First of all, and this cannot be stressed enough, don’t wallpaper. Though I did not actually even attempt to wallpaper my bedroom, I watched plenty of people on youtube trying in assorted how-to videos; it looked like a disaster in the making. So when I called my dad and he said, “If you even remotely like your boyfriend, don’t. I mean it. Don’t do it,” with that “or else” tone in his voice. So, my decision was sealed:

Wallpaper. It’s pretty, but dangerous. And I was still scared of being grounded by my dad.

So instead, we painted.

Painting is terrifically easy, once you get all the tape up. And you have, you really, really, have to tape the walls. Taping is, in fact, probably the most important part of the entire process. There is this one tiny little section of the wall that I did not bother with and it looks ridiculous. Don’t forget to tape your windows and trims. So there you have it: tape. And be warned — there are different kinds of tape. Correct! There are different levels of adhesiveness for the tape; if you have already painted a wall, for example, you do not want to purchase the super sticky stuff, lest your lovely paint come off of that wall. However, the less adhesive (we found), the more paint will leak under it. Always a trade off.

Once your tape is all up and lovely, painting is pretty easy. We picked a really dark color for our bedroom because: a) my dad made me live in a house of neutral tones and I really wanted some color now that I was an actual Adult and b) we figured it would tone down the absurd amount of light that came through our windows. It turned out to be a great decision for this particular bedroom, but it is also a pretty sillily large room. A good rule of thumb is that dark colors make the room look smaller. They also, of course, make the room darker, which is exactly what we wanted. There are also different layers of glossiness — the more gloss you use, the shinier the room is going to look. The recommendation for new painters is to steer away from flat paint, that tends to show all imperfections, and hit some sort of medium gloss level. I also recommend not going for the full on SHIMMER look, which is apparently an option if the samples at Home Depot are correct. Aim for the middle.

Before doing anything with the buckets of paint you bought, take off all your outlet covers. ALL of them. All the outlet covers, all the shades you bought, all the curtains and rods because if you don’t, you are going to wind up painting them. Just take every single thing off the walls, move all furniture away from the walls, and cover everything up with a sheet. For our bedroom, we (by which I mean “I”) moved everything we owned into the hallway. This was fine until it took nearly a week to finish and we had to navigate the trenches, so perhaps you might want to plan that slightly better than we (by which I now mean “we”) did. Anyway: get everything out of paint-range.

Though we were told to “wash the walls” (and probably should have), at some point my arm got tired and I gave up. It probably is not the end of the world. When you paint, I recommend first starting with primer. As with the actual paint, you have to pry off the lid (use a flathead) and dump it into a paint tray. We used a roller brush for the majority of the room and a paintbrush for the corners and trim and stuff. We used a tinted primer because our paint was so dark, but primer comes in white as well. That’s a step you really have to do — washing the walls got lost to laziness, but primer really, really must be done.

It took us three coats (!) to get the room to the level of dark that we wanted. Three. Three coats. But once you get things up there, it’s all pretty much the same action: dump paint into tray, get roller brush really wet, roll it out a little in the tray on the textured part, roll onto the wall – go up first at an angle (or not), then back down, then to the other side up, down. REPEAT.