DIY interior painting — paint like a pro
Painting interior rooms of your home might feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! We've got tips from prep to finish so you can get the results you want.
First Up, What Do You Need to Paint an Interior Room of Your Home?
Before you do anything, you need to figure out how much paint you need to buy. Measure the walls you want to paint to calculate the total square footage. For solid walls, you'll need to multiply the width by the height of the wall to know the total square footage of the wall. Next, do the same thing for the ceiling, door, trim, baseboards, and molding, if they are all going to be the same color.
The first thing to do is to purchase your supplies and figure out how much paint you need to buy.
How do you determine how much paint you need?
- Measure every surface you want to paint.
- Solid walls: Multiply the width by the height to determine the total surface area.
- Do the same thing with your ceiling, doors, and any trim.
- Add everything together to figure out your total sq. feet and that's the number you'll use to determine how much paint you will need.
The amount of paint you are going to need changes depending on what is already on the walls. Typically, one gallon of paint can cover between 250-400 square feet. If the wall is a smooth and light color, you're in luck! Your gallon will take you a lot further. If you've got textured or dark walls to paint, you are going to go through that gallon a lot faster.
Our experts recommend that you always buy more paint than you think you'll need. (and even then, you will probably be heading back to the hardware store more, until the guy behind the paint counter knows your order by heart.)
What kind of paint sheen should you pick? Our service providers say that you will more than likely be using a flat gloss, eggshell sheen or satin paint sheen for your interior walls.
So what's the difference?
The flat sheen is the least glossy. You'll find this in your formal spaces, like dining rooms and offices.
Eggshell, as well as satin, have a lot more gloss and are used in the rooms you and your family spend much time in, like the kitchen.
If you've got kids, go with high gloss paints. Thy are a lot easier to clean, and they are resistant to stains, like the ones from tiny hands.
What about the baseboards and ceiling?
It's best to use a semigloss paint on the baseboards. Semigloss is perfect for baseboards that get beat up with scuff marks.
For the ceilings, you want to go with a flat paint, which is best to even everything out. You can get flat paints that ceilings. These flat paints prevent yellowing as the paint ages and reduce any splattering of color while you are painting.
Let's Talk Supplies!
If you want to paint a room on your own, you'll need the right tools.
- Paint rollers + extension handles, (get the ones with the stronger rubber grips)
- Covers for the paint rollers.
- Paintbrushes - you want to have a 2.5 inch angled brush or larger for edging.
- Brush cleaners or rags.
- Sandpaper (to prep surfaces)
- Dropcloth —lots of them! You will want to cover furniture and flooring, so you don't accidentally change the color of your floors along with the walls.
- Painters tape. No, you can't "eye it" no matter how steady you think your hand is — tape off windows, woodwork and anything else you do not want your new color of paint pon.
- Paint scraper (for prepping your walls)
- Paint trays to pour your paint
- A large (damp) sponge to wipe down the walls to dust off walls before you put up your paint.
- Small angled brush.
Prepping Rooms for Painting
You've got your paint, your supplies and a few days free to paint! Now it's time to get the room ready.
- Take all of the art, mirrors, curtains, and switch plates down from the walls.
- Fill any holes with spackle and then smooth it over with sandpaper.
- The best way to clean your walls to remove dust before you paint is by using a warm damp sponge. If your walls are extra dirty, you may need to use trisodium phosphate, be sure to make sure the room is well ventilated and you use gloves and goggles and wear protective long sleeves.
- Get out your painters tape and block off trim, windows and anything else you don't want paint on.
- Cover up everything you don't want paint dripping onto with drop cloths!
Let's Get Painting!
You've bought your paint and tools, and you've prepped the room. Now, it's FINALLY time to paint! We've got tips from our pros on how to paint a room.
Primer is an important step in painting and can help save money on how much paint you have to buy. Primer makes your walls smooth so that the paint goes on smoothly. If you patch any holes or if you are painting new walls you will need to use a primer.
- Are you applying primer over a painted wall? Use a primer with a tint of the color closest to the paint you'll be using on the walls.
- It's best to use an angled brush to apply primer around the edges, trim and windows.
- Don't paint to quickly! Make sure the primer is completely dry before you start painting your walls.
- The best thing to do is to work from the top down. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom of the baseboards.
- Take out your trusty roller and extension pole, and apply your first coat of paint. You'll need to use at least two layers to your ceiling.
- As always, before you move on to the next steps, make sure the ceiling paint is completely dry.
Corners and Edges
- Now it's time to take out that paintbrush! Dip your paintbrush and cover the bristles about 1/3 of the way up.
- Paint a 3-inch swath of paint along every corner, along with the ceiling and the molding and baseboards. This will help make sure that when you use your roller, you don't accidentally spilling over to areas you don't want to paint.
Paint the Walls with a Roller
- Fill your paint tray with enough paint to reach the grate.
- Cover your roller completely.
- Drag the roller across the trays grate.
- Now, take your roller and make a big W on the wall. (W because you are a WINNER!)
- Next, start painting vertical strokes to spread out the paint evenly.
- Keep going until your wall is entirely and evenly painted.
- When the walls are dry, carefully pull the painter's tape off the trim.
- To paint the trim, you'll want to use your broad, straight-edged brush to paint molding and baseboards.
- Finally, use a small angled brush to paint that thin line along the edges.
With the right tools, the right paint and a bit of patience you can have your interior walls painted like a pro!
If you'd rather skip all of the above, we've got service providers who can transform any room with a paint color you love, like the Sherwin-Williams paint color of the year, Navy SW.