a top-down approach
Strip it down
Patch it up
Does your trim look like someone read one too many home improvement blogs and took a chain to it to “distress” the wood? Yeah, mine too. This is a really easy fix, just get some wood filler and a putty knife to smooth the area out. You’ll need to sand it smooth with a fine-grit sandpaper (I’ve been using 150 successfully).
Fill it in
Maybe your trim work has gaps between it and the wall. Over time, old trim can shrink and pull away a bit from the wall. New trim will never line up perfectly with the walls. The solution here is a bottle of caulk and a caulking gun. Caulk is extremely easy to work with, and you will be amazed at the difference! It’s especially good for those inside and outside corners that aren’t quite square.
Get it primed
This isn’t always necessary, but if you are covering a dark color, stains (like pen and marker), or unusually smooth areas, you may want to prime first. This will help your paint stick better and absorb more evenly so the color and sheen are consistent.
Take it to the top
Have you considered painting your ceiling? Some people go bold, but I prefer to take the lightest color on the paint card that I chose for the wall and put that on the ceiling. It gives just a bit of contrast from the trim, and it already matches your wall. If it’s been a while, painting your ceiling can really freshen up your room. **Warning, if you try to fix those cracks, you are in for the long haul. Sometimes I just accept the “character” of my house. This is one of those times. Just paint over the cracks and know they’ll likely show back up. Or enjoy your time upside down, Michelangelo!***
Work your way down
I like to start with the ceiling, move to the crown moulding, then do the walls, and then the baseboard. I’ve found that it’s easier to “cut in” from the top of the trim than from the bottom. Taping is always an option, but it’s easier for me to go back and touch up as needed. Just take your time and go slow.
The bottom line
Painting is not always easy. Or cheap–did you see that list of items? But it is a great way to update your home. And it is easier than most other renovation projects!
Buy high quality paint for optimal durability. if you know you’ll be painting in the near future (within a year) start keeping an eye on seasonal sales. You can buy a steep discount, and you don’t have to tint it when you buy. Just take it back to the store when you are ready to paint and they will add the color and shake it up for you.