A 1930s fixer-upper becomes a cheery and personal home at the hands of an industrious homeowner

Paint and Pluck Revamp a Portland Ranch.

Medical librarian Heather Tucker fell in love with the arches and coved ceilings of a dilapidated home in the Piedmont neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. The house had sat unoccupied for the past four years and was in pretty rough shape, but the first-time home buyer thought it showed promise. “When I bought it, there were lots of issues,” she says, “like how the previous homeowner had plastered over live wires in the ceiling.”

Tucker hired professionals to do an earthquake retrofit, insulate the house and bring the wiring up to code. As for the rest, “I’ve done the majority of the work myself,” says the homeowner, who chronicled her DIY experiences on her blog, Just a Girl With a Hammer.

Tucker took on the fixer-upper four years ago, and it now shows off her creative abilities with a paint roller, her Craigslist skills, and much more.

Protect your siding from weather damage without exposing yourself to mismatched paint by learning the right way to do touch-ups

How to Touch Up Your Home’s Exterior Paint.

A pristine exterior paint job not only increases your home’s curb appeal; it also helps protect its trim, flashing and siding from damage from the elements. That’s why maintaining your paint is so important — letting it bubble and flake between paint jobs can end up harming your house.

Fortunately, you can prevent damage with annual paint touch-ups. Here’s how to do it right.

How to Choose the Best Paint Colors

Paint is the most inexpensive way to transform a room from drab to fabulous, but for many homeowners selecting the right colors seems an intimidating task not easily achieved by amateurs.

The best way to begin is to let fabric lead the way. Choose furniture and drapery that you love from the start and then go from there. Fabric provides inspiration for a room’s color scheme, but it’s also a more prudent starting point because paint is much easier to change than furniture and window treatments.

The journey begins when you take a fabric swatch to the paint store and try to find paint chips that coordinate with the colors present in your fabric sample. You don’t have to find a perfect match – choosing a wall color that is slightly lighter or darker than the color in the fabric can make a room flow.

For instance, a darker wall color makes lighter fabric stand out in a room, resulting in a dramatic-looking room. Similarly, darker walls contrasted against light curtains make the windows of a room more noticeable. A perfect match has a different effect – it creates a consistent harmony of color that makes a sofa or other piece of furniture more striking.

If you really want to find a perfect match, new technology has made it possible to identify the exact colors in a piece of fabric and reproduce them in a paint color. This is all done with a spectrometer, but it only works on solid fabric.

When shopping at a paint store, however, realize that paint chips don’t show you exactly how the color will appear on the walls. Before deciding on any one color, test it on a small section of the wall and view it in both daylight and at night.

Perhaps you plan to paint in neutral tones? In this case, test a shade that’s a few shades darker than the one you prefer. In large spaces particularly, stronger neutrals will give a room more of the impact you’re looking for.

When selecting a paint color, it’s also important to take into account the texture of your walls. Stucco and brick surfaces, for example, are very rough and reflect less light than smooth walls – it’s important to remember that colors painted on rough walls appear darker than when they are painted on a smooth surface.

COLOR Frequently asked questions

How do colors effect room size?

Generally, warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows close in a space. Blues, greens, and violets tend to make a room look larger. Dark colors have a diminishing effect. Whites are always a good choice for making a room look larger.

My room has a chair rail and I am using two colors….?

This depends on the look you want to achieve. If you want an open, airy look, always paint the portion of the wall below the chair rail darker allowing the lighter color to dominate.

Should trim work be painted the same color as the walls…?

Use the same color to hide trim work, use a lighter or darker color to bring out the trim work and add highlights.

Will the paint I choose look lighter or darker on the wall?

Larger surfaces make the paint appear darker. As a general rule, always choose colors that are a shade or two lighter than what you want. Do keep in mind that colors can also appear lighter or darker depending on surrounding colors and lighting.

What is the best way to decide which color is best for my room?

Take color chips home to determine the color of your room. A nice technique is to hold the color chips in the daylight and at night so you will see how lighting will effect your color choices.

What color should I paint my ceiling?

