How to Paint a Room {tips from a pro}

How to Paint a Room {tips from a pro}

Before I got to have my all-time dream job of being a stay-at-home-mom, I got to have the runner-up to my dream job which was having a decorative painting company.  A lot of the time my clients would  hire somebody else to do the basic painting before I came in to do the pretty stuff, but sometimes they just wanted me to do it all (I guess they liked having me around, {wink}) so I have painted a lot of rooms.  Along the way I picked up several tips so save time and money when doing a painting project and I wanted to share them with you!

And you get a sneak peek of the “big boy room” I’ve been working on for my son!

1.  Choose the right paint

For this project I decided I wanted to use zero VOC paint (since I am pregnant).  Most paints these days are at least low VOC (meaning a low amount of the smelly chemicals that might not be so good for you to breathe).  When I’m not pregnant my favorite paint to use is BEHR Premium Plus from Home Depot, I think it is the best value and has great coverage.  This time I decided to use Benjamin Moore Natura Paint.  It is a bit pricey but has better coverage than other zero VOC options.

I do not recommend trying to save money by buying the cheapest paint.  It is the cheapest because it is watered down and so you will have to do extra coats to get complete coverage.  Then you end up paying more because you have to buy more paint and it takes much longer to complete the job.

2. Chose the right tools

brush (I recommend paying a little more for a quality brush like “Purdy,” they save you time by applying a thick, even coat of paint so you won’t need to do as many coats; and if you take care of them they last a really long time- I have had some for several years that I used on a daily basis)

paint roller

roller cover

pole attachment for roller


tray liner (this saves a lot of time when you clean up)

drop cloths (plastic or cloth)

tape (optional)

edging tool and pad

Goof Off paint remover (optional)- get the kind in the orange spray bottle

extra rags for cleaning

3. Prep the room

It is worth it to spend extra time prepping your work space because that means less clean-up time at the end when all you really want to do is put all the furniture in place so you can enjoy your new space.

Remove all outlet covers

Use drop cloths to cover floors and furniture

Tape- can be helpful in some situations.  Only use tape on smooth surfaces (like molding) and keep in mind that even when you do a good job of applying the tape, you can expect a few bleed-throughs that will require some clean up at the end.  If you are good at “cutting in” (painting with a brush by hand) that is better than taping molding because it saves you the time spent putting on/removing tape and touching up at the end.  I decided to tape my molding this time because I was using a dark wall color and I didn’t want spatter marks on the molding that sometimes occur while rolling on the paint.

Be sure to use a dry rag to wipe off the molding before you put the tape on so it will adhere well.  I like to put the tape on in very long pieces, just keep unrolling it until you get to a corner.  Run your finger along the inside edge a few times to make sure it is stuck down well.

** you don’t have to buy the expensive blue painters tape– commercial grade painters tape works fine and costs a lot less, I just happened to have the blue kind**

4. Start at the edges

Brush a coat of paint along the edges where you taped (or where you are cutting in) and in the corners.

For the ceiling, I definitely recommend using an edging tool that has little wheels on the top edge.  When you dip the pad into the paint tray, make sure you don’t get any paint on the wheels or it will end up on the ceiling.  The wheels roll along the ceiling and it makes a beautifully straight line!

Ooh, I love that color!  I get so excited about painting with a pretty color!

5. Roll on the paint

I work in sections (maybe one wall at a time, depending on the size) so I will do the edges (molding, corners, and ceiling) in one section, then roll on the paint, and then move to the next section.

I think it saves a lot of time (and backache from climbing up and down a ladder) to use a pole attachment for your roller.  I might roll the bottom section of the wall without the pole, but then I use it for the upper parts.

When rolling on the paint, use up and down zig-zag strokes, closely overlapping the zig-zags so you go over the same area a few times.  I roll the paint on in sections about 3 feet tall.

When you load paint onto your roller, be sure to get it plenty full but not so full that the paint is dripping off.  Then when you apply it to the wall there is no need to press hard.  When you notice that the paint is not going on as thickly then load up your roller again (instead of pressing hard to get more paint off the roller… this just puts on a thinner coat of paint).

6. Apply additional coats

If the paint you are using is somewhat similar to the color you are painting over and if you are using a high-quality paint, you may not need additional coats.  You may just need to touch up a few areas.

I ended up needing 2 coats of paint for complete coverage.

Once the first coat is dry (maybe give it a few hours, depending on the climate) you can apply the next coat.

7. Clean up

Don’t forget to leave yourself plenty of time to clean up.

You may need to touch-up places on the ceiling that got paint on them so it is good to have the ceiling paint handy.

Remove the tape by pulling up one end and then folding it back on itself as you pull it up and off.

If you got any paint on molding or doors, you can use Goof Off to clean it.  If you use the kind in the orange spray bottle, it only removes latex paint (not oil-based paint) so as long as your molding and doors are painted with oil-based paint then the latex paint will be the only paint that rubs off.

If you had bleed-throughs under the tape, you can use the Goof Off or a blade to scrape it off.  If that doesn’t work you can re-paint the molding.

Replace the switch-plate covers.

8.  Put your room back together

I don’t know about you but I get so excited about putting a room back together.  Paint makes such a huge transformation that I get giddy every time!

For my paint project I also added some stripes… you can see that tutorial here… and one for the striped quilt I made for the bed will be coming soon!

You might also like:

Faux Mosaic and Stone Tiles

Painted Dining Room

Bookshelf Facelift


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: How to paint stripes {tips from a pro} « Cheap Crafty Mama

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