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Phase One of the Family Room Makeover + best painting tips

I’ve shared this view of our most lived-in room of the house a handful of times:

But what I haven’t shared are the other sides:

We call this room the Family Room which sits off the kitchen and is the place where we do most of our hanging out. We chose the cushiest, deepest, most comfortable sectional (more about it here) for the corner to fit our whole family for movies and lounging. It has not disappointed.

What does feel pretty meh is the rest of the room. It is the one room besides our master bathroom and the kids’ bathroom that we have not yet touched in the house … until now.

Before I got started, I took a quick video for you:

So like I mentioned in the video, we have bigger plans for the room – think wood floors, new wider baseboards and window trim (like we did upstairs), planked walls or ceiling and a wall of builtins along the wall that currently houses the tv. The problem with our big plans is in order to do one part, it requires another part to be done at the same time. It’s like a massive chain of projects and we just don’t have the time, budget or finished plan totally figured out quite yet.

In the meantime, we’re giving it a PHASE ONE makeover, like we’ve done with almost every other room in the house.

What’s a phase one makeover? Well, I say it’s just doing the small things that don’t require much time, money or tearing out of walls. Things like paint, changing out lights or hardware, improving upon what you already have.

For the family room, phase one looks like fresh paint on the walls and trim, replacing the can lights with lower-profile white ones, taking down the ceiling fan and adding a new light fixture, removing the sconces and switching out some furniture.

First up on that list was paint.

After posting an in-process painting picture to instagram, a sweet reader said this:

“Can you (or have you already) do a post on tips for painting interiors? We’re getting ready to tackle our house and we both literally sat and looked at each other and said, “sooooo just paint…?”

That one made me smile. And my answer is basically, yes. Just paint.

But with a few pointers.

First, choose your paint. For walls I prefer a slight sheen (called eggshell or satin, depending on the brand), ceilings in flat and trim in semi-gloss.

We are carrying on with the same white we’ve used in most of the rooms and hallways in the house – Shoji White by Sherwin Williams. For more tips on choose a white paint, read this post about our old house and this one from the new house.

Then, grab your supplies. You’ll typically want an angled brush for cutting in the edges (like this), a roller and tray and painter’s tape.

Next, prep the space. We pulled all of the furniture to the center of the room and covered with thick plastic. If you’re taping off areas where you don’t want paint, now is the time to do it.

Finally, start painting! If you have two people, have one cut in the edges and the other follow behind with the roller for the main surface of the walls. If you’re painting solo, I usually cut everything in and then move to the roller.

We will eventually move the tv to a different wall, but for now it will stay – the cable is on that wall and it just felt easier to leave it for now :)

Once the walls had two coats and time to dry overnight, I went to work on the trim.

We painted the trim in the kitchen with the same deep charcoal as the cabinets and have just continued that downstairs – at least for now. Like I mentioned before, when we put in hardwoods we’ll switch out the baseboards and the window trim (just like we did upstairs) and it will go white, but in the meantime it feels fun to try something a little different with the dark trim.

For the trim, I did it just the same as with the rest of the downstairs trim (read my full post about painting out orangy-wood trim and doors here). I taped off inside and outside the windows as well as above the trim on the wall and on the edge of the carpet. So much tape!

I actually don’t like painter’s tape – it always, always bleeds. Sure, I could try the whole paint the background color first trick, but that seems so time intensive. So instead, I just tape it off, press firmly, then paint the trim.

When the tape comes off (after the second coat, but while still wet-ish), there are always areas where the paint bleeds under.

I’ve just learned to deal with it and I go back over with a tiny artists brush and wall paint to fix the smudges. It takes precision and a bit of time, but it’s not terrible. Just mildly annoying.

But, hey! Look how pretty that trim looks now!

When we first painted the kitchen window trim it felt like we put eyeliner on the windows. Suddenly they became focal points and directed your vision to outside, which is truly so beautiful. I am typically a fan of simple white trim, but this dark is quite eye-catching.

There is still one more patch of paint way up high to finish, then we’ll switch out the light fixtures (can’t wait to share what we’re doing!) and move some furniture around.

