Are your baseboards, chair rails, and window frames looking a little dated? Dark wood trim can sometimes turn a room stale and anything but current. If that’s the case for your room, why not paint that dark wood trim a lighter color? White and other pale shades can brighten up the room’s style dramatically. It’s an instant makeover that requires very little investment of time, energy, and money but gives a significant return on that investment.
To execute this paint project perfectly, you’ll need the right tools and supplies and good prep work. Here’s how you can get the perfect dark-to-white look in just a few simple steps.
1. Pick Your Particular White (or Other Color)
Do you want white trim, or something less stark? You’ll find a plethora of white and almost-white shades to choose from, no matter what brand you prefer. How can you tell the precise shade that’ll make your room zing? One of the best ways to figure it out is with an online visualization tool, such as Glidden’s Paint Color visualizer or Sherwin-Williams’ color visualizer, both of which will help you get a sense of what a specific tint will look like in your room.
2. Get the Paint and Primer
First, you’ll want to get the right quantity of your selected shade of paint. Figure out how much you’ll need by measuring the length and the width of every piece of trim you want to paint. Multiply those sums together for a total square footage, then figure on one gallon of paint for every 400 square feet to be painted. Double that amount for two coats, which you’ll probably need since you’re going from a dark color to a light one.
In addition to the paint, you’ll need primer. Primer is a necessary first step when you’re covering up a dark shade with a lighter one, even if you’re planning to do a second coat. Primer helps ensure a smooth, even coverage.
- Assemble Your Supplies and Tools
Next, you’ll need to collect your tools and supplies:
- A bucket for cleaning solution
- A clean sponge or soft, clean rag
- Small container of wood filler and a putty knife
- Painter’s tape
- Tarps or drop cloths to protect your floors
- A paint tray
- Small sized paint brushes
Now that you’ve got your tools and supplies gathered, it’s time to prepare the trim surface to get it ready for painting.
4. Clean the Trim and Adjacent Wall Space
Prepare a solution of a few tablespoons of mild soap or detergent in a gallon of clean water. Using a sponge or rag with the cleaning solution, wash the trim and a few inches above and below the trim to make sure it’s clean enough that the painter’s tape will stick to it, once dry.
5. Use Wood Filler in Nicks and Nail Holes
After the trim you’ve cleaned has fully dried, use the putty knife with the wood filler to fill in any nicks or nail holes in the trim. This will help make sure your paint has a completely smooth surface that will help achieve the uniform coverage you want. Scrape off the excess, then use the sandpaper to smooth down the edges. Finally, use a clean sponge that’s been slightly dampened with clean water to wipe down the trim and remove any grit.
6. Tape Off the Area
After you’ve prepped the trim and surrounding wall space, it’s time to tape off the area. Apply the painter’s tape carefully to the trim area you’ll be painting first, a section at a time. You can extend the tape when you move on to the next section.
7. Prime the Trim
Apply your primer as evenly as possible to the trim that you’ll be painting. Primer helps ensure that you get an even, uniform appearance with your paint. After you prime the trim, you’ll want to wait at least 24 hours before you move on to painting.
8. Time to Paint!
Mix the paint thoroughly in the paint can and then pour a small amount into your tray. Work with one small section at a time—this will help you achieve an even coat and the gorgeous, smooth finish you want. Use short strokes of your paint brush, then use one long even stroke to erase any brush marks you might have left. Then move on to the next section.
Wait until the paint dries completely then evaluate whether you need a second coat. If so, take the same section-by-section, short-stroke approach. Don’t try to remove your painter’s tape until you’ve completed the job and are sure that the paint has dried thoroughly.
A Paint Job Can Increase Value
When your home’s walls and trims sport a professional-looking paint job, you’ll find that it helps present your home in the best possible light, whether that’s to guests, potential purchasers, or even to someone conducting an appraisal. If you’re not confident of your painting skills, you might want to think about hiring a professional and leaving the work to them.