How to Paint a Room


In theory, everyone knows how to paint a room. Dip a roller or brush in your paint, and spread it all over the wall. In practice however, painting efficiently and cleanly, while also achieving a high quality finish, can be challenging. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to achieve a professional finish, without breaking the bank.

Step 1. Selecting the Appropriate Tools

diyChoosing the correct rollers, brushes and surface protection (drop sheets/cloths) can make all the difference when painting a room. A heavy duty paint tray will be needed to dip and load your roller if you are using one. For more information on selecting the appropriate tools please see ‘choosing the right roller’ and ‘choosing the right paint brush’.

Step 2. Plan Your Approach

overalls This is the key step in ensuring a neat, low mess job. This step involves moving all the furniture out of the room (or to the center) and cover the carpets (and any furniture left) in drop cloths. Tape should be placed around all edges, skirting boards, electrical switch covers etc. All walls should be cleaned to ensure they’re free of dust, spider webs, etc.

Step 3. Cutting In

Cutting in refers to the process of painting freehand around obstacles, or along skirting boards or door frames. Cutting in takes a bit of practice (and a steady hand!), however it is easy to learn with some experience. Load the brush by dipping the bristles about one-third of the way into the paint. Press the brush head lightly against the inner edge of the paint can/tray, using it to wipe off any excess paint. Try making long, smooth strokes with the brush in order to avoid brush marks or streaks.

Step 4. Painting with a Roller

paint rollerPut your roller cover on the cage. Stir your paint thoroughly and pour about half an inch into the well of the tray. Dampen your roller cover, using water from a spray bottle. Roll the roller down the slope of the paint tray, into the paint well (properly loading the roller reduces drips and spatter, while improving coverage). For best results, paint in an ‘M’ pattern, followed by horizontal strokes moving from the top of the ‘M’, to the bottom. Repeat these steps, working in small sections, from dry to wet areas, overlapping each time.

Step 5. Paint the Trim

Once the walls are dry, remove the tape from the trim slowly and evenly, making sure not to pull up any paint. (Top Tip – Blasting the tape with a hair dryer before taking it off loosens the tape bond, stopping it sticking to the finish). Once this is done, tape around the trim, before beginning painting. Start with the trim closest to the ceiling and work your way down, ensuring to finish the door and window frames, before moving onto the skirting boards. Minimise your brush strokes, and make sure to avoid over working the paint.

Step 6. Cleaning Up

paintbrushBrushes and roller covers are costly, yet they can be used many times once they are cared for properly. To ensure they remain useable, they should be cleaned immediately after the job is completed. Leave the bristles to soak in water or paint solvent, before rinsing and drying them with a clean rag. Wrap the clean brush in plastic wrap or in its original packaging, in order to keep the bristles straight.