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Before You Crack Open That Paint Can: Four Handy Tips for DIYers

Before You Crack Open That Paint Can: Four Handy Tips for DIYers

Swipe through your “For You” page on TikTok or on your Pinterest boards and you’ll come across countless projects by DIYers and home decor influencers that look not only impressive, but easy to replicate.   

“I could totally do that,” you think. And then you pick up the brush. Going from a drab Before to a jaw-dropping After is not always a simple process, but it’s worth the effort – even small projects can give a room or home a much-needed update, if you keep a few key tips in mind. 

Painting, for example, is “the fastest way to potentially transform an entire space and recreate your environment,” said Eli Massar, professional painter and owner of Wow 1 Day Painting, which offers services for interior, exterior and commercial spaces in the Bergen County area.  

Massar shares here for Rivertown readers “not-so-sexy” but effective tips for painting that will save DIYers time, money, and lots of frustration. Pin them for your next project and prepare to wow yourself! 

  1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

“Preparation is everything,” said Massar. Preparing surfaces prior to painting will help to eliminate those tiny but visible imperfections that plague many a DIY project. Massar said this involves spackling, sanding, or repairing any nicks on the surface.  

“It’s particularly important to spackle properly,” said Massar. “It often requires several coats with sanding in between, but when done properly, the results are a repair that’s invisible versus one that’s visible. Uneven surfaces reflect light in different ways and therefore become very obvious.” 

Caulking is a quick way to spruce up a room.

You may spend more time than you’d prefer on this stage of the process, “but the end result will be so much better.” 

  1. Don’t fear flat or matte paint finishes

Historically, satin or semi-gloss have been the recommended option in spaces where cleanability is a concern, but Massar said modern chemistry in quality paints now offer good cleanability in matte paint and even in some flat paints.  

And, Massar added, “for older walls with imperfections, the flatter the paint the less they show.” 

Both matte and flat paints touch up well, so make sure you store any leftover paint for touch-ups (Bonus tip: Keep the label too, so you can go to the paint store in the future and get a perfect match for sheen, color and product line). 

  1. Start small to see a big difference

Not quite ready to tackle a big paint job but still want to spruce up a space? Small projects can immediately update a room. 

Repainting doors and trim can make a surprisingly noticeable difference, Massar said, as can caulking. “A properly painted white trim never goes out of style, looks good with any color and adds depth to a room.” 

On a slightly larger scale, repainting cabinets can also make a kitchen or bathroom look practically new again. “Quality kitchen cabinets paint extremely well for approximately one-third of the cost of installing new ones. It requires multiple steps but the outcome is truly remarkable.” 

  1. Follow the trends and your own taste

Massar and his Wow 1 Day team take on projects across Bergen County, and one trend he’s noticed is that color is back in a big way. 

“After a stretch, particularly during Covid where very bright whites and innocuous beiges and grays were super popular, we’re now seeing people choosing more vibrant colors, particularly for accent walls,” said Massar.  

Dark blues appear to be a favorite, and dark reds are having a resurgence in dining rooms. “It had been very popular 15 years ago and we’ve been painting over it for quite a while, but now we’re painting it again.” 

But don’t feel as if you need to keep up with the latest trends. “If you’re selling your house it’s important to know what the right colors are for selling,” said Massar, “If you’re staying, then the only person that really matters is you.  

“There are 4,000 options in Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-William palettes. There’s a color for every taste.” 

Not sure what direction to go in? Massar said generally, cold color cabinetry complements very warm floors, and very bright white trim goes with warm floors. “But there’s no proper right or wrong, these are general patterns.” 


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