White or off-white colors will create the illusion of having a higher ceiling and more open space. Whereas medium to dark colors will create the illusion of lowering the ceiling. Customarily, white or off-white tend to be used.

Will the paint actually match the color chip?

As a general rule, paint on a color chip will appear slightly lighter than when applied in a room. Always take into account the sheen of the paint, the lighting in the room, and other colors that are in the room.

How to Sponge Paint A Wall


Ladder, drop cloth, work light, paint roller, roller tray, brushes, sea sponges, serrated kitchen knife and a shallow container.


Masking tape, primer, disposable latex gloves, latex paints or tints, polyurethane varnish.

1. Before sponging, test the technique on a spare piece of drywall. Colors can be made more or less transparent by adding varying amounts of water or thinner to the paint.

2. Apply primer to unfinished wood or drywall. Apply a stain-killing primer over knots and a special bonding primer on tile, glass or metal. Mask the surfaces that are not to be painted. Administer a base coat of paint with a roller brush or brush to the area. Let it dry completely.

3. Pour paint into a shallow container. Wet the sponge in water or thinner and twist out the excess. Dab the sponge into the paint and then onto a piece of paper to remove the excess. The paint should be evenly distributed on the sponge. Use disposable gloves to protect your hands. To paint the edge of a wall use, a serrated knife to cut a straight edge on a piece of sponge. Paint the corner first with cut sponge then overlap the area with paint in an uncut sponge.

4. Sponge paints a 3—4 foot wide section at a time. Do not stop in the middle of the wall but at a corner or a door jamb.

5. Touch up the area. Dry overnight before applying additional colors to the wall. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for additional colors.

6. Apply a coat of clear finish (water-based polyurethane) to the surface with a roller or a brush.


Clean or change furnace filters regularly. Generally filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month during the heating season to ensure they don’t restrict the flow of air. If your fan is in continuous operation, it is a good idea to change or clean the filter once a month all year long.

How to Paint Ceilings

These tips will make painting a ceiling easier. You will need the following:

• Use a 2 ½ inch angle sash brush to paint the edges. It’s important to choose a good brush, such as Benjamin Moore’s Soft Nylon Polyester Brush.

• Use a 9 inch roller with an extension handle for the rest of the ceiling.
Don’t press too hard on the roller when you paint the ceiling, since that may cause splatters and drips.

After you reload the roller with paint, start painting from an unpainted area and work into the wet area.

Roll slowly when you are near the wall to help avoid hitting the wall.
You will also need a sturdy stepladder.

Step 1: Paint the edge of the ceiling where it meets the wall

1. If you plan to paint the wall, you can over lap the paint onto the wall about half an inch or more. If you don’t plan to paint the walls, use painter’s tape to protect the wall or use the brush to cut in a straight line along the wall’s edge.

2. Brush paint onto the ceiling about 3 inches from the wall to make it easy to roll up to without getting paint on the walls.
For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.

Step 2: “Cut in” or carefully paint around the edges of lights and ceiling fans

1. If possible, lower the cover of the light or ceiling fan to paint that area.

2. Cover the blades of the ceiling fan with plastic, secured with tape, to protect against paint splatters.

Step 3: Paint the rest of the ceiling with a roller

1. Use a roller pole that is comfortable and long enough to reach over the covered furniture in the center of the room.

2. Paint with the roller from the corner of the ceiling nearest a window. The light from the window will reflect onto the wet paint on the ceiling, allowing you to see where you have painted. Then work your way across the room opposite the window.

3. Paint the ceiling in one session, so the paint dries uniformly.

4. Wait for the paint to completely dry before you start a second coat. (Read the paint can for recommended drying time.)

Paint Your Room in This Order

Paint the room in this order to help avoid some common mistakes to make your project go smoothly.

1. Start by painting the ceiling, this way if paint drips on the walls, that won’t be a problem since you will be painting the walls afterward. If you are going to paint two coats on the ceiling, apply both coats before you start the walls.

Remember the golden rule: Make sure the first coat is dry before you start the second.

2. Next, paint the walls. If you paint two coats, finish both coats before moving on to the windows.
For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.
3. Paint the windows from top to bottom, leaving the windowsills for last.

