We all try to be careful, but life’s little headaches are inevitable. Whether it’s bumping a wall while moving furniture, or spilling a colorful, sugary drink, damage is bound to happen to the interior walls of your home.

Touching up paint can be tricky, but if you’re careful and smart about it, you can get those walls back to picture perfect shape. Here are some important tips and tricks to get started!

Before Trying a Touch Up

Make sure that the thing you’re trying to fix can’t be solved by a simpler method. For example, try cleaning the spot with a damp and soapy rag or sponge.

If that doesn’t work, you may try gently rubbing at the spot with a stronger solution: a paste of baking soda and water. (Be careful, though, as this solution is a bit abrasive and too much scrubbing may strip the paint more.)

If that stain or scuff is too stubborn for regular cleaning, then it’s time for a touch up.

Preparing to Paint

Prep the surface for painting by making sure it’s clean. As above, gently scrub with a damp, soapy towel or sponge, wash away the soap with a plain damp towel, then let dry by air or with a clean, dry towel.

The spot you’re touching up may involve damage such as nail holes, deep scratches, or significant dents. If so, use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth out the area and spackle as needed.

Lay Down Some Primer

Too many first-time painters forget the process of priming!

Priming your painting area was help achieve maximum color blending and adhesion. It will also ensure the touched-up area doesn’t stick out from the rest of the wall.

So, remember to always prime the area you’re touching up before adding any paint!

Go with a high-quality latex primer, and don’t get too crazy. After all, you don’t need to prime past the area you’re painting. Let the primer dry completely before proceeding to your paint.

Match the Original Paint

You will want to match the paint as closely as possible to the rest of the surface.

Hopefully, you saved any left over from the initial paint job. If you didn’t, however, don’t worry—you can find a store that sells paint and has color-matching technology.  They can even mix you up some fresh paint that’s identical to your original color.

In addition to color matching, try to use the exact same painting method previously used.

If you rolled on the first coat, roll on the touch up; if you used a brush, do the same now. This way, the texture of the touched-up area matches the rest.

Use as little paint as possible while you touch up, only adding more if necessary.

Be sure to feather the edges outward to blend the touched-up area into the original coat as much as possible. Diluting the paint slightly with a thinner can also make the added coat of paint less noticeable.

Let Dry and Check-up

Once you’ve completed your touch up, let the whole thing thoroughly dry. A touch up may seem very noticeable while fresh, but may dry into an exact finish.

Once it’s completely dry, check out the spot at different angles, at different times of day and at different levels of light.

When deciding how noticeable the spot is, remember that you’re hyper aware of it. A visitor to your home may not even notice it—so be generous in your assessment, or have a friend come in and look over it as well.

Touching up paint can be an easy fix that saves you from having to completely repaint. By following the above steps, you’ll be on your way to a perfectly painted wall in no time!