Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to Paint a Room- Painting Basics

There are so many DIY projects that involve new paint. Without knowing painting basics, simplest paint job can go sour very quickly. It'll make an impact either way- but you want it to be a positive one! And, rather than taking a picture of your newly updated room for your Pinterest board, 
Painting walls is actually very simple, but takes a lot of work and care to make it look right. Here are five steps to follow to get your walls looking fresh and perfect.

1. Research and Prep- Take a look at the kind of wall you are painting. Different walls require different brushes. Highly textured walls will need a thicker density roller brush. The best course of action is to get an employee to walk you through their selection and help you pick out the best materials for your job. When picking a paint color, take a few samples home to try on your wall. The actual color is going to be much different than the swatch! Also take a few days to examine the colors in every type of light- morning, afternoon, artificial- before making your final choice.

2. Plastic covers- No matter how careful you are when painting, paint gets everywhere. And the worst place for it to get is all over carpet or hardwood floors. Paint splatters look unattractive and messy, and the floors will never look clean. So invest in some disposable plastic sheets to lay on floors, furniture that isn't being moved from the room, and anything else you don't want painted. When the paint drips, it'll fall on the sheets instead of permanent surfaces.

3. Tape- Continue prep work with taping off areas to get a clean line of paint. These usually include on baseboards, around door frames, and the crack between the wall and the ceiling. It's very important to use the right kind of tape. Not all tapes are equal! Without a good tape, the paint will seep underneath, ruining that clean line you need. Another problem is that some tapes won't peel up easily, either forcing you to scrape it up later, or pulling paint up with it. FrogTape is a widely known favorite that leaves a crisp line while coming up easily after paint has dried.

4. Prime- If there is an existing color on the walls, they may need to be primed, especially if they are dark. Some paints are a color with primer in one, but these paints usually require many coats, and can turn out to be more expensive and the same amount of work. You can try testing out a patch on your wall to see how easily your new color covers the old one, or talk to an expert in your local paint department about your best option for your colors. For both primer and color, follow steps 5-8. 

5. Cut- Now you can finally crack open that paint can! The first step to getting full and even coverage on the walls is to cut around edges and corners. Mostly, in places where a roller can't reach. This includes any places with tape- baseboards, door frames, and along ceiling lines or lines between walls (if not painting all walls). Use short strokes to carefully paint around these lines. And always use a dry brush!

6. Roll- Next comes the fun part. This goes fast and gives a lot of gratification quickly. Load a dry roller sponge with plenty of paint- not dripping, but a fully soaked roller. Start with diagonal lines back and forth in one direction, and then quickly roll over those with lines in the opposite direction to get the best coverage (see diagram).

7. Multiple coats- Once the paint has dried completely, it's time to put on another coat. A large majority of colors will need at least two coats. Some will need more. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for best wall coverage. 

8. Examine the room- Before cleaning up for good and peeling the painters tape off, examine the room during all times of the day. Sometimes a room can look great in morning light, but as soon as afternoon sun pours in, it'll look splotchy and uneven. Have your brush and roller ready throughout the day to paint trouble spots and patch the uneven areas. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Which Room Colors Influence Mood?

Color creates and a definite mood, tone and energy in a room, which is why it's so important to pick one that will create the mood that you want. For bedrooms, colors with a calm, relaxing effect are often preferred over ones that create high-energy or excitement. Those are best in a living room or other areas where it can stimulate productivity and conversation. 

So, which colors have which effects? 

Red- Red creates a very high-energy environment. It stimulates the mind and body, a lot of times physically increasing heart rate and body circulation. 
Rooms to paint red: Living room, dining room, kitchen.
Rooms to avoid: Bedrooms

Orange-Similar to red, orange raises excitement and enthusiasm. It rejuvenates and increases energy, appetite, and boosts self-esteem. 
Rooms to paint orange: Exercise room, kitchen.
Rooms to avoid: Bedrooms, living room.

