Skip Navigation

How to Paint a Room Like a Pro

DIY: How to Paint a Room Like a Pro

 

Adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls and ceiling is one of the easiest ways to make a room feel like a whole new space. Whether you're moving into a new home or just want to refresh an existing space, the right painting techniques can help save you valuable time and energy. Roll up your sleeves, and get ready to paint any room like a professional with these helpful hints.

 

Painting a Room

Step 1: Choose the Right Tools for the Job

No matter your skill level, having the right tools can drastically improve the results of your painting project. For an interior room, go with synthetic bristles on your brushes and rollers. Shorter, more narrow hand brushes are ideal for precision work around windows, doorways and baseboards, while wider options will cover larger areas more quickly. Rollers with a short nap will leave a smoother surface on walls, but designs with longer naps will create a more textural finish. If you want to reduce the amount of equipment you'll need, an extendable roller handle can help cover walls and ceilings easily.
 

Step 2: Clear the Room

Remove as many pieces of furniture and decor from the space as possible. If some furniture is too large to move out of the room, make sure that it's pushed to the center of the space and covered completely using a plastic tarp. You'll also want to lay down reusable canvas drop cloths along the walls you'll be painting to catch and absorb any spills or splatters.

Step 3: Prep the Walls

Before you start painting, you'll want to inspect the walls for holes, cracks, and dirt. Use spackling putty to fill holes and cracks. Wait for the putty to dry and then sand the area smooth using extra fine sandpaper. Dirty areas can be wiped down using a rag and plain water or a mixture of water and bleach. Unless you've mastered cutting using your hand brush, you'll also want to apply painter's tape to any windows, baseboards and doorways you'll be painting up against. Use a putty knife to press the tape firmly into place to reduce the likelihood that paint will seep underneath as you work.


Step 4: Prepare your Supplies

If you're working with multiple gallons of paint, even if they're technically the same color, small discrepancies between containers can make walls look uneven after the paint has been applied. To remedy this, you'll want to mix all of the separate gallon containers together into one 5-gallon bucket and make sure to mix the contents thoroughly. This process is known as "boxing." Be sure to wash your roller heads to remove any loose fibers that can get stuck in the paint and end up on the walls later on.
 

Painting a Wall

Step 5: Outline Each Section

This process is also known as "cutting." Start by transferring a small amount of paint from the bucket into a more portable container that will be easier to keep close at hand and carry around the room. For each application, dip your paintbrush in the paint and tap, don't wipe, the brush on the side of the container. Then apply 2 to 4 inches of paint along the corners, edges, baseboard, windows and doorways of a single wall.
 

Step 6: Fill in Large Spaces with a Roller

If you have your paint in a 5-gallon bucket, you can cut down on unnecessary supplies and messes by using a painting grid that can be inserted directly into the paint. Then simply dip the roller into the paint and roll it back and forth against the grid until the nap is evenly coated before applying it to the wall. Be sure to move the roller in a zigzag or "w" motion for more thorough and even distribution. When the roller is running low on paint, resist the urge to press harder as this can lead to roller strokes that will be difficult to eliminate after the paint dries. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each wall and ceiling section before moving on to the next.
 

Step 7: Paint the Trim and Baseboards

You'll want to remove the painter's tape before tackling the trim and baseboards of the room. If the tape is pulling up paint or is difficult to remove, run a utility knife along the edge to separate the tape from the fresh paint and then peel it away at a slight angle. Feel free to apply painter's tape to the fresh coat of wall paint after it has dried completely before using your brush to cover the trim.
 

Step 8: Clean the Area

If you're just putting your supplies away for the day and plan to paint again tomorrow, there's no need to clean your brushes and rollers. Simply wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator so the paint won't dry out overnight. When you've fully completed your painting project, wash the brushes and rollers thoroughly using soap and water, tightly cap the paint containers and buckets and remove the canvas floor liners and sheets before replacing your furniture.