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Unless you’re painting everything the same color, you might be wondering what order you’re supposed to paint your walls and trim to get that professional, sleek, finished look. In fact, many contractors, designers, and homeowners ask themselves the same exact question: “Should I paint the walls or trim first?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that simple.

Whether it’s about personal preference or painting proficiency, there are pros and cons to both options. It’s a complicated question to answer because no matter which direction you choose to go, you will face some challenges. Painting your home is not supposed to be easy, so it’s essential that you have a thorough plan and that you diligently stick to it.  

Pros and Cons of Painting Walls First

Painting your walls first may seem like the obvious answer, but it’s not always that straightforward. People have a tendency to overthink things, so let’s discuss the various pros and cons of starting with your walls.

Pros of Painting Walls First

  • Instant Gratification – Starting with your walls is more immediately gratifying than starting with the trim. After all, if you start with your walls, you’ll cover more area quickly. This can have an overall positive effect on how you feel about your progress and make it feel like you’ve accomplished a lot.
  • Instant GIt’s Easier to Paint Your Wallsratification – When you’re an inexperienced painter, starting with the walls is much easier than starting with trim. You can be a little sloppy when you’re painting the walls, but it won’t hurt the finished product. If you get some splashback on the trim while you’re painting, it’s not a big deal since you’ll be covering it up anyway.

Cons of Painting Walls First

Taping Wall Edges is More Difficult Than Taping Trim

When you start with the trim, it makes painting the delicate edges of the walls much more manageable. It all comes down to the difficulty of applying painter’s tape. When you paint the trim first, it’s much easier to cover those edges with tape than the floor, windows, and doors.

It Leaves Your Walls Vulnerable

After you’ve finished the walls and start to paint your trim, you have to be meticulous and pay careful attention. One wrong move and you could accidentally splash paint on your already finished wall. Starting with your walls first ultimately leaves them vulnerable when you paint your trim, which might be something you’d like to avoid.

Pros of Painting Trim First

It Makes the Wall’s Edges Easier to Paint

Many painters believe that starting with the trim makes the job easier in the long run. They claim that covering the trim, baseboards, and crown molding with tape is much simpler than covering the edges of the walls. Regardless, you’re going to have to use painter’s tape to keep your painting job clean and mess-free, so it all comes down to which taping job is easier for you.

You Finish the More Difficult Part First

Painting trim is much more complicated than painting walls because you have to be super careful. It’s such a small area to cover, and there isn’t much room for error. If you start with the trim, you have a little more wiggle room. If you make a mistake and accidentally get paint on the walls, that’s not a problem since you’ll be painting over it, anyway.

Cons of Painting Trim First

Delayed Gratification

Starting with the trim means you’ll be able to get the more precise and challenging painting done first, but it also delays your gratification. Once you’re finished painting the trim, you won’t have covered much ground, so it’s much less satisfying than starting with your walls.

It Makes Painting Your Wall More Challenging

If you paint the trim first, you must be super careful when you start painting your walls. It’s much harder to be precise when you have to cover such a large surface area. As a result, it’s much easier if you leave the precision to painting your trim.

What About Pre-Painted Trim?

You Finish the More Difficult Part First

Painting trim is much more complicated than painting walls because you have to be super careful. It’s such a small area to cover, and there isn’t much room for error. If you start with the trim, you have a little more wiggle room. If you make a mistake and accidentally get paint on the walls, that’s not a problem since you’ll be painting over it, anyway.

Cons of Painting Trim First

Delayed Gratification

Starting with the trim means you’ll be able to get the more precise and challenging painting done first, but it also delays your gratification. Once you’re finished painting the trim, you won’t have covered much ground, so it’s much less satisfying than starting with your walls.

It Makes Painting Your Wall More Challenging

If you paint the trim first, you must be super careful when you start painting your walls. It’s much harder to be precise when you have to cover such a large surface area. As a result, it’s much easier if you leave the precision to painting your trim.

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