It’s been weeks since we first started packing our home up so we could finally paint the walls. It took years to agree on colors and find them and months after that to acquire the tools and time needed for the project.
Finally, starting January 13th, my husband and I scheduled a four day weekend with the plan to paint the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. We expected to use President’s Day weekend to finish the closets.
Day 1: Packing, Cleaning, and Prep Work
Figuring we would be spending the weekend getting dirty anyway, I started with a side project of recaulking the tub. After our showers I scraped off the old caulking to give the area plenty of time to dry, then got to work on the task of painting.
We tried to learn as many lessons as we could before starting the project. We knew it would be big, but day one immediately showed us the true meaning of a big job. We worked in the evenings for the week beforehand to pack up as much as we could. Just like moving, when packing your house up to paint you come across a whole lot more that you own than you realized. I found thank you cards that had never been used, a box of envelopes, and even a binder full of old baseball cards (not worth anything, we checked :( )
A bonus that we hadn’t realized before moving everything to the middle of the room was that we were finally able to clean in areas that are not otherwise accesible, such as behind the refrigerator.
Originally we thought we would be able to prep the entire place in day one. We did come to the understanding rather quickly that the bathroom would have to wait and that we would only be able to do the living room and bedroom over the four day weekend. In day one we managed to get everything out of the way of the walls. We did not do any taping nor did anything get covered in plastic. We did, however, get to end the day by meeting some new friends for a relaxing cocktail.
Day 2: Four People to Paint Two Rooms
Before anything I finished the caulking job on the tub, so it would again have plenty of time to dry. The small side project turned out quite well!
My parents showed up bright and early on day two to help us! We immediately put the boys to work taping while my mom painted the green above the fireplace and I worked on the small walls in the kitchen.
I’m not entirely sure who did what after that. The doors were all sanded, anything that needed to be primed was taken care of, and I spent most of the day on the ladder taping the ceiling and covering parts of the ductwork.
Personal Lessons Learned:
1. It helps to have someone who can get into tight places handy.
2. Pizza is REALLY good!
Needless to say it was an exhausting day! None the less it was quite productive. We managed to finish the kitchen, finish the green above the fireplace, finish the first coat of the living room, and prep the bedroom.
Day 3: Finishing Painting
My extremely generous parents came to help again! Sore and feeling beaten down we had another day of hard work. My mom painted the baseboards, my dad worked on the second coat of paint in the living room, my husband painted the bedroom, and I enjoyed another day on the ladder getting into all the hard to reach spots near the duct work.
Personal Lessons Learned:
1. Even though I am able I don’t really like standing at the top of a ladder and twisting around to get to hard to reach places.
2. Hamburgers are REALLY good!
We called it a day earlier than we had on Saturday. The living room was finished, but the bedroom needed another coat and there was a spot in the bedroom that hadn’t been touched yet because it shares a corner with the living room and that paint hadn’t yet dried. Thankfully, my parents left us with tasks that we could finish ourselves.
Day 4: Moving Back In
We woke up early and finished the bedroom. We then picked up another side project. Since they were all easily accesible, with all of the furniture out of the way, we decided to update all of the switches and outlets. While the bedroom dried we took a trip to Ace hardware store on State to purchase all of the outlets and switches we could. We cleaned out the store and they graciously ordered the rest that we needed to be delivered to the store later that afternoon.
We then changed out the outlets that would be hardest to reach and started putting the house back together. My first goal was to clear off the couch that we hadn’t been able to use for days, while my husband reorganized all of the wires behind his desk.
Personal Lessons Learned:
1. Working on your home instills a great pride of ownership.
2. Living in a place for awhile before making major changes gives you a chance to try different things and then fix them later.
3. If someone says it’s going to be a big job double your perceived meaning of that in your mind and plan accordingly.
We managed to get most of the place back in order by the end of the day. At least well enough that we could get a good night’s sleep and be ready for work the next day.
Days 5–22: Still Cleaning Up
However, since we brazenly made plans almost every single night for the following three weeks it took nearly that amount of time to get the place completely back in order and clean. By Friday, February 3 we were finally ready to paint the bathroom. A few strokes of luck even had me find a new shower curtain that matches the new paint perfectly, a new toilet paper stand that actually fits in the tiny amount of floor space we have for it, and a hand towel ring of the same pattern that the previous owners used for the towel bar and hooks!
Day 23: Painting the Bathroom
We woke up early ready to conquer what we expected to be the easiest room. My husband had some other work to attend to first-thing in the morning, so while he did that I started prepping the bathroom. At first it was as easy as could be, until I reached the sink area. I had to stand on the toilet (hooray for sturdy wooden seats) and the counter and carefully reach over the very hot lights to tape the ceiling. I then covered most of the floor with plastic and by the time I was ready to paint my husband was ready to help. I started by cutting in and he followed me with the roller.
Personal Lessons Learned:
1. Working around toilets, sinks, and mirrors is not much easier than painting around duct work.
2. Doing most of the prep work while your husband sits at a desk leaves you exhausted by the end of the day and him energized.
We managed to get two coats of paint on the walls with enough time to relax over dinner and a movie.
Day 24: Painting the Ceiling
The ceiling in our unit was recently painted, except in the bathroom. No problem, I thought, we can just do that quickly when we paint the bathroom. We woke up early again ready to tackle another project. Since we just finished painting the walls we used tape and drape to partially cover them, in case of drips. We divided the bathroom in half, he was in charge of the areas that did not require standing on fixtures and I was in charge of those that did. We each cut in our half of the ceiling and we each used a roller to paint a coat on the rest of it. Thankfully the ceiling just needed to be freshened up, so it only used one thick coat.
1. It takes careful balance to stand on the edge of a tub covered in plastic while wearing socks.
2. Don’t try to learn lesson 1 yourself, just learn from me.
3. When painting a ceiling wear goggles and a bandana, you will get paint in your eyes and your hair.
The best part about painting the ceiling is that we were finished in two hours. We then spent the next two hours cleaning up, putting the bathroom back together, and hanging the new towel ring I bought. We were then left with a Sunday afternoon of rest and Super Bowl!
The three things I found to be the most useful in the whole project were:
1. Wear socks, they absorb any paint that dripped on the floor keeping it from being tracked all over.
2. Tape and drape is one of the best inventions out there! Use high quality painters tape on the edges and then attach tape and drape to that to protect floors, walls, and fixtures.
3. Mini rollers are fantastic for getting into tight spots while distributing the paint evenly without leaving brush marks.
I hope our adventure in painting has been helpful for you whether you are preparing for a large job, a small job, or deciding to hire it out instead!
We are quite pleased with the results. I will leave you with before and after pictures.
NOTE: In person the bathroom is a distinctly different color than the living room. The camera did not capture that well.
Living Room Before
Living Room After
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