Emmett and I have been renovating for almost a decade and the one task I’ve done more than any other is paint. Over the years, I’ve picked up a lot of professional paint tricks and thought it might be helpful to share my favorites with you. Maybe your future paint projects can benefit from some of my tips! From cutting in a clean & crisp line to minimizing brush strokes and cleaning & keeping your tools in great condition- this post is one to save if you have paint projects on your to-do list. I also teamed up with Purdy to host an awesome giveaway that includes a brush set and a paint consultation with yours truly (me)! Click through for the details…
*This post is sponsored by Purdy. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
Since we’ve been doing a LOT of painting in our guest room, you’ll notice a lot of references and examples happening in that space throughout this post. Obviously these tips apply to all rooms, furniture projects, surfaces, etc. Ready for my best tips?
#1 // Choose The Right Tools
Depending on what you’re painting and what type of product you’re working with, will influence the tool you need for the job. Did you know smaller trim brushes have stiffer bristles and more control? They’re designed for short strokes that create crisp lines, while wall brushes are larger, hold more paint, and are made for long strokes that cover a larger surface area, saving you time. When choosing a brush, you’ll want to consider the size, shape, stiffness, handle style, and type of bristles or filaments. When selecting a roller cover, you have to determine what look you’re going for… completely smooth, stippling, a little texture, etc. You should consider the nap, roller width, and knit to determine what texture works for your project. I would rather spend money on high-quality tools that last and give me the best outcome. I also don’t like throwing brushes or tools away, as I think they get better with time (if you take care of them). In the long run, it also saves you money on supplies.
#2 // Take the Time to Prep
Believe me when I say, a good paint job begins with prep. While scraping, sanding, caulking, and cleaning isn’t nearly as fun as painting a beautiful color on your wall, it is a necessary part of the process. If you’re looking to invest in tools for this portion of the project, Purdy offers an entire line of prep tools… we pretty much own all of them (scrapers, joint knives, multi tools, putty knives, etc).
#3 // Always Swatch Your Paint
This piece of advice is so important because a paint color you see online or on social media in MY home, will look totally different in YOUR home. Paint reflects and absorbs the colors and environment that surrounds it. The direction your room faces, the lighting, and even your existing decor will influence how a paint color looks in your home. I always recommend testing swatches before committing. Live with those swatches on your wall for a few days and notice how they change at different times of the day. This will prevent paint color selection mishaps or regret. Even as a trained designer, I would never buy paint without swatching it first.
#4 // Cut In With Crisp, Clean Lines (No Painter’s Tape Necessary)
I’ve talked about this topic multiple times here on the blog, but I HATE painter’s tape (with a passion). I feel like it always makes a mess, is never perfect, and it takes way too much time to install. I’d much rather rely on cutting in with a brush by hand. It’s so much easier and I feel the outcome is visually better. To achieve a clean, crisp line you’ll need a good brush designed for trim. I recommend the Purdy Clearcut brush… it has stiff bristles that are perfect for cutting in, corners, ceilings, trim work, and tricky areas. When precise painting is needed, this brush is the one you should grab. I’ve been using the same Clearcut brush for almost three years now, and believe me when I say- it sees a lot of action.
#5 // Avoid Brush Marks
This is a question I receive often… how to paint without noticeable brush strokes. I have a couple recommendations: self leveling paint and the right brush for the paint you’re using. If you’re painting anything that needs a super smooth finish, grab a Nylox brush. These brushes are perfect for smooth interior projects (doors, trim, and cabinetry). Paired with a self leveling paint, they provide an ultra smooth finish without any brush marks. As the paint dries, you’ll notice them disappearing. These brushes have very soft nylon filaments that provide a level, even finish.
#6 // Get Comfortable and Don’t Rush
Have you ever experienced those projects you just want to hurry up and finish? Painting is not the home improvement step to rush. The best paint jobs are thoughtful and calculated. This may sound silly, but I wear comfortable paint clothing, buy ergonomic tools (Emmett uses a Power Lock extension pole for rolling because it’s better for his back), and we always plan to settle in for duration of the project. I like to find a good podcast or listen to music and work at my own pace. It’s easy to rush, want to add that second coat too quickly (even when the first is still drying), or skip prep work to begin with, but believe me- a rushed paint job is noticeable. We’re big on craftsmanship around here and I always want our projects to look professional. Taking our time to create a quality paint job is something we always try to do. In fact, painting has become a really therapeutic task for me because it allows me to slow down and enjoy some mindless “me time.”
#7 // Finish One Wall Before Moving Onto the Next
Maybe this tip is obvious, but I always recommend finishing one wall completely before moving onto the next. This way, you’ll have a seamless transition and all of your walls will match perfectly. It’s also important to continue stirring your paint throughout the duration of a paint project, so the color is consistent. I’m actually not great at this… I get “in the zone” and Emmett is constantly reminding me to stir the paint. Ha! Don’t do as I do, do as I say.
#8 // Invest in a Good Drop Cloth
I don’t like the idea of plastic drop cloths to begin with, because they always end up in the trash. I’d encourage you to buy a heavy cotton or canvas drop cloth that can be reused time and time again. I’ve been using the same drop cloth for almost seven years now… it’s very heavy, washable, and is used for all of our projects. At this point, I don’t even push it tight against the wall (we honestly don’t drip anymore), but it’s awesome to lay out a workspace. It sees a ton of use!
#9 // Keep Your Tools Clean
I get a lot of questions on brushes- and most people assume I buy new brushes for each project, but that isn’t the case. I take really good care of my paint tools and use them over and over again. Keeping them clean is a big part of that! I actually think they get better with time. A key to keeping brushes (and even rollers) clean is to use a cleaning tool. You can extend the life of your paint tools by cleaning them immediately after use. Use water (sometimes I’ll even add a drop of dish soap) for latex paints, and mineral spirits for oil based paints. Use the brush comb to straighten the bristles and remove any remaining clumps of paint before letting your brush air dry completely.
#10 // Take Care of Your Tools (Proper Storage)
Since we just chatted about cleaning, once your brush has air dried- you should store it properly. Don’t throw away the original brush packaging. It’s actually called a “keeper” and they help by forming the bristles to their original shape. The keepers are actually coated in wax to prevent water penetration, and are designed to help your brush get adequate air flow, eliminating build-up or mold.
*This giveaway is now closed… congratulations to Danna & Krista! Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ll be hosting more giveaways soon.
Ready for the giveaway?! I made Emmett pose for me. Ha! Get excited because I’m giving away two variety brush packs (that include the brushes I discussed in this post) AND a paint consultation. Enter to win the giveaway for you and a friend below…
Here’s how to enter:
- Follow @purdypainttools on Instagram.
- Follow @roomfortuesday on Instagram (if you’re not already).
- Comment below on this blog post and let me know which friend deserves the brush pack and paint consult!
You have to do all three to enter. The winner will receive a brush pack and a virtual paint consultation (from me) for the room of their choosing… and their friend will win the same! Ready to tag your bestie?
*Winner will be chosen at random, and contacted via email. No purchase necessary to win. Must be a U.S. or Canadian resident, and be age 18 or over to enter.
I hope this post will be helpful if you have upcoming paint projects! Did you learn anything new? Have any paint tips of your own to add? I’d love to hear! Good luck in the giveaway. I’ll randomly choose a winner in one week.