Fall is in the air in Michigan! And with fall gives me all the DIY-vibes. (Seriously, as I’m writing this I have paintbrushes in the sink, concrete mix on the driveway, and a wood sign drying in the barn). In the summer I just want to be outside wandering in the sun or by the lake. But in the fall, I tend to want to cozy up and get elbows deep in hot-glue, yarn, wood, fabric, or paint.
In the last twenty four months, James and I have bought two fixer uppers. The first one a small bungalow and just as the paint dried, we bought a bigger house in the country. EVERY ROOM in both those houses needed painting. And we did all the painting ourselves (with the help of my family, of course). So, I learned a thing or two about painting in the last two years.
Painting is a great way to really make a house feel like “yours”. When we moved into our current house, everything was an off-white, and the ceilings were HIGH gloss! I felt like I was living in someone else’s home. Paint was a top priority. So, after a three month painting hiatus, I’m busting out the brushes again to finish the last rooms in our house, and I’m sharing my top painting tips for saving time and money.
1. Buy good brushes and good paint.
There is a time and place to save money, but when it comes to painting, this is not it. Invest in several great brushes with an angled edge, and use high quality paint. I always use Sherwin Williams. While we are talking about it, here are my favorite colors.
2. Drop cloths.
I have not bought a drop cloth or wasted time taping down construction paper. I use old sheets, paper grocery bags, t-shirts- and towels scattered around the house. Don’t have any sheets? Try a second hand store. Also, consider the floors in the room. In our first home we had bright red and mustard yellow carpet everywhere. We weren’t going to keep them so ta-da! Instant drop cloth! If you’re going to get new carpet or floors, paint first.
3. Start with the ceiling.
So this tip doesn’t save you time or money, sorry. BUT I think it’s really important! In our first house, I thought “Why do we need to paint the ceiling? It’s white, it’s fine.” My dad talked me into painting them and I’m so glad he did! All white paint is not created equal and a good flat white ceiling paint really cleaned and brightened up our space.
4. Wrap your brushes.
I spent so much time at the end of each day cleaning my brushes. Then, they were often wet the next day which made them difficult to paint with. I started wrapping my brushes in Glad wrap, placing them all together in a plastic bag, and then putting them in the fridge. And you know what? The paint stayed wet and ready to go for the same color the next day. I also wrapped my roller brushes in plastic bags and placed these in the fridge.
5. Save your leftovers.
Don’t waste time or paint by scraping the paint back into the can! For the trays, just use a big ole garbage bag and wrap them up tightly. For trim work, pour paint into a mason jar with a big enough opening for your paint brush. After you’re done painting for the day, wipe of the lip and screw on the lid. No mason jar? Use Glad wrap to wrap up the cup and place in the fridge.
6. Can’t reach that high corner?
Use a paint rod and tape a paint brush to the end of it to reach the high ceiling trim. Seriously I just tried this and I was so pleased with how it worked out! It worked well enough to cut around a circular fire alarm. Pro tip: It’s harder to see on high ceilings or corners when the paint gets a bit heavy in an area, so make sure you check back frequently as it dries to catch any drips.
7. I don’t use tape.
That’s right, you heard me. I don’t use painters tape. Okay, I RARELY use tape but I will use it for very tight spaces between the windowsill and a cupboard, for example, and that one time we got new carpet and I was painting the trim. I spent so much money on green tape during our first house, I felt like every time we went to Home Depot I bought another roll. I taped EVERYTHING. Which was time consuming and frustrating because I’d have to touch up the leaked paint. For our second house, I hardly touched the tape. It saved so much time (and money) by not taping the windows, trim, etc. Invest in a good cutting brush or two, and with a steady hand you’ll be cutting like a pro in a no time.
8. Always have a wet rag ready.
If you’re not using tape you’re bound to slip your brush onto the window seal, trim, or that freshly painted ceiling. Have no fear, a wet rag will take care of that spill in no time. I’ve even tried this on the carpet! Press the wet rag onto the spilled paint and pat/rub. Now, I’m sure there are more sophisticated ways to get paint of carpet. If you have spilled a bright blue paint on your brand new white carpet, you might want to have a different technique ready. But for my old stained carpets (fingers crossed we’ll replace them soon!) and earthy-colored paint, this masked the stain.
So there you have it!! Like I said, I’m getting back into painting after a few months off and I’ll update this list with pictures or any other tips I think of.
Dust off your paint brushes and happy painting!