How to paint a room

Looking to paint a room? Our checklist on how to paint a room for beginners will help you get started.

IMG - RESP - Painting a wall

Cosmetic improvements are a great way to add value to your home and by following our guide on how to paint a room, you can make your property look more attractive to yourself or any potential buyers.

So pull on those overalls, grab a paintbrush and learn how to paint walls, skirting boards and ceilings.

Before you begin

Giving your home a new lick of paint should be easy, right? In reality, you’ll need to prepare carefully to make sure everything goes to plan.

Our checklist on how to paint a room for beginners will help you get started:

  • Pick your paint – decide on your colour scheme and choose paints that are suitable for the room. If you’re painting a bathroom you’ll want moisture-resistant paint, for example.
  • Get your materials ready – you’ll need a quality paintbrush, a paint roller and tray, a damp sponge, your paint and primer, a protective sheet for the floors, masking tape designed for painting, a stirrer, a ladder if you’re painting a high wall and a paint kettle if you need more than one tin. You’ll also want some filler and sandpaper to fill and smooth any cracks or holes where pictures were hung, plus a scraping tool.
  • Plan your strategy – decide the order in which you plan to paint your walls. If you’re painting a whole room, it’s a good idea to start at the top – the ceiling – followed by the walls and skirting boards. This is so you can avoid spraying excess paint onto your walls, which is more likely to happen if you paint the ceiling last.

Getting started – how to prepare to paint a room

Once you’ve removed your treasured possessions from the room and covered your flooring along with any furniture, you’re almost ready to paint.

  • First, smooth any blemishes with your filler, sandpaper and scraping tool.
  • Next, wash the wall with your damp sponge – ideally using diluted washing-up liquid – and remember to rinse and wring out the sponge each time you wipe. You'll want the surface to be dry before painting.
  • Stick your tape around areas you want to protect – such as flooring – as the paint can be difficult to remove, especially on carpet. Then you’re all set. 


How to paint a room in five steps

1. If you’re painting a large room and you’re likely to need more than one tin, fill your paint kettle with two tins and give it a stir so your colour is consistent. As long as you work in a well-ventilated room, with no pets around to disturb you, you should have no problems. Just make sure you have a decent music playlist to keep you going!

2. Now, dip your damp roller into the paint in the tray and run it against the grid until you have even coverage.

3. Start with the ceiling, and work at the edges first, moving in slow, zig-zag motions. You should roll lightly and turn your roller sideways to reach the edges. If you need to take a long break, you should cover the lid of your paint kettle and wrap your brushes and rollers in tin foil.

4. Paint the walls from the top down by ‘cutting in’ – in other words, paint a horizontal line along the top of the wall to prevent any paint spreading from wall to ceiling.  If you’re covering a large surface, paint in a ‘W’ motion so your roller covers the walls effectively. Apply two coats, making sure that you wait for the first coat to dry – water-based emulsions dry within 1 to 2 hours, but you should wait another 4 hours before you apply the second coat to prevent streaks.

Eggshell and gloss paints are ‘touch dry’ within 4 to 6 hours, but for the best finish, you should wait up to 24 hours before applying the second coat. When the time comes, follow the same process as first time around when adding your second coat.

5. Finally, you’re ready for the skirting boards. Use tape to cover up the floor and the walls above the skirting board. Apply your paint and when it dries (check your paint tin for any information on drying times) use a putty knife or razor blade to score along the edge between the tape and the paint. This method ensures you can remove the tape cleanly without stripping off the paint, and you’ll  get a nice and smooth surface without any peeling.

By now, you’re ready for a well-earned rest. Just lean back on the sofa and admire your amazing handiwork. Well done!

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Always be cautious when undertaking any task that you're not fully familiar with as you could injure yourself or those around you, seek professional help where required.