4. Paint the radiator, the baseboards, and the doorframe.

5. Paint the door. Leaving the doorway for last allows you to avoid walking past wet paint as you work.

Painting in this order will help your project go smoother and involve less clean-up.

How Much Paint Should I Buy

Generally, one gallon of paint will cover approximately four hundred square feet of wall space. Keep in mind, however, that this is just a rough estimate. Some paint (usually higher quality paint) will cover more area, and some paint may take two or three coats to cover that same amount of space. When buying paint, talk to the customer-service representative. He or she will be able to tell you how well the paint will perform, and you can thus buy accordingly.

• How do you tell what four hundred square feet of wall space looks like? Well, you measure your wall multiply (yes, you do need it after school) the length of the wall by the height to get the square footage. For instance, if your wall is ten feet long and eight feet high, your square footage is eighty feet.

• There is interior paint and exterior paint. Check the label to be sure that you are buying the right paint for the job.

• What about trim paint? The trim is usually a different color from the walls of the home it can be lighter or darker, depending on your preference. For every six gallons of wall paint, you will need one gallon of trim paint. If you have a lot of trim around windows and doors, it might push your need to two gallons per every six. Trim paint is no different from regular paint—except, of course, for the color.

Interior Painting – Frequently asked questions

Can I paint directly over wallpaper?
No. Wallpaper can be painted over with the proper preparations. Be sure to remove any loose wallpaper, scuff/sand the surface, then apply interior oil-based primer.

Can I apply latex paint over oil based paint?
Yes. Be sure to prepare the surface properly before painting. Oil-based paints should be sanded to a flat finish before painting. After rinsing, apply Dutch Boy® oil-based primer and apply desired latex paint.

Can I apply paint directly over a semi-gloss paint?
No. Semi-gloss paint must be dulled to a flat finish by sanding*, allowing proper adhesion. Removing or disturbing old paint from interior or exterior surfaces by sanding, scraping, abrading or other means may produce dust, debris or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust, debris or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children and pregnant women. Structures built before 1978 should be tested by a licensed inspector prior to removing or disturbing old paint.

Can I use exterior paint on the inside of my house?
No. Exterior paints are formulated to be more flexible to withstand temperature and climate change.

How can I best prepare my walls before I paint?
Walls that have never been painted should have a recommended primer applied before painting. For previously painted walls, thoroughly wash them with a mild soap and water solution, then rinse with clean water. If your existing surface was painted previously with semi-gloss paint, the surface should be lightly sanded to a duller finish. If the walls have not been painted in five years or longer or are stained then primer should be used.

How much paint do I need?
To achieve one-coat coverage, paint should be applied at a maximum of 400 square feet per gallon. Rough or textured surfaces may require more paint. On these areas allow for 125-300 square feet per gallon.

How do I prepare the surface?
As a general rule, all surfaces should be clean before painting. Remove any loose, peeling paint, and/or any other substrate that is on the surface*. Scrub all surfaces to remove all dirt, grease, oil, etc. Rinse surface well and allow to dry. Apply appropriate patching material to cracks, nail holes, or other surface imperfections, sand smooth, and remove sanding dust.

*If your existing surface is glossy, dull surface by sanding or use an abrasive cleaner. Remove any residue.

How do I take care of my freshly painted surface?
Freshly painted surfaces may be washed after 30 days. Avoid touching, wiping, or wetting any freshly painted surface for 30 days. After that time dirt and stains may be removed with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and water. Do not place objects on windowsills and shelves until paint is thoroughly dry.

How long should I wait before applying a second coat of paint?
A second coat of latex paint may be applied 6 hours after the first coat. With oil-based paint, you should wait 24 hours between coats.

Should I paint the trim before or after I roll the walls?
The wall area around the doors and windows and along the ceiling should be cut in with a brush, this will prevent the wall from having an obvious and unsightly picture frame effect. Then, the main part of the wall can be painted with a roller, rolling into these areas.

Why do I need to use a primer?
Primers are specifically formulated to seal porous surfaces, block stains, as well as to insure the proper adhesion of the topcoat and produce the best possible coverage.

