Beginner Tips for Painting a Room
Dec 01, 2021
For the uninitiated, painting a room seems like a big undertaking—there are so many different paints, brushes, rollers, and techniques to know. However, when you break the project down piece by piece, painting a room isn’t difficult at all. With the following tips for painting a room, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to get started on a painting project.
Tools needed to paint a room
The following items include some of the tools and materials you’ll need to tackle a paint project:
- Spackle or joint compound: Use spackle to fix holes and cracks in the drywall.
- Putty knife: This will help you apply spackle.
- Sanding block: You need this for sanding the spackle.
- Primer: For covering drywall, wood trim, and any stains in the ceiling or wall surface.
- Paint: You need more paint than you might think: aim for one gallon of paint for every 400 square feet of painted walls.
- Paint roller: If you’re unsure which size to choose, a 9-inch paint roller is typically the best for most paint jobs.
- Roller cover: Choose ⅜-inch nap for smooth walls and ceilings.
- Drop cloths: Use drop cloths to cover your furniture and the floor to protect them from any paint drops.
- Paintbrushes: 1.5 to 2-inch paintbrushes are a good size for painting the edges of a room. Choose paintbrushes designed for the chosen paint type.
- Paint tray: This is useful for loading the roller.
- Painter’s tape: For protecting surfaces that you don’t want to be painted.
How to prepare a room for painting
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: A paint job is only as good as the prep work that goes into it. These tips on prepping a room for painting will help ensure that the final coat of paint looks as smooth as possible.
1. Remove outlet covers, window coverings, and switch plates.
Start by removing everything from the room that you can. This includes furniture, outlet covers, curtains, switch plates from the light switches, vents, and anything else that might get in the way during painting. Cover items that are too large or heavy to move with drop cloths.
2. Cover the floor with canvas drop cloths.
Be sure to stretch canvas drop cloths across the floor to catch drips and spills. If possible, avoid folds in the middle of the drop cloth as they’re easy to trip over. Instead, fold the drop cloth at the wall.
3. Using a putty knife, fill nail holes or dents with spackle.
Before even opening a can of paint, you need to patch the walls. First, run your hands over the walls to find any rough or uneven surfaces, and then circle them with a pencil. Next, scrape any loose paint or gunk off the wall with the tip of the putty knife. Then, use the butt of the putty knife to create a dent over the repair area. Finally, apply spackle to the repair. Allow it to dry before sanding it smooth.
4. Cover trim and surfaces next to walls with painter’s tape.
New painters that don’t have steady hands should rely on painter’s tape. First, apply it along the tops of the walls where they meet the ceiling. Then, when the ceiling is painted, apply it along the trim where it meets the walls (windows, doors, and baseboards). Finally, apply painter’s tape along the floor where it meets the baseboards and along the walls where they meet the trim.
5 tips for painting a room
With the bulk of the prep work out of the way, you’re ready to start painting. The following tips will help you organize a paint project and create a top-notch finished product.
For the best possible results, always start with a coat of primer. This coat might seem like an unnecessary step, but you’ll see the difference when you finish painting the room: the primer creates a clean, even finish. Apply this coat just like you would paint: cut in along the edges with a paintbrush and roll with the paint roller.
Box your paint for consistent color.
If you’re buying multiple cans of the same paint, there is a chance that the tints might vary slightly between cans, resulting in different paint colors on the wall. You can avoid this by “boxing” the paint, or mixing it all together in one large bucket. Simply pour three or four 1-gallon cans of paint into a 5-gallon bucket and stir for a consistent coat of paint.