Anyone can paint, and most everyone has tried. Pretty basic, right? Yes and no. My first DIY painting experience was a reasonable success; yet dozens of projects and gazillions of gallons of paint later, I continue to learn new tricks and discover ways to get better results. I've also improved the tools that I use (see the painting tools that I keep in my bag). If you’re a newbie painter who wants to bypass several years of practice to get a top-quality finish, here are some easy lessons to apply the next time you tackle a painting project.
Choosing the right paint
Choosing between oil and latex is fairly simple: For most applications, latex is the way to go. Fortunately, today’s water-base paints are keeping up with the formerly favored oil products in terms of durability and smooth finishes (concerns of high importance if you’re painting cabinets, doors or trim).
Other than brand and price point (see “Where to Save $ and Where to Spend It”), your next consideration will be sheen. Traditionally, washable surfaces demanded glossy finishes — no flat paint in hallways or bathrooms. The main advantage of flat paint (typically preferred for living rooms, dining rooms and ceilings) is that it downplays surface flaws. Although some manufacturers now offer flat paints that tout washability, to ensure scrubability (in a child’s room, mudroom or kitchen, for example), a satin — or even shinier — finish is still top choice.
By the way, if you’re stuck on color decisions, see "Seeing Colors," a color guide that will help you choose the right color for your project.
READ MORE: Click here to download this complete article, including tips and photos about choosing the right brushes, masking tape and finally how to actually paint your walls.