseboards, and where the wall meets the ceiling but if that technique makes you nervous, here are some tips for a frustration free project.
Following these steps should help give you a clean finish to your paint job.