Painting your walls is one of the quickest ways to add personality and style to a new home. However, a simple paint job can go from a fun idea to a full-fledged debacle in no time. Preserve your sanity and make your next paint job a breeze with these simple painting hacks from UNITS:

Shower Curtain Liners

Instead of paying for a hardware store drop cloth, buy shower curtain liners from the dollar store to cover your floors and furniture while painting. They’re far cheaper and work just as well at protecting the areas you aren’t trying to paint.

Calculate Your Paint

Avoid buying way too much paint or having to run to the hardware store mid paint job with this formula: use one gallon of paint per 400 square feet of wall. You can calculate the square footage of a wall by measuring the floor to ceiling length and corner to corner width and multiplying the two numbers together.

Paint Finishes

There’s a lot more that should go into choosing a paint finish than deciding how glossy you want your walls to look. Follow this guide for picking out the appropriate paint finish for each room of your house.  Also, when choosing paint rollers, be sure to watch the “nap,” which is the texture of the roller brush designed for different types of paint.

Outlet Covers

Don’t try to paint around outlet covers. They’re surprisingly easy to remove and put back with a screwdriver. Keep your outlet covers and their screws in a ziploc bag while you’re painting so they’re easy to find later.

Clean Walls

Don’t forget to clean your walls before you start painting. Even though it may not be visible to the naked eye, dust will stick to your walls and prevent the fresh paint from drying smoothly. Go over your walls with a swiffer sweeper before you crack open the paint can. Sure, you may feel weird sweeping your walls, but the end result will be well worth it.

Zig-zag Pattern

It can be tempting to haphazardly paint roller across your wall, but this strategy is actually very inefficient.  Instead, roll your paint in a vertical zig-zag pattern for the smoothest finish in less time.

Pesky Ceiling Lines

When painting up by the ceiling, use a paint guide like this one instead of painter’s tape. You’ll save time and your own sanity by avoiding trying to lay painter tape upside down, especially if you have popcorn ceilings.

Clean Paint Trays

Plastic grocery bags can keep you from losing your mind between each new paint color. Cover your paint tray with a plastic bag before your pour your paint. Simply toss and replace the used plastic bag after you’re done with that color and the paint tray is ready for your next color, no tray cleaning necessary.

Painter’s Tape Removal

When the time comes to remove painter’s tape, use a hair dryer to gently heat up the tape so it doesn’t pull at the paint or tear into frustrating little pieces that you need tweezers to remove.

Sealing the Can

Before your hammer down the lid of your paint can, place plastic wrap over the opening to prevent paint from drying and sealing the can closed for the rest of eternity.

Save the Paintbrushes

Buying new paintbrushes each time you paint a room in your home gets expensive fast. Save used, gunky paintbrushes by soaking them in hot vinegar for a few minutes before rinsing with water to remove dried paint and soften the bristles.

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