Getting Ready to Paint Your Walls

Someday soon, the walls in our homes will come with an app. We’ll press a button and the color and texture of the walls will change. The technology for this already exists. But it might be some time before your new home or apartment comes with “smart ink” on every wall. In the meantime, there’s always painting.

The best part of any painting project is sitting back and taking a look at a job well done. To get there, the most important steps that you can take will be in the preparation of your walls before you paint.

Interior painting can be very gratifying: you start with an ugly old wall that is probably beige (or at least at one time it was). You can transform it to any color you can imagine, setting a beautiful scene for your art, your shelving or a flat screen t.v. To get the very best results, invest the most time into prep. It’s not glamorous or fun, but it pays dividends in the finished product.

Clean the walls. Say goodbye to cobwebs hanging around in the corners and stuck to your walls. Goodbye, sticky stuff that someone else left behind. And most import—yet typically overlooked—say goodbye to the dirt and grime that are likely covering your walls. Yuck.

I’ve found that a really simple way to clean the walls is with warm water and a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid. If you’re into feng shui—or just want to clear the energy of your ex-roommate who just moved out—wash the walls with a mixture of warm water and sea salt. The sea salt is said to neutralize bad energy.

Patch up cracks and holes. For holes bigger than the size of a dime: head over to your local hardware store and ask for a patch kit. Typically these will come with a piece of mesh that you can use to cover the hole and putty to apply to fill in the empty spaces. Apply, let dry, sand it. You’re all set.

For smaller holes, you can use putty to fill in the holes. Let the putty dry overnight (a good reason to start this weekend project on a Saturday!) and then lightly sand.

Tape trims and moldings. Painting over tape is just ugly. Use a tape that is just as easy to pull off as it was to put on. For the best advice on this, ask someone at your local hardware store.

Apply a coat of primer, if necessary. In my experience, it’s always necessary. Especially with older buildings, walls can be very dry and will absorb your paint. You can save money and time and stress by applying a coat of primer before you get to the color you’re dreaming of.

And, party. Put on some music, open some bubbly, and enjoy it. After all that prep work, the painting is going to be the easiest part. And the most rewarding.

Conna Shannon

Conna Shannon

Conna is a writer, editor and aspiring filmmaker. She's into DIY, upcylcing and macrobiotic cooking. She lives in Monterey, California, with a yellow lab named Daisy.
Conna Shannon

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