Painting the interior of a home is one of the easiest projects for new DIYers. While there is potential to make a number of mistakes, they’re all easy to avoid. It’s also a great way to save money if you’re not interested in hiring professional painters. Read through this guide before you start your next paint project, and you’ll finish without a drip.

Mistake 1 | Spilled Paint

Spilling paint is one of the easiest mistakes that new painter can make. Trust me… I spilled two whole cans during my first project. To protect your home from unsightly paint stains, just remember these tips:

  • Cover the ground with drop clothes to catch drips and spills
  • Lock up animals before you begin a paint project
  • Always put the lid back on the paint can

Mistake 2 | Uneven Lines

When painting a home, painter’s tape is invaluable. It’s specifically designed to repel paint without ruining your walls. Follow these tips to achieve clean, pain-free lines:

  • Purchase painter’s tape–it’s made with less glue so it won’t pull off fresh paint
  • Cover all fixtures and remove outlet covers
  • After taping, use a putty knife or scraper to smooth out air bubbles and seal the edges
  • After painting, remove the tape immediately to avoid pulling off paint

Mistake 3 | Painting Dirty Walls

It can be tempting to start painting as soon as you get home from the hardware store. However, a little preparation will save your walls from dirt, dust, and hair. Follow these tips for flawless application:

  • Clean your walls with soap and water–even dust can mess up a coat of paint
  • If painting over a glossy coat of paint, use a deglosser before applying the new coat
  • Before your start painting, let the walls dry completely
  • Keep your roller clean–if it touches the ground, it can transfer dust and dirt to your wall

Mistake 4 | Not Using a Primer

Primer is a necessary evil. While it may be irritating to add multiple coats of paint, primer prevents the previous coat of paint from peeking through. Follow these tips when using primer:

  • Apply the first coat of primer after cleaning the walls and letting them dry
  • Pay special attention to holes that have been patched with plaster
  • Let the primer dry completely before adding the next coat of paint–24 hours is a good rule of thumb

You can also use a two-in-one paint and primer combination, but there are some caveats. Only use a two-in-one product if you’re painting over a surface that has been painted before. You should also make sure that the previous coat of paint is the same sheen as the two-in-one primer. For example, it’s not a good idea to use semigloss two-in-one primer over glossy paint.

Mistake 5 | Too Much/Not Enough Paint

When you’re buying paint, always follow this rule of thumb: it’s better to buy too much than to run out. That said, there is science to purchasing enough paint. Follow these tips before you head to Home Depot:

  • One paint can covers about 400 feet–you can do the math or use an online tool
  • If in doubt, buy more than you think you should–if you run out, the next batch may look different
  • Save one can of paint for touch up jobs–you won’t regret this

Mistake 6 | Treating Ceilings Like Walls

For the inexperienced painter, ceilings can offer unexpected challenges. Read these tips before you get started:

  • Buy ceiling paint–it’s less shiny than wall paint and only needs one coat
  • Paint the ceiling before you paint the walls–this will protect the fresh coat of wall paint from unsightly drips
  • Test your popcorn ceiling before painting–if it’s too fragile, you may need to use spray paint

Are you ready to get started? If you feel overwhelmed, you may want to consider hiring a local painting company to do the job. If you’re concerned about saving money, consider the amount of time it will take you to move your belongings, tape, apply primer, paint, and clean up.