5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

Recently I have been working with my uncle a lot who owns Custer’s Renovations & Paint. He does any kind of finishing work you can think of, and I have been learning a ton about painting. So today I’d like to share with you 5 tips on how to achieve a professional paint job on your own. Specifically, I’ll show you how I implemented what I learned when I painted my own bathroom.

Scrape, Repair, & Caulk

One of the first steps to achieving a professional paint job is doing the appropriate prep work. If there are any bumpy areas left from a previous paint job make sure to scrape them away. Fill in any holes and areas that have been dinged. If there are any gaps in the trim make sure to caulk them with paintable latex caulk.

When my bathroom was painted previously there were a bunch of areas where paint splattered off of the roller and left tiny little bumps everywhere. Scraping these away ensured my paint job would be as smooth as possible. The window was painted quite poorly before so it made it difficult to get everything scraped off. However, what I did manage to scrape off and fix made a big difference. There were also huge gaps around the window that made the room look unfinished and overall kind of dingy.

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job


5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

Sand & Dust

After your repairs dry, make sure to sand the patches and ideally, sand all of the walls with a fine grit sandpaper. Sanding the entire wall ensures you didn’t miss any little bumps and the finish will be smooth. Before painting, take a rag and dust the walls and trim.

It’s also a really good practice to sand in between coats and to do at least two coats.


One of the most interesting tips my uncle showed me is how he uses lighting. In his opinion, lighting is one of the biggest factors in catching imperfections. By shining a big, bright light across the wall, you see any flaws such as bumps or drips because the light will create shadows across these areas. Without the light, you might not catch these because natural light doesn’t have the same effect. You might not notice some imperfections when you’re painting but will catch them later on because the lighting has changed. By using a light right off the bat you’re more likely to catch the mistakes.


Another major factor in achieving a professional paint job is paying very close attention to detail. Wipe up any drips you spot or anywhere you painted “outside the lines”. By paying attention to detail throughout the process you will avoid fixing mistakes later on, which is often more difficult than fixing mistakes as they happen.

You want to roll on a decently thick coat of paint, but there is a fine line because you really want to avoid drips. It takes a bit of practice to get used to the feel of the perfect amount of paint and it can also depend on the type of paint you’re using. Some paints, such as Behr, are runnier than others.

One thing I noticed that makes a huge difference in the quality of my own painting is not taping things off. It takes me a lot of time to tape trim off and I can never seem to get the tape sealed right. I actually end up getting more paint on the trim when I tape than if I don’t tape and paint carefully. The key here is to keep a damp rag near you so you can wipe up any little spots where you go outside the lines. The more you practice the less you’ll have to wipe anything up. My uncle is a very skilled professional who is a lot faster, and better, at taping than I am so he’ll tape things here and there.


Last but not least, stipple your brush as you’re cutting in. By this I mean dab your brush on the wall instead of dragging it down the wall. This helps match the texture of the roller so you don’t end up seeing brush marks. Typically I drag my brush down the wall to get the right amount of paint on. Then, I go back and stipple it.

These techniques are easy to do and don’t take much time on top of the amount of time it already takes to paint. In the long run, it’s well worth it in order to achieve a professional paint job.

And, of course, I have to show you the before and after pictures 🙂

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The walls are painted with Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage, and the ceiling is painted with Devoe Paint Simplicity Stone.

What’s your favorite tip for a professional paint job?

If you liked this post, feel free to share it 🙂

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Guest Bedroom Makeover – Home Away From Home

Wow. So it’s been forever since I last posted. I finished my last semester of classes for undergrad in December and at the beginning of January, I started an internship. I graduate in May just to turn around and start my master’s in the fall! Phew.

All of the big changes really took a toll on my mind and body, so blogging wasn’t a top priority. I kept pushing without taking care of myself as much as I should have.

But now I’m feeling myself again and possibly on my way to being even better than before 😀

But back to the internship. If I drove from home it would be a 2-hour drive twice a week which means I would probably have to wake up at 6 am. Ew.

The good news is my mom and her boyfriend live 20 minutes away from my office. Jackpot. And in this crappy Michigan winter that makes life so much easier.

I’ve been staying in the guest room which they basically use as a giant storage closet.

Guest Bedroom Makeover - Home Away From Home

This is pretty much the before picture. The bed was originally coming out of the corner on an angle and the stuff wasn’t shoved into the corner as much.

They have a really nice house and it just makes me sad seeing a room not living up to its potential.

And since I’ll be staying here until May I figured it would be a great way to (1) make it feel homier for me and (2) make it feel homier for the future guests.

Guest Bedroom Makeover - Home Away From Home

Above is the product of my second step. Obviously, you can see there is less stuff shoved in the corner. I put a bunch of sleeping bags and pillows in a bag in the closet, some sheets and blankets in drawers, and shoved other stuff under the bed.

Ideally, I would like to have my mom sort through stuff with me, take some things down to the basement, and figure out better storage options for the rest.

I think the tall dresser would be better positioned in the hallway or even in the closet.

Guest Bedroom Makeover - Home Away From Home

My mom has some horse tack in here which might honestly be the best place for it for now. The other stuff though could definitely get moved out/around.

