DIY: How to Paint a Room

Dec 10, 2012

Painting is a simple and inexpensive way to add some personal flair to your home and show off your style! It can have a huge impact on the feeling of your room, and for much less than the cost of all new furniture or wall art. Doing the paint job yourself can save you thousands of dollars, and you can usually complete a room in one weekend. But, maybe you don’t know how to paint a room? Below, we outline the steps to follow for your DIY paint job.

Step one: Purchase supplies

Before you begin the project, make sure you have everything you’ll need. Here’s a list of the basics:

how to paint a room

DIY Painting can save you $$. Photo: Keith Williamson

  • Paint (How much paint will you need?)
  • Primer
  • Angled edge paintbrush
  • Rollers
  • Roller extension pole
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint can opener
  • Stir sticks
  • Paint tray
  • Gloves
  • Ladder/step stool
  • Tarp
  • Caulk
  • Sandpaper (if imperfections are present)

Step two: Prep the room

Prepping the room is the most important step, and may very well take the bulk of your time, but it will be worth it in the end!  Here’s what to do to prepare:

  1. Unscrew all switch plates and electrical outlet covers, and tape over the remaining switches and holes with painter’s tape. Tape around any other hardware that can’t be removed.
  2. Move furniture to center of room and cover with tarp for protection, or remove from the room entirely. Furniture sliders are a great option for heavy pieces.
  3. Lie a tarp or carpet film protector over the floor in case of spills or drips (no matter how careful you are, this is bound to happen).
  4. Remove dirt, dust and grease from the walls by wiping them down with a sponge or rag with warm soapy water.
  5. If necessary, fill in any cracks and gaps in the wall with caulking (Video: How to Caulk a Crack in Your Wall).
  6. Scrape any areas with peeling paint, and sand down surfaces with uneven imperfections such as paint bubbles or drips.
how to paint a room

Now, it’s time to paint! Use vertical motions to spread paint evenly. Photo:

Step three: Paint

This is when the magic happens; and it might get a little messy! Start by using your angled brush to paint a 2-3 inch band along the floorboards, corners and ceiling. Keep a damp towel handy in case you stray out of the lines. Next, use your roller to paint the remainder of the wall. This is where things start moving. Apply the paint in a “W” or “M” position to distribute evenly, then spread evenly over the wall by rolling it on in a vertical motion. If you are using primer, follow the same process but with the primer, allowing it to dry entirely before applying  paint.

Step four: Let it dry

Watching paint dry isn’t fun, but it’s got to be done! Don’t replace any wall hangings or furniture until paint has dried completely. This can take anywhere from 5-24 hours depending on the type of paint used,  and the humidity. See product label for an accurate estimate.

Step five: Clean up

Now that the paint has dried, it’s time to remove the tarp and painter’s tape, replace all switch plates, outlet covers, and wall art, and put all the furniture where it belongs. Once the room is put back together again, sit back, relax, and enjoy your space- you deserve it!

Have any adventures in DIY painting, or a tip for how to paint a room? Tell us below in the comments section!

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