What is the proper order to follow when painting a room?
When painting a room, the ceiling should be painted first, followed by the walls, then the trim (including doors and windows) and finally the baseboards.

When should I apply?
Room and surface temperature should be between 50 and 85 degrees. Paint dries best between 65F and 85F. Allow at least 4 hours of drying time before recoating.

What is the proper rolling technique?
Fully load the roller with paint by dipping the entire cover deep into the tray of paint. Carry as much paint to the surface as possible. Make a letter “V” in a small 2 foot by 2 foot area with a generous roller load of paint. Fill in the “V”, spreading the paint evenly from left to right. Lightly smooth out with downward motions. Repeat “V” with a freshly loaded roller for every 2 x 2 foot area.

How to Paint a Ceiling

Always paint the ceiling before walls or woodwork.

As long as you don’t have a lot of furniture to clamber over, painting a ceiling is fairly straightforward.
Firstly sheet up everything which is in danger of getting paint on it. No matter how careful you are, paint splashes have a way of finding exposed surfaces.
Use a stepladder, preferably one with a platform to hold tools or a paint container. If you haven’t got steps, strong plastic milk or beer crate or a wooden chair should be adequate.

The golden rule, whether using proper or improvised scaffold, is NEVER to over-stretch.

If you are right-handed work from right too left and vice-versa.
Painting a ceiling is easier if you use a roller, unless the ceiling is very small in a cupboard or toilet, especially with artexed or wood-chipped ceilings any ceiling with a rough patterned surface).
When painting with a brush, use a large flat brush 6 to 8 inches wide.
You can also use a small brush 1 to 2 inches wide to get into corners,
Cut along the edge of the ceiling and for cutting round the light rose and any other awkward bits.
Starting in one corner on the window side of the room, paint in sections about 2ft square.
Work across the ceiling doing a strip at a time.
When using a roller it is a good idea to use one with an extension handle. Most roller handles have an open end into which you can push an old broom handle, which will do the job.
Using a small brush (about 2″ size will do) cut in all round the edge of the ceiling and round the ceiling.
Starting in one corner roll about a Metro Square and work across the room in strips the same as with a brush.
If you are using a long handle on your roller it means your paint tray or scuttle “a square bucket wide enough for your roller size” can be kept conveniently on the floor at all times.

10 Paint Colors That Will Increase Your Home’s Value

When choosing an exterior paint color, you can’t go wrong with warm-toned neutrals. They’re universally well received, and they contrast nicely with white or black accents. Two particularly appealing shades of putty are Bamboo Screen by Dunn-Edwards and Cyprus Grass by Glidden.

Why You Should Always Use Paint Primer

Chip Gaines had been a successful contractor long before Fixer Upper shot him into super stardom, so he knows a few things about painting houses. We caught up with Chip at a KILZ Brand paint demonstration (he’s a rep for the company), where he had one big piece of advice for anyone considering painting: always start with primer. Chip says starting with primer is like laying a strong foundation for your project; even if it takes a little extra time, it’s worth it so that the rest of the project is set up right.

“A lot of people think primer is unnecessary and will only add time to their project, so they skip it. That’s a huge mistake,” Chip said. “If you’re going to do a project right, priming is essential. It not only covers up unsightly marks but also ensures you have the perfect foundation to achieve your ideal finish.” Chip emphasises the colour of your paint itself will actually be more accurate, apply better, and last longer when you use primer. And this isn’t exclusive to walls. Furniture, cabinetry, and trim should all receive a coat of primer before paint, especially if you’re going for a dramatic colour change.

To emphasise his point, Chip shared a story from when he and Joanna were first married. He had purchased a wreck of a house for them to move into after they wed, thinking they could renovate it and make it their own. When they returned from their honeymoon, he carried Joanna over the threshold and into an embarrassing dump. The walls were dirty and stained, and the college kids who had lived there prior hadn’t even bothered to clean their food out of the refrigerator when they moved. The electricity had been shut off since then, and the food had been rotting in the Texas Summer heat, so the entire house stank. It wasn’t the romantic newlywed home he had hoped to start his marriage off in.

