guest room, paint and repair: work before fun!


Okay, let’s get the hard work over.  You know you’re supposed to eat dinner before dessert unless you’re my Gram. I was always jealous because she ate her dessert with dinner. I’ll be talking about decorating the guest room later in another post but first I’ll go over what we did to get to that point, like eating meat and vegetables before the pie.

before painting
before painting: cracks in plaster walls

the walls

Before my daughter moved in her room, I cleaned, primed and retextured the walls and ceiling with drywall mud. Then I had to paint primer everywhere and then painted trim, walls and ceiling. It was absolutely a ton of work. So, I thought it was going to be no big deal to repaint when she moved out. I hear you laughing at me. Yeah, we pulled the temporary head board off the wall and BAM, yep a large crack in the plaster. Now it was going to be a big deal!

crack in plaster

fixing cracks in plaster walls

I know, reading about cracks in plaster are really booooring but, if you have cracks, this part is for you! If not, feel free to skip to the equally booooring “why and when you should use primer”.

Our upstairs is still original lathe and plaster. Old houses move, so plaster walls crack, that’s life. 😦 I was lucky to have read a post on “Old Town Home” blog about repairing lathe and plaster. If you have this problem or worse, I highly recommend checking it out (here). I picked up lots DYI ways to fix lathe and plaster from this blog. I started with knocking down the loose plaster around the cracks. I was lucky that the brown or scratch coat was still attached to the lathe so I did not have to repair that layer only the finish coat. I used huge 3 foot wide drywall mesh with adhesive and stuck it over the large cracked areas. Then I mudded over the mesh with a couple layers of drywall mud and finally retextured the area. The smaller spots I fixed with standard drywall mesh and mud. With so many spots to prime I decided to paint the walls with primer to get a nice surface for a new wall color. The wood window and door trim were repaired and touched up with paint.

Want to know how to repair plaster cracked walls with drywall check out this post.
3 ft. drywall mesh for repairing plaster


primer, not paint with primer

Why do I use primer and paint separately instead of paint with primer? COST, cost & cost! Primer is cheaper than most paints and way cheaper than paints with primers. If you need have several coats why not use the cheapest option for the first coat.

primer and new drywall and patches

Use primer first especially with new raw drywall mud …….drywall mud sucks up tons of paint and primer stops this. Drywall mud and the paper backing on drywall will absorb paint differently causing a different finish or texture. It takes lots of paint layers to get rid of this result, if you just paint them without primer. This means, that all the cracks and joints where drywall mud was used will stand out and look funny because you didn’t use primer. In addition, if you just patch a wall don’t forget the primer, otherwise the texture will look different and the color often darker.

check list of prep and painting

I don’t want you to freak out with this list below, but if you have your tools collected and are ready, most of this steps take just a few minutes. (Yeah, I wander around like a headless chicken like for my tools.)



  • Remove ALL light weight furniture and decor
  • Cover any large pieces of furniture with drop clothes and move to the center of the room
  • Cover the floor at least where you work, you can move tarps or drop cloths around
  • Take all the stuff off the wall, such as, nails, screws, outlet covers, light switch cover, etc.
  • Put electrical covers, screws and important parts in Ziploc bags or Tupperware. Store in a safe place.
  • With masking tape cover over switches, outlets, furnace regulators, and things that won’t come off the wall
  • Repair any damage to walls, trim or ceiling
  • Paint primer over repairs.
  • If there is lots of damage, new drywall or dark colored paint to cover: paint primer on all walls and/or ceiling
  • If needed, paint the ceiling and over-lap down the wall a couple of inches



  • Paint the trim with semi-gloss or gloss latex paint over lapping on to wall
  • Let the trim dry at least over night


Cutting in

  • If you want, can use masking tape to protect the trim (I free hand)
  • Paint around trim using brush or paint pads
  • Paint where walls meet each other and where ceiling meets walls


Filling in


  • Paint the walls with as many coats as needed with roller or paint pad
  • Make sure the paint layers are dry, about 1 hour between coats
  • Latex paint takes a month to cure

Clean up

  • Remove tape carefully
  • TIP: use a hot hair dryer to remove stubborn tape
  • Replace outlet and switch covers


final coat behr's almond wisp
finish paint job Behr’s almond wisp

So it’s not the painting that takes so much time it the prep but it is worth it and older homes need more prep.

before and after #almondwispbehr
before and after of guest room

Before and after, yes, there is not much difference in the color. The colors are what “the decorating world” calls “neutrals”. The values and hues are very close but they have different undertones. Comparing them, new color looks less yellow and is a bit of a cooler color. I have been trending towards cooler colors in most the rooms that I’ve been repainting. Yes, following the decorating trends on Pinterest and other blogs. I will be talking about color theory and trends soon along with my color choices.

Next post, we will be covering, painting the trim and the doors.

If you missed the reveal post of the guest room, check it out here!

Don’t forget to do something nutty this week and warm your soul.



4 thoughts on “guest room, paint and repair: work before fun!

  1. I really appreciate this post as we hope to buy an older home when hubby retires in a couple years. I’ve only ever had sheetrock to deal with. I really like this new color. It looks really elegant with that great trim you have. I came to your blog after seeing a comment of yours on addicted2decorating.


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