Moving or Renting - Interior Painting Tips

We’re renting – yes. But the foundation to making this house our home was through painting. The trick is though, picking a neutral palette to work with what we have. Since Jeff and I really liked the colors we had in our Florida home, we stayed with the same palette of grays. To refresh our look though, we changed cooler grays vs. the warmer grays we had used in Florida.  The paint brand we used also changed: in Florida, it was all Ralph Lauren – Here in AZ, we went with Martha Stewart. Since we are renting, we did ask first prior to painting. We let the Realtor / Property Manager know as well as the owner we’d use neutrals, and they were fine with that (no flashy red or jarring orange walls. Those colors can be added with textiles).  The Realtor popped by to pick up the lock box on our move in day, and liked the colors so much, she wants me to come to her house to help her choose colors for her home! Here are some tips for you we learned from our experiences painting our home:

 MS = Martha Stewart (also now being dropped at Home Depot)
RL = Ralph Lauren paints (already dropped at HD, and was replaced with MS)

If you liked living with your current colors you have now, paint samples of them on card-stock while doing touch-ups in existing home.

Light filled room can take a dark color.

Fresh, modern and cozy look, which will pop with a white sofa.

FLOW YOUR COLORS: You can easily flow the colors in your home by simply repeating them throughout. For example: Since we now have three levels to “live” in, we used a color from our bedroom in the lower level stairway and entrance foyer. We also used a dark, medium, and a light gray through-out the rooms and spaces. For our furnishings and several framed B&W photos, using gray also created a fresh modern backdrop.  Since we’re in a desert location, we’re SURROUNDED with dirt brown, so this is another reason we chose to stay with the grays.  Don’t fear the dark colors – rooms flooded with bright natural light can take it, look cozy but spacious, and feel very fresh and modern - even with your existing furniture in it!

We got the go-ahead to remove wallpaper, which we only removed from the back-splash. It was too traditional for our style. It peeled right off, and we gave the wall a light sanding with a block prior to paining.

Painting kitchen doors semi-gloss black helped give a more cohesive look with the appliances in the space.

Painting doors and railings help give a space an updated modern style.

Lightly paint outlets to help blend when too many. 
Do NOT paint GFI outlets or switches.

TAPE YOUR SPACE: This bit of time is well worth it. If you are using plastic to cover an area, than go with a 2” blue tape. If you’re not, it’s best to tape edges with a 1 ½”. It helps make cutting in to edge go faster and it even guards against the roller when it “accidentally slips” past the edge onto the molding. You may have a few touch ups to do, but not a blotchy mess. Plus: when you’re edging – especially in a space before furniture arrives, it’s easier to scoot along the floor and slap that paint on without having to carefully run along the edge. When removing the tape, it’s best to remove it the same day. TIP: A quick trick for a crisp edge when removing tape: run a utility blade across it to score it, peel it towards you, and you’ll avoid peeling off your wall color you just painted.

Can't stress it enough: TAPE TAPE TAPE: Time well spent.

TIP: When selecting colors together, write paint colors on walls to avoid confusion later.
Peel tape same day as wall or trim painted, but be sure to score with a utility knife, to help avoid peeling what you painted.

The bedroom before we painted was a sort of silly-puddy color. The living room color cut off at the door and changed in the stairway. We flowed the living room color (medium gray) wall into the stairway. Then re-used the new bedroom wall color (light gray) in the lower level stairway and foyer.

PAINTING TAG TEAM: One person focuses on taping, edging, and cutting in. The other person focuses on rolling and cleanup at the end of the day. For edging, it’s best to use a short handle angled brush and a trim cup with a brush holder. When removing paint from the brush to apply to the wall, just pay attention to which side of the brush the paint is on. For example:  Cutting in at ceiling, you’ll want the paint on the bottom half of the brush and the top cleared (to avoid getting on ceiling). TIP: For rolling on wall color: apply paint with an extender rod on your roller and pour your paints into a HD Homer bucket. If you’re using 2, 3, or 4 gallons of a color, pouring these colors into the bucket will ensure the same color dye-lot, plus you’ll save your back & paint by not having to do so many pours into a pan. Remove excess paint from the roller by hanging a roller grid ($2) inside the bucket.

I lived with the small angled brush & painters cup for 4 days while we painted prior to moving in.

After all that rolling, Jeff was pooped!

Pre-packed tools sent out prior to our arrival was a huge help in getting the house move in ready for us. Utilizing one central location for them (like the kitchen pantry) was another help.

Don't forget to have some fun!

