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Your Guide to Apartment Painting

Are you ready to start painting? Even if you’ve painted a space before, you might be surprised by the intricacies and differences that come with painting an apartment. While an all-white apartment might offer a blank canvas, it can be tough to have so many possibilities before you. What colors should you choose? Do you need a primer? What color palette is correct for your space?

The right colors can make your apartment feel more inviting, open, and spacious. Painting is a serious upgrade that can completely alter the feel of your space, but before you get started there are a few things to consider (and that includes checking your lease terms!). 

Raring to go? Interior painting has a lot to it. Here’s how to select the perfect paint, maximize your space, and get the most out of your apartment.

Understanding Your Lease and Landlord's Policies

Just to be sure—double-check your lease or contact your landlord/property manager before you begin your painting project! Look for any clauses in your contract related to painting or apartment modifications. 

If you’re a tenant in any type of rental unit, your lease agreement probably says something about the painting policy. Take a look at your lease first, and if the language suggests otherwise, talk to your landlord. They might approve a painting project but you should get that in writing. 

Some apartments might charge you a fee for painting. This means that you can paint your walls however you want to, but for instance, it might come with a fee of $70. You can save yourself the hassle by reading this section of your lease before signing, that way you know upfront what you’re getting into. You may end up getting stuck with a color palette that just doesn’t work, which could affect your quality of life. 

A good landlord might agree to bring in the pros and do the painting for you, especially if your apartment building is older or historic. Check-in with your property manager before you start any major project.

Planning Your Painting Project

Choosing the Right Colors

So you have the go-ahead to paint—where do you begin? Should you go crazy with color? Do you freehand everything? Here’s what you need to know to become a dynamite apartment painter.

Painting is exciting, but it’s still important to think the process through as it does require significant effort and you’ll be stuck with whatever colors you choose until you decide to paint again. To start, go with neutral tones that elevate your space and make it feel more comfortable. If you want something that pops, that’s fine too—just avoid super dark colors like plum or magenta. No matter how much you think you might love a color that makes a statement, it will take a lot of work to fix that later.

You can also ask for second opinions. Bring in a friend or family member and have them give you their opinion or advice. Look at what colors the professionals choose, or you could even ask to see one of your neighbor’s units to get inspiration.

Selecting the Right Paint

While searching for the right paint for your project, you might notice that there are several different types of paint. Each one has its properties and uses, and before you start it’s a good idea to become acclimated to both.

  • Water-Based Paints: These paints, also known as acrylic or latex, are the most common. They dry quickly, clean easily with soap and water, and are simple to apply. While the finish varies from flat to gloss enamel, the various finishes look great on walls, ceilings, and trim. These paints even look good in kitchens and baths.
  • Oil-Based Paints: These have a longer drying time and require a specific spirit for cleanup. They also have the most durable finish and are most commonly used on doors, trims, and cabinets. 

Choosing the right type of paint is extremely important in any paint job, and choosing the right paint is also determined by the compatibility with existing paint. It’s a good idea to consult a professional or read the product label to ensure success. Painting in an apartment can be challenging!

There are a couple of factors to consider when selecting the right paint for a project. Depending on the surface you’ll be painting, the right paint can make a big difference. Most apartments will use latex-based paints, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, it’s a good idea to call a professional and have them do it for you. Painting an apartment wall has a lot to it, and you want to ensure that the result is beautiful.

You also need to consider finish and coverage. Flat finishes are great for hiding imperfections, and glossy finishes can make your trim pop. You will also want to consider a paint’s longevity, its resistance to mildew, and its scrubability in areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

The Painting Process

Tools and Materials Needed

Painting requires a list of materials and supplies, which is where it can get expensive. You need more than a few cans of paint—painting your apartment will require primers, brushes, and more.

  • Supplies can include:
  • Drop cloths
  • Primer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint trays
  • Brushes and rollers
  • Stir sticks 
  • Paint

Depending on the scope of your project, you might require a few additional tools and materials. These tools will help ensure that your painting job is handled efficiently and correctly, but it’s also necessary to research the type of paint and primer you need. Painting isn’t one size fits all; your paint will adhere differently to specific surfaces, whether it’s wood, metal, or drywall.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember you can always contact painting professionals to do the job for you. If cost is a consideration, remember that when painting on your own you’ll have to shell out the dough for all these extra tools and materials!

Prepare the Room for Painting

Doing the right prep ahead of time is key to ensuring that the entire process is smooth and successful. Here are a few steps you can take before painting that will save you money and headaches:

  • Remove/cover all your furniture (cover them with drop cloths)
  • Fill in or repair any holes in the walls with spackling compound
  • Patch cracks with caulk
  • Clean and scrub your walls with soapy water to remove any excess dirt, grease, grime, or dust
  • Tape off your baseboards, windows, and door frames
  • Protect any other furniture or trim that might be exposed to paint
  • Lay drop cloths on the floor

By taking these important steps, you can ensure your space is prepared for painting and that the end result will look beautiful and professional!

How to Start Painting Your Apartment

There are a few ways to efficiently paint your apartment, and it all starts with taking the proper steps.

  • Tape off your trim to reduce paint drips and splatters.
  • Use your brush in the spots your rollers can’t reach.
  • Start with the ceiling and move downward from there.
  • Roll perpendicular to all window openings.
  • Paint the walls with your brush and overlap the wall paint.
  • Create an appealing line with a single stroke from top to bottom to reduce roller marks.
  • Paint the trim with a brush using longer, overlapping strokes.

By following these key painting tips, you will end up with a room that looks beautiful, sharp, and professional. There are many painting tips out there, and no one knows these better than the professionals. When you’re in doubt, find out what your local painting company or contractor would do or consider hiring professional painters.

Professional Painters vs. DIY

While painting your apartment can be an exciting endeavor, it can also be expensive and overwhelming. Utilizing professional painting companies such as ProServ Painters is the best way to ensure that your finished product is something you want to live in. Professional painters bring in expertise and precision, and utilizing their skills and high-quality tools is the best way to ensure that the paint is applied evenly, the edges are sharp, and the finish is smooth.

Professionals bring a level of detail that can significantly extend the lifespan of any paint job, while also reducing the frequency with which you might need touch-ups or repaints. There are several reasons to hire a pro: you might have high ceilings, your walls might be in poor condition, you might need to strip old paint, or you simply need someone else’s help and expertise. If you feel like you need professional assistance, give ProServ a call and see why they’re the most celebrated painting company in all of Massachusetts. 

Professional painter coating roller with blue paint

Call Our Team for a Free, No-Obligation Price Quote

Serving homeowners with excellence is our privilege. Our team of house painters are excited to help you rediscover the power of color and professional paint in transforming your home’s appearance! We’ll work around your schedule and ensure that you stay informed.

For more information or to receive your free estimate call ProServ Painters at (804) 214-7811 today!

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