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Painting is an easy, inexpensive way to update and improve your home. You only need a few supplies and a bit of patience to make your living spaces look like new. Before you tackle this DIY project, here are a few tips to help you paint like a pro.

Prepare the Wall

Taking the time to prepare the wall before painting helps ensure the paint goes on smoothly. Prep is the best way to guarantee a professional-level paint job.

Fill Any Holes

Use spackle or joint compound to fill cracks and small holes. Apply the material with a putty knife and scrape the area flat. After the spackle has dried, sand the wall. For larger holes, apply an aluminum mesh patch and cover it with a joint compound.

Sand the Walls to Paint Like a Pro

Before painting, clean the walls thoroughly and use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. By cleaning the walls, you’ll remove any dust, debris, and oils that may affect the paint application. Sanding will help the paint adhere better to the walls.

Mask the Area

If you’re only painting one wall as an accent wall, mask the corners. You might also need to apply painter’s tape along baseboards, doors, windows, and crown molding. Before painting, move any furniture to the center of the room and cover it with tarps or a plastic dropcloth.

Paint Like a Pro: Use a Primer

A primer will cover the current color and block some stains. If you’re dealing with crayon or marker stains that don’t easily wash away, use a stain-blocking primer before painting your walls. Choose white primer for light-colored walls and use a gray primer for darker colors.

Choose Quality Tools and Materials

When making your purchase, buy quality paint. You’ll use fewer coats and the paint will spread effortlessly. Choose good brushes and paint rollers and always wash them well to remove stray bristles and lint before use.

Other tools you can use include:

  • Choose painter’s tape instead of regular masking tape. It’s blue, easier to remove, and won’t peel paint off of the walls.
  • Invest in a painter’s pole. You won’t have to climb up and down a step-ladder when your roller’s attached to an extendable pole.
  • Use a bucket instead of a roller pan. A large, 5-gallon bucket is easy to mix paint in and you can use a grid inside the bucket to spread paint onto your roller.

Paint Like a Pro

Mix Your Paint

Stir the paint well before you apply it to the walls. If you are going to be using more than one gallon, pour the paints into a larger bucket and mix them well together. This method, called “boxing,” will ensure the paint color is uniform throughout the project.

Tips for Application

Work from the top of the room, down. If you’re painting three walls and an accent wall, apply the lighter color first. If you accidentally get paint on the accent wall, it will be easier to paint over the first color with your darker accent. Tackle one wall at a time, using your roller in a “W” pattern to help prevent roller marks. Allow the wall to dry completely before applying a second coat.

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