These tips for painting wainscoting can help you create a beautiful, professional finish in your home!
When every toy in the house is on the floor and my children look at me with anguish and say, “It’s too much to do!” My answer – as trite as it may sound – is always the same:
Take it one step at a time.
And I feel like I have to tell myself the same thing as I approach the myriad of projects in this new house.
I may or may not have already refinished a dresser, primed the fireplace, rearranged
four eighteen times, painted, dreamed, planned… But for the most part, I’m taking my own advice.
Step one? Paint.
And since the entire room (wainscoting, walls, and cabinet) were a cream with a brown glaze…
I have had a lot of practice lately. 😉 And I’m happy to share my tips for success with you:
Tips for painting wainscoting:
Here is what you’ll need:
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
1. Consider something other than white.
I know that white is the traditional color for trim work and molding, but I have found myself pinning several images lately with colorful trim. I was first inspired by our apartment when we lived in Paris that had gray trim, and I carried that over into our master bedroom at the last house. In this case, I went even more extreme by painting the entire wainscoting gray. I love how the gray grounds the space and makes the room feel taller with the white above. Plus, the gray is a bit more forgiving of grubby little hands.
2. Use painter’s tape above and below.
I used some delicate Frog Tape (leftover from this project) because I painted the walls white just the night before. I am often hesitant to mess with painter’s tape because it takes so long to apply, but this is quick: one strip along the top and one along the bottom. Because you are working with the nooks and crannies of the chair rail, its especially helpful to have it along the top to protect your wall from stray brush strokes. Plus, if you are doing a color that contrasts significantly to your wall, you’ll need that crisp, clean line.
3. Use a paint and primer in one.
Generally trim is done in semi-gloss paint, or at least satin, making it more difficult to paint over. Save yourself the extra steps of sanding and priming by getting a paint and primer in one. I used Behr Marquee, and while it still took two coats (as I mentioned, I was covering a heavily glazed semi-gloss off white), I could see the advantage of the primer’s adherence to the slick semi-gloss paint.
4. Have a heavy duty primer on hand for certain areas.
There were a couple of spots after the first coat where the paint didn’t seem to adhere as well (especially below where the pipes attached to the wall; I’m guessing there was some grease or sealant from the plumbing connections). A touch of Zinsser BIN primer did the trick.
5. Work in sections to achieve the right brushstrokes.
Whether you’re painting simple board and batten or bead board like me, you’ll have the top piece and baseboards that go horizontally and the panel piece that goes vertically. Rather than painting all the horizontal and then all the vertical, work in two foot sections: paint your horizontal pieces, getting carefully into the creases and seams, then immediately paint the vertical so you can smooth out the encroaching brush strokes. Then move on to the next section. This gets all the brush strokes going the right direction and leaves you with gorgeous, professional looking wainscoting.
And I’ll tell you what, this is “one step” that was incredibly rewarding. Don’t you love projects like that?
What’s your next one step?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Behr, but all opinions are 100% my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
MORE HOME IMPROVEMENTS:
Did you enjoy that?
Have my best tips on home decor, DIY, and life delivered directly to your inbox.