How to Paint a Room in 10 Easy Steps
By Laura Parker
July 13, 2023
No matter if you’re a veteran DIY-er, or a professional, painting a room is always a great project that’s not overly difficult and gives you that overwhelming feeling of satisfaction from how you've been able to recreate the space completely.
But just like anything worth doing; assembling furniture, building a monument, cooking a sophisticated meal, or painting a room, it’s best to start with a plan and look at the directions to make sure everything is a success. So, here is a guide on how to paint a room in 10 easy steps!
House Painting Step #1: Start with a plan
People make the mistake of not defining their goals for exterior or interior wall painting, and they’re left staring at a canvas they’re not happy with after hours of rolling paint. Don’t fall victim to poor planning and take some to consider a few of the following things.
Did you know that not all the walls of a room have to be the same color? Perhaps, an accent wall will bolden the space. Or that certain paint colors can complement any crown or base molding you have in the room? And don’t forget to consider the ceiling, it may be in need of a touch-up or color change as well.
These things are not complicated, but they are essential when successfully planning to do any exterior or interior wall painting.
House Painting Step #2: Select your color(s)
Before you become overwhelmed by paint wheels, samples, and fan decks, start by figuring out some basic color characteristics you would like: warm vs. cool shades, a neutral or more saturated shade, what furniture you already own that will look good with the color(s). And once you've narrowed the options down from there, you can start to test shades and see how they look at different times of the day.
House Painting Step #3: Select your tools and materials
Every house painting project is different and may require different tools, but here is a list of the essentials you’ll need:
- Paint roller & pole
- Drop Cloths
- Putty knife
- Paint tray
- Painter’s tape
House Painting Step #4: Find out how much paint you’ll need
The general rule of thumb is one gallon of paint per 400 square feet. However, as mentioned earlier, every project is different, so it's best to use a paint calculator like the ones provided at Benjamin Moore.
Pro-tip: Make sure to carefully measure not only the walls but the windows and doors as well.
Certain project mays also require multiple coats of paint. For instance, if you’re going from red to white walls, try applying a tinted primer to the surface before painting to reduce the number of paint applications.
Pro-tip: If your walls are textured in any way, it’s best to buy about 10 percent more paint than the measured amount to ensure perfect and even coverage.
House Painting Step #5: Give yourself enough time
How long does it take to paint a house? The hard truth is that it takes time. So prepare your schedule accordingly.
If your project consists of applying multiple coats of paint, it's going to take longer than you may think. Especially, if you're a beginner.
Giving yourself enough time will ensure that you don't become impatient or stressed and try to rush through the process poorly.
House Painting Step #6: Preparation will go a long way
Even long-time professionals make mistakes and get drops of paint on their client's furniture or floors. Which is why we suggest before you even lift a paintbrush to:
- Remove the furniture out of the room or at least far away from the walls towards the center of the room.
- Once the furniture is removed, lay the drop cloths over the floors to ensure that they remain pure of any paint stains.
- Take out the roll of painter’s tape and go to work! Apply the tape to all the corner edges of attached rooms, base and crown moldings, doors, and windows.
- Carefully remove all outlet and light switch covers and apply tape to protect the outlets themselves.
House Painting Step #7: Mix your paint
Take a wooden stick and mix the can of paint to ensure it all blends as one specific shade. If you’re using multiple cans of the same color, pour all cans into a large bucket and mix to make sure there’s no color variation.
House Painting Step #8: Strategize your painting before you start
After your paint is mixed, your roller is ready, and everything is taped/protect, make a game plan for how you’re going to cover this wall. Start from the ceiling down and consider which walls are being painted what color.
If you did decide to do a bolder accent wall, paint the other adjoining walls first.
If you’re going transforming a dark-colored wall into a lighter color, you should plan on applying one coat of primer, then two coats of the new color to make sure the old color doesn’t bleed through.
Move through the project painting one wall at a time, and "cut" by taking a brush along the molding and corners from top to bottom. For maximum efficiency, it's best for one person to cut while another applies paint with the roller in a W pattern to cover the larger spaces.
Once the wall is dry to the touch, you can proceed to apply the next coat.
House Painting Step #9: Ventilate the room
Damp rooms take a lot longer to dry. So open a window or bring in a fan to make sure the room is warm and circulating a lot of air to speed up the drying process. Not to mention help waft out the unpleasant smell of paint.
House Painting Step #10: Clean up
After completing multiple coats, you may be tired and want to leave the paint covered brushes alone to dry and become unusable. But please, take a little extra time to save your brushes.
If you used a latex/water-based paint, washing your brushes in the sink with soap and water will do the trick.
If you used oil-based paints, your brushes would need to be cleaned with mineral spirits.
Also, don’t forget to remove all tape off the walls, and gather all drop cloths from the floor or furniture.
Knowing how to paint a room is pretty useful knowledge if you ever have plans on making a space your own. With this guide of How to Paint a Room: 10 Easy Steps, you’re more than ready to tackle that next painting project.
And if this seems too daunting or you simply don't have the time to get to painting your rooms, check out Handy's Interior Painting services.