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5 Paint Lessons We’ve Learned the Hard Way & Master Bedroom Update

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last.

This post is sponsored by KILZ®.

Remember the “scary” paint plan I mentioned for our master bedroom refresh last week?

Oh. my. stars. Y’ALL!

I’m in love! I’m in love! I’m in love! And I don’t care who knows it! (Shameless Elf quote there. ‘Tis [almost] the season.)

UPDATE: See our final Master Bedroom reveal here!

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

The master bedroom is black and it is faaaabulouuuuuuus! Who even AM I anymore?

The last time I shared an update, the DIY grid molding focal wall carpentry was finished, and we were movin’ on up to the fun part.

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

Over the years though, we’ve learned a thing or two about trying to take a shortcut to the fun part. It did not go well. Ask me how I know.

5 rules about primer I wish I’d known as a beginner DIYer?

1. Always prime cabinets before you paint to keep the finish long-lasting.

2. Always prime doors before you paint to prevent scuffs and wear.

3. Always prime wood trim and molding before you paint to prevent paint from seeping.

4. Use primer between two different paint colors on walls to ensure you get your true desired shade.

5. And don’t always believe that “paint and primer in one” will solve all of your problems.

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

For our grid molding focal wall, we brushed and rolled on a coat of KILZ 2® All-Purpose primer so that the paint in the next step wouldn’t seep into the MDF.

(In the past, we learned the hard way that without primer, wood will take way more coats of paint thanks to a “thirsty” surface.)

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

For the other three walls, we learned the hard day that without a primer coat, the paint you choose won’t actually be “true to color”. When we painted this bedroom the first time, we chose a neutral gray to paint over the sage green paint on the walls from the previous owners.

I’ve despised the gray ever since! Because even though the paint we used had “paint and primer in one”, the gray always had a green undertone because we didn’t use a primer between the two paint colors.

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

See what I mean?! That existing paint on the wall doesn’t look gray at all (even though the sample I painted on white cardstock in this same room did). It was bad. SO bad.

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

This time, we primed with KILZ 2® All-Purpose before applying KILZ Complete Coat® in the color Rebel, and it was 100% worth the extra step. No weird undertones.

The paint is highly scrubbable and resists fading, staining, and peeling so that we can stick with it for years ahead.

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

Couldn’t you just die?!!!! Swoon!!!

This room has so much depth now that this gorgeous paint is on the walls.

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh with Kilz®

We’re installing new closet doors next to replace our basic bi-folds, and we’ll be using a coat of KILZ 2® All-Purpose to prevent scuffs and wear on those too. (Update coming on that soon!)

Don’t get me started on the inside of these closets though. That’s a different story on our New Year’s Resolutions list. 😉

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh using black paint with Kilz®

What do you think?! It’s a total shocker to me walking into this room now, but in a good way. Like the kind when you catch yourself in the mirror after a dramatic haircut. Daaaang you look SO fine.

Here’s what we have next on the to-do list:

  • Install new closet doors and prime and paint
  • Hang curtains and window shades
  • Install new ceiling fan and sconces
  • Make DIY art
  • Decorate

Once we add in the curtains, doors, and white bedding, this space will brighten up quite a bit. So if you’re not a fan just yet, sit tight. 😉 It’ll get there.

This is definitely one of those makeovers that we plan on leaving as-is for years to come, so every single step is worth it. I cannot WAIT to see how it all comes together!

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

5 rules about primer and paint we wish we had known as beginner DIYers and how to create a paint finish on walls, doors, trim, and moldings that last. | Master Bedroom Refresh using black paint with Kilz®

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23 Comments

  1. I absolutely love the pine and upholstered bed in your master bedroom. Can you tell me the manufacture and where you bought it from, please?

    1. HI, Melissa. Unfortunately there are not any labels to share manufacturer details. This particular bed was in a closeout warehouse sale. I do have a post that shares similar alternative options. Search ‘beds’ in the search bar and the post with the links will pop up.

  2. Ha! I was a teenager in the 60s and I painted my bedroom these exact colors and added a blacklight for special effects. I thought I was sooo cool, and my mother thought I was in serious spiritual trouble, lol. But I loved it! Know what? I still love it! Beautiful job, so elegant! (You’ll probably want to skip the black light though, haha!

  3. Looks beautiful. I look forward to your posts! I’m looking forward to hearing about your closet doors. I’m struggling with what to use for a replacement for old slat doors. Some of the doors at the usual home improvement stores look and feel just as rickety as my old slat doors.

    1. I know what you mean. They don’t make doors like they used to. We’re still working on the doors, but they should be finished this week! 🙂

  4. We are moving into a new house in a few weeks. On the agenda is painting the master bedroom black! It already has the basic square moulding. I am debating adding a trim piece to the squares to make it look a little softer like yours. Thanks for the inspiration and tips about going dark.

    1. Yes! We run the blog together now. He worked in the financial industry for 5 years, and while we are thankful for the support it provided for us, both our hearts are most passionate about what we do in home/DIY projects. We hope to branch out into working in others’ homes in our community when our girls get a little bit older.

  5. WOW! Can you please hurry up and finish so we can see the final results! LOL I am so inspired right now. I absolutely LOVE it!

    1. Haha! We’ve gotten sidetracked with Christmas projects and prepping for lots of family time, but we’re hoping to finish up all of the last projects very soon.

  6. You brave girl!!!!! Looks fabulous!! What sets it off is the white woodwork and light headboard—neither of which I have…so I’m not brave enough to try it. I can relate to what you said about walking into the room and it being a total shocker. When I was a little girl, my mom sent me to my grandmother’s house for the day while she painted her bedroom. When I returned home and walked into her room—-oh, my! I can still remember jumping backward—ha ha! The room had a chair rail, and the lower area was a charcoal grey, and the top part was a cherry red!. My mom made floor length floral curtains….background was light and dark greys and had big flowers of cherry red with some green vine in it and a soft pink flower. The room had white woodwork, and to this day, it remains in my mind as one of the prettiest rooms I can ever remember in any of our homes! Good job, and thanks for sharing all of those painting tips.

    1. Same thing! I went off to summer camp for a couple of days when I was about 11 or 12. When I got home, my parents surprised me with a purple butterfly-themed room makeover. I was over the moon and so shocked at the change! It was the best surprise ever.

  7. Question: Why didn’t you use a tinted primer instead of white since you were going dark? I have heard to use a tinted primer when you are going to paint dark colors, but not sure if there is a good reason to do such or not. I know not to use white primer for walls going red as they tend to turn a pink tone.
    The room looks wonderful!!!

  8. Looking great! I love dark paint and have for longer than it has been in vogue. The molding you created on that focal wall is a major part of why this looks so fantastic too. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

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