Isn’t it amazing how quickly and easily walls in our homes get marred, scuffed, and damaged just in daily wear? I have lived in older homes all of my life. In my past 20 years of marriage and family, I have refurbished many a damaged wall: from drywall, to paneling, to stucco and plaster.
To begin with, wipe down your walls occasionally with a soft cloth or feather duster. This will keep filth and cobwebs from accumulating. A damp cloth will clean up many messes.
Some stubborn marks can be removed with a superb new product called a ‘Magic Eraser’ marketed by Mr. Clean. It’s a dense white sponge that really does erase an limitless variety of smudges, smears, and spots. You can purchase the Magic Eraser from most any grocery or pharmacy. Check out my link for a full description of this incredible product.
For a fresh, new look consider painting you walls with sturdy, stain-resistant paint. Paint is ‘healthy’ for walls. It gives them a new look, but also a tougher surface, better texture and longer life. Paint is not just for plaster and drywall, either. Battered paneling can be given a great, new look with a cost of paint.
I recommend a latex, semi-gloss variety that can be scrubbed. Most companies make a ‘kid-proof’ variety that cleans up beautifully. for rooms which will get less abuse, you can go with a satin or eggshell style paint.
You can get an excellent quality paint for $15 a gallon. I wait for a sale on this paint when I can get it for $8-$10 a gallon. One gallon will cover four walls of a 10×10 room with one coat and possibly two. Get two gallons of any color just for touch-ups.
Color choice is so very personal. However, here is a guide for choosing colors based on the look you wish to achieve. If you want to create a warm, cozy inviting look, choose off-white, cream, tan, sand, olive, brown, pumpkin or paprika and deep burnt reds. For a cool, bright awake colors, choose purple, mauve, pink, lavender, blue, teals, and grays.
The darker the shade, the darker and smaller the room will appear. Conversely, the lighter the hue, the brighter and larger a room will appear.
Colors create feelings also. Lavender/purple/mauve is peaceful and elegant. Pink is excited an passionate. Dark reds are intimate and sultry. Bright red is intense and can be upsetting. Yellow and orange are cheery and happy. Blues are intellectually soothing. Browns are calming and nurturing. Gray is business-like. Olive and gray-green is warm. Teal and blue-green is clean and energizing.
How to paint a room:
–Choose a dry day when you can open the windows, if possible.
–Begin in the morning so you will have all day to work.
–Don’t let anyone in, especially cats!! (Our nosy cats are never able to resist tail-swishing and snooping in paint; One tracked paint all over the carpet and furniture when he had to investigate our son’s freshly painted room.)
–Paint in good clear light.
–Assemble your supplies. You’ll need a Phillips screwdriver, a regular screwdriver, wide masking tape, a small drop cloth (I prefer an old towel.), a damp washcloth, a large paint roller with a cover and a narrow 1′ paintbrush, paint tray and paint.
–Dress in old clothes. Avoid anything baggy or droopy which may hang in the wet paint. Cover your hair. I do not like gloves because they are difficult to work in. Wash paint smears off immediately to avoid itching from latex.
–Move or cover furniture. I move small furniture out of the room and moving large furniture out from the walls to give myself two-three feet of space all around the room.
–Remove switch and plug outlet plate covers with your screwdriver. Store them with their screws in a safe place. This will keep them free of paint.
–Wipe walls with a damp cloth.
–Vacuum floor, especially near walls.
–I use a drop cloth that I move around the room with me, covering about 3 feet of floor at a time.
–Mask off trim, ceiling, windows, carpet, doors, etc. Apply tape carefully and evenly right to the edge.
–Pour enough paint into tray to fill lower well part.
–Rotate your roller back and forth to work paint into sponge. Use elevated area of tray to soak up drips.
–When your applicator is well saturated but not dripping, –Apply a layer of paint over any chipped, peeling, or damaged areas with your roller, going back and forth diagonally a few times. This will blend in the damaged areas and give them an extra layer of paint to cover the uneven surface. As you paint, they will have dried somewhat and you will paint over them.
–Begin coverage painting in a top corner of wall. I begin on a wall that I want to dry first (for example, in a bedroom, the wall that the bed is near).
–Use even vertical strokes. You can go up and down a few times to fill in the area with paint.
–Don’t worry about getting edges perfect; you will touch up with your small paint brush.
–Be careful near masked off areas that you don’t slop over masking tape.
–Do not paint outlets, handles, trim or any fittings.
–When you have a good basic first coat down, go back over with your roller less saturated and wipe up drips and cover any bare areas.
–Have someone check for spots you missed. If you have been staring at the wall for awhile you tend to miss spots.
–With your small brush paint all around any trim and edges carefully. Fill in any little spots.
–Let your whole project dry for at least 4 hours.
–Check for any spots you may have missed when paint is throughly dry; repaint just missed spots, going up and down.
–Typically, one coat should be enough if you have covered areas thoroughly and you are covering with a similar or darker shade.
–You can set up a fan in the room to cure paint.
–Clean up all your supplies and let it dry all day. Remove tape and replace switch an plug covers only after paint is dry to the touch and not tacky at all.
Finish your work professionally:
–If you are satisfied with your paint job, it is fine as it is.
–If you want to add a touch of pizazz, or if you have scars or dents to cover, use these options:
Apply wall borders:
–You can purchase inexpensively ($1-$6) rolls of wall borders. These are sold to compliment wallpaper patterns, but you can apply them directly to a painted wall. They are anywhere from 4” to 8′ wide.
–Select a pattern you like. They come in 5 yard rolls so get enough to do you entire wall area.
–Apply them along the top of your wall along the ceiling or along the floor at the baseboard level.
–You will need a tub of water at least 6 inches deep.
–Cut a piece of border to fit the wall perfectly.
–As you unroll your border, ‘book’ it back and forth like an accordion in small folds. Don’t crease it, just gently overlap it back and forth.
–Submerge your folded piece in water, soaking the piece entirely.
–This will activate the paste on the back and it will become gooey.
–Align your dripping wet piece of border along the edge of your wall flush with the edge of the ceiling.
–Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.
–It should run in a straight line; adjust it while wet until it is perfectly aligned.
–With a cloth or sponge, wipe off any water, paste or dust.
–Let it dry.
Apply wallpaper cut-outs:
–To cover any holes, dents or bumps in the wall, cut large images from pre-pasted wallpaper.
–Dip them in water to activate the paste.
–Apply them to painted, stucco, plaster or paneled walls over the flaw.
–If you have wallpapered walls, purchase some border-over paste to apply.
These simple techniques can transform ugly walls into things of beauty.