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3 Painting Tips I Learned the Hard Way

Like a flash, here we are at week 2 of the One Room Challenge where I’m updating a bathroom on a budget! This week was all about paint. We all know it works wonders right? Well, I’m hoping it’s the magic that this sad bathroom desperately needs. Each time I paint a space, midway through I have two thoughts: “what was I thinking?” and “I wish I would’ve known this before!” Ultimately, it always comes together but these are things I learn the hard way. To help you have more successful paint projects, I’m sharing some of those painting tips here!

chantilly lace from benjamin moore white paint
My favorite white- Chantilly Lace

Painting Tips

Ok, there is a lot of painting advice out there. I know I’m someone who sort of jumps right into these projects without much planning. Like, how hard can it be? Often, it’s really just a simple refresh.

Like my Bedroom Office Nook or Painted Front Doors were both really simple paint projects. However, some spaces are items are a little trickier.

Or, often, something starts off easy and then hits a painting challenge!

bathroom before updated
Before reminder of drab brown paint

1. When In Doubt, Prime!

My first painting tip is to prime. I know, I know. I had the same response too. It often feels unnecessary and honestly is much less satisfying then jumping into that beautiful new paint color.

For this bathroom makeover, I had a remaining gallon of Chantilly Lace and started late one Saturday. Even though this was a planned project, it all came together kind of spontaneously.

I grabbed the leftover paint, a few paint brushes, and turned on a good true crime podcast.

Halfway into one podcast, I realized that the old brown paint was just sucking up the usually easy to apply Benjamin Moore paint. That’s the point where I should’ve stopped. Just stopped.

In hindsight, I wish I would’ve put down the Chantilly Lace and grabbed some primer.

Instead, I painted for days. I ran out of podcasts and quickly ran out of patience. 4 coats later, the painting is mostly done. Oof.

Lesson learned, when in doubt or when the paint isn’t going on as expected, stop and prime.

(Curious how this bathroom turned out? Check out the full Budget Bathroom Makeover – you won’t believe it!)

painting tips, wrap brush in saran wrap

2. Don’t Let Brushes Dry Out!

Another tried & true painting tip is to save those paint brushes. One way to do this is to prevent the paint brushes from drying out.

So, if you’re not finishing your project in one setting (see the debacle above), it’s crucial to keep the paint brushes from drying out. I’ve been known to ruin many of brushes this way.

plastic paint brush cover box
I love these paint brush covers to keep brushes from drying out

Here’s how to keep them fresh while you’re waiting to apply the next coat. First, wrap in cling wrap. Tuck inside a plastic cover. And if it’s going to be awhile, you can actually pop the wrapped brushed in the fridge. The cold keeps the paint from drying.

drywall hole
hole in drywall after removing outdated toilet paper holder

3. Complete All Repairs in Advance

My last painting tip seems obvious but I see it again and again. Before even opening that paint can, make sure to fill all nail holes, remove any outdated hardware, and make all those drywall repairs.

If you’re spontaneous with painting like me, this can feel tedious. We just wanted that satisfaction of a new paint color right? Well, not so fast. If you’re going through all that work, might as get it done right.

For the bathroom makeover, I was so excited to jump in, I completed a lot of the prep like taping and removing basic hardware.

And then, once I got started and began painting around old towel bars and toilet paper holders, I thought, “why am I doing this? These are crap.”

So midway through painting, I removed those as well. I’m glad I made that decision but it does mean that I had to cease paining, make repairs and then start painting again.

Next time, I would remove and repair EVERYTHING right from the start.

painting tips

If you’re catching up on this DIY bathroom makeover, you can see my complete plan on this Week One ORC post.

I hope these painting tips are helpful for your next painting project!

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