Yellow- Yellow is a very cheerful color, often raising happiness and energy. It's uplifting, warm and cheery. However, it can also be hard on the eyes and over-stimulating, creating anxiety. That's why it's best used as an accent only.
Rooms to paint yellow: Accent in kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room.
Rooms to avoid: Bedrooms

Green- Greens are very calming, relaxing, and easy on the eyes. It's fresh and cheerful, but helps to comfort, unwind, and reduce stress. 
Rooms to paint green: Living room, bedrooms, bathroom.
Rooms to avoid: Kitchen

Blue- Like green, blue has a calming and relaxing effect. It also helps increase focus and creativity. Pastels can be cold and frosty, so use those sparingly. Dark hues can make the room too dark, making the room dreary and depressing. 
Rooms to paint blue: Bedroom, bathroom, office.
Rooms to avoid: Living room, kitchen.

Purple- The color of royalty and luxury. As with blue, the hues make a large difference in the mood it creates. Dark purples and plums create a mood of sophistication, passion, and creativity. Lighter purples, like lavender and lilac, have the same qualities as calming blue. However, they don't have as much risk of being cold or hard.
Rooms to paint purple: Dining room, bedrooms, office, bathroom.
Rooms to avoid: Living room, kitchen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12 Cheap DIY Ideas to Fix Up the House Before the Holidays

Kids in school are counting down the last days before the holiday break, college students are looking forward to the back side of their finals, and it's impossible to avoid Christmas music in every grocery and department store. As of today, there are only two weeks until Christmas.

We know that there are a lot of things on the to-do list, including finishing shopping, mailing cards to friends and family, and baking treats for the neighbors. It's hard enough to get all of those done while also prepping the house for guests.

So here 12 quick, easy, and cheap things to do in order to get the house clean and ready for your guests before you see their headlights pull up in the driveway. 

1.  Follow a Deep Clean Schedule- Getting all of the cleaning done can be a daunting task, but is very manageable if it's taken one step at a time. Here is our 30 minutes a day deep clean schedule.

2.  Clean the Carpets- Through, you can find a place to rent a machine and also find a coupon. Or, if you plan on continuing to clean your carpets, invest in a carpet cleaning machine which usually runs between $100 and $150. Cleaning them yourself can take a couple of hours (and will need time to dry, especially during winter- be sure to turn up that heater!), but is well worth the time once it's finished.

3.  Add Area Rugs- In places that have large stains, or just need a pop of color and style, add some area rugs. Good places are under the dining room table, in front of the couch, the entry way, by beds, or down a hallway. 

4.  Add an Accent Wall- One gallon of paint is around $20, but depending on the size of the wall, you may be able to buy a couple of pints. Pick a fun, new color, and use an afternoon to paint an accent wall. It will give the room a completely new and fresh look.

5.  Update Lighting Fixtures- Updating lighting fixtures allows you to add personal style quickly. Also, some lighting fixtures don't always light up the space as well as they could. New fixtures make a big impact and gives you the opportunity to brighten up any space. Check out our sister site for lighting fixtures at

6.  Replace front doorknob- Another easily updated piece in your house that makes a huge impact is the doorknob on the front door. For a total makeover, also think about painting the front door!

7.  New Switch Plates- Most switch plates are very affordable at any home improvement store. Change out your old ones to update any room quickly. Or, if you're very creative, refurbish your old ones with paint or other decorations.

8.  Patch Grout in Bathroom and Recaulk- Grout chips and cracks away after a while, so luckily it's easy to fix. Get some grout that matches your color and patch up the holes. Make sure the existing grout isn't wet before patching on top of it. Another necessary chore is to recaulk around the tub. This will protect the grout and glue, and make it easier to clean.

9.  New Shower Curtain, Bath Mat, and Towels- A cheap way to make a huge statement. Completely update the whole look of your bathroom with new accessories. There are endless possibilities with colors, patterns, and textures.

10.  Declutter with New Storage- Adding some big plastic bins in the garage or organizers in bedroom and linen closets allows for better organization. Having things organized well makes it a lot easier to clean up and keep things in their place.

11.  Add Molding- Install some crown molding or a chair rail molding for a fresh and classy look. Paint it, nail it it, patch the holes, and paint the patches.

12.  Window Treatments- Curtains and valences make a huge statement in the room, and often sets the mood. Change it up with new curtain rods as well.