How to Paint a Room

Learn how to paint every room in your home with these easy steps without making a mess, with less effort, and probably better than a painting service.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to clean your walls they just won't come clean. It's then that you know it's time to paint.

Basics you'll need

  • Rollers with a nap of 3/8” to ½”
  • Roller pan with a screen to lessen the mess
  • Brushes (buy straight bristle and angled sash brushes for the trim)
  • Painter's masking paper
  • Plastic for covering furniture and floors
  • Orange painter's tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Spackle & knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Drop cloths
  • Ladder
  • Roller extension handle for those high places
  • And… don't forget the paint sticks

Unfortunately the hardest and longest part of painting is the prep work. But, if you prep your room correctly, your paint job will not only look fantastic, it will produce easier to clean walls, and will last a long time.

Some quick tips:

Use high quality paint. The price is worth it as it will cover better, walls cleans up better, and it will last longer. In other words, you won't have to paint as soon, so you may end up saving money in the long run.

While we're on the subject of quality, buy good brushes and rollers. Ask your paint store where the professional grade stuff is and head over there.

For easy clean up, use an eggshell finish in the your high traffic areas such as halls, kid's bedrooms, and den.

Before you start, make sure to ventilate the area. This will allow you to breath better and help the paint dry faster.

After you're done, remove the tape as soon as your paint dries. Don't wait too long or you may end up damaging the surface.

To avoid messy drips down the side of the paint can, punch holes in the inside gutter of the paint can. Paint drips will then run into these holes and back into the paint can.

Tell the paint store the size of the room you will be painting and they can help you determine how much of each supply to purchase. Be sure to check with them if you can return any unused supplies.

How to Paint a Room Step one:

Clean the surfaces that are going to be painted. If you're cleaning a bathroom full of mildew, you're going to need to kill the mildew first. To kill mildew, you'll need to make a solution of one part bleach to five parts water and clean all areas of mildew. Be sure to use a mildew proof paint when you paint the bathroom.

If you're cleaning the kitchen walls, make a solution of one cup of ammonia to one gallon of water to cut the grease on the walls.

For the other rooms that are just dusty like the bedroom and living room, you can take a dry sponge and wipe down all the walls.

How to Paint a Room Step two:

Protect your furniture and tape everything off. Take the painter's paper and tape paper over the windows to protect the glass. As a side note, if you're going to be doing a lot of painting, you may want to purchase mask paper dispenser. You load this with your tape and mask paper and apply both in one stroke versus trying to apply tape while holding the paper. Be sure to tape off all fixtures too.

Either Paper the edges of the floor where they meet the walls all around the room or lay down drop cloths. This will protect the floor from any drips.

Drape any furniture with plastic and secure to floor with tape.

How to Paint a Room Step three:

Grab your spackle and spackle knife and patch any holes and cracks. After this dries, go back with sandpaper and smooth it out.

How to Paint a Room Step four:

Apply primer to all surfaces you are going to be painting with a roller covering in a "W" pattern. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect because it's primer, but it does need to cover.

How to Paint a Room Step five:

You're ready to paint. Paint all the trim around the woodwork, edges of the room, ceiling, and corners. This way when you roll out your paint onto the walls, it will overlap the already painted trim edges and corners.

Now it's time to roll out the walls. Dip your roller into the paint and use the screen to roll off any excess paint. Roll your paint out in a "W" pattern a section at a time. Cover it at least three times to get a good coverage of paint.

Paint your woodwork last, then the baseboards with your brush.

How to Paint a Room Step six:

Clean up time. Take an unused paint stick and scrape off excess paint from your roller into the paint can. If you used an oil base paint, then put the scraped roller into a bucket with a few cups of paint thinner. Squeeze and work the roller up and down to get rid of any left over paint. If you used a latex paint, then you can rinse the scraped roller off under running water until it runs clean.

Take your clean roller and place it back on the pole and spin it around to remove the moisture.

For brushes, you'll want to get all the paint out by wiping them on the inside of the paint can or bucket. Put your brushes into an empty bucket and pour paint thinner (if oil based paint) or water (if latex paint) and swoosh around until all the paint is removed. Pull the brush out of the liquid, but keep it in the bucket and spin it with your two hands until it is dry.

Any leftover paint can be kept in a touch up kit or small glass jars for future touch ups.

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