Guest Bedroom Makeover - Home Away From Home

In this picture, you can see I put my quilt on the bed because it made it feel homier for me. This will eventually get changed to match the room design, and my mom even mentioned buying a new bed set. I also moved this lamp in here which was first in the living room, then my mom moved it into her office. So we’ll see if that’s permanent.

Guest Bedroom Makeover - Home Away From Home

I like the footboard but I don’t think it goes perfectly with the style I have in mind for the room. Maybe if I’m feeling motivated I will stain it a darker color.

Also, say hi to Louie. He’s such a cool cat and pretty much in love with me. Lol

The Plan

Besides all the organizing I already talked about, I also want to do some DIYing and decorating. So here’s the short list of what I want to do:

  1. Organize/Declutter all the stuff
  2. Paint the walls
  3. Figure out the best furniture positioning (bed, side table, tall dresser, bring in a chair?)
  4. Paint the side table and dressers
  5. Stain the bed?
  6. Get a new bed set
  7. Decorate with objects around the house/thrifted/new

In future posts I hope to update you on how the organizing goes as well as share an updated design plan. I get the feeling that my mom will be open to my ideas so this should be a fun project for the next few months!

What are some amenities that make you feel more comfortable when you’re the guest? Or what are some things that you try to do for guests in your home?

Thanks for reading and as always…

See You Around!

Lauren <3

To see the next post in the series, click here.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

I’m moving quite slowly on progress with the house, so this weekend I finally painted little T’s bedroom!

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Here is the panorama of this crazy room before its kick ass makeover. Hello again weird door midway up the wall. Glad you decided to make another appearance on the blog.

The post title suggests there is literally no more paneling in my house, but I mean the paneling is painted. Then again that’s not entirely true because I’m not going to paint the closet wall until we take out the weird door and drywall it. When that happens I’ll fill in the cracks in the paneling on just that wall so it doesn’t look super mish moshy. But anyway, PROGRESS. and that is why we are gathered here today.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

First I filled the crib up with toys, shoved it to the middle of the room, took stuff out of the room, put things in the closet, and decapitated the iron man sticker.

To prep I filled in all the holes with spackle, covered the stuff left in the room with a plastic drop cloth, and took off all the outlet covers. I then went through and sanded all the walls with 220 grit sandpaper. I was going to use my new electric sander, but I figured that would be a bit excessive for just needing to scuff the walls up a bit.

Please please do not skip the sanding step. When Chris and I painted our bedroom paneling we didn’t sand and it was a big mistake. If we nick the walls the paint scrapes right off and you can see the paneling. At the very least rough the surface up a bit even if you don’t sand the crap out of it.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Before I started painting I wiped all the sanding dust off the walls along with any cobwebs in the corners. I also vacuumed the carpet and along the trim to make sure no dust would get into my paint.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

When I was cutting in I got all of the cracks because a roller doesn’t do a very good job of that. At this point I also filled in any more holes that I didn’t notice the first time around.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

After priming I saw areas where either the paneling color was showing through or it was discoloration from nicotine. In the end I decided to do one coat since that is what we did in the bedroom, and that paneling was even darker.


The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Even when I cut in with the paint I filled in all the cracks. When I started brushing on the paint I remembered how much I love this color. It’s called winter sky gray. It seems rather blue to me though which was a surprise when we first painted our bedroom. I guess it makes sense though since skys are usually blue to some extent.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Slightly above the electrical outlet near the door you will notice some flaws in the gaps. These parts were pulling away from the wall which obviously wouldn’t look good when painted. Chris’s genius solution was to staple gun them down, and it actually worked like a gem.

I love this picture because even though I haven’t repainted the trim you can see the crisp difference between the bluish gray wall and the white trim. Just beautiful. (excuse the splotches, the wall wasn’t done drying yet).

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Final product with the “accent wall”. still hadn’t put the room back together yet. I love how much the painted room draws attention to the window. It’s a reminder of how much brighter the room is.

Also notice how high the top of the door goes, and that the area up there is painted. I was using a chair to paint, but couldn’t reach high enough so I asked Chris if he could reach. He just decided to open up the door and stand on the stairs landing. It’s a good thing we’re close friends with the upstairs neighbors and we keep that door unlocked. (it is set up though so both sides can be locked and not one unit has control over the door). Either way it needs to go. Sayonara door!!

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

Another view and a way for me to imagine that there is absolutely no more paneling. 😀 I’m in love.

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

The Final Piece to a Paneling Free Home

And of course some views of the room put back together/rearranged (minus the still decapitated Iron Man)

Before painting my paneling I also got some really useful information in this blog post about what to use on different types of paneling, and some tools that make it a lot easier.

Chris and I worked on this project for about a day and a half. My body was definitely sore from constantly kneeling, standing, and getting up on a chair. Maybe I’m just weak but that stuff is taxing!

I’m glad to have this project done as it’s really going to propel me into finishing my other projects and working on my time management.

What are your motivating factors?

If you want to see how I finished the white dresser, check out this post.

See You Around!

Lauren <3