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Painting a room is one of the easiest, cheapest, and rewarding ways to change the look and feel of a room. It’s not a hard process, but here are some tips and tricks to show you how to paint a room like a pro every time, even if it’s your first time.
If you have never painted before, don’t worry, this is a process anyone can follow and your project can be done in a day or two depending on the size of the job being completed. Let’s get into the steps of how to paint a room.
Step 1. Formulate a Plan of Action
When you are thinking of painting a space, try to imagine what the end result will be. What do you hope to achieve by adding a new color to the space?
There are also different ways to change the look of a room. There are different colors you could paint the baseboards or molding, the ceiling, or just paint an accent wall a different color.
Before you start the process of painting look at your room as a blank canvas. Whatever you want to be the end result can be achieved will a plan of action.
This is also a great time to take measurements of your room. You will need this as a guide for how much paint to buy, how much paint supplies you will need, and roughly how knowing how long it will take to complete your job.
Most paint companies have a paint calculator on their website. You just put in the measurements of your room and it will tell you how many gallons to purchase. On smaller jobs you may only need a gallon of paint, but for bigger jobs, especially exterior paint jobs, it may be cheaper to buy a five-gallon bucket.
Step 2. Choose Your Paint Color or Colors and Type of Paint
Now is the fun design part, what color to choose. If you are painting a whole room the same color, the decision is a little easier than if you are choosing to go with an accent wall as well.
Either way, there are so many colors to choose from and so many paint characteristics to think about.
Choosing Your Color or Colors
There are so many colors to choose from, the decision can be overwhelming if you don’t know for sure what color you are leaning towards. Most paint stores have fan deck paint chips that show an assortment of colors organized by color family. This tool can help you when narrowing down between two similar colors.
Some of the major things you need to decide before finalizing a color decision is what look you are going for. The wall color of a room can affect the overall feel of the room. Large areas will allow you to have dark walls better than small areas, but lighter colors usually work well in any size room.
With that said, many people can make a dark color work in smaller spaces, you just need to plan out the entire design of the room. The accents on the interior walls will play off of the darker colors and give it a cozy feel.
There are also removable paint sample stickers that allow you to paint part of your wall and remove after you have made your decision.
Choosing Your Type of Paint
Now that you have the perfect color picked out, you need to make some decisions on the type of paint you need for your space.
The first thing to decide is the sheen of your paint. Things to consider when choosing a sheen are things like how much natural light is in the room and how much artificial light there is. There are six different sheens of paint. Listed below are some characteristics of each sheen.
1. Flat paint Sheen
- Hides imperfections
- Deflects light
- Ideal for low traffic areas
- Works best in living rooms, bedrooms, and ceilings
2. Matte paint Sheen
- Gives off a small amount of reflection
- Works best in family rooms, dining rooms, and hallways
3. Eggshell paint Sheen
- Dull and hardly shiny
- Gives an elegant low gloss finish
- Works best in foyers, kitchens, and trim work
4. Satin paint Sheen
- Glossier than eggshell
- Easily wiped clean
- Works best in play rooms, laundry rooms, and kid’s bedrooms
5. Semi-Gloss paint Sheen
- Washable surface
- Suitable for high traffic areas
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Works best on doors, trim, molding, and cabinets
6. Gloss paint Sheen
- High shine finish
- Smooth surface
- Easy to clean
- Ideal for high-traffic areas
- Works best on trim, woodwork, and doors
Now on to the quality of the paint. Every paint manufacturer has different levels of paint. They are listed at different price ranges and have different things that make them unique such as best coverage, how many volatile organic compounds (VOC), and paint plus primer in one.
Another thing when choosing a paint is the makeup of the paint. There are many to choose from and the best person to help you make that decision is the professional mixing your paint. They can tell you, depending on the area you live in and the area you are painting, what will best for your project.
Common Types of House Paint
- Primer Paint
- Oil Based Paint
- Water Based Paint
- Enamel Paint
- Latex Paint
- Acrylic Paint
- Ceiling Paint
Step 3. Gather Your Supplies and Materials
There are some basic paint supplies and paint tools you will need when you start a painting project. Having the right tools will allow you to get your job done faster and more efficiently. They can all be found at your local hardware store or anywhere that sells paint.
Most commonly used paint supplies
- Drop Cloths
- Paint Tray
- Painters Tape
- Extension Pole
- Paint Roller
- Putty Knife
- Roller Cage
- Paint Brushes
- Drywall Repair Patches
- Safety Glasses
Step 4. Prep the Room
Now that you have all of your materials and supplies gathered, the next step is to prep the room. There are a few parts to this process. You will need to fix any problems with the room and cover up any area you won’t want paint to touch.
