So Monday night I decided to finally purchase paint for my guest room and get to work.  It only took me 2 years to decide, sheesh!  I was hoping that the painting gods would be with me and magically make one gallon cover the entire room…but alas I finished three walls (touch-ups and all) and now have to time a stop at the paint store (with inconvenient open times) so I can finish the final wall.  Boo.

guest bedroom layout

guest bedroom layout

I have a tendency to underestimate things…it’s one of my fatal flaws (you’re laughing and shaking your head yes, aren’t you, love?!).  Be it the time it takes to complete a project, how long it takes to get somewhere, how much effort something will take, how much something will cost…projects always take longer than I planned, it always takes longer to get somewhere that I expected, it’s always more difficult than I thought, and it always costs more than I budget.  (How am I a project management professional?!?!  I suppose those work skills have failed to spill over into my home life…!)  My latest painting endeavor is a classic case in point of my chronic underestimation disease!

So how can I improve for the next painting job?  I suppose I should take some handy advice from Mr. Fix-It himself, Bob Vila of This Old House fame.  He recommends that before painting a room, you…

  • Measure the Room :: Measure the width and height of each surface requiring paint, multiply together, and then subtract any the width/height calculation of any door or window openings.  For my guest room, that equals approximately 285 square feet requiring a fabulous coat of agave green paint.
  • Identify Old vs. New Walls :: There are a few situations when a coat (or two) of primer is required to ensure the best possible paint coverage.  Fresh drywall will obviously require a coat of primer before slapping on the final color – don’t skip this step or that drywall will suck up way too much of your final paint color!  If walls are in poor condition, is darker than the color you plan to use, or if you will be painting over oil-based paint, you definitely will need to prime.  However, if the walls are in good condition and your new color is similar to or darker than the current paint color, a quick cleaning of the walls and a little light sanding is all you need to do.Oops.  I always get so excited to just get the project DONE that I tend to skip important steps like this.  Luckily the walls are in fine shape, but coat after coat after coat of paint over the last 50 years probably merited a quick sand this time to even out imperfections and poor patch jobs.  But, again, I jumped ahead of myself and started painting.  Luckily for me, the other “primer required” scenarios didn’t apply!
  • Estimate Your Paint Requirements :: One gallon of good-quality latex paint will generally cover approximately 300-400 square feet.  A few things to keep in mind, though, that will affect how far your paint will stretch: porosity of the walls, surface texture, and poor quality brushes or roller naps (check to see if the paint you picked recommends specific applicators) can all increase the volume of paint you’ll need.  Make sure you OVERestimate for oopsies and the all-important post-painting touch-ups.  I did follow one piece of this advice! – I used (and love) Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint, which recommended the specific Aura roller naps, which applies the right amount of this wonderfully saturated paints to the walls.

Although the room’s size fits the “rule of thumb” of just under 300 sqare feet of paintable space, my first coat on 3 of the walls plus a light second coat used up most of the can.  So back to the paint store I go!

I hope that helps with your next painting project!  Now if only I would take my own advice…