In today’s economy, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to spruce up their home without spending a lot of money, and there is no better way to change the look and feel of a room than painting.

But even if you are a first time painter, there’s no need to worry. Just follow these simple tips from the experts and you’ll end up with a room looking like it was painted by professionals.

“Preparation is 90 percent of the battle,” says Lou Manfredini, Ace’s ‘Helpful Hardware Man.’ “Before you pick-up the paintbrush, take a moment to look at the space you are working with and determine the tools you will need for the project. This will help insure you have the right supplies for the job and save you unnecessary trips to the hardware store.”

Paint
Think picking the perfect color is all that matters when choosing paint? Think again. There are two main types of paint to choose from, oil-based and latex-based paints.

* Oil-based paints go on thicker, so it’s less likely that you will have to apply more than one coat. They are ideal for chalky surfaces or walls that already have several coats of paint on them.
* Latex paints give off less of an odor, dry faster and retain color better than the oil variety. The majority of paints sold in the U.S. are latex-based as they have a higher gloss, are easier to touchup and are the perfect choice for wood, drywall, stucco or concrete.

Once you’ve selected the type of paint, you’ll need to choose the level of gloss, which refers to how shiny the paint is.

* High-gloss paints are ideal for high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, railings, trim and windowsills because they provide a tough washable finish that is stain resistant. One drawback though is that they show surface imperfections, so make sure you take care when painting with high-gloss.
* Semi-gloss is less stain-resistant, but is easier to work with, so use this type of paint on walls that see less traffic (and fewer dirty hands).
* Eggshell paints are a little less glossy than semi-gloss, and are a good option for those who dislike having shiny walls.
* Matte or flat finish is a perfect choice for ceilings and walls that see little to no traffic.

Finally, you’ll need to know how much paint to get, which you can determine with a simple formula:

* Measure the total footage around the perimeter and multiply by the wall height in feet.
* From this subtract 20 square feet for each door and 14 square feet for each window.
* Divide by 300.

The result is the number of gallons that you’ll need to complete the job. There are also online calculators that can help you figure it out, like the one on AceHardware.com.

Tools
When purchasing paintbrushes and roller covers, try to buy the highest quality that you can afford as it really does make a difference. If you aren’t sure what to buy, choose rollers for large spaces, traditional paintbrushes for smaller spaces and thin angled paintbrushes for corners and trim.

Paintbrushes and roller covers come in natural and synthetic materials. “Use a synthetic brush when you use latex paint since latex can make natural bristles frizzy,” says Manfredini. “Natural brushes are best when used with oil-based finishes.”

Get started
With the right paint and tools on hand, its time to get to work. Push the furniture into the middle of the room and cover with a plastic tarp or old sheet. Next, put painter’s tape along the borders of the space, such as the doors, windows and trim.

Paint in wide brush strokes and alternate the direction you paint to avoid stripes on the wall. In no time, you’ll have a beautiful room to enjoy.

For more painting tips and advice, visit the painting tips section at acehardware.com, or stop by your neighborhood Ace Hardware store.

Painting — a quick and inexpensive way to update your home
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