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How To Paint An Accent Wall

By Edited Nov 23, 2015 1 0

I’ve always said about painting, “It’s not hard to do, but it’s very easy to mess up.”

This guide will help make the painting process as painless as possible.  So let’s get to it:

First Things First!! 
As with most things, Preparation is Everything.

The quickest way to a frustrating and longer paint job is to cut corners on preparation and materials. 
I’m as much of a penny-pincher as anyone, but it’s just not worth it to sacrifice on proper materials and preparation just to save a buck.  Why?  Because, in the long run it could cost you your time and probably the quality of the paint job.

Your time:  Most DIYers are doing a paint job on their weekend and will have to go back to their day job on Monday.  Think of the TIME it takes to do any paint job as equally as valuable as the COST (if not more so).

Painting An Accent Wall: 

The Materials: 
Paint:  Depending on what room in your house you are painting (kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc.) you will want a particular finish to the latex paint.  The different finishes (level of sheen) from lowest gloss to highest gloss are:  FLAT, EGGSHELL, SATIN, SEMI-GLOSS

For kitchen and baths:  use a Satin or Semi-Gloss.
For dining room, bedroom, etc.: use Flat or Eggshell.

*(A Word about Primer):  If your wall is in good shape and you are painting a darker color on top of the existing color, you can probably get away with not priming or using a paint/primer-in-one.  Otherwise you will definitely need to prime first.

Supplies:  Roller, Roller Pad (3/8in. nap for smooth walls, 1/2in. nap for more textured walls), Roller Tray, Tray Liner, 2in. Angular Sash brush (that just means the brush is angled), Drop Cloth, 1-1/2in. blue painter’s tape, paint key (to open paint can)

The Job:
Tape off around the wall that you are painting.  If you are taping any wood with a finish (i.e. cabinets) then use a “low-adhesion” blue tape (sometimes called easy-release or safe-release).  It’s a little bit more expensive than normal blue tape but very important if you’re putting on anything with a nice finish.
Once you finish taping everything off (making sure you have straight tape lines in the corner of walls), cut in the perimeter of the wall with a brush.  Take your time, go slow, and be careful when going across the top of the wall where the ceiling meets.  (if you aren’t able to tape the ceiling due to texture on the ceiling)
Now that you’re finished cutting in the perimeter of your accent wall, you can start rolling the paint onto the wall.

Rolling-  Use The “M” Technique.  The M Technique is where you roll a big M (about 2 foot x 2 foot square) and then fill in that area.  What this does is evenly distribute the paint in a certain area.  Then you do the same thing right next to it, overlapping a little bit.  (If you were to just start rolling from left to right the paint would become thinner as you move across and you wouldn’t have an even coat of paint.)  Be sure to overlap the paint that you cut in as well.  This will help cover the difference between brush strokes and the roller pad. 
Once you are finished with the first coat, I suggest putting a fan on it to help it dry faster so that you can apply the second coat quicker.  Typically, in normal conditions an hour and a half to two hours is sufficient time to be able to apply the 2nd coat.  *The first coat might not be thoroughly dry but enough to be able to apply the 2nd coat.  If you try to paint any sooner than an hour without a fan blowing directly on it you can peel off what you’ve already done and create a major problem. 
Next- check to see if you need to cut in some areas a 2nd coat.  Usually the paint is thinner from applying with a brush than with a roller.  So touch up any areas that look thin. 
Then apply 2nd coat with roller.

We’re not done yet!!  Once you are finished with the painting, clean up everything, wash out the rollers and brushes in a utility or bathroom sink.  (Preferably not a stainless steel sink.  It’s just a little bit harder to clean up afterwards.)  * If you have no intention of using the roller again anytime soon I suggest just wrapping it in a plastic bag and throwing away rather than washing all the excess paint down the drain. 
After you have cleaned up, go back and remove the tape.  (I say after you’ve cleaned up because this allows the paint to dry some before removing the tape which makes it easier and less potential for messing up what you’ve just done).

Tip:  Remove the blue tape CAREFULLY and have a utility knife/razor blade in hand to gently cut away the tape if it starts to peel up the paint as you remove the tape.

A Word about the Color:  People often get worried as they are applying the paint that the color isn’t exactly what the paint chip looked like.  Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before making any judgements.  Typically a light color paint will dry a little darker than it looks wet.  And a dark color will dry a little lighter than when it’s wet.  So don’t freak out just yet.  Let it dry and then decide.

CONGRATULATIONS!  You’ve finished your paint job.  Take some time to stand back and enjoy your accomplishment.

Be sure to allow ample air flow even after you’re done to allow the paint fumes to air out thoroughly.



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