I have painted almost every room in our home now. Make that almost every room in two homes! You could say that over the years I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade and have acquired quite a few painting tools. But, only a handful are my tried and true gear that get pulled out for every painting job.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Here they are:

1. Benjamin Moore Aura paint:

I have to tell you that I’m a bit of a paint snob. When we bought out first house, I got to know our local paint guy because I practically lived at the paint store. He pulled me aside one day and told me that Benjamin Moore Aura was his favorite paint. Since that day, I’ve been a big fan. The price is definitely higher than most, but for the time savings and finished product, it is worth it! I have been able to paint two rooms with only one coat, and let me tell you we never scrimp on coats. Normally we paint two coats regardless, but our dining room and living room honestly didn’t need the second coat because the before color wasn’t too different and there were no spots showing! This year I’ve tried several other brands, but I keep coming back to good ole Benjamin. The Aura paint has really great coverage and a very even finish. Plus, the durability and scrubability (is that a word?) for removing smudges and gook from the walls is unsurpassed. In all fairness, I know several other DIY bloggers that swear by Sherwin Williams — I just haven’t tried it yet.


2. Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo (water-based):

If you have little boys you know how rough they can be on doors, doorways, and all the trim in your house. Our baseboards alone have stood up to many matchbox demolition derbies. When I choose a paint for our trim, I know it has to have superhuman properties. Luckily I’ve found the Impervo paint by Benjamin Moore is up to the challenge and stands up to a lot of abuse.


3. ScotchBlue Tape:

Painter’s tape is a necessity for clean lines AND for securing drop cloths to the floor right up to the baseboard. I’ve been using ScotchBlue for years and I can tell you that the painter’s tape you used 5 years ago has changed. I know 3M is working on improving for better seal with less stick! We always have a supply of ScotchBlue in my tape drawer and we definitely go through it!


4. Pro Masker 2000:

I used to be a taper and taped off every room we painted. (Now, I’ve gotten much better at cutting in with just a brush.) In a desperate attempt to save time, I bought this paint tape dispenser and was thrilled to shave some time off my taping tasks. You can watch a brief video here. I still tape off some edges when I know it will take me more time to be meticulous than to tape off some trim.


5. Metal Paint Tray with Hooking Legs (and Plastic Bags):

I have a no-frills metal paint tray. It has legs that can hook onto a ladder, which comes in handy when painting high on a ladder. This paint tray is the first and last tray I’ll ever need because I like to line it with plastic grocery bags for easy clean up and for protecting the tray from a multitude of layers of paint (did I mention how many rooms I’ve painted in our home?)


6. Paint Mixing Drill Attachment:


Okay, I know you already know how much I love my cordless drill. Which is why you’ll understand why I jumped at buying this paint stirrer drill attachment just to have an excuse to pull out my drill for another project! Honestly, unless you like the slow process of thoroughly mixing old paint or blending colors, you’ll want one of these for your own!


7. Paint Pail with Handle:

Having a small pail to hold paint for painting trim while balancing on a ladder just makes sense (unless you like step aerobic.) This handheld paint pail has a magnet inside that will hold your paint brush from being completely submersed. I haven’t tried this upgraded version myself, but that seems like a great addition.


8. Rolling Edger:

I’ve tried so many edging gadgets that I could build a wing on my garage just for paint gadgets. I always come back to this basic edger. It is a simple tool that does a great job with a clean edge on inner corners…

…outer corners and around objects. The bristled pad is removable for easy cleaning. We’ve never had to replace ours because I don’t let the paint dry in it. When buying a basic edger, there is one option that you really should consider: a hole to accept an extension pole.


9. Extension Pole:

An extension pole is a necessity for high walls and ceilings in general. The extension pole can screw into any paint roller base and edgers that have a hole for the extension pole. Buy one today, your neck will thank you but your chiropractor will miss you.


10. Drywall Tape Knife:

Painting trim is the final step in painting a room. At this point you see the light at the end of the tunnel and are ready to finish already. I recently gave up taping off the carpet and flooring and use a drywall taping knife as a painting guard instead. It was quick and easy to use. Simply push it under the baseboard, paint and wipe off the blade once in a while.


