8 Painting Mistakes Everyone Makes - And How to Avoid ThemPainting the walls of an interior space is a quick and easy way to have a major impact with a little amount of trouble or expense. Before you decide on a paint color for the room you’re decorating, take a step back and make sure to avoid these 8 common painting mistakes!

1. Using the Wrong Paint

If you’ve chosen the wrong paint for the job, no matter how good your application technique is, the project isn’t going to turn out well. When painting surfaces that aren’t perfect, don’t choose paint with a high sheen. The glossiness will only accentuate the problems on the surface. If you want to paint with a semi-gloss or gloss sheen, make sure the surface you’re painting is carefully prepared and perfectly smooth. Personally I prefer a lower sheen anyway. Ask your paint store about some scrub-able low sheen options. When covering a light-colored wall with dark paint, start with a tinted primer. Ask at the paint store for specific recommendations but I always prefer a paint with a built in primer too. Gray primer is a great choice under most dark colors. This little bit of expense upfront will save you house or redcoats later! If you’re painting with two sheens of the same color, be sure to label the cans. It’s really easy to get the two mixed up, and you won’t realize your mistake until the paint dries. You’ll be sorry if you accidentally touch up flat walls with semigloss paint!

2. Painting Without Primer

Using primer is a long step in the painting process, but a necessary one to get a long-lasting finish. This step preps the wall surface so the paint sticks more easily and ensures that the true color of the paint shines through. When you are changing your wall color from dark to light, primer is especially important to make sure the old color doesn’t bleed through. Wood naturally contains tannins, which can migrate to the surface when wet, causing staining and discoloration. You can fix this problem by sealing the wood with a tannin-blocking primer before painting. If you are working with new drywall or wood, concrete, or plaster, it is best to use traditional primer first and then paint over it.

3. Leaving Painter’s Tape Up Too Long

For clean lines and crisp edges, painter’s tape is a must. Taping ensures professional-looking results, but when left on for an extended amount of time, can cause peeling paint upon removal. Ideally, tape should be removed about an hour after you’ve finished painting. But if you’ve let it sit for too long, the paint will start coming up. Use a razor blade to gently score along the edge of the tape as you peel it back. You can also try using a blow dryer to heat up and loosen the adhesive, using your fingers to roll it away from the wall.

4. Lack of Preparation

Skipping the prep work is a common paint mistake, but if you take the time to prepare, it will save you a lot of hassle later. Before you start painting, make sure that the surface is clean, so the paint goes on smoothly. After you wash your walls, make sure they are dry and free of debris before getting started. You also want to make sure to cover everything in sight with drop cloths, remove outlets and switch covers and tape up doorknobs. I know it’s tedious but well worth it in the end.

5. Overbrushing

For the smoothest possible finish when you’re painting woodwork, doors or cabinets, avoid too much brushwork. Load the brush and quickly cover an area with paint. Then use a stroke or two to level it off. Brushing over the same area, especially after the paint has started to dry, will cause unsightly brush marks and ridges. Sometimes in striving for protection we make it worse! Don’t be afraid to walk away and do a second coat later. Better two light coats than a thick overbrushed coat.

6. Forgetting the Ceiling

To maximize your ceiling’s impact on a room, you might choose a pale shade that complements the walls, a high-gloss white, or a bold hue that acts as a room’s main source of color. I once painted a bathroom for my mom pink. It helped correct the odd lighting in the room giving it a warmer happier feel. (No one even noticed the pink, but they looked better in the mirror!)

7. Using the Wrong Brushes

Investing in quality tools can help you avoid disaster. Cheap brushes can shed bristles during use, and cheap foam rollers can make painting more difficult than it needs to be. Quality bristles and rollers that are dense will apply paint evenly and quickly. The same thing goes for cheap paint sprayers, which can spray unevenly and quit working before your paint project is finished. It may seem like you are saving money, but in the long run, it can cost you.

8. Comparing Samples in the Wrong Light

People often make the mistake of picking out a color at the store in fluorescent lighting and then ordering a gallon of it immediately. But, if you don’t take a sample home first and test it in the actual room’s light, it could be a disastrous move. To get the best idea of how that paint color will look in the room you are renovating, select a few colors that you like, and bring samples home to see what works best. Make sure to have the light on in the room that you use the most, then swatch the color on the wall to make sure the color works how you want it to.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen?

Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients all over the San Francisco East Bay since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! (Here’s a convenient map to our Brentwood interior design showroom.)

We take designing a beautiful kitchen for our clients very seriously, focusing on creating a kitchen space that is both functional & beautiful. We love to provide insight and education to our clients while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel?  Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.


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  2. https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/painting-tips
  3. https://www.oola.com/life-at-home/2456491/painting-mistakes-everyone-makes/
  4. https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/10-color-mistakes-everyone-makes-48868#navy-blue-dining-room
  5. https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/the-8-painting-mistakes-almost-everyone-makes-48420


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