If you say that you are planning to redecorate a room, usually the first thing that comes to mind is painting. I knew if I titled this “painting”, no one would read it because nearly everyone views painting as an onerous chore. It need not be that way. Think of painting as an art form to be accomplished rather than a loathsome chore. It helps, it really does. I like to make ugly things attractive and painting is the way I do it. I even paint a lot of my outdoor tools. One thing that has made painting so much easier in my lifetime has been water-based latex acrilic paints. They do have a slight odor but not nearly as overpowering as oil-based alkyd paints that use paint thinner. Cleanup is a breeze too and that makes the job so much easier. I find that good interior latex paints are just as durable as alkyd paints in most situations. Instead of stirring paint, I always shake it as is done in the paint store, however, if that’s too difficult for you, stirring is fine too. Just make sure you have a safe place to lay the stir stick so it doesn’t leave a big blotch of paint on the floor. You need a small container of water, dip your brush in water first, and then shake out the excess to dampen the bristles. Have a damp cloth or paper towel at hand to quickly wipe up a spill with, and then start painting the edges first and around the trim. Save the easy stuff for last, the big open spaces that you can paint with a roller. It seems to work better if you do the tedious stuff first and the big stuff after. I think it’s because we lose patience as we go along. Baseboards look like a big problem but they are really easy if you have a paint guide. It looks for all the world like a wide vinyl slat from a Venetian blind, in fact, I’m sure it is with an attached handle in the center. Just slip it behind the baseboard and paint the wall behind it, moving the guide along as you go. That keeps paint off the baseboard. The same tool works great around window and door casings and ceiling moldings. You will need to wipe paint off the guide occasionally. If you drip a bit of paint here and there, wipe it up immediately with your damp cloth. Of course if you are painting over carpet, lay out some sort of protection on the carpet first. Make it easy on yourself by not trying to do too much at a time. Perhaps only one wall today and another tomorrow, then you won’t feel pressured by time constraints. Most people are in too much of a hurry to do the job well. Remember that Michelangelo took a while to do the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. The Pope wasn’t too happy about it but Michelangelo refused to be hurried. He was creating a work of art to last the Ages. That’s a good attitude to have. Some helpful hints: Paintbrushes should be natural hog bristle not the new synthetics. Synthetic bristles are very smooth and don’t hold paint very well. It’s hard to find natural hog bristle brushes anymore, about the only people that still make them are the Chinese. A discount auto parts store or industrial supply may be your best bet. Look for parts cleaning brushes, which are cheap paint brushes made in China from natural bristle. Of course a good cleaning is necessary prior to painting. Don’t try to paint over dirt because it will look exactly like someone painted over dirt to cover it up. Nail holes and cracks should be filled and sanded smooth too. I’ve never had too much luck with using masking tape. The paint always wicks underneath and leaves a mess, so don’t bother. Using the paint guide as described seems to work best. If you must leave for a bit in the middle of painting, wrap your brush or roller in a wet paper towel and put the lid on the paint can until you return. When finished for the day, make sure the lid of the paint can is all the way down all around so the paint doesn’t dry out. A claw hammer and a block of wood will do the job for you. Put your paintbrush in your container of water as soon as you are finished and then thoroughly clean it as soon as possible. A wire brush is sometimes helpful in cleaning. Pure bristle paintbrushes are at their best after they have been used a few times and will last for years if you take care of them.