9 Genius Painting Tricks You Never Knew
We’ve always thought painting a room is a pain in the you-know-what… but perhaps that’s because we’ve been doing it all wrong all along? We were recently invited to BEHR Paint’s factory in Santa Ana, CA, to tour the grounds and meet their paint professionals and developers, and along the way, we learned some truly game-changing tricks for painting. Integrate these into your painting technique and you’ll see a total transformation—we guarantee it.
One basic rule of interior design is the rule of 60/30/10. This ratio can help you create a balanced color scheme in your room. Roughly 60 percent of your room should be the dominant color; this is generally the wall color. The next 30 percent should represent secondary color; this can represent an accent wall, a painted bookcase, wainscoting, or furniture, like a large-scale sofa. The remaining 10 percent of the color scheme should be accents, such as art and accessories.
This is a guideline, and you can certainly introduce more color. To introduce a fourth color, we recommend splitting the secondary color, so your breakdown is 60/15/15/10.
If you’re painting a room that already has a lot going on, or you’re starting from scratch, refer to this ratio to help inform your color selection and where and what you paint.
We never realized how incorrectly we were loading our roller brushes until we saw the pros at BEHR Paints do it. You really shouldn’t be stingy about filling up your paint roller the first time around. After pouring the paint into the tray, you should roll the brush into the liquid and then roll it off into the bumpy part several times. This will squeeze the liquid into the nap and really soak the paint all the way through, giving you an even roll on the wall. You also won’t be trying to squeeze that last drop of paint out of the brush later on.
As for bristle brushes, you should only load them 1/3 or 1/2 of the way up the brush to prevent the paint from drying and fraying the bristles.
Don’t try to paint from floor to ceiling in one movement. Start with a super-saturated roller and roll the brush in a 2’x2’ section of the wall in a x-, v-, or z-shaped pattern, spreading the paint to cover the entire section. Once it’s spread, do a series of single-roller passes from top to bottom to smooth it out. You should always work in shoulder width when you’re rolling out. If you find you’re stretching, you’re doing it wrong. When you’ve completed that section, move onto the next 2’x2’ section and repeat.
One of the most crucial keys to quality painting is to maintain a wet edge for each section. You should plan your sequence and keep up your speed so that you’re always applying new paint on top of that edge. If you stop for a break in the middle of the wall and return after the paint has dried, you’ll see an overlapping mark where the two areas joined.
If you take a break in painting, be it for a few hours or several days, get your roller and wrap it in a garbage bag or a Ziploc bag and pop it in the refrigerator. Pull it out 10 minutes prior to when you want to resume painting, and it will be wet and ready to use again.
The applicator that you select for your paint roller can have a huge impact on your results. Most projects require a 3/8-inch to 1/4-inch nap size, 3/8-inch for smooth walls and 1/4-inch for more textured walls. If you’re painting furniture, you’ll want to use a dense foam roller. The general rule is that when you increase the sheen, you should decrease the nap size. Two brands of paint brushes and rollers that the pros use are Wooster and Purdy.
After you’ve finished painting, you should always store your paint can in case you need to make touch-ups or you want to paint another room or wall. Most cans of paint should be stored at 55°F to 90°F temperatures for optimal lifespan; read the label of your paint can label as each can varies, and find a place to store it that’s not too cold.
Before you store it, close the lid really well (use a hammer), and then flip it upside down. This will prevent air from getting into the can and increase its lifespan.
If you’re planning to paint more than one room in your lifetime, you absolutely should purchase a paint roller extension pole. These will help you reach high and low places and corners, saving your back and astronomically increasing your efficiency.
You should also look for applicators that are lint-free and shed-resistant, as some covers can leave fibers on the wall. If you find your paint applicator has lint, roll the nap against blue tape to get the lint off. It’s a good rule of thumb to practice this before you apply paint to any roller, no matter how fancy it is!
What are your tried-and-true painting tips? Tell us by commenting below!