11: Two Step Stool with Tall Handle:

Unless you are 6’4″, like my brother, you’ll likely need a step stool for painting crown molding and the top of the wall. I have a Cosco brand that has a long handle for grasping at that moment that you realize you leaned too far to one side. (Not that that ever happened to me. No Way!)


12. Lined Drop Cloth:

Have you ever dripped paint? No? Liar!! Have you ever stepped in and tipped over an entire gallon of paint? Ummm, yes, I did do that once. Several years ago we bought a double-sided drop cloth set from Costco. I’ve been thrilled with the security of knowing that I can dip my shoe in paint at any given moment and my floors will be safe. One side is canvas and the back is coated with vinyl. This is the closest match I could find. A double-sided drop cloth may cost a little more, but they are re-useable and never need to be thrown away. 😉 Happy Earth Face!


13. Rustoleum Spray Paint Handle:

Ever have trigger finger? No, not the itchy kind. The kind that cramps up after spray painting a fleet of furniture. That’s the same moment you realize you forgot to wear gloves. Only now it looks like you are wearing a black glove — but  you’re not — it’s paint. The Rust-oleum Spray Handle is the best thing since spray paint! It fits on almost all spray paint cans except the ones with the built-in-trigger top like show on the right above.


14. Purdy Brushes:

My love affair with Purdy brushes may be considered a little extreme. I love them so much that I immortalized two as cabinet handles in my garage:

These are seriously good brushes! I’m still using the Purdy brushes I bought when we lived in our old house. (And did I mention how many rooms we’ve painted?) Sure, they cost a little more, but they hold their shape and if you clean them right, you will never have to buy new ones! One 2.5″ and a 1″ brush are all you really need (unless you are good at recruiting friends to help you paint.)


15. The Paintbrush Cover:

The Paint Brush Cover is the newest addition to my painting tool box. Sal emailed me about half a dozen times to try to get my attention about the Paint Brush Cover.  (Yup, if you don’t get a reply from me right away, try try again.) I’m so glad he was persistant because I love this painting accessory. When I get interrupted while painting with a phone call (or more likely to break up some brotherly bickering), it is so quick and simple to set the brush in the cover and seal it up. The Paint Brush Cover is like tupperware for your paint brushes. And if you are going to spend money on good brushes, you better make sure that you don’t let the paint dry out in them!

I was truly pleased when after a week with pneumonia, I returned to the room I had to abandon painting, to find that the brush I had stored in the Paint Brush Cover was still wet and the paint was ready to use! I was one happy DIYer!

On my wishlist:

As a big painting enthusiast, I’ve gotten myself into some tight spots while painting. But, none are more awkward than painting over stairs. The edger on a pole works okay, but inevitably I’ll bump the ceiling or the wall that wasn’t supposed to be painted. I tried the Little Giant Ladder at the Southern Ideal Home Show last year. I am definitely very skeptical of infomercial type products, but from what I saw (and witnessed while climbing two stories up) was impressive. The ladder can contort into all types of configuration which makes it ideal for painting stairways.

Unfortunately I didn’t buy one at the show. Which resulted in my attempt at a DIY Ladder Platform:

Why yes, that is a cinderblock; my DIY Aerobic step; and a few other scraps of wood. Although scary looking, it was actually sturdy, as you can see by my stair surfing antics. But, I don’t know that I can endorse my platform.

If you are into making your own, you can check out the platform that Matt & Shari made. It might be a little less risky.

Ready to start painting? Check out these tutorials on painting a room like a pro:

Step 1. 80% of a professional paint job is in the prep work.

Step 2. paint and sheen

Step 3. painting your room and finishing touches

Disclosure: There are several links in the above post. They are affiliate links and I receive a small commission on any purchases made when clicking on the link. You are not charged anything extra.

