I've painted -- and repainted -- many rooms in my various homes over time. My record is painting my daughter's room three times in one year, from bland-beige to beet-red to baby-blue (a teenager's room, however did you guess?). I've painted in every condition from easy-on brushwork for bedroom walls to angled applications for bathroom corners.
If you're like me, you may have become semi-efficient at completing a room-painting gig (at least to the point of not stepping in the paint pan). But if you're new to the home painting game, you can always use advice from one who's been there, done that.
Here are some tips to handle the challenge of "cutting-in" paint around decorative wood trim.
If you've already begun planning your room painting, it may have been obvious to you from the first that you'll need to protect the white wood trim from your bright green wall paint. (Unless you've already copped out and decided to paint the walls white.)
And there's a lot of wood trim to manage when painting around windows and doors and the ceiling. (Thank goodness you don't have to paint around outlet covers, too, as these pop off with a screwdriver.)
The best defense against splattering paint on the wood trim (and it's always the paint's fault, not yours, right?) is to apply blue painter's tape (in a width that suits your molding) directly onto the trim. And, not to worry, unlike ordianry masking tape, blue painter's tape is specially designed to protect the wood trim without peeling up the paint.
Taping's the easy part. Now comes the artistry. Using an angled brush (choose one with a brush type, length, and weight that you can easily handle), gently, steadily cut-in the paint along the length of the wood trim. Pull the brush toward you and press the bristles down with a light touch.
You should only use a tiny amount of paint on the tip of the brush (about a quarter of the bristles), and angle the bristles on the wall as you work. If the paint looks like it's going on a little thin, that's OK, as you'll likely want to apply a second coat anyway (your spouse will be happy to do the finish coat).
Don't overpaint. Given the shield of the painter's tape, you may be tempted to splash on the paint, but even the best tape won't make a perfect seal to protect the trim from globs of paint that can bleed. So easy does it.
Cut-in a line of paint about 2" wide alongside the wood trim.
Once you've completed cutting-in paint around the trim with your angled brush, you can cut-in (and slightly overlap) an additional, broader path of paint with a 6" wide polyurethane roller brush (you'll enjoy how much faster it goes on and eliminates brushstroke textures). This application will give you about an 8"-wide paint border around all of your wood trim.
Now you can safely -- but not haphazardly -- paint the remaining areas of the walls with a 12"-wide roller, happily knowing you won't discolor your trim (or have to repaint it!).