Disappointed but undeterred, Chip began cleaning up the property. After giving the walls a good wipe-down, he applied primer to them to hide the party stains and seal rotten food, stale smoke, and other bad odours in the wall. From there, Chip and Joanna added a beautiful colour to the wall, ripped out the carpeting, and set out renovating the house into their first home. To this day, he swears by primer. “Nothing helps us hit the refresh button during renovation projects quite like a fresh coat of primer.”

Paint is the fastest way to create a fresh look, but choosing the right hue can be tricky

Each year, players in the paint industry forecast annual color trends. After 2017’s pretty, but safe, Greenery (15-0343), Pantone, the color-matching standard for the design industry, chose a stunning Ultra Violet (color 18-3838) for its 2018 pick.

Benjamin Moore’s 2018 color is a hot, spicy red, appropriately called Caliente and described as a “lush carpet rolled out for a grand arrival.”

Sherwin-Williams’ 2018 pick is called Oceanside. It’s a “green meets blue tone….that offers a sense of the familiar with a hint of the unknown.” For 2018, Sherwin Williams also features a suite of new palettes: Sincerity (“sand, complex grays and hazy botanicals”), Unity (“memorable pops of peacock color”) and Connectivity (“high-tech palette… pixelated in orange, violets, digital greens and high-def yellow”).

“Most trends include a neutral background and bold colors that are layered in as accents in the room,” says Heidi La Bolle of Sherwin-Williams. But what’s neutral is changing: “We’ve seen a large shift from beiges to grays,” she adds.

But all grays are not created equal, and when it comes time to choose a paint, things can get complicated. That’s partly due to our somewhat unstable perception of colors: While the pigments in a paint obviously don’t change, how we perceive them can vary considerably, depending on surrounding colors and the light source in a room.

“North-facing windows let in light that is predominately green and blue,” which will intensify those colors in a room, says Spokane interior designer and owner of Nook Interiors, Bridgit Wilson. “South-facing windows let in warm light all day long, so any color looks good in them.”

Wilson recommends thoroughly testing your paint choice before committing to a whole wallful. She suggests ordering large-format paint samples, or painting very large pieces of white paper with your prospective color. Place them on any wall you expect to paint. An alternative is applying three coats of paint to test spots on the walls. Observe the color for a while to make sure you like it under various conditions — daylight, incandescent light, on sunny days and on cloudy days.

Avoid the common mistake of a boring palette created by matching the wall color to everything else — trim, furniture and flooring — in a room. Instead, consider drumming up at least a little drama. “Try contrasting the warm tones in a home with a white, gray or a darker bold color,” says Labolle.

Pops of color that are easy to add, says Labolle, “include a bold front door, painted furniture or kitchen cabinetry, colorful powder rooms.” If you’re feeling bold, consider, “dark and cozy master suites.”

Wilson concurs. “What I’m seeing now is the use of grey as a ground color, and then combining bold colors with it to add interest,” she says. Gray, which can be warmer or cooler depending on the particular paint color you choose, goes with everything. “The sky’s the limit as far as adding that pop of color with your grays.”

Quick Rolling Tip

“Trim is very tedious, and that’s probably the worst part of painting,” says Brent Kaufman of Coeur d’Alene-based TK’s Painting. His team likes to maximize their more satisfying wall-painting time by using an 18-inch wide roller — they like Purdy and Wooster brands. These big rollers — twice the width of a standard roller — are equally effective spreading fresh paint or back-rolling after a sprayer.

How to Paint a Concrete Floor

If you expect to use more than one container of paint, open them all and mix them together for a uniform color. You do not need to thin a paint for use on a floor One exception is if you use a sprayer that requires thinned paint.

Using a nylon brush, such as a 2½ sash brush, cut in the sides and corners with primer This creates a sharp, clean edge. Start this way for the top coat as well.

Using a roller pad with the nap length recommended by the manufacturer, apply a primer coat to the surface. Start at the corner farthest away from the door, and back up as you work. Allow the primer to dry for at least 8 hours.

With a clean roller pad, apply the first top coat. Make the top coat even but not too thick, then let it dry for 24 hours. if you choose to add another top coat, work the roller in another direction to cover any thin spots. Let the final coat dry another day before you walk on it.