Are you looking to freshen up your living space with a new coat of paint? Painting a room can seem daunting, especially if you’re a beginner, but it can be a fun and rewarding DIY project with the right tools and steps.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to paint a room from start to finish. You’ll learn how to prepare the room, choose the right paint, apply painter’s tape, and more.
Whether you want to add a pop of colour to a single wall or give your entire room a makeover, this article will give you the knowledge and confidence to complete the job. So grab your paintbrushes, and let’s get started!
How To Paint A Room For Beginners: For a professional-looking paint job
It’s advisable that before you grab your roller and get started, it’s crucial to have a plan of attack.
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1. Plan for your approach
Start by first envisioning what you would want your room to look like and not be limited to having the same colour on the four walls.
Does the ceiling need a fresh coat of paint too? What about the trim? or do you want to try painting with two colours (an accent wall, perhaps)?
It’s advisable to have varied options or different rooms, colours, and walls.
2. Choosing your colour
Having to choose from a myriad of paint shades can be nerve-racking.
However, first figuring out the general colour characteristics is advisable: Do you want a warm or cool shade? A neutral or a saturated shade?
Moreover, if you have existing furniture or art, it would be prudent to consider a shade that will complement the existing household items.
While you’ll inevitably find just what you’re looking for, landing on the right hue can be quite the process.
To guide your search, start by thinking about what you ultimately want.
Do you envision a warm or a cool shade? Does your space warrant a bold colour, or would a neutral be more appropriate?
3. Paint a sample swatch.
Once you have a general idea of the direction you want to go in, you can begin sifting through paint chips.
Test the shades to see how they look in the room at different times of the day.
Moreover, to get that visual impression of the shade, you’ll have to paint two coats of colour in a 12-inch-by-12-inch square.
Additionally, if your room has both sunny and shady spots, it’s smart to put swatches in both areas, as this can affect the final look.
Pro tip: Use an inexpensive foam brush for this type of sample paint. This way, you won’t dirty a ton of brushes or waste money.
4. Pick out your tools and materials
The surface and size of your painting will directly influence the detailed list of supplies you need.
It’s a good idea to stock your toolkit with some combination of the following items:
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloths
- Paintbrushes (both angled and straight)
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
- Stir stick
Other worthy investments include:
An extension pole, a paint can opener, and a pour spout to lessen the mess when pouring the paint into another can.
5. Prepping the walls and the room for painting
- Before cleaning, you’ll need to examine the walls for any gouges, large holes, scratches, cracks, or peeling.
Patching a wall well will create a smooth and professional paint finish.
Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth over minor shallow scratches and imperfections.
Scrape off any old peeling paint with a paint scraper for walls, smooth over and feather edges of scraped paint with sandpaper—spackle and sand larger blemishes.
- Dry-dust the walls floor to ceiling and scrub any extra-grimy parts with a wet sponge or cloth; paint won’t adhere as well to a dirty surface (think fingerprints, soot, dust, cobwebs).
Any mistakes visible before painting walls will be visible after the paintwork.
Now is the time for cleaning the walls and making stains disappear.
Your best bet is to wash the walls with tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
An inexpensive but extremely strong painter’s detergent that’s quite effective at removing surface oils and dirt.
- Guide to Responsible TSP Use
TSP is a very strong chemical and may cause skin and eye irritation without proper safety precautions. Always wear the following:
- Rubber gloves
- Safety eye goggles
- Long sleeves
Note: If TSP gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and water. If it gets in your eyes, flush with clean water for 15 minutes. Then seek emergency medical care.
- Protect the floor and any furniture you can’t or don’t want to move from paint splatters and spills. For the floor, choose fabric drop cloths instead of plastic ones, as plastic can be slick under your feet or, worse, the ladder.
- Remove outlet and light switch plates and tape around any areas you don’t want to be painted (such as mouldings, baseboards, or window frames with a painter’s masking tape or Frog Tape.
- Pro Tip: If the covers are looking dingy, place them in a solution of warm soapy water to clean them while you are painting. Additionally, you can replace cracked or broken plates and covers.
