When we bought our first home, I had never painted a wall in my life. Fast forward six years and I would venture to call myself a painting expert. Five houses in, I’ve painted a LOT. And I’ve learned a lot along the way.
So maybe not a painting expert. But a LAZY painting expert.
As I was painting the barn apartment, I got to thinking about all of the ways I save time while painting. I feel like I’ve become pretty
lazy efficient in painting, and thought I’d share some tips to make your painting go fast, too. Some of these tips have been shared here and there, but I thought it could be good to have it all in one place. Especially since I get a lot of questions about painting.
These are not the “best” way or even the “right” way. And they are in no particular order. But, for someone who has a lot to do and needs time on her side, they’re good ways to save time and money.
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Go in with a plan.
I think the key to being efficient is to thinking through a painting project before you start it.
Before I ever pick up a paint brush, I know HOW I will be painting a room.
My way? I typically start with trim so I can be messy on the walls. Then I cut in the walls. Then I roll the walls. If ceilings are involved, they always come first, because I’m cutting in the walls anyhow.
Why does this matter?
Because I don’t have to think about it while I’m painting. I don’t have to hem and haw about what I should paint next. I just do it. I don’t worry and wonder what would be the most efficient.
You can waste a lot of time if you don’t know the order you are going to follow when painting. Just make a decision beforehand and go to town.
I am a pretty fast painter. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one major reason is that I never use painter’s tape on walls or ceilings. (There are times when I have to use it, but for ceilings, it’s just about never.)
Instead, I use a short angled brush and go carefully along the ceiling. I was tipped off to the beauty of these small angled brushes when YHL posted about them back in 2009 and I’ve been using them every since. I actually end up with a better line and there’s no real prep work involved. It takes a little practice, but I think the end result is better than taping.
You know I love Behr Ultra Premium Plus. But seriously, I LOVE IT and I loved it well before I started working with Behr last year. I often get questions from friends in real-life about the need for the paint+primer. Is it really necessary?
Necessary? No. Worth it? Yes.
I rarely have to put a second coat of paint on a wall. And on ceilings, I get away with two coats. Trim – I usually get away with two coats, too. (Which is a miracle, because painting trim and ceilings is horrible and can take tons of coats if you don’t do it right. Note: On trim, I typically start with an oil-based primer as well because I think it holds up better.)
Don’t be afraid to get messy.
I believe that doing all kinds of work to limit the mess is just a losing battle. Painting is messy. Embrace it. (Picture above is when I painted our master bedroom trim in our current house. I still wear those paint pants, because I’m very classy. I actually think I’m wearing those pants in every single picture in this post.)
I am typically completely covered in paint by the end of a project. And that’s okay. That’s what showers are for.
I have paint clothes for a reason. I have drop cloths for a reason. (Although, I rarely use drop cloths either, because I’m lazy and typically painting before the floors are finished. See next tip.)
Embrace the lazy.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being lazy.” Kim Woodward, 2014
The truth is, I’m willing to give up perfect for the sake of painting faster. This tip probably should have gone first, because most of my tips are just lazy. 😉
For example, here’s a tip for quick (and lazy) cabinetry painting – I took all the drawers out first to paint the outsides. Then, I added the drawers and painted the fronts right there. To dry, I just pull the drawers out like below, which prevents dripping into the drawers below.
I am not painting the interiors of the cabinets or drawers because they are laminated and will hold up better without paint. And I’m not worried about this being perfect because I’m not a perfectionist and I’ll never notice.
The less stuff you have to deal with in a room, the better. I’m pretty lucky because I almost always paint rooms before we had any furniture in the space. But, if you don’t have this luxury, it’s just better and easier to move everything out of the room that you can. Or take everything outside to paint (like the windows above). Then, you don’t have to worry about getting anything important messy or not being able to get around fixtures or furniture.
I promise you that it will take less time to just move everything out before you start painting. Seriously. Just do it.
Also, limiting distractions goes for other things, too. I don’t paint with Henry around. I usually don’t even paint with Ryan around. I just need to be alone with my book on tape and my paint brush or sprayer.
Use aluminum foil and plastic bags.
Sometimes, you have to wait a day (or a week) to get a second coat on the walls or trim. Instead of cleaning brushes – which I dispose – I simply wrap the brushes and rollers in aluminum foil and then store in plastic bags. They will keep for an embarrassing long time. Then, you only have to clean them once, when the whole project is done.
I also use aluminum foil to line roller trays, or you can be a high roller and buy the tray liners at the hardware store. Whatever suits your fancy. But cleaning roller trays is annoying so I avoid it at all costs.
So, those are a few of my tips. I mean, clearly we look like experts – the LAZY PAINTING experts. You should totally take our word for it. (Hello, painting sweatshirt, old friend.)
Do you have any tips for painting efficiency?
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And if you want more of our painting tips, check out our favorite painting hacks.
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