How To Paint A Room Like a Professional

Use Interior Paint Colors to Change a House from Drab to Fab

A paint job provides unbeatable bang for the buck. Nothing changes the look and feel of a room more quickly and economically than a fresh coat of color. It’s not cost that frightens would-be DIYers from donning overalls and digging out drop-cloths, but rather a sense of inadequacy in the face of daunting questions – to tape or not; what type of brush; what kind of paint; trim or walls first? While painting a room takes minimal cash, it does take patience and a plan.

interior paint colors

Having the Necessary Tools on Hand Makes Room Painting Easier

Brushes and rollers are the most important tools of the trade. Foam brushes are economical and do a serviceable job. But, for the best result, good (and sometimes pricey) bristle paintbrushes are the way to go. Buy three high quality bristle brushes – one, two and three inches in size.

high quality bristle brushes

Rollers are the best tools to cover large areas. As with brushes, quality matters and costs more. Roller covers made of lambswool are more expensive than their polyester counterparts, but they hold more paint, rarely splatter and are less likely to leave visible track marks on the wall.

The best roller frames have heavy wires between each end that allow you to slide the cover on and snap it securely into place. The cheap ones use a wing nut to keep the cover in place and are worthless. Also, purchase an extension pole that is long enough to get your roller to the top of the room you are painting.

Additionally, you will need canvas drop cloths, a ladder, different-sized containers to pour your paint into, painter’s tape and paint.

Choose the Right Paint Finish for the Job

“Finish” is the word used to indicate how shiny the paint is when it dries. Flat or matte paints dry into a finish that has very little sheen. This type of finish is great for hiding imperfections, but it is more difficult to clean than other glossier finishes. An eggshell finish has slightly more sheen than a flat finish and is easier to clean. A satin paint dries to a glossy, velvety finish and is very easy to clean. Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints dry to a very glossy finish and stand up well to regular cleaning. Keep these facts in mind when you think about the room you are painting, but remember that there is no right or wrong.

Proper Preparation is Key to Painting a Room Like a Pro

A good paint job is about preparation. Be methodical, follow these steps and expect to be delighted with the finished result.

Strip the room naked! Furniture, rugs, pictures, mirrors, curtains, switch-plates from light fixtures – all of it must go. Paint is a messy medium, so start with a blank canvas.

Cover the floors with canvas drop cloths and cover the electrical outlet covers and any hardware that cannot be removed with painters tape.

Give the walls and trim a once-over. Imperfections will remain even after paint is applied. If the walls are gritty, sand them with a pole sander. Use a scraper to remove bumps and drips from trim. Holes must be repaired with drywall and mud and then sanded to blend in with the surrounding wall. Gaps can be filled with a bead of caulk.

Clean everything with a sponge and a bucket of water. Don’t skip this step or dust residue will inevitably cause endless headaches when the actual painting begins.

There are two schools of thought regarding taping. The first line of reasoning is that taping off the trim from the wall makes the cutting in go quicker and results in cleaner lines when the tape is removed. This method is good for painters who don’t trust themselves to have the steadiest hand around tight areas when they are using the brush. If taping before painting, make certain to use painter’s tape only. Remove the tape before the paint is completely dry. If the tape is removed after the paint has dried, use a utility knife to cleanly cut any hardened paint at the line between the tape and the wall.

The second line of reasoning is that taping is a waste of time, and a steady hand and good brush will produce an even better result. To free form the job use a two-inch angled brush and dip it into a bucket of paint until about a third of the bristles are covered. Then carefully use the brush to paint a line where the wall meets the trim.

Whether taping or not taping, the next step is always the same – cutting in. Cut in by outlining the entire wall with a brush. This makes it easy to then roll the rest of the wall right up to the places that have been painted.

After cutting in, use the roller to fill in all the spaces in between with smooth wide strokes. Use a roller tray to ensure even coverage of the paint on the roller.

Paint the molding and window trim. The size of the area should determine the size of your brush. Choose a brush that is smaller than the trim and turn it on its side to get to the edge of the trim.

Let everything dry and repeat as necessary. Most jobs need two coats to look their best.

A few other pointers will make the job go more smoothly. Paint the ceiling before you paint anything else. Keep a clean rag nearby to quickly take care of any drips. Goof-off will easily remove unwanted paint. Also, make a note of the paint colors used in the room to reference for future touch-ups.

Finally, take a well-deserved pat on the back. The hard part is done, and the fun part (decorating the newly painted room!) is just around the corner.