How to Paint a Room
Nothing breathes new life into a room like a fresh coat of paint. Even if you’re new to painting or you’ve tried it before without great results, a professional looking paint job is within reach. All you need is a little patience and some basic knowledge. In this beginner’s level project, which will take you about five to eight hours, depending on the size of the room that you’ll be painting, you’ll learn tried and true painting techniques that will achieve a smooth, seamless finish in any room of the house.
Here’s what you’ll need for this project.
- Paint brushes
- Paint rollers
- Paint stirrer
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloths
Prepare your area. Since paint can splatter, cover floors and furniture too heavy or large to move with drop cloths.
Prepare walls. Sand any rough area on the walls you’ll be painting. Then, use a damp cloth to remove dust. It’s a good idea to quickly clean all walls and molding with a damp cloth as well. This will help you achieve a smooth finish. Section off areas you want to protect, such as base and crown molding, with painter’s tape.
Prepare your equipment. Make sure your brushes and other equipment are free from dirt, dust, and lint. Make sure you have everything you need before you start, including paint stirrers and rags to wipe away small spills and drips.
Stir and dip. If you’re using multiple gallons of paint, combine them all into a large paint bucket so you have a consistent color. When you’re ready to start, it’s important to have just the right amount of paint on your brush. Too much paint will run or drip. Too little paint will look patchy. Stir your paint thoroughly with a paint stirrer. Then, dip your brush into the paint, about one third of its bristle length. Wipe the bristles against the inner lip of the can or bucket to remove excess paint.
Start with the edges. Place the narrow edge of the brush against the wall right below the ceiling or above your baseboard, applying just enough pressure to bend the bristles and draw the brush along the edge. Be sure to keep an eye on the edge and avoid brush marks by using long, narrow strokes to paint from dry areas into wet areas. Add additional paint as needed.
Paint wall corners. Use the wide edge of the brush to paint wall corners, applying paint evenly, moving from high to low areas.
Paint larger areas. Many people find it easier to use rollers for larger areas. But, if you choose to use a brush, hold it at a forty-five-degree angle. Then, apply the paint with two or three diagonal strokes. Press lightly, just enough to flex the bristles. Spread the paint evenly with horizontal strokes.
Smooth surface. Lightly pull the brush down from the top to the bottom of the painted area. Lift the brush from the surface at the end of each stroke.
Roller preparation. Paint rollers, on an extension pole or held by hand, provide great results and can be easier on your back than using a brush. If you choose to use one, start by wetting the roller with water for latex paint or mineral spirits for enamel to remove lint and prime the roller.
Load your roller. Dip the roller into your tray to load it with paint. Roll it back and forth on the ramp to distribute paint evenly into the roller.
Apply paint. Start by making an upward diagonal sweep. Use slow, even strokes to avoid splattering. There’s no need to press hard. Let the tool do the work.
Down, then up. Bring the roller straight down from the top of the diagonal sweep. Then, shift it to the beginning of the diagonal sweep and roll it up, completely unloading the roller.
Distribute the paint. Use horizontal back and forth strokes to evenly distribute the paint over the rest of the area. Keep your strokes slow and consistent.
Smooth the area. Smooth the painted area by drawing the roller lightly up and down from top to bottom. After each stroke, lift the roller and return it to the top of the area. Repeat until your room is completely painted.
When you’re done, step back to admire your work. Your room looks like it was done by a professional, and you did it yourself.