This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Flagstaff Business News.

Painting 101- The tips, tricks, and need to know basics

You walk into a room. What do you notice? Your walls are the focal point of any space, and there is no better way to freshen up a space than with a new, fresh coat of paint. The right paint can work wonders for your décor. On the contrary the wrong paint can ruin an entire room. Before you embark on your painting adventure you need to understand the basics.

First, you need to understand what type of paint you need to use. The gloss level will alter the appearance as well as maintenance. From gloss to low sheen to eggshell, and everything in between, it’s vital to know what final look you want your space to have. For most interior paint projects you will use a flat, eggshell or semi-gloss paint. Flats are ideal for living/dining rooms and bedrooms, whereas eggshell works best in high-traffic areas like your hallway and children’s room, and lastly semi-gloss paints are a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

When choosing a paint color, don’t be scared to try something new. Remember light colors make a room seem larger, and dark colors accentuate recessed areas. It’s always a good idea to start with an inspiration piece. It could be a piece of furniture, a pillow, or a piece of art. From there you can see what colors work well with it. Putting the color to the test is detrimental. Paint a 2-foot-by-2-foot sample on each wall. This allows you to see how the color looks in different lighting. Live with the color for a few days. You want to make sure you’re comfortable with the color. This allows you to see the color in the morning, evening, and night. Once you’re comfortable with your color choice you’re ready to move on.

Next, you want to look at what tools are needed to get the job done, and get it done right. Painters tape is a must-have in order to get straight lines, keep moldings clean, and protect glass and fixtures. You’ll also need spackle and a putty knife to fill in any holes, and caulk to repair cracks in corners around the molding. Then you want to protect your floors and furniture. This can be done by using drop cloths. For the hard to reach places consider an extension pole or step latter. As for your brushes: wall brushes are used for “cutting in” around windows, doors, and corners, a sash brush is best for painting the trim, while your roller cover and frame are used for the large, flat surfaces. Lastly, you’ll need a paint bucket and tray.

You’re almost ready to paint, but first you need to prep. Lay down your drop cloths and cover the furniture that can’t be moved out of the room. Next you’ll remove the electrical plates, and take down all wall decorations. Spackle and caulk as needed and make sure the walls are clean.

The time has come; you’re ready to paint. Remember to always start at the top of any surface and work your way down. To start, you’ll dampen your 2-inch paint brush and pour your paint into a small bucket. You’ll use this brush to paint the walls or woodwork along the ceiling, floor, windows, and doors. When painting with a brush it’s important to tap the brush against the bucket (don’t wipe), and paint with enough pressure that the bristles bend slightly. As for the rest of the walls, you’ll move on to using a roller. Begin by pre-wetting your roller just as you did the brush, and pour the paint into a tray. Move the roller slowly while rolling it back and forth; you want the roller to be evenly coated. Now you’ll start by covering a 2-square foot area. Use an “N” pattern, rolling upward first; this will minimize drips. Continue painting until the old color is completely covered.

Now that you’ve transformed your space, be sure to care for your walls. When washing walls or removing stains, you want to use the lightest pressure necessary. You don’t want to erode the paint or make shiny spots. Use a mild soap solution with warm water, and use a wet sponge to clean the surface. You’re all set to enjoy your new and improved living space.

HomCo Lumber & Hardware is Northern Arizona’s leading authority on the home improvement industry. Mike Brackin continues to carry on a legacy of expert knowledge, outstanding customer service and ever improving specialized services and departments. From professional contractor sales to retail products and services, HomCo Lumber & Hardware has solutions for your homebuilding, remodeling and repair needs. Located at 1763 E. Butler Ave., in Flagstaff. For more information, call (928) 779 6111