DIY with paint

If you read both this and my main blog, you know that I moved to a new apartment over the summer. Everything was pretty much the way I wanted it, except for the colour of the bedroom walls. The previous owner had painted the room a very dark blue, which went great with her light-coloured oak furniture, but not so great with my black metal furniture:


I wear black most days, but it's not how I decorate.

There was one big obstacle to getting the painting done: I'd never painted a room before. I talked to lots of people about it, and got responses ranging from "it's easy, just read about it on the net and go for it" to "ugh! what a lot of work! and it always turns out badly! hire someone!".

I almost hired someone, but when I thought of how the logistics of that would work, it seemed that trying to do it myself was a lot better. Either way I was sleeping on the couch (a very comfy sofa bed, but nevertheless a couch) for a couple of days.

So I read about it on the net, used a paint calculator to figure out how much I needed, and went from there (the Benjamin Moore site helped me; I'm sure there's other places). And you know? If you decide that painting is what you're doing that day, and don't plan on doing anything else, it's not that bad. My only regret is that I didn't talk to the ever-practical Brenda beforehand: she recommends painting in your underwear if you're by yourself or comfortable with the people you're painting with, because paint is easy to get off skin, but nigh-impossible to get off clothing. Thanks to Beryl, Cila (sorry if I spelled your name wrong), Howard, Eric, and Andreea for all the hints. Thanks also to the ever-amazing Jan for creating lots of examples of how paint can transform a room.

Saturday: removed furniture, emptied closet, removed closet doors, removed electrical faceplates, taped, tarped, and did 2 coats of primer. The dark blue was still showing through the primer, but I had two cans of paint as opposed to one can of primer, so I was still optimistic.


Sunday: crash. Clifford the big red couch got folded out as a bed and did a great job. The mattress and support frame are almost exactly like my regular bed. Very comfy.

Monday night: Decided that sleeping on the couch for a week, waiting until the following Saturday was not going to cut it, despite Clifford's excellent attributes as a bed. Having my clothing scattered over the rest of the apartment in garbage bags and stacked on other furniture was also a factor. So at 8:00pm I opened one of the cans of paint and started painting. I had two coats finished around midnight (only one coat inside the closet because otherwise I'd run out of paint and have to start the second can) and was amazed. Everything had been covered up.

Tuesday night: Removed tarp & tape, then touched up baseboards, ceiling, and closet shelves with a sample bottle of Debbie's White by Debbie Travis. If you get on your hands and knees you can see the touch-ups, but otherwise not. I also removed excess paint from light switches and electrical plugs (not all mine, the last paint job had left this too) with Q-tips and nail polish remover. Replaced faceplates. Removed antique brass faceplates from living room and bathroom, and discovered they were there to camouflage that the light switches had paint on them. More Q-tips and nail polish remover. Replaced face plates with nice clean-looking white ones. I seem determined to make this place look like it's from 1963, but it's working out well.

Tuesday also saw the furniture get replaced in the bedroom, being careful to avoid the touched-up parts of the baseboard. Slept in the bed.


(this isn't quite the colour, thanks to the camera flash, but you get the idea)

Wednesday night: Closet touch-ups were dry, so the clothes got put away. Interestingly, there is way more room now than there was before. Side benefits!

Verdict: You can definitely tell it's an amateur job, but I was painting over another amateur job, so I don't feel bad. When the day comes to sell, I'll have to paint it off-white or something else boring, but for living in, it is fabulous.

Postscript: there was one faceplate that had no holes in it. When I took it off, I found these wires. The clear red knobby things say "3M" on them. If anyone knows what these are, please let me know!