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DIY: How to Repair, Prime, and Paint Your Walls

Terrie is a creative person who loves DIY on a budget and updating her farm house. She enjoys sharing creative tips, tricks, and knowledge.

There are so many paint choices!

There are so many paint choices!

How to Repair, Prime, and Paint Your Walls

Here's how you can repair, prime and paint your home:

  1. Gather all the supplies you'll need.
  2. Wash the walls.
  3. Fill all holes and repair any damage.
  4. Apply primer.
  5. Choose and apply the paint.

Each of these steps is detailed below.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Paint

  • What is the size of the room you need to cover? The average room needs two coats of paint. One gallon will cover up to 400 square feet (enough for a small room, like a bathroom). An average-sized room will need two cans.
  • Have you checked to see how the color will change at different times of the day?
  • What type of paint finishes best suits your needs? (You can choose semi-gloss, flat, satin, or eggshell. Glossy paint is easy to clean and best for kitchens or bathrooms.)
  • Will the paint be used in a high traffic area or in a room that is, hardly used?
  • Are you picking the color because it's on trend right now, or will you always love it?
  • Do you want the color to be a contrast in the room, or do you want to stay neutral and use the accessories to infuse the room with color?
  • As you choose paint for the bedrooms of various occupants, ask yourself, do I want each room's paint color to reflect that person's personality, or do I want my home to be cohesive throughout?

Supply List

  1. Mop and pail.
  2. A washcloth.
  3. Dish soap. I use blue Dawn and baking soda. If you are painting, cupboards or kitchen walls, clean with a degreaser first.
  4. Use primer with a stain blocker and two cans of paint.
  5. Painters tape, a paint roller, and paint brushes. I use two types of brushes— one tapered for cutting in the corners and one flat.
  6. Paint can opener and stir stick.
  7. Paint tray and a handheld paint cup.
  8. Sanding paper (for wall prep).
  9. Drywall mud and a container to mix it in.
  10. Putty knife.
  11. Dropcloth or plastic to cover the furniture.
  12. A ladder.

Optional items are a step stool or a paint roller extension handle.

Getting Down to Business: Wash and Repair the Walls

  • Once you have washed all the walls in the room, fill all the holes and repair any damage to the surfaces.
  • If the holes are small, use a pre-made filler or spackle—it's quick and easy to apply.
  • If the damage is large or the wall is uneven, use a powdered mix with water. Remember to apply it in thin layers, then sand in between each layer.

Once all the filled areas are smooth to the touch and have dried for at least 24 hours, then you can prime the walls before painting.

The Importance of Primer

Priming the walls is a vital step. Primer allows better wall coverage with fewer coats of paint and also helps the paint adhere to the wall. So not only will you use less paint, but it will also look much smoother when applied. Some primers even have a stain blocker in them to help to keep stains on the walls from bleeding back through the paint. If you have water stains, be sure to use a primer with a stain blocker.

Primer is an excellent way to help cover those rich dark colors. Maroon, black, and bright orange were all the rage in the 80s and early 90s, and primer is the best weapon against history's deep dark color war.

For the primer, you'll be using the same basic tools as when you paint.

How Light Changes the Wall Colour

Wall color at 9:00 in the morning.

Wall color at 9:00 in the morning.

The same wall at 1:00 in the afternoon.

The same wall at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Tips for Choosing the Paint Colour

Things to consider when choosing the paint:

  • I recommend that you tape or tack paint chips to the wall in the room you are painting.
  • Go back and view them at different times of the day.
  • Over the course of the day, a paint color changes because of how the light reflects off of the paint.
  • You will want to make sure of your color choices before you purchase your paint. By checking the paint color, you will save both time and money.

Colour-Match Your Picture

If you want to paint your kitchen the color of a sunflower, just bring one into the paint store and they'll match it.

If you want to paint your kitchen the color of a sunflower, just bring one into the paint store and they'll match it.

Colour-Matching Is Now in Stores

A paint store's abilities have come a long way. You can now walk in with your favorite pictures (for example, one of a flower or any color you like) and they will use a computer to read the color from any photo and match it. How cool is that!? If paint chips aren't your thing, just bring in a picture and watch the magic happen. The whole process is quite amazing.

DIY: FarmHouse on a Budget

Our farmhouse, early beginnings. Before we started painting.

Our farmhouse, early beginnings. Before we started painting.


How We Renewed and Refreshed Our Old Farmhouse on a Budget

These are the necessary steps and considerations I followed when repainting our home:

  • We started in the main living space. The paint requirement of the central living area (including primer and paint, two coats of each) was $30 per can of paint (we needed two), and $40 for one can of primer. Total=$100.
  • Before painting, we taped off window edges and baseboards. You should cover the furniture with a drop cloth or plastic. For this room, I moved all furniture to the center area.
  • We began painting in the corners first. I have found that a tapered brush works best in corners. Paint every inside corner about an inch wide and where the ceiling meets the wall. Doing this will keep you from hitting the ceiling with the roller.
  • To load the roller with paint, roll it back and across the tray a couple of times. Be careful not to load it with too much paint. I then roll over the wall and reload the roller as needed. Starting with a w pattern, side to side, then up and down. Let it dry for 12 hours before you paint the second coat, then let it dry again.
  • Try not to over-roll the wall, as the roller will pick up paint already applied and ruin your fresh coat of paint. Plus this will thin the first layer out and make more work for your final coat.

I hope these photos inspire you to refresh and renew your home. It truly can be done on a budget.

Demo: How to Paint the Walls

A Short History of Paint

The composition of paint has come a long way. In the 1950s, paints were lead-based and contained harsh chemicals. In the 1980s, we saw significant changes in the composition of the paint. By the new millennium, the whole world of primer and paint had changed. We went to low or no VOC, acrylic, melamine, and water based. Today's paints are easier to clean up and are better for our health, as well.

© 2016 Terrie Lynn


Terrie Lynn (author) from Canada on October 25, 2016:

Thank you. This is my first hub article. I haven't written in along time. Iam shaking off the cobwebs. When my daughter was little our mistake was black chalkboard paint in her bedroom. I've learned a lot since then.


FlourishAnyway from USA on October 25, 2016:

I especially liked how you provided tips and showed how paint can look different at different times of day. When my teen was younger she convinced us to paint her room Pepto Bismol pink. Boy was that a mistake! It still is.