Nanaimo-based professional red seal journeyman painter Crystal Miller shares tips, before-and-after photos and more on her company’s Facebook page, CNS Paint & Paper.

Behind the drop cloth: Room painting tips from a professional

Feeling inspired to change the look of your home or business, but on a budget? Don’t brush off the power of paint to result in a brand new look, free from the costs of a renovation or remodel.

Whether it’s a new, decorative feature wall or fine finishing, Nanaimo-based professional red seal journeyman painter Crystal Miller says cosmetic updates can make all the difference.

However, execution is extremely important. Miller, who owns and operates CNS Paint & Paper on Central Vancouver Island, has been called many times to fix DIY projects gone wrong.

“I’ve repainted a lot of people’s work over my 12 years in the industry,” she said. “Whether it be crooked lines or paint everywhere.”

Don’t cut corners

A successful paint job starts with proper preparation.

“A lot of people think it’s just slapping some paint on the wall,” Miller said. “You really do see that in the finished product.”

For example, she’s noticed some amateur painters don’t sand in between coats, which “ensures the paint adheres to the wall and gets rid of minor defects.”

Painters with a less-than-steady hand should consider using painter’s tape, tightly-pressed down onto well-cleaned moldings and other surfaces to ensure a good bond.

“As a full service painting company, when we come into your space we make sure everything is covered off, protected from dust and paint, and thoroughly cleaned at the end,” she said.

“You don’t want to be left with a construction zone.”

Use quality products

When you’re painting on a budget it may be tempting to “cheap out” on materials, but Miller said this is another common pitfall.

“Ultimately it just means you’re going to be painting again sooner,” she said. “If you’re going to do all of the hard work, make sure you’ve got a good quality product.”

Miller uses premium quality paints and coatings with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and also makes a constant effort to “go green.”

In addition to prioritizing environmentally-friendly paints, she recycles her painter’s plastic and cardboard, and takes her used paint cans to the recycling depot.

“I try to not to throw any of that stuff into the landfill,” she said.

Do your research

Professional painters should be able to customize services to their clients’ needs and budgets, so Miller also suggested seeking out a quote before getting started.

At CNS Paint & Paper, she said, they offer free estimates for their services, which include interior and exterior painting, as well as design services, such as wallpaper and decorative feature walls. To find out more, call Miller at 778-348-1987 or email

You can also find CNS Paint & Paper online at, and on Facebook and Instagram.

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