- Run painter’s tape along the door and window trim edges to protect them from any paint spills and any patching materials.
Remove baseboards if possible. Otherwise, run the painter’s tape along the baseboards’ top edge to protect them from paint spills.
6. Prime the wall
First, it’s advisable to prime your surfaces, especially if you’re painting over a dark wall with a light colour or covering stains; it requires a coat of primer and two coats of paint — and at least six hours of drying time. Priming walls covers tough stains and adds a subtle texture or teeth, so the paint can better adhere to the walls.
However, the priming of walls could be quite a hindrance if you want to do the paintwork in just a day.
Additionally, the primer’s drying time will be much longer if you live in a humid area.
However, there’s a cost-effective option if you were planning on buying a primer; you can purchase a self-priming paint.
7. Mixing the paint
You can use a wooden paint stick to stir the paint and keep re-stirring often throughout the project.
Because a decent stir will ensure your paint is properly mixed and prevent the pigments from settling.
However, if your job requires several gallons of paint, avoid colour variations from can to can by opening all of the cans and mixing them or “boxing” them together in a separate container.
Pro tip: To keep paint from building up in the paint’s can rim and spilling over the sides. It’s advisable to punch a small hole in the can’s interior rim.
The hole will allow excess paint to drain back into the can.
Even if most paints sold today are lower in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and less noxious than paints that once contained strong solvents and emitted dangerous fumes.
However, good ventilation in the work area is still important.
While you work, open windows or run fans to provide a constant fresh air supply, which will help dry the paint more rapidly.
How To Paint a Room like a professional
It’s evident everyone has a method that they follow during painting.
There is an order that should be adhered to so that you can enjoy the best results possible;
How To Paint The Ceiling
The ceiling should always be painted first.
It thus allows you to effectively cover the surface with at least two coats while not worrying about any over-spray.
The effect of excess paint being sprayed onto the walls by the roller.
When painting the ceiling, you should always use a roller with a double-arm frame.
The double-arm frame ensures support at both ends of the roller.
Additionally, it offers even pressure across the roller’s width during use and even coverage; I would recommend a 12″ perfection medium pile roller and the prestige stainless double arm frame.
How To Paint The Walls
Once the ceiling has dried, the walls should be cut and rolled with at least two coats.
Additionally, stubborn areas should likewise be primed before the topcoats are applied.
Do not worry about getting paint on any trim; this can be rectified in the next step.
How To Paint The Skirting Boards
Skirting boards are generally painted with a semi-gloss or a high-gloss finish.
To ensure the cut line’s accuracy, you can use masking/painter’s tape to cover the immediate area above the trim. Just make certain that the wall paint has dried first!
How To Paint The Window and Door Frames
Next on the list are windows and door frames, and they are much like the skirting boards.
Never forget that preparation is key to this task.
Make certain that any nail holes are filled, the edges of the frames are properly caulked against the wall, and all rough edges are sanded down before applying the finish coat.
How To Paint The Doors
When painting doors, you have two options available for you; Speed or finish, both of which relate to the panel and flush doors.
When working with panelled doors, always paint the panels first.
Most importantly, finish off with the Prestige laying off the brush, giving a flat, high gloss finish.
The flatter the surface, the higher the gloss will appear.
If you’re happy with a slight orange peel effect, then opt for the speed option.
Additionally, use a sash brush to ensure coverage in the panels’ corners and a Prestige short pile mini roller for all the flat surfaces.
It would be best if you lastly tackled the doors.
If you have panelled doors, it is best to use a sash brush to follow the wood grains.
Additionally, you can choose to use a brush or even a standard roller after the hard-to-reach areas are cut in beforehand.
Much like the walls, the ceiling, and the trim, two coats will be sufficient in most cases.
Best Painting Tips on How to Paint a Room
If you’re painting a room with just one color, here’s how to paint with a roller and a brush like a professional:
- Use an angled brush or a sponge tool to “cut in” or paint a two-inch swath around the woodwork and ceiling edges.
Cut-in is a term that refers to painting right up to the edge of surfaces that will not be painted, and it fills in areas where paint rollers can’t go.