TYPES OF PAINT: For a pleasant glow and low luster sheen, choose an egg-shell finish for your walls. To avoid doing double work (like we did having to do two coats on everything) go for a paint & primer in one. We never had any issues with Ralph Lauren paints, but sorry to say, Martha’s paint (made by Glidden) were lacking in quality (not easy to apply – had many ghosts on walls and everything needed a second coat). Her paint is being dropped from Home Depot, but it may just be that she is dropping it because of the poor quality from Glidden. For easy clean-up on trim and doors, go with a (white or black) semi-gloss finish.  They do sell specific trim & door paint, but I really haven’t had any issues with using a simple semi-gloss finish – plus it’s less expensive too (go with Behr).  The white semi-gloss paint used to refresh a closet can also help reflect light in the small space and make it brighter. It’s good to use around windows as well.

A fresh coat of white semi-gloss on doors, trim, and closets help to reflect light and give a crisp look.

Tape moldings to paint walls.

Tape walls along moldings to paint trim.

In small spaces, for example Master bedroom with open and connecting closet hallway and bathroom, use same color throughout.


1. If you can, try to get into your new space to paint prior to your furniture arrival. Even if you don’t have time to do everything, at least paint out the main rooms most important to you. For us it was walls, trim doors in: Kitchen, Living Room, Master Bedroom & bathroom, walk-in-closet, and stairways (but wait to paint railings until after movers move you in to avoid scrapes). If you have extra help, go for all rooms done prior to move in.

2. If you're relocating, and already have a place of employment, pre-pack and send out your tools and supplies you would need for painting and / or minor repairs or projects. Doing so can help save on your budget by not duplicating a buy on something you already own.

3. Since you’d know your new address prior to moving, apply for an address change online – This will entitle you to “Move-In” coupons you can use for your new place. We used Lowes coupons at Home Depot and it helped save a bundle! Also: be aware of paint sales, like at Sherwin Williams, which can also help save on your paint & supplies.

4. If you’re done painting for the day, but know you will be painting with same color tomorrow, just place roller in a plastic grocery bag, and cover paint bucket with a garbage bag. Smaller brushes can just be rinsed out – wrap in paper towel to keep its shape.

5. If paint starts to get thick & sticky on your edger brush, just rinse it out. To be sure water is removed, squeeze it and use short singular shakes towards the sink, and you’re ready to get back to painting.

6. Keep a damp cloth handy for spills and do use a drop cloth. Double up your cloth or get a cloth with a plastic backing to ensure spills don’t leak through cloth. If you want to REALLY protect the floors prior to painting, tape down brown craft paper they sell on a roll at Home Depot. 

7. When painting trim and doors, use a cookie sheet under your paint tray, and keep handy your: edging brush, small sponge roller (for doors), and even a sponge on a stick (sometimes, it just works better!) For doors with panels, paint bevels first, then roll your flat surfaces.

8. When removing outlet covers, keep them together in one space like in a drawer. Before putting them back on, give them a scrubbing with Clorox. If there are too many white covers showing and you know you can’t cover them all with accessories, appliances or furniture, don’t hesitate to lightly paint them the color of the wall to make them disappear. I did this in the kitchen at the counter area – except for switches or GFI receptacles. 

9. For energy and nutrition: Keep some hard boiled eggs handy in the fridge (good source of protein), bananas (for potassium), water (to hydrate) and some grapes or granola bars for something sweet. For an extra energy boost: coffee, ice tea and or Coke. For lunches: skip the junk food and go for sandwiches or subs. For motivation: Use your phone apps for your iPhone play list or Pandora music channels. For headaches: Advil works like a charm. To chill out after a long day of painting… enjoy a well chilled glass of Zinfandel :)

I hope these tips help you on your next interior painting project, moving project or if you're renting a house and would like to make it your home.

Thank you for your continued support during this move and transition...
And thanks for stopping by!



  1. Amazing post! Thanks so much - this is such helpful information! :)

  2. Distance Between Bunk Beds plans included with those beds begin by telling you to construct each bed separately, and then, in a reverse Siamese twin kind of operation.

  3. Home Depot is dropping Martha's paint wow, that's crazy. I was just there today they even have new stuff from Martha.

  4. Love the colors you chose! You really did transform the space.

  5. Thanks you 85086, Jean, Michelle, and Melissa!!

    xo Lynda

  6. Really good information and good tips! Will be painting very soon and this is very timely! Thanks! Love what you've done! Ana

  7. Wow, you certainly did an amazing job with all these DIY home painting projects. I have really learned so much form this post. Thank you for sharing all these tips. This will be helpful for those who are planning to travel or move (with the help of movers Nebraska for instance). Now, I am just so inspired and ready to get dirty!

  8. So in the pic w the gray walls and black doors in the kitchen is that color magnetite by martha stewart?

  9. Hey, thanks for giving me an idea. This is very helpful for me. I'll try this on my house in Trece Martires. Thank you very much for sharing!



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