Here’s the thing, most great things in life don’t just happen, they take planning and hard work, and the same goes with painting.
You can wing it and hope for the best, or take the time, plan it out, and put effort into transforming a space into something you can call your own.
So, since I’ve spent the last 15 years painting every room I ever came across, I figured I’d share some very helpful tips that I’ve found along the way to help you convert any space from boring to beautiful. This time around, I’m happy to be working with one of my favourite paint brands, Digby Paints.
When I moved into my last place, I painted with Digby Paints and loved them. We used Slippery When Wet, Jazzquarium and Wanderlust for feature walls through the house and since we found them to be great quilty without the fuss of combing through endless samples, we hit their website and started looking for what we might like this time around.
We decided early on that we would go with greys, greens, blues and whites, so we started our selection process with that in mind.
We chose Murder Mystery (trim paint), a light grey for the bathrooms, City View, a darker grey for the living room, a rich green known as Muskoka Weekend for my other half’s office, and Morning Meditation for my office.
Once the order arrived, it was time to dive in, but before we did, there were a few things to get out of the way, so, to make it easier for anyone waiting to tackle painting for yourself, here’s precisely how we do it.
- Plan and Pick – Before you run out and start buying new furniture or hop onto Digby’s website to purchase paint, first think about what paint colour you might like while considering what furnishings you have or will buy for the space. Evaluating what works best with what you have is a great way to not only make a decision it also helps to keep the cost down. So, take some time, get some samples to see them in the space and in a different light/ time of day, and make a decision that works best, taking that all into consideration.
- Buy The Paint & Extras – Once you’ve made your decisions around the paint, furniture, and any extras, the easiest thing to do is have it delivered right to your door (Digby does that).
- Clear out the space or/or cover-up – If you can clear out the area and keep your stuff elsewhere, do it. The easiest way to paint a room is with nothing in it other than you and the paint, trust me. Clean out the space and put down drop cloths or sheets to protect the floor. If you can’t, cover the floor as mentioned above, and cover any furniture with old sheets or plastic covers/drop clothes.
- Wash the walls and clean the baseboards – If I’ve learned anything about painting over the years, it’s to wipe down the walls before you paint. Dirt, dust, scuffs, glue, spackles, even in new places, it’s necessary to wipe down the walls so that the paint properly adheres to the wall, primer or not. Take a cloth and a bucket of lukewarm water, and wipe off any residue, dusk, cobwebs, etc. The paint job will adhere while looking it’s very best.
- Tape and secure drop cloths/sheets – If you have a very steady hand or happen to be an artist and can paint a perfectly straight line (even when the wall isn’t), feel free to go ahead. Otherwise, it’s always a good idea to tape before you paint. It includes around windows, doors, and the baseboard if you can’t or don’t want to remove it. Drop sheets are a must and are also used by professionals, and if they need them, so do we. Whether it’s plastic sheets, cloth or a combo, cover the floor.
- Get all your gear – If you’ve ordered from Digby, you can also get a painting kit. It comes with a roller, brush, tray, tray insert, and tape. Also needed will be a can opener and stir stick (which come with a Digby paint order). It’s also recommended you have a damp sponge to clean up any drips paper towel for the same. Tip: Wear old clothes when painting. Chances are you’ll end up with it on you or your clothes.
- Start Painting – When I was younger and worked with my dad in construction, I remember the painters always did the trim first, aka anywhere that a big roller won’t be able to go. Now you can use a regular paintbrush, foam, edger, whatever works best for you. I have always used a paintbrush. So, paint around the windows, door, baseboard, and fixtures, and leave that to dry. Later, return to roll your first coat with a roller covering the remaining space and leave it overnight to dry thoroughly.
- Do you need a second coat? – The next day, check to see if one coat is covered adequately. If not, repeat the process over. I’ve painted endless rooms for myself and others over the years and have painted once, twice, up to four times, depending on the job and the state of the walls. Thankfully, we did one of two for this project, depending on the room.
- Touch-Ups – It can happen to the best of us that we miss a spot or notice that there isn’t perfect coverage in spots. If need be, make the fix while the product is still fresh. If you don’t, it will either haunt you, or you’ll never come back to it, trust me, I know from experience.
- CLEAN – It’s always a good idea to clean along the way, and then where you’re done, give the made-over space the once over. Scrub, wash, clean, vacuum, whatever works best for you. You’ll be glad you did once everything is back in the space.
- The final Setup – Once your space has been made over and cleaned, it’s time to put everything back in place. Add in the furniture, the decor, and last, add any artwork (be sure to give it a few days for the paint to set)
Ready to see the before and afters?
As you can see, the living room needed an update. It had one badly painted wall in an unflattering colour, and the white walls looked somewhat yellowed. So we decided to go with a medium but deep grey that would make the space look crisp, clean and as new or close as possible.
Digby Paint Colour: City View (Wall Paint). 3/4 of a gallon used.
The first office (my partner and I both work from home) wasn’t too bad, but it needed some personality and a good cleaning. We wanted it to feel like an old-world study with a modern edge, so we decided we would go with an earthy green and bring in tones and textures that are more natural, along with black metal to balance that out.
Digby Paint Colour: Muskoka Weekend (Wall Paint). 1 and 1/4 of gallons used.
The upstairs bathroom, to the eye, was a complete mess. The fixture, mirror, and shower curtain all had to go, but we also wanted to paint to give it a fresh update and to bring some subtle colour in, so we went with a light grey to spruce up the space.
A new light, mirror, shelf, bathmat, curtain, and of course, the paint job and the bathroom went from trainwreck to terrific, and I have to admit, I now love this space.
Digby Paint Colour: Murder Mystery (Trim Paint). 1/2 gallon used.
For my office, I wanted to create a calming and bright space. So I decided to bring in some colour, some texture and painted with Morning Meditation and super chill blue. I figured that way would give me the best potential to be as productive as possible.
Digby Paint Colour: Morning Meditation (Wall Paint). 1 1/4 gallons used.
Since we didn’t like the colour in the downstairs bathroom, and we liked Murder Mystery, the paint we used in the upstairs bathroom, so we used that same colour to refresh the downstairs bathroom.
Digby Paint Colour: Murder Mystery (Trim Paint). 1/2 gallon used.
At times, making over any space can seem like a monumental task, and at times it just might be, but, if you take the time to sit down, plan it out and stay focused along the way, you’ll find just like us, you can take a space from a two to a ten in no time.
*paints and painting products provided in part by Digby Paints.