Quick Tip: Painting a Room

Consult these step-by-step interior painting pointers to get the job done right.

By Bob Vila | Updated Jul 23, 2020 1:14 PM

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How To Paint a Room

Photo: Flickr

Interior painting is one of the all-time favorite do-it-yourself jobs, but like everything else, there is a right and wrong way to paint a room.

Start Off Right
Make it easy on yourself and do it like the pros. Start by emptying the room or at least giving yourself access to all of the walls by grouping and covering furniture in the center. Mask off the floor carefully with tape and drop cloths, rosin paper or painter’s plastic. Shut off the power to the room and remove lighting fixtures and electrical plates. Remove the window hardware as well. Some skip these steps and wind up spending more time cleaning up drips and spills or replacing ruined items.

Prep Your Room for House Painting
Prep is as important as paint. Fill and patch nail holes and imperfections and clean the woodwork. Prime any bare wood, new drywall, or stained areas.

Begin at the Top
Paint the room from the top down. Start with the ceiling, cutting in from the edges with a brush and rolling the rest in long, even strokes with a roller on an extension rod. Wait between steps for the paint to dry. Cut in for the walls next, using a brush or paint pad to follow the line of the ceiling. Don’t worry too much about neatness around the trim since you’ll paint that last. Actually, a good thick layer between the wall and trim will help fill any gaps for a uniform look.

Cover All Imperfections
The walls need at least two coats with a roller: the first will hide any imperfections in the wall, the second will even out the finish. Use an extension roller here to keep your strokes and pressure even and to save your back.

Don’t Forget Finishing Touches
Once the walls are dry, tackle the trim from the top down with a good 3- or 4-inch brush. If your hand isn’t steady, you can mask window panes with tape and stick-on corners. A small paint pad made especially for sash will help you stay inside the lines, and a good sharp razor blade will get rid of any mistakes after the paint is dry.