Ten Tips For Painting A Nursery (Or Any Room)

I love painting rooms! I am that person who chooses to spend her “fun money” on a tub of paint just to get that thrill of seeing an entire room get a new look. Experimenting with colours, fixing flaws, painting trims – I just love it. Keep your fancy shoes and handbags… give me a paintbrush any day!

The other day hubby and I bought a brand new tub of paint to redo our spare room, which we hope will be a nursery someday (although that journey is proving difficult). I almost couldn’t sleep that night for excitement! I cannot wait to open that tub and begin painting, and watch the room transform before our eyes.

I did a quick count, and this will be my 15th room to have painted just for fun. Along the way, and with the work we do at love.dominique, I have gained some valuable experience which I want to share with you to make your painting less stressful and more fun.

The title of this blog post is “Ten Tips For Painting A Nursery (Or Any Room)”, but I had many more than 10 tips. So, at the bottom of the article you will still find a lot more tips on painting rooms…

1. Choose the correct type of paint

There are so many different types of paint on the market that it can be confusing and daunting to choose the right finish. Personally, I always go for a satin finish that has a low sheen, is washable and offers good coverage.

Chalk paint is uber popular these days, and while it’s fabulous for giving second life to old furniture, it jut isn’t great for walls. The paint is too thick and will leave the wall feeling dry and dusty.

Textured paint is ideal for covering a wall full of flaws, but just be aware that this is one step you can’t go back from. Once you have applied a textured paint to your wall, that’s it. The amount of labour involved to get the texture off will be huge! So think carefully before taking this step, although it is a great solution in certain circumstances.

Another thing to consider is that vinyl stickers and double-sided tape will not adhere to textured walls, although Prestik still works well.

For ceilings I use a much cheaper paint, as they are not washed or touched. Most paint brands sell cheap ceiling paint and this is one area where it is fine to save and buy something less expensive.

For metal trims, like door frames, my personal preference in Duram’s water based enamel: NuGlo. I don’t like working with oil based paints and this is one of the few water based enamels on the shelf. It is a high quality paint and works perfectly for trims.

My go-to room paints are these three:

  1. Dulux Luxurious Silk
  2. Plascon Double Velvet (my personal favourite)
  3. Duram Satin Touch

Read more about why choosing a good quality paint is important here.

2. Fill and drill wall holes first

Before starting on any painting I make a mental plan where I want to hang pictures and shelves. I then take a pencil and draw a circle around all the wall holes I want to keep, and mark an X where I want new holes.

Then I pull out all existing wall plug, screws and pins that I no longer need and fill the holes with a simple wall poly filler and flat scraper tool. Once the filler is dry (usually 12-24 hours) I sand it flat and wipe the area with a damp cloth to get rid of the loose dust.

It’s a great idea to drill your new holes before painting, to prevent damaging your new wall as much as possible. For light duty hangings I prefer to use a Hilti Tool, as it’s faster and causes much less wall damage.

Tip: Leave the screws in their wall plugs when painting, so they can be painted with the wall. This will make them almost invisible.

3. Wash your walls and vacuum all the dust

Do not skip this step, no matter how boring it seems. Paint cannot stick to dusty walls, so it is 100% essential that your walls are clean and dry of all dust before you start work.

Use a vacuum with the nozzle tip in all the dusty corners of your room before starting the painting. You want the walls and corners to be completely dust free.

I always say that painting a room is the best way to give it that room brand new spring clean!

4. Do buy a sample pot to test your colours

Paint is expensive and you don’t want to make a mistake with your colour selection. Once mixed, paint is not refundable.

Different lighting makes a substantial difference to colours, so I really do advice spending an extra R40 and painting a largish square (1x1m) on your wall and checking it in all lights before splurging on a big tub.

I also spoke about the importance of tester pots on our “Painting your Nursery” blog post that I mentioned above.

5. Paint your trims first

Most people start with their walls first, and then do the trims. I do the opposite! By painting the trims first I allow myself to mess liberally onto the walls and not bother about making the lines straight. It is much easier to get a straight line on a flat wall, than on a rounded trim, so I only bother making the lines neat when I get to the actually wall painting.

6. Make good use of masking tape

Masking tape is a great way to help you get a straight line around window frames, or if you are painting your room in two different colours and need a straight line somewhere. Just remember to press the tape down firmly (I rub it with a dry cloth) or you may experience a lot of paint bleeding under the tape.

It is normal to have to tidy up the line afterwards. Masking tape is a huge help, not a miracle cure.

Tip: Stand a few meters away from your line to see how clean it is, before patching. You will never see the tiny variations from a distance, so don’t stress yourself with so-called “perfection”.

7. Start with the brushwork before the roller

Fill in your corners and edges with a brush before you start with the paint roller. You cannot take the roller too close to the edges and there will always be areas to be done with a brush. I recommend doing the brushwork first, so as not to mess up the roller paint texture.

8. Keep a cloth in a bucket of water at hand

This should be a no-brainer. I am an experienced painter and typically very neat, but accidents happen with Every. Single. Room. A bucket of water and old rag at hand is a must. Most mishaps are easy to clean if handled without delay.

And on the topic of mishaps – do wear old clothes and old shoes!

9. Aluminium Foil will keep your paint fresh

Wrapping aluminium foil around your roller and pan is a super cool trick to prevent your paint from drying when you’re not using them (e.g. when you’re having a cup of coffee while a layer of paint on the wall is drying). If you keep your pan in a cool spot, with the foil wrapped over it, you can easily leave it there for 1-2 hours without any problems. Perfect for your lunch/coffee breaks!

10. Only work on two walls at a time

I find it easier to work on two walls at a time, as it means I don’t have to empty the entire room. I move all the furniture to one half of the room while working on the other half, and then switch it round.

A few quick tips for painting evenly:

  • Do not over soak your roller with paint.
  • Move the roller in one direction only.
  • Roll slowly to prevent the paint from spraying off the roller back at you (and the rest of the room, the ceiling, and anywhere those tiny paint splatters will go).
  • Once you have painted a spot do not go over it again until it is fully dry, or you risk pulling the half dry paint off the wall. Even if you see you have missed a spot, wait till the coat is dry before going back.

A few extra pointers:

  • Most rooms will need 2-3 coats of paint, with typically 1-2 hours drying time between layers. I suggest you set aside two days to paint a room. It can be done in a day, especially if you are more than one person working, but that can be tiring.
  • Paint changes colour as it dries, so don’t freak out if your walls look uneven as they start drying. Give them a full 24 hours to dry before judging the colour and evenness of the paint.
  • If you are painting the ceiling, do that first, before the walls or trims.
  • Place a broomstick pole into the hollow roller handle to give yourself extra length to hit the top of your walls.
  • Always keep about 250ml of paint for patching. Decant this paint into a smaller, airtight container and store it in a cool place. Excess air in the tub will dry your paint out faster.
  • Get your colours mixed in one batch to prevent colour variations.

I hope this post has given you some valuable tips on painting a room. Please share it with your friends and family, and with anyone you know who is about to start a room makeover!



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