So far, just having the walls freshly painted and trim that striking charcoal has really updated the room. All for a few days of painting and about $100 in supplies. Not bad!

If you’re debating about whether or not to paint a room or paint out your trim, do it! It truly makes such a big difference.

I’ll keep you posted as we continue to work on Phase One of the Family Room Makeover.

25 Responses to Phase One of the Family Room Makeover + best painting tips

  1. Marie-Maguelone August 9, 2017 at 11:21 pm #

    Hi Emily
    Hello Emily
    For 5 years I am you, I can no longer leave comments! Pity!
    I live in France and we are both far and have common points! Women, moms sometimes we live similar things misrepresented distance and this is the case of my last comment. We are in the process of repainting our son’s room, and I am always amazed at the ease of your work. My husband has removed everything, it is true that we do the whole piece not only painting. But I am always amazed by your ease to embark on painting works to decorate this nice home! Congratulations !!

  2. Marie-Maguelone August 9, 2017 at 3:08 am #

    It’s great fun and it always seems to me that you do this with ease! I am always surprised by the fact that the TV remains on the wall! With us, we remove everything! My husband can not conceive of painting otherwise! Everyone’s method and the most important is to do after all! I would be more between the 2! But we are redoing the room of our son, I would show on the blog, http://mariemaguelonecreations.com and we removed everything. In fact I think that if it is for a painting it can be grouped in the middle and bacon. But in our case we have to re-frame a window, make new joints and re-coat the wall. And it’s more complicated and long so we took everything away! Bravo anyway for this makeover fast and very pretty. Your season is so beautiful! Have a very good day in your pretty home!!

  3. Callie August 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

    I’ve heard of the caulk-to-seal-the-tape-trick, but I’ve never wanted to deal with the mess/hassle of caulk. A SIMPLE & FAST trick I learned on HGTV years back is to use polyurethane instead.

    * Position your painters tape as usual (press firmly along the edge) and all it takes is a small can of poly (which will last for multiple paint jobs) and a small craft brush.

    * Paint along the side that you don’t want to bleed (overlapping your stokes over the tape & wall), wait for a few minutes to dry & works like a charm!!

    Very little touch up required & it’s especially effective if you’re painting stripes or some sort of pattern on the wall. When removing the tape, I’ve found it also helps to pull at a 90 degree angle. Hope this tip helps someone, it’s worked great for me!

    • emily August 7, 2017 at 8:46 am #

      Thank you for the tip! This does seem a bit easier than the caulk.

  4. Nadia July 28, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    We have 1 room left in our house – the guest room – and it is dying to be painted…I’ve been dreading it for almost 3 yrs… May be I will finally pull the trigger!

  5. Louella July 27, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

    In giving advice on painting, you forgot to touch on prepping the walls. Spackling small holes, lightly sanding or using TSP to wash them, if the wall has a semi-gloss or shinier sheen, and making sure they are clean. Painting over dirty walls is a big no-no. Other than that, I love your rooms.

  6. Gabby July 27, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    You always make a space look amazing. Even in “Phase #1”. We have been here for 13 years and I would LOVE to redo everything but my pocket book says, “No”. Ha ha! So I do the little refreshes where I can and it does make a difference. I love that trim color and I am doing a similar one on my laundry room cabinets soon.

  7. Danielle July 27, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    Some professional painter at Sherwin Williams recommended that we put up the painters tape and then put a thin bead of caulk along it to seal it. Now, our walls have a Lot of texture, so we have had to Rub. The. Caulk. In. to make sure it seals the tape, but that has helped us with not having the paint bleed through. On some projects I’ve still had it bleed a tiny, tiny bit. But mostly it’s worked well :)
    Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out! :)

  8. Whitney July 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    I so, SO agree about the tape! It is time consuming and then always bleeds. For the most part, I don’t even bother with it any more and just am careful and then touch up afterward!

  9. Marjory July 27, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Love the comparison between eye liner and the black window trim! It really does make those windows pop! Now I’m wondering if I should do it too :)

  10. Ella July 27, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    Our family painted our living room, dining room, entry , hallway, front door this winter and it was such a big job. Painting with the roller was kind of fun, but spackling, sanding, priming, taping, covering, filling in the edges, and cleanup took most of the time. Plus it made a big mess and we don’t have a big house so there wasn’t extra place to hang out in. We still have to do the kitchen but keep pushing it off since there is a lot of taping and covering involved with all the cabinets and appliances.
    We got this little tool edger for getting in corners and around doors & trim. You should try it – it’s neat & cute.
    We painted the walls light gray and the trim white.
    Also randomly: Our kitchen floor tiles look just like yours – and we put them in ten years ago before gray kitchens were a thing.

  11. Mikalah July 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    I used to have that problem with painters tape too! I tried frog tape and it works WAY better for me. =) It’s a little more spendy but worth it in my book if I don’t have to go back and do the detailed work after. I LOVE how the trim looks. what a beautiful space with so much potential!

  12. sarah July 27, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Another great cut in brush: a short-, silicone- handled 2 1/2″ (Home Depot’s brand is BlueHawk, but I’m sure there are other similar ones) I noticed my hand didn’t get so fatigued or cramped. Win!

  13. Sherry-Ann Ram July 27, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    Dear Emily,
    I read your posts from time to time and often I wonder whether or not the activities are environmentally friendly.
    Thanks,
    Sherry.

  14. Emily July 27, 2017 at 10:53 am #

    Thank you so much for the quick painting tutorial! I have a couple questions: 1) if you are painting your walls white and also need to paint the ceiling, do you use the same color for both? 2) do you need to “cut in” the edges for your second coat of paint as well? 3) finally, do you find that you have to stir the paint quite a few times while you’re painting a room? Thanks for all the tips! My husband and I bought our first home around the time you bought this one, so it’s been fun to follow along on your progress and make our own plans for our house :)

    • emily July 27, 2017 at 11:31 am #

      1. I didn’t actually paint the ceiling because it was a close enough match (and we’re thinking about planking it at some point so the paint would be covered eventually). We did, however, paint the ceiling in the kitchen and yes, it is the same color as walls, but in a flat paint (so it doesn’t reflect light and minor imperfections are less noticeable).
      2. Yes, two coats of cutting in and rolling. But the second round of cutting in is much faster.
      3. As long as the paint gets a good stir at the beginning, it should be okay for a few hours. I did one coat, let it dry overnight and the next day restirred the paint before doing the second coat.

      Great questions! Thanks for asking and enjoy this new house of yours!

      • Emily July 28, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

        Great answers! Thanks for getting back to me :) Now going to the paint store will be much less intimidating.

  15. Taylor July 27, 2017 at 10:34 am #

    Looks great! I’m always practicing cutting in without tape. My dad is a pro and it saves tons of time. I still make lots of mistakes. Most of your phase one makeovers are all I would do :) You must think you’ll be there forever if you want to invest so much into redoing the house? That’s exiting.

    • emily July 27, 2017 at 11:32 am #

      We’re still not sure if we’ll stay here longterm or not :) So we’re just taking projects as we can and we’ll see what happens.

  16. Kathryn Peters July 27, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    How did you paint those vaulted ceilings yourself?? I painted the ceilings in the small office and it was so hard!

    • emily July 27, 2017 at 11:32 am #

      I didn’t actually paint the ceiling. It is so high! And ceilings are hard! The paint color was similar enough that you can’t really tell it is not the exact same white, so we just left it for now.

  17. Theresa July 27, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    I LOVE the dark window trim so much – I wonder if you’ll end up keeping it later when you do the floors?! Thanks for sharing the progress and process 😊

    PS the video said it was “private” so I couldn’t view it. (I’m on an iPhone if it matters)

    • emily July 27, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      Just fixed the video :)

    • Theresa July 27, 2017 at 9:13 am #

      It’s fixed now, thank you!!

  18. Ashley July 27, 2017 at 7:34 am #

    My hubby was a painter for years and they just use regular ol’ masking tape. Works better plus it’s cheaper! Just a little tip if you haven’t tried it :)

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