time-saving tips for painting a room

Marian ParsonsDecorating, home improvement, My House, Painting & Refinishing, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials

I shared the other day that I painted three ceilings and one room in just a few hours…while the boys were at home…in my jammies.  Truth be told, I could’ve painted the living room and the hallway, too, but I was getting a little sick of looking at a roller!  So, several readers asked how I get things done so fast and I thought I would share my tricks.

These tips will help you get a room painted faster, but before you plan a painting marathon, remember that I paint a lot!  When you do something a lot, you get better and quicker at it.  So, be patient with yourself if you’re a novice or a once-in-a-while painter.

Here are my time-saving tips…

1.) Do as much prep work the day before as you can.  Take down the pictures, remove switch plates, curtain hardware, etc. and fill in the holes with lightweight spackle.  If you’re going to put everything back up, don’t worry about filling the holes, but still remove things from the wall.  Also make sure the room is clutter-free and clean.  Run a vacuum over walls and baseboards to get rid of fuzz and cobwebs and give a light scrubbing to areas where something has splattered on the wall (especially in kitchens & baths).  Getting that prep work done ahead of time gives you a head start on painting day.

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2.) Work on one wall at a time.  I used to move all of the furniture away from the wall into a big cube in the middle of the room.  That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?  For me, that makes a bigger mess to clean up at the end of the day and it’s just more upheaval.  Scoot the furniture away from one wall, so you have enough room to work with a roller and step ladder, then paint that one wall and move the furniture back.  Don’t put the furniture directly on the wall, since it’s wet, but generally put it back in place, so it’s out of the way.  I have found that it’s easier and quicker to put a room back together when it’s done like this.

3.) Be a one-person assembly line.  Work on one task at one time.  Cut in one entire wall with a sash brush and then go back and roll the paint.  Put the paint for cutting in in a cup, so it’s easy to hold and carry up a ladder.  This will prevent climbing up and down the ladder to dip your brush…thus saving time!

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4.) Use a roller extension pole.  I used to climb up and down a step ladder when I was rolling paint and only used extension poles for ceilings and rooms with walls over 8′.  Now, I use them for all rolling (unless I’m in a tiny bathroom and then I use a small extension pole.)  This allows you to paint the entire wall in an average room without bending over or climbing a ladder.  It also allows you to reach behind furniture that might be moved only a couple of feet away from the wall.  It’s easier on your body and saves time.

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5.) Use a straight edge instead of tape.  I am a fan of painter’s tape, but when it comes to cutting in around trim, it just takes me longer to apply the tape than to simply cut in carefully.  Now, I have a very steady hand, so I can cut in along trim without using tape and it looks nice and straight.  If you can’t, pick up a metal straight edge with a handle to use along trim and ceilings.  Simply wedge it between the wall you’re painting and the ceiling or trim and run your brush along it.  Move it with you as you go and you’ll get a nice, straight line.  Just use a small amount of paint for this method, though, so it doesn’t bleed under.  Also, keep a damp paper towel or clean rag  handy to wipe the paint off every once in a while.

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6.) Use quality paint.  I know it’s so tempting to buy bargain paint, but quality paint not only looks better, it does save you time.  When you only have to do one coat instead of two, that’s a huge time saver and quality paint can make that difference.  It also has better body, so there are fewer drips, roller marks and it’s easier to cut in with.  I always use either Duration by Sherwin Williams or Aura by Benjamin Moore.  They are expensive when compared to other paints, but really worth it.  If you’re on a tight budget, Sherwin Williams’ SuperPaint is a nice, less expensive option.

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And, I won’t list this as a tip, because it’s a little obvious, but it’s always nice if you can paint with a friend.  I do most painting solo, but sometimes have a hand and it’s always nice when I do.

I painted the dining room (along with the ceilings in two other rooms) a few weeks ago and then tackled the living room today.  I wanted to show you how different the colors are, even though the change is from one white to another white.  It makes for an underwhelming reveal, but you can see the difference side-by-side…

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The dining room (to the left of the arch) is painted in the new color, Pearly White, and the living room (to the right) is painted in the old color, Aria Ivory, both by Sherwin Williams.  I love Aria Ivory, but I wanted to switch to a white that was a little cooler and cleaner.

I painted the boy’s room over the weekend in a rich navy called Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore.  I’m still working on the furniture and accessories before I’m ready to show that off, but it looks so sharp!  Like a pair of smart dress blues.  And surprisingly, in the low, sloped ceilinged room, it doesn’t make it feel smaller or darker.  It makes the antique pine floors pop and the bright white trim frames out the room nicely.

Next up is the hallway and stairwell.  I haven’t painted those walls for about seven years and they are getting pretty dingy, especially with the boys dragging their fingers along as they run up and down the stairs.  We’re planning to refinish the floors soon and I’m trying to get the painting done before, so I don’t have to be concerned about drips.  I’ll keep picking away at the home projects between working in the studio and will hopefully have some “reveals” before Christmas.  That’s the goal, anyway.

Speaking of Christmas, I am really looking forward to decorating for Christmas this year.  The past few years of Christmas in September for retail and again in November for a home tour and in February for a photo shoot and April for a freelance article has sucked a bit of the joy of decorating for Christmas out of me.  I still loved Christmas, but the idea of decking the halls just didn’t sound fun.  I’ve had a bit of a break from that crazy schedule, so I’m ready to go this year!  I’ve already been eyeing the juniper trees that line the drive to my sons’ school (I’m going to ask if I can “prune” them a little) and I just ordered some white chico chokes, which sort of look like dried artichokes, to tuck into fresh greenery.  Kriste & I also have a bunch of fun DIY Christmas projects to share.  So, there’s a lot to look forward to!

time-saving tips for painting a room

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