Prep Surfaces for painting
- Remove any pictures on the walls
- Cover any light fixtures that might get paint on them
- Take off light fixture covers and outlet covers (keep them in a zipper bag so you don’t loose the screws)
- Tape off any trim work that you don’t want to get paint on (including door frames)
- Lay drop cloths down to protect your floor from paint spills
Fix any problems
- Fill any nail holes where pictures were hanging
- Use a drywall patch to fix any bigger holes in the drywall
- Scrape away any flaky paint
- Lightly sand any high gloss surfaces if painting over trim work
- This might be a good time to replace any light switches that are cracked or damaged.
Step 5. Begin the Painting Process
The first thing that needs to be done before painting is thoroughly mixing your paint. This needs to be done if the paint has been sitting for a couple of days or weeks. If you just purchased your paint from the hardware store that day, it should have been shaken there.
Painting the Ceiling
Before you start the paint job, be sure to protect yourself. Wear eye protection, gloves, and make sure the room is properly ventilated. If you are in there for several hours, its not good to breath in paint fumes without air circulation.
If you are painting the ceiling and the walls, work your way down. Painting a ceiling can sometimes fling droplets of paint onto the walls so that needs to be first.
Start with cutting in the edges of the ceiling with a flat or angled paint brush. This will give you a guide to work the roller toward the edge of the ceiling. It also helps with bleed from the roller. Usually by the time you are to the edges with the roller, the paint has started to dry on the top layer, creating an almost barrier for the newer wet paint.
You can use a ladder to paint the ceiling, but I would strongly suggest an extension handle. An extension handle makes painting above you easier and will save you some time.
It also allows you too see exactly what you have and have not painted. When you are right by the ceiling with a regular roller cage, its hard to tell where you have been.
Another tip that can be of some use when painting a ceiling is headwear. Because gravity makes some of the paint spatter downwards, I like to wear a hat so the paint does not end up in my hair when painting a ceiling. It’s not necessary, just easier to clean yourself up after the hard work you put into an interior paint project.
Painting the walls
Now that the ceiling is taken care of, its time to start on the walls. When painting walls, start from the top and work your way down.
If you are painting a lighter color over a darker color, you may need to give the room a coat of primer. There are paints that have primer mixed in with the paint which may be an option to save you some time.
The first thing you need to do with your new color is cut in around any trim work, the electrical outlets and switches, the windows in the room, and door frames with a paint brush (straight or angled).
Once the trim is cut in, its time for using the roller. You can paint a room with just a brush, but it would take a really long time.
Put paint in the roller tray and cover the roller. You want the roller to have paint on it, but not be so full it is dripping.
Start painting a section of the wall working from the top down. You will want to move the roller in a W motion. When you refill the roller with more paint, start at the last spot with a slight overlapping so the paint will blend in together and have better coverage.
Repeat this process until your room is completely painted.
Depending of the color and quality of your paint, you may need to apply a second coat to the room. Just repeat the same process as the first coat.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete your job properly
If you are painting an average size room, giving a room two of paint should take about an afternoon. If the room is big, there is an accent wall, or the job is painting more than one room, it could take several days. Give yourself enough time to do the job properly.
If you rush while painting with a roller, spots could be missed and room will need to painted over again. Nobody wants that!
Step 6. Clean Up
hard fun part is done and now everything needs to be cleaned up. Most of the items used to paint a room (if using latex paint) can be cleaned up with soap and water.
You will want to wash out the paint rollers and paint brushes very good. Getting all of the paint out after each use will help them to last as long as possible. You can use the same roller cover and paint brushes for many jobs before they need to be replaced, saving you money in the long run.
Remove the drop cloths from the room, but be careful of paint spills when doing this. Some of the paint might still be wet on the drop cloth and if it touches the wall, your wall might need to be touched up.
After the paint has completely dried, carefully peel off the painters tape. This should leave you with a clean edge up to your trim work.
If you are painting the trim work in the room as well, make sure the paint is 100% dry before applying painters tape onto the wall to paint the trim work. If the paint is still wet, some paint could come off with the tape.
Step 7. Put the Room Back Together
The paint is all dry, the room is cleaned up, now its time to make it livable again!
Before you start to bring any furniture or home decor back into the room, make sure to put any light fixture covers or outlet covers back.
Once that is done, fill it back up. This might be the best time to give your room a nice new look with new home decor or just a new furniture piece picked out because of the new color. However you decide to decorate it, the new color should make it feel nice and fresh.
How to Paint a Room Like a Pro – Conclusion
I hope this article on how to paint a room like a pro helps you out on your painting journey. Even if this is your first time tackling a new paint job in your home, you can handle it and get the results you want.
Changing the look of your home can really make you appreciate where you live that much more. A cozy home is a happy home!
Now that you have your room painted, try adding some new home decor. Check out this article on easy rug ideas!