Casa Latina: How To Get Over Your Fear of Painting

Someone has yet to come up with a name for the fear of painting.

Trust me this phobia does exist.

Not a day goes by that I do not come across someone who has not taken on a décor/design project simply because they cannot bring themselves to put paint to brush and get started.  I believe this fear doesn’t stem from the selection of the actual color, which in itself is intimidating to many. It’s more than that. The thought of spending your free time taping and painting to realize that the color that took two days to apply is not the right one is at the root of the fear.

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Take a deep breath and let me walk you through a few steps which will set your mind at ease. Painting, like everything else, is a learning experience. I promise that by following these simple steps you will feel so empowered you will never delay a much needed paint job due to fear or unease of the process.

First, keep in mind that paint is just paint. It can always be redone. It’s not permanent. Yes, it is a lot of extra work if it has to be redone but it’s not life threatening. Second, remind yourself that adding color to your walls is an expression of yourself, your feelings, your likes and comforts.  It’s about personalizing your space.

Take another deep breath. Now step up to that big paint sample wall at the paint store. Yes, there are many shades of your color, just try to select the three that come closest to the color you are looking for. Now that you have selected your three shades don’t walk away with just one tiny sample of each.  That tiny sample is not going to do anything for you when you get it home. What you need to do - and I don’t know that the vendors will like me saying this - is to take six or eight of the same color sample, cut out the white and tape them to each other to form a square.  Now you have a bigger sample that you can really work with.

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Next, tape it to the wall of the room you intend to paint. Walk by for about a day.  Make sure you walk by it in the morning in light, in the afternoon, and in the evening with your light fixtures turned on so you can see shadow and shade and what the color is actually going to radiate at different times of day.  If after viewing it at those three different times of day you still like the color you then take it and put it behind the largest piece of furniture in that room and do the same thing.  Walk by it and see if you like it.  If you like it then that’s the color you go out and buy.

Before returning to the store remember to measure the space of the room including height. This information will help the paint clerk determine how much paint you will need to complete the job without making an extra trip to the paint store. Be careful when choosing the Paint and Primer in One option now available from many of the major paint companies.  They cost 20% to 60% more than the primary paint line because they offer ‘better coverage with less hassle’. I‘m still not completely sold on that claim. I feel there are very few situations where you should opt to pay 50% more for ‘paint and primer in one’ when you can get regular primer tinted to your chosen paint color for 50% less instead!

Lastly 90 percent of a great paint job is preparation, not painting. Painting is actually the easy part. Preparing the space - taping the seam between the ceiling and the wall if it’s going to be two different colors, removing all the outlet and switch plates and covering the center with tape before painting – is what’s time consuming. Attention to the details makes a big difference in the end.  Lastly, if there are any nails or screws in the walls remove them. If you’re worried you won’t remember where to re-hang your paintings take a picture before removing them. This way when you have to nail them back up you’ll know how it was originally done.

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Now that you are not afraid to paint get yourself to the nearest paint store and start selecting colors!

Marlene Pratt is the co-founder of Casa Latina, an interior designer and on-air television host on both English and Spanish-language television. Follow Marlene on Twitter at @CasaLatinaToday and Like her FB page

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