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Painting Mistakes: 7 Common DIY Errors and How to Fix Them | Architectural Digest


Mistake #3: Skimping on primer

Yes, painting a room twice is annoying, but using a primer is what procures the color you chose with fewer coats of paint. Certain paint colors, especially bright yellows, greens, reds, and oranges, need a separate primer to look vivid, Thompson notes. A paint job with “bleed through” (when the old color is showing, especially when you’re going from dark to light) is an easy enough fix. Apply one or two more coats of paint until it looks uniform. Should you decide to spot prime, say a pesky corner, ensure the final result blends with the rest of the wall. In the end, the shortcut will have you do the same amount of painting. Next time, start with a fast-drying formula like Clare primer. “It’s super thick so one coat usually does the trick,” Murphy says.

Mistake #4: Painting a second coat before the first one dries

No one likes watching paint dry, but for this DIY, patience is a virtue. Rushing to apply a second coat before the first one dries completely can pick up the first coat of paint, thinning it out. “It’ll result in uneven coloring, streaks, or even peeling,” Murphy says. “I recommend waiting two to four hours before applying a second coat, even longer for an oil-based paint.” Think you can outsmart science with a heavy hand hoping to skip a second coat altogether? Don’t. You’ll risk giving your surface “wrinkly skin.” To cure a rushed paint job, wait for the paint to harden, then sandpaper it to rub it down. Clean the area with a soapy sponge and clean water, allow it to dry, and reapply.

Mistake #5: Painting over a stain

To make a water or chemical stain permanently disappear, spot prime with a kill-stain primer or a pigmented shellac, says Thompson, who suggests a water-based primer, such as ECOS Paints Stain Blocking Primer. “Sometimes it’s just not possible to spot treat an area without it being visible, in which case repainting corner-to-corner is necessary,” he says. If the stain is on a smaller surface, like paneling or kitchen cabinets, you’ll have to prime the entire area.

Mistake #6: Waiting too long to peel off painter’s tape

Prying painting tape can be as bad as a bikini wax. Yanking too hard will have you screaming as you pull off a layer of paint. Use a razor to cut along the perimeter where the tape meets the trim or wall. For a clean edge, slowly pull the tape away.

Mistake #7: The color is too dark

Ending up with a color that’s darker than expected is a common novice paint mistake. Paint typically shows up darker IRL than on a paint chip–especially in a room with minimal natural light. Adding lamps, but not overhead lights, can make a big difference. To further offset the dark hue, add decorative accessories with reflective surfaces to bounce off the light, says Denver-based Nadia Watts of Nadia Watts Interior Design, who recommends a brass tray, a large glass bowl, or a gold side table, for instance.


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