For most people, their home is their most valuable asset. In fact, for over 60% of Americans, their home represents at least half of their net worth. It’s no surprise that with so much financial investment and personal attachment, many are motivated to put in serious sweat equity with weekend home improvement projects.
Choose Your Paint Wisely
One of the simplest home improvement projects that will make a big change to your living space is a fresh coat of paint. If the room is large enough, you can paint all the walls in a color of your choosing, but be aware that anything other than white will make the space feel small. Putting color on a single wall gives a room a nice personal touch without compromising the perceived size. A clean white (or eggshell, cream, linen, etc.) will always be in style, and it will provide you with a backdrop for paintings and other decorations.
Start by prepping the space. Lay down a canvas or plastic drop cloth to protect your floor. If there are any visible holes or cracks, get spackling paste to fill them in with a putty knife. You want it even and close to flush with the wall, but don’t obsess over this since you’ll sand down any imperfections. Use a sanding pole and a medium-grit (120) sandpaper. Your goal isn’t to sand it down until it’s silky-smooth but to clear off dirt and rough it up so that the paint has something to cling to. Most people’s interior walls are drywall, which creates a lot of dust. You can buy a dust mask for a few bucks (at most) at any home improvement store, or, in a pinch, wrap a bandana over your face. Once the surface is sanded, you’re ready to paint.
The Painting Process
It’s highly recommended that you buy a pack of paint booties, put them over your shoes when you’re standing on the drop cloth, and take them off every time you leave the area. Tracking paint through the house can turn a weekend home improvement job into a multi-week cleanup.
It’s usually a good idea to add a primer, although it may not always be necessary. If you’re painting over white paint with more white, or a color, you might skip that step. If you’re trying to cover up a dark color with white, you should definitely apply a coat of primer. If you’re planning on painting the trim as well, don’t worry about spilling over, as you’ll soon cover over it. If you’re painting just one surface, use blue painter’s tape to outline the boundary of your job. With the final color, start by “cutting in” with an angled brush, between 2″-3″ wide, on the edges of the surface. Once the edges are painted in, fill a rolling tray with just enough paint to fill the reservoir at the base; don’t overfill the tray. Roll it on thickly but keep an eye out for drips. If you apply too much paint, it will run down and ruin the clean finish. Let it dry, remove the tape and, if needed, take a touch-up brush and carefully correct any imperfections.