Professional painters prefer cutting in, sometimes instead of using a painter’s tape, because it is expedient, inexpensive, less wasteful, and cleaner than using the tape.
Lightly pull the brush back against the paint can or bucket’s inner edge, using the edge to squeeze off the excess paint on the bristles’ surface.
Try to make long, smooth brushstrokes to avoid streaks and brush marks.
Note: It’s advisable to paint with care when using an angled brush or paint edger tool.
- Grab your paint tray and a roller.
Use a 1/4-inch nap for smooth surfaces, a 3/8-inch nap for semi-smooth, or a 5/8-inch nap for rough walls.
Note the wrong tool will apply too much or too little paint.
Dip the roller into your paint bucket. Don’t immerse it for too long; overloaded rollers cause major drips that are tough to roll out.
If using latex paint, pre-wet the roller first.
- Fill the well of the paint tray about ¼ of the way.
When loading the paint, roll the roller back and forth in the well until it is uniformly covered.
Finally, move the roller back and forth in the upper portion to remove any excess paint.
- Fill in the central unpainted space using the roller.
Paint the wall in overlapping W- or M-shaped strokes for the most even paint distribution.
Occasionally step back to view your work.
Pro tip: Work in a strong light to catch any missing spots.
At any edges where you previously used the cutting-in technique, finish by turning the roller vertically or horizontally to fill in the spaces with paint and smooth it out.
- Let the first coat dry for at least a couple of hours, then coat again.
Between coats, cover the tray and brush with plastic wrap touching the paint surface, and store it properly.
Pro tip: Have a moist rag handy to wipe fresh splatters. Scrape off dried drips with a credit card or plastic spatula.
The Best Finish and Clean-Up Process After Painting
- Rinse your paintbrush and roller (if you don’t toss them) under a faucet until the water runs clear.
- Decant the tray’s leftover paint back into the can; seal the can tightly by placing a paper towel over the lid and tapping the lid edges with a hammer. Rinse the tray.
- Ensure the brush’s bristles are dry, slip the brush back into its original paper wrapper to keep the bristles from fanning out, or try this DIY fix:
Fold a thick piece of paper around the bristles; tape to secure.
- Remove masking tape before you call it a day, pulling it off at a 45-degree angle to avoid tearing the finish.
Different Types of Painting Mistakes to Avoid
Skipping prep time
Ensure you’ve properly cleaned walls, and scraped off peels and cracks.
Additionally, apply the painter’s tape carefully and allow any patching compound to dry before you start.
Skimping on brushes and roller covers to save money
Good brushes and rollers give better coverage and save you on paint in the long run; additionally, the brushes will last for years if you take care of them.
Using masking tape instead of real painter’s tape
Instead of using masking tape, use painter’s tape that won’t leave a sticky residue. You can even leave it up for a few days, and it will still remove easily.
Painting over surfaces without first applying the primer
If you’re painting over surfaces such as; plaster, wood, concrete, glossy paint, and stained/porous drywall, it’s advisable to use a stand-alone primer or a premium all-in-one mix specifically designed to cover unpainted surfaces.
Painting over high-gloss paint without sanding
New paint needs some texture to adhere to, so make sure to lightly scuff any shiny surfaces with sandpaper, followed by a rinse with clean water.
Plunging your brush too far into the paint
Dip it only a third of the way in; you’ll get enough paint on your brush without wasting or pushing the paint deep into the bristles, which is tough to clean.
Always start near the ceiling and work your way down for the smoothest finish; that way, you can catch drips as you work.
Painting over wallpaper with water-based paint
You can paint over wallpaper, but be sure to use an oil-based primer first.
Water-based paints and primers can reactivate the wallpaper glue and cause unsightly peeling.
Final Thoughts on How To Paint A Room For Beginners
With clearly laid-out steps on how to paint a room, you can get professional results by working efficiently, neatly, and with careful preparation.
Additionally, no matter how careful you are, you’re bound to spill some paint on something during your painting.
Keep a can of paint remover on hand.
Paint remover works great for taking dried latex paint off trim, countertops, door hinges, vinyl floors, or whatever it is you have spilt.
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