Time to 'fess up: It's been bugging you all year that smack dab in the middle of your front hall there's that can't-miss evidence of the day the delivery crew dinged your walls.
And don't forget the living room, where you changed your mind five times about just where to hang that picture. And what about the scrapes in the dining room where the electrician changed the switch-plate only to reveal a 3-inch swatch of that putrid Pepto-Bismol pink that once enveloped your every meal?
Well, people, now is the hour to haul out the paint cans and brushes and get to work ditching the dings that mar your home sweet home. We turned to Marc Poulos, painter extraordinaire who's been putting loveliness to walls for 25 years (six of those as the in-house painter for the Ritz-Carlton Chicago). Here are his tips:
Less is always more, especially in the paint department. You always want to start with the least invasive procedure. And in the case of dirty, finger-smudged walls, try just plain washing first. It might be all you need.
When in doubt, erase. A plain old No. 2 pencil eraser would work, but better yet, pick up a white craft eraser at any art or craft store. Either one will do away with lots of odd dots and dashes on the walls. But here's the trick: Wet the wall first, with a clean terry-cloth towel, then rub the eraser. If you don't wet it first, those little eraser bits will stick to the wall, and drive you batty.
Pray the ding is not in the middle of a long, long hallway. Eggshell-finish paint is a bear to touch-up. So, too, are dark paint colors. But if you must, moisten the wall first with a wrung-out terry-cloth towel. Absolutely, positively stir the paint in the can. (Don't laugh, you'd be surprised how often that's overlooked and the result can be, well, a whole new splotch on your wall.) Use a brush, or what's called a hot-dog roller (a 4-inch mini roller). Do not try a full-sized roller because, again, less is always more, and you could wind up needing to re-paint the whole wall. Brush over the spot where you need the touch-up. But then take your brush and "stipple it," says Poulos, explaining that to stipple is to dab, dab, dab. "Feather it out," he says, lightening your touch as you fan out from where you've started. (Matte finish and lighter colors, by the way, are easier to touch-up, says Poulos.)
No need to cower over corners. Even if the hard-edged angles tend to take the hardest hits, often being the first spots to succumb to passing limbs or stiff hard objects, the truth is, where wall meets wall is the easy part. Just dab that bend in the wall with your brush.
Trim takes no shortcuts. Because trim paint tends be a higher-gloss finish, you need to repaint the whole expanse from corner to corner. Each coat will add more shine, so unless you take the long stroke here, you'll wind up with shiny blotches.