Monday, July 8, 2013

Painting, painting, painting: Prep and tips

Few projects can change a room faster than paint.
And in my mind, it'll be quick & easy little project.
I err on the optimistic side, I guess, because this was not a quick project...

The built-ins and trim in our den.

You may have seen it looking like this (taken while moving):

Or more recently:

We knew we'd have to paint the built-ins and any other unpainted wood trim before we moved, so why not start on a four-day weekend?

We also started to paint the crown and toe molding. Why, you ask? Because it was painted a yellow-tinted off-white. It doesn't sound too bad, but it kind of affected the way the new wall paint looked, so we decided to start the room-by-room process of painting the molding.

We wanted a plain, straight white paint. Lo and behold, it is hard to determine which of the white paints at the paint store is a true white (Diamond white? Super white? Dove white? What?)... unless you make friends with the paint-mixing man, and he tells you there is a pre-mixed "designer white." Bingo!

Additionally, our new friend (Bob at Ace Hardware) told us a great way to prep the surfaces (yes, there was prep work to do before the massive painting effort got underway).
1) Get a sanding sponge like this one.  Fill a bucket with warm water and a little add powder dishwashing detergent like this one.  (maybe like a 1/4 -1/2 cup?)  Use the sanding sponge like you would a sponge or washcloth to wash the trim.
2) Using a bucket of clean water, wipe the cleaned trim.
3) Dry with another cloth.
4) You're ready to paint!

With our angled brush and semi-gloss designer white paint in hand, we got to painting... and painting...

... and painting.

We got all the crown and toe molding painted, but then we had to tackle the beast: The two floor-to-ceiling dark wood built-ins, louvered doors, and window trim. Yay. (Keep in mind how crazy the room gets when you paint, you know? We also had to take the plantation shutters off to get to the window trim.  We will paint them eventually)

From my days as a furniture refinisher, I really like Kilz 2 Latex Primer because it does a good job at blocking stains and darker places in the wood.  We applied this to the built-ins and any other trim in the room that wasn't painted after the prepping with the sanding sponge.

I confess: I cheated on the louvered doors.  (Seriously: who can paint those thingers?)  I went with this white spray paint, betting it would be very close to the designer white paint, and it's easy to get a nice, non-drippy finish with this kind. 
 We did two coats on all sides, which took four bottles (a little pricier, but so much easier than painting with a brush.) As you can see in the pictures, it's still a little blotchy, so I'll do another coat. BUT, it certainly changes the look of the room, right?


I will post more pictures once I have the shelves all reassembled and beautified.

Just a little paint and a Saturday (and maybe a Sunday) are all it takes!  Happy painting!



  1. Isn't it amazing how a little paint can bring a room into this century? The built-ins look great!

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