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Painting a Room: Step by Step

April 24, 2019

As you very well might already know, painting a room is one of the most affordable ways to refresh your home. Before buying all new furniture and decor, try applying a fresh coat of colour to brighten up a room. It’s also a task that you can easily do yourself, so there’s no need to pay more to hire someone.

If you’re new to this, keep reading to learn the basics of DIY home painting!

Choose your colours

If you’re just painting and not changing the furniture and decor, you will want to either refresh the colour you already have or choose another shade that complements the room. Be careful to look at undertones. Grey is never just grey. Grey can cast blue, purple, brown or green, depending on the shade. How the colour looks can also depend on the lighting, so if you’re unsure, do some swatches on the walls to get a better idea of how it will look.

Be mindful of the paint finish. For rooms such as the kitchen, get a high-quality paint in a semi-gloss so that it’s easier to wipe clean. Bedrooms and living rooms look nice with an eggshell or matte finish.

Purchase supplies

If you’ve never painted walls before, you will need to pick up some supplies from a paint store or the paint department of your local hardware store. Make sure to get some quality brushes, a roller and replacement heads, trays, painter’s tape, drop cloths or plastic sheeting and, if you don’t already own one, a step ladder.

And, depending on the current wall colour, you may need a primer. If the current walls are a bold or dark colour and you wish to lighten the walls, priming them will prevent that old colour from showing through.

Prep the walls, floors, etc.

Before you start painting you need to prepare the room. This means moving furniture out of the room, or at least away from the walls. Cover all furniture staying in the room with drop cloths or sheets.

To prepare the walls, wash with warm soapy water to remove all residual dust and dirt. Fill any holes if you’re not planning on putting the same artwork back up. Secure the plastic sheeting or drop cloths with tape to the floors to keep them in place.


Using the painter’s tape you purchased, carefully tape around the ceiling, moulding, baseboards, light switches, outlets, and door frames.

You should use this specially made tape because it’s low-stick, so it won’t damage your walls when you peel it off.


Priming your walls isn’t always necessary, but if you are covering a dark colour, or the existing paint is a different formula, it’s a step you should not skip. Say you have an older home that was painted using oil-based paint. You will need a special primer in order for the latex paint to stick. Primer also adds a nice, clean base so that you can get the best colour payoff.


There are several painting techniques you can use to get the best results. To ensure you’re being as precise as possible, go around the edges of the tape using a quality brush. The brush needs to be of good quality so that no bristles fall out and get stuck in the paint, creating unwanted texture.

For the main sections of the wall, you can use the roller. Pour some paint into your tray and roll it on, ensuring there is no excess (that will cause drips). Paint using the “W” method. This means you roll the paint on in a “W” formation rather than straight up and down. This will give you smooth, even coverage.

Let the paint dry before applying a second (or third) coat, as you want to see how it dries down before deciding.

Always open a window or vent the room you’re painting to reduce fume inhalation. You can also look for paints with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are responsible for the strong smell associated with house paint.

Finishing touches

Finishing touches include painting the trim and baseboards. Some people remove these to paint, then reattach them. If you’re very careful and use tape, you can paint them while they’re still attached to the wall.

You will also want to fix any mistakes and touch up the paint as needed.

Clean up

Wash all rollers, buckets, brushes and other tools as per the instructions based on the paint formula. If you’re unsure, ask the staff at the paint store or department for advice.

Remove drop cloths and plastic, and peel off the tape. Move the furniture and decor back into the room, and bask in the glory of your newly painted room!

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