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How To Paint a Room – A Beginners Guide


As the weather warms up, more and more people are starting to think about doing a massive spring clean and redecoration of their home. Home improvements, including painting, are always a bit easier in the warmer weather, as you can leave the windows open to air things out and help the paint dry. If you are thinking about starting to paint your home, check out our handy guide.

While you might not be looking forward to this process, painting a room can actually be a fun and easy process. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a complete novice, we have compiled everything you need to know about painting a room.

Start With Picking Your Paint

While picking your paint might seem like the simplest step, it is actually more complex than you might be thinking. You need to start by thinking about the general colour and shade you want on the walls. Are you going to paint all of the walls the same colour? Will you have any different trim or borders? Once you have these questions answered, head to the home and garden centre.

  • Bring home as many paint testers as you can – Have a careful look at all of the paint colours on display, and choose a few extras on either end of the spectrum. A few wildcards can be fun, too!
  • Try the testers in different lights – Place the tester strips on different walls in your room, and be sure to assess them during different times of day to see them in different light.
  • Narrow your choices down, and bring home small pots – Sure, an extra trip to the paint store might seem arduous, but you won’t regret it. Painting the colour and finish directly on your wall is the only way to really see how it will look.
  • Think of the finish as well as the colour – Different finishes work best in different rooms, and on different walls. Be sure to test out a few options. Matte walls tend to look more uniform, but they are harder to clean. A glossy finish can make your room seem larger, but they can also appear smeary if your painting technique isn’t on point.
  • What about the ceiling? – If you are going to give the room a freshen up, you might also consider painting the ceiling. If you are going for a light colour on the walls, you can go for the same on the ceiling. If you have chosen a darker shade, keep the ceiling white.

Gather your tools

Now that you have your paint colour sorted, it is time to assemble your tools. You might think that just any paintbrush will be able to do the trick, but this really isn’t the case. From the bristles to the shape, all kinds of subtle differences can make a difference in how your end result looks.

  • Bristles matter – Synthetic bristles work best for water-based paints – they don’t absorb the water and swell, and therefore won’t leave visible tracks. Natural bristles are best for solvent-based paints, as they leave a nice, smooth finish. If you are unsure about which one to choose, you can also go for a combined bristle paintbrush.
  • What about brush size? In general, most people go for a 100mm-150mm for walls, and then choose a 25mm brush for the finer details around window frames and trim.
  • Brush shape is also important – Different brush shapes are designed for different jobs. The most useful specialised option is an angle sash brush, ideal for corners and fiddly areas, such as around light switch plates.
  • Have brush cleaner on hand – You will need If white spirit or soapy water on hand to keep your brushes ready for next time, or to give them a good clean between colours.
  • Decide on a paint roller – Rollers comes in three pile lengths: short, medium and long. These are meant to be used for different textured walls – for a standard wall, short or medium is best. Make sure you keep a roller extension on hand so that you can paint above your head without a ladder, or even reach the ceiling. You’ll need tools such as something to open the paint can and a stir stick for the paint – especially if you’re mixing paints. Don’t forget to invest in roller trays and tray covers to put your paint into.
  • Get your prepping tools ready – It’s now time to compile all of your other tools and accessories. These include fine grit sandpaper, a damp rag, a putty knife, Polyfilla, a hat or kerchief (to protect your hair), a stir stick, a paint can opener, roller trays, and masking tape.

paint brushes

Get the Room Ready to be Painted

Now you have your paint, your tools and your brushes – it is time to get painting!

  • Start by protecting your furniture – If you can, remove as much furniture as possible from the room that you are painting. You don’t want to damage your Sloane and Sons stylish chairs with dripping paint! If this isn’t possible, drape all of your belongings with drop cloths. You might even want to protect the floor with tarps or plastic.
  • Line edges with low tack masking tape – You need to carefully line all of the edges with low tack masking tape so that you do not end up with messy borders. This includes around skirting, light switches, and windowsills. (Low tack is a must so that you do not remove any paint).
  • Fill in the holes in your walls – Anywhere where you have hung paintings or shelving in the past needs to be filled. Of course, if you plan to hang your artwork back in the same places, you can skip these holes. Apply Polyfilla with a flat knife and allow it to dry. You may need to sand these areas with fine sandpaper.
  • Scrape away cracked and peeling paint – Scrape any cracked or peeling paint away, and sand if needed.
  • Sand glossy paint with very fine sandpaper – This will improve the adhesion of fresh paint to glossy walls. Make sure that you remove all sandpaper dust before you begin to paint.
  • Give your walls a wash – Wash your walls with warm water and mild detergent. This will remove grease, oil and surface dirt and make your paint job look much better over time.
  • Prime the walls – It is always a good idea to paint a layer of primer down before you start to apply the colour of your choice. This is always a necessity when painting a lighter colour over a darker one, but is a smart choice no matter what. You want your hard work to look its best!

Time To Paint The Walls!

You have done due diligence and carefully gotten everything ready – now it is time to actually paint the walls.

  • Mix your paint together – Mix all of your paints together into one bucket. This keeps it as one consistent colour, as it can dry and react slightly differently when poured into separate trays and pots at the outset. Give it a very thorough stir.
  • Begin by ‘cutting in’ – Start by ‘cutting in’ – this means that you paint all of the edges and corners of the walls (where your rollers can’t fit easily. Use a 2 – 3 mm ‘trim brush,’ and apply paint in a 10 cm strip around all of these edges.
  • Paint top from to bottom – This is often referred to as the ‘golden rule’ of painting a room – you should always paint from top to bottom! This is especially important when painting your ceiling. Complete both ceiling coats and allow to dry before you move onto anything.
  • Use a ‘W’ technique with your paint rollers – When using your roller, roll the paint