155 replies
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  1. Shay
    Shay says:

    I never want to use aluminum foil again. I LOVE it. Thank-you for the great information. How did you know I had painter’s finger today from spray painting? 🙂

  2. Christy
    Christy says:

    Last summer my husband went away for a few days over our anniversary and even though my back was basically a mess, I decided I wanted to do an extreme makeover to our home office. It really wasn’t even a makeover because it had never been done. I like to paint but I had a desk to paint black so I called in a friend who loves to paint and she took over the room painting (a lovely soft mossy green). I laid out all of the supplies and went to babysit some kids for the morning. My friend sort of rolled her eyes at my drop cloths and she said, “I never use those.” I said, OK, because I trusted her. After I left she decided to use the cloth anyway. In a freak accident she then proceeded to dump a half a gallon of paint on the floor (on the drop cloth first, thankfully!). She was a screaming lunatic but she was all alone in my home. When I came home she had already finished the room and could relay the entire incident to me while cracking up laughing.

    I would love the paintbrush keepers!!

    Thanks for your blog. I appreciate your spirit!

  3. rose lauing
    rose lauing says:

    Oh, yeah, baby! Your timing couldn’t be better! We’re beginning to redo all the bedrooms (4) with new paint jobs and new carpet. BTW, I too LOVE Benjamin! I’ve always used Purdy brushes too – had the same one for many years because I baby it…and it loves me back. I’m liking this new paint brush cover, way less messy than my usual plastic wrap fiasco. I never thought about lining the tray, but I will definitely use that one! Thanks for the tips…keep ’em coming!!!


  4. karen@somewhatquirky
    karen@somewhatquirky says:

    We must be paint sisters separated at birth! My list would be exactly the same – except I have never used one of those paint brush covers. But not for long!! I need to win one – or two – or three . . . I still like the oil based Impervo paint – the black satin is just a perfect finish. I have started a few projects with the new Advanced BM paint. They are still in progress but I think they will be worth the extra money (our store charges over 60 bucks for a gallon). My house is slowly but surely getting covered in Aura paint. In regards to the Sherman Williams fans – I painted with SW exclusively for 20 years. My loyalty developed because they have such great colors and at the time were the best color matchers out there. You know the SW paints never are rated high by Consumer Reports – don’t know what that means, just kind of an FYI. I can’t speak for any of their new paints but nothing I have ever used in 35 years of painting stuff compares with the superior performance of Aura paint on walls.

  5. The Girl @ POS
    The Girl @ POS says:

    My funny story is painting related, but the spray kind. I was in the driveway putting the umpteenth coat of brown spray paint on some huge metal shelves, spraying away like a maniac, when I stopped and thought, perhaps the nozzle is clogged because I don’t appear to be making any progress. I went inside to investigate, and my boyfriend took one look at me and died laughing. Lesson learned: do not spray paint INTO the wind, or you will not put the paint where desired, and instead earn many new “freckles” for days to come.

    We also have an entire house to paint, so I need these!!

  6. Jill
    Jill says:

    My husband and I painted our house a couple years ago. I wanted this nice creamy slighty peachy tone and picked just the right paint. Or, so I thought. We painted the entire front of the house and stepped back to admire our work. The sun hit it just right and it looked like Willy Wonka had puked bubble gum pink on our house! UGH! (Yeah – I know now – testers!!) What a learning experience. It still makes me laugh.

  7. Danielle K
    Danielle K says:

    My story is not super funny…my husband and I really dislike painting. I had set up all these precautions while I was painting recently and even talked about how I needed to pay attention and not spill paint or step in any paint. Then what did I do? I stepped in paint and had no idea for a long time until my husband pointed it out. Luckily I was painting the project in the garage and the paint on the floor was only there. We’re tackling a new project soon and it makes me nervous just thinking about it!

  8. Deb Siemens
    Deb Siemens says:

    My friend, Cheryl and I have done many fix-ups and repairs. We always have a great time laughing while painting our homes together, something I would recommend heartily.
    Grab a friend and trade off working on each others homes, it’s lots of fun!

  9. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    Well, I can’t think of any funny painting stories (I’m sure I have some, just can’t think of them right now). But I can tell you how nice it’s been since my kids have gotten a little older and can help. My 9 year old son is a little workhorse and loves to help me. I edge and cut in, and he mans the roller. It’s a great partnership!


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