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7 Painting tips to pretty up your home

Sommer Caraway is a freelance writer and public relations specialist based in Arizona. Follow her updates on Twitter @sommerPR or check out her blog at SommerCaraway.com.

Paint it right!

A fresh coat of paint in a room is like getting a haircut or that new fabulous makeup which makes you look 10 years younger. It can completely alter the feelings you experience when spending time in the room and increase your affinity toward your home. Here are seven tips for painting success!

1. Make painting a two-day process

Don't try to accomplish too much in one day. Relocate furniture the first day so it's out of the way. Remove everything from the walls, including mounting hardware from decorations and switch and outlet covers, and touch up small holes or cracks with spackle. Cover anything that must be left in the room with a tarp and lay canvas drop cloths on the floor so drops of paint are absorbed instead of smearing. Clean the walls so they are free of dirt and grease.

2. Use blue painter's tape

Blue painter's tape is a painter's best friend. Unlike other tape, its coating prevents paint from seeping through and is designed for easy removal after the paint dries, without removing your hard work. Available in a variety of sizes, this is a must-have for great walls!

3. Start with a primer

A primer prevents stains and odors while also improving adhesion of the topcoat for a smooth and quick application. You can even add a small amount of the topcoat color to tint the primer, as long as they both have the same base (latex, water, oil). This especially helps when covering a darker color with a lighter one.

4. Purchase the right tools

Natural bristle paint brushes are for oil-based paints while synthetic bristles are best used for water- or latex-based paints. Purchase dense brushes with a chisel edge for achieving straight lines in corners and along woodwork.

Paint rollers are necessary for a smooth application on large surfaces. More plush rollers are best for textured walls while less padded ones are designed for non-textured walls. Wrap brushes and rollers in plastic when taking a break to keep them fresh. Foam brushes are perfect for touch-ups.

5. Use your tools correctly

Dip half of your paint brush's bristles into the paint and tap on the lid to minimize drips. Hold the paint brush close to the bristles, and apply enough pressure so that the bristles slightly bend, but not enough that you lose control.

Evenly coat your roller with paint and roll any excess off in the pan. For smooth surfaces, paint an 'N' about 2 square feet in size. Cross roll to fill in the square and finish with lighter strokes 90 degrees to the initial strokes.

6. Painting a sample color

After narrowing your selection down to two or three colors, purchase a pint of each. Paint a large square of each color approximately 18 inches apart, at least 24 inches wide. Wait 1 hour for water-based and 3 to 4 hours for oil-based paints to dry to see their true color. Keep furniture and décor colors in mind, and alter the light levels before making a final decision on which color you'll use. Learn more about picking paint colors for your home here!

7. Follow the correct order

Sherwin-Williams suggests using a brush to paint a 2-inch strip along the ceiling, floor and woodwork prior to painting the walls. Then, use a roller to paint as close to the edges as possible for a seamless appearance. The same order should be followed for painting ceilings, however, using an extension pole attached to a roller brush. Start at one corner and work across the shorter side to maintain a wet edge.

More about painting

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Painting tips for your home

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