10 Paint Mistakes We Don’t Want You To Make

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April 23, 2020

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John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others.

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Let’s talk about something that’s not COVID-19 — like the top 10 mistakes we at John McClain Design want you to avoid with a fresh coat of paint:

1. Skipping the Swatch Test.

The source of light can affect how paint will show. Leaving a swatch up for at least 24 hours helps you visualize how the color will change throughout the day.

2. Forgoing Prep Work.

Do the prep work … you’ll thank me later! Properly cleaning walls by vacuuming and wiping them down with a damp cloth removes pesky dust particles that easily stick to paint, paving the way for a smooth canvas. 

3. Failing to Protect Other Surfaces.

Avoid paint spills by laying nylon on the floor and wrapping doorknobs with plastic. Remove outlets and switch covers too for a clean finish. Painter’s tape is great for crisp lines — but remove it before the paint dries to prevent dry paint from peeling off too.

4. Skimping on Proper Tools.

Like any tradesman will tell you the tools of the trade are just as important as the trade. Using latex-based paint? Opt for synthetic bristles. Oil-based? Go with natural bristles! Also, pay attention to the size and shape of brushes. Angled brushes work well for getting around corners while paint rollers are great for overall coverage.

5. Not Priming.

Wanting to dive right in is normal but not using primer could lead to a catastrophe, like latex-based paint cracking. Pinpoint which primer to use by identifying what type of paint is already present. Brand-new walls require traditional primer before paint application. Existent glossy finishes should be sanded so new paint can adhere to the surface. Are your walls already painted without a glossy finish? Then it’s totally okay to use a primer and paint mix.

6. Buying the Wrong Amount of Paint.

Too much paint and you’re in the red … too little and you don’t have enough for touch-ups. Calculate the right amount of paint with this formula: 1 gallon per 400 square feet, plus a little extra to account for error.

7. Timing the Second Coat Poorly.

Dark colors always need more coating but wait 24 hours before applying a second coat. Adding it too early can cause brush strokes to become visible.

8. Googling the Color of the Year.

Paint what you love, not what’s in! You live with the results so go with a color that excites you. Note which rooms are adjacent to the room you’re painting for a cohesive flow. Colors play off one another and that perfect blue paint in the den may not look so good with the tangerine wallpaper in the dining room.

If you’re curious about some of the John McClain Design team’s favorite colors, Sherwin-Williams is our go-to brand. Here’s an article from MarthaStewart.com discussing why it’s our first choice: click here.

9. Neglecting Baseboards, Trim & Crown Molding.

Focusing only on the walls is a huge mistake when looking to create impact. A dramatic transformation can be achieved by simply painting baseboards, trim and crown molding.

10. Going Brush-Stroke Crazy.

I know, I know! Painting is exciting, and that little kid inside wants to come out and go big. Sadly, inconsistent brush strokes can highlight streaks. Stick to coloring within the lines, starting from the ceiling straight down to the floor.

There you have it — now go out and make us proud at John McClain Design!

Till next time…
Happy Designs!

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John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others.

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