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5 Steps to Painting a Room

Planning to paint a room? Here are five steps to help you achieve the best results possible.


Preparing the Room

First, remove everything from the room, especially if you’re doing any drywall touch-ups before painting as drywall dust gets on everything. If you have large furniture items that cannot be removed from the room, gather them in the center of the space and cover them with a high-quality drop cloth. Do not use lightweight fabrics such as old sheets, as any wayward paint will soak through and onto your furnishings. If you’re painting as part of a kitchen remodel, be sure your appliances are moved away from walls and protected from splatters.


Surface Preparation

Fix all minor cracks or dents in the walls with a lightweight spackle. For any damage to wood trim that will be painted, use a wood filler product as spackle will not stick. For deeper dents or cracks, use plaster of Paris to achieve the best results. Smooth all repairs with a drywall sander or sanding sponge. A sponge will mold to the shape of trim and is the best option for non-flat areas. Once everything has been sanded, go over walls with a damp cloth to remove all dust. Caulk any cracks between the trim and walls for a clean, finished look.


Selecting the Paint

Choose a quality primer and use it on all walls, not just the areas you touched-up. Primer can affect the appearance of the paint. How do you choose from the variety of finishes available in paint? First, begin with a high-quality paint to get the best results. Flat paints are great for ceilings and more formal settings, but keep in mind that they are difficult to clean. Glossier paints are easier to clean and often stain-resistant. Eggshell paints are a nice happy medium. They clean easily and are great for any room in the house—including kitchens and baths. Plan to paint two coats to get the best looking finished product. Be sure to keep some paint for any touch-ups needed later.


Selecting the Right Equipment

Choosing the right roller is as important as choosing a quality paint to get the best results. A great choice is a lamb’s wool roller with a ½” nap. This will hold enough paint without creating too much texture on the wall. Longer nap rollers will create more texture if that’s the look you desire. Opt for a painter’s pole to help paint the ceiling and high areas on the walls. For cutting in walls, choose the best brush you can get. Choose a sash brush with soft, nylon bristles to get the best lines. With a good brush, you can avoid using painter’s tape for clean, straight lines. Painter’s tape has mixed reviews and can result in paint bleeding behind the tape or peeling when removing the tape—especially with latex paints.


And Finally…Painting

Start with the ceiling and work your way down. Paint the walls, then molding around windows and doors before finishing with the baseboard. Roll large areas as close to the edges as possible first. Cut in the edges with a high-quality sash brush after rolling. Check surfaces for imperfections between coats. You can lightly sand where needed, just remember to remove dust before applying the second coat.


When cutting in the edges of the ceiling and walls, be sure to put as much paint on the brush as possible while avoiding drips. When painting trim or a window sash, use less paint for better control. You can also use a paint guard for a clean, straight line. Lay doors flat on sawhorses to paint. If you have paneled doors, work from the outer edge of the panel inward. Watch for puddles in the corners of the panels. When painting the remainder of the door, follow the grain of the wood, and use long, even strokes.


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