East Aurora Advertiser

Column: Driven by Decor: A Lesson in Painting Techniques

A recent inquiry on Facebook left me thinking about paint.

I paint. Or, I used to paint. Before I was typing away at 710 Main Street, when I had the opportunity to pick up a paintbrush and make some money, I would paint. Sometimes I would be asked to paint the entire interior of a house and it would take several weeks. Sometimes I would just be asked to refresh a certain room, which took only a day. I wore painting clothes more often than a regular outfit and my favorite “paint days” were when I got to bring my painting sidekick Kelly with me.

At this point, I am only painting a few times a year. I actually don’t think I have picked up a paintbrush since September 2022, when I (we, Kelly was there, too) painted the interior porch at my father-in-law’s lakeside camp in the Adirondacks.

Shelly Ferullo and Kelly Heferle wrap up painting the enclosed porch of a lakeside house in the Adirondacks in September 2022. This summer, they will paint the floor on the porch.
Submitted Image

Everyone who paints has a different method. I rarely use a primer on a normal job. I will use it if I am going over a very dark color with something several shades lighter. Maybe I will use a primer if I am painting a piece of furniture that will get a lot of use or kitchen cabinets, but generally speaking, I skip this step. I do take the time to dust off the walls, baseboards and trim and I fill in and sand down each hole and divot with spackle.

If the ceiling and trim needs to be painted as well, I paint those first, beginning with the ceiling. The trim and baseboards come next. This way you don’t have to worry about “cutting in” and you can let the trim color go onto the wall. It makes the process go so much easier. I highly recommend investing in quality trim paint. Today’s formulas have enamel in the mixture and it leaves a nice, smooth finish. Most trim paints take a full six weeks to cure.

Next, I roll on the first coat on the walls with a quality roller. Please invest in good paint and a quality roller that will not leave debris and fuzzies all over the walls as you are using it. Also, be sure to clean the edge of the can with a paintbrush each time you pour paint into the paint pan. You will want to keep that paint edge as clean as possible so the lid will always fit back on when you are done with your project and it won’t dry shut. A properly fitting lid also preserves your paint color for touch-ups down the road. 

After the first coat is rolled, I cut in around the edges. I do not use painter’s tape. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time hanging it up and it makes a mess pulling it off. You may as well use that extra time to be cautious while cutting in. I use an angled one-and-a-half-inch paint brush for a perfect, clean edge. It helps to have a wet rag nearby if you need to clean something up. 

The first coat of cutting in is time-consuming, and I think that’s why I roll the wall first, so it will feel like I have accomplished a lot. There are some painters who may do this process in reverse and cut in before they roll the walls, but I have always rolled first and covered every spot I missed afterward with a brush.

As the first coat of the edges dries, roll your second coat. Walls will always need a second coat, no matter what the guy at the paint store tells you or what the paint can advertises – and then cut in a second time. The process will go much faster the second time around. 

After the second coat dries, give the room a good look in case a few spots need to be touched up with a third layer. I don’t think I have ever needed to paint an entire third coat in a single room, but you will probably notice a few spots that need a third roll or a third coat with the brush for a more even look.

In between coats, when you are not using your brush, it can be stored in a damp paper towel placed inside a baggie. Try to squeeze out the air so it doesn’t dry. The same can be done with the roller while you are cutting in again. I have left both brushes and rollers overnight this way without the paint drying. 

Finally, clean your brush so you can use it again. Something else will need to be painted soon enough.


When she’s not reporting on small town life in and around East Aurora, Shelly is usually knee deep into planning a new project for the 1980s-almost-village-vanilla-box her family lives in. To catch a glimpse of the progress on her decorating adventures, follow her on Instagram at almostvillagevanillabox. To see pictures and read captions from the recent vacation, friend her on Facebook.

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