How to Paint a Room Like a Pro
At Emerge2, we believe that adding a new coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to freshen up a room in your house when you're ready for a change. Color options are virtually endless and the new perspective a fresh paint job brings can breathe inspiration into your living space. If you're planning to do the painting yourself, there are some things to know that can make the job easier on you and make the finished product turn out as spectacular as you're envisioning. Follow along to learn how to paint like a pro.
Tools and Materials
- Paint brush
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
- Putty knife
- Drop cloths
- Ladder or stepladder
- Painter's tape
- Primer, if needed
- Wall spackling
Before you start painting up a storm, a few preparations beforehand will make the job easier on yourself down the road. The first is to protect the space you're working in to avoid hard-to-clean messes later.
Spread drop cloths on the floor and over any furniture that's being left in the room. The drop cloths will protect whatever they're covering from the drips and splatters that come with painting.
Check your walls for imperfections – cracks, dents, and bumps – that have marked your walls over the years. For bumps, hammer them down until they are flat like the wall's surface. Once you've made the bump into an indent, spread the wall spackling over it with a putty knife and smooth it out. Do the same thing with dents, dings and scratches. Use your putty knife to fill in as many of the imperfect spots as possible. Once the spackling is dry, sand it down to the level of the surface of the wall.
Finally, remove outlets and light switch covers. This will allow you to paint in unreachable areas and will give you a more seamless look when it's finished.
A good rule of thumb is to paint the trim before moving onto the walls themselves. This will save you the hassle of adding painter's tape to the wall – it's easier to add the painter's tape to the trim. Use an angled paint brush and get low to the ground to paint the trim fully and evenly. Don't worry about getting paint on the wall as you're going – you're going to paint the wall with a different color anyway. With the drop cloth on the ground, you shouldn't have to worry about getting any paint on your floors either. Once you're done with the trim, allow it to dry and then you can move on to the next step.
Do I Need a Primer?
It depends. If you are painting a light color over an existing dark wall, you should use primer to help make sure your new color turns out as bright as you're envisioning. If not, you may notice that the lighter color isn't the true shade you've picked out. Apply primer the same way you apply paint – just follow the directions in the next section for the primer as well as the paint.
Now that the trim is dry, add painter's tape all along the top edge of it to protect it from splashes and accidental brush strokes while you paint your wall. Add the tape around the edge of your ceiling as well to avoid a splash of color ending up on your white ceiling.
Once you're all taped up, it's time to start cutting in the walls. In the world of painting, cutting means going around the edges of a wall and painting that part first. Cutting allows you to be more accurate in areas with more obstacles to avoid, and saves you time on the main part of the wall. Cut about 2.5" (6.5 cm) in from each edge of the wall, ceiling, trim and around outlets and light switches.
After you've cut in your wall, it's time to grab the roller and paint away. Add paint to your tray, dip the roller in, and start at the baseboard trim painting all the way up to the ceiling and back down again. Repeat this process across the entirety of your wall until a first coat has been applied. After reloading your roller with paint, overlap your last line of paint when you start rolling again to blend it together as much as possible.
When the wall is complete, you can move on to the next one following the same process, and then come back to the first wall for a second coat if needed.
Once you're done painting, it's time to take up the tape and see your finished work. Score along the top seam of your baseboard trim with the putty knife and peel the tape away. Reattach light switch and outlet covers and clear away the drop cloths. Don’t forget to clean your brushes well so you can use them again. Now, stand back and enjoy the finished project, and start imagining how you'll furnish and decorate your new, revitalized living space.
If you have any questions or need more information, visit Emerge2. Our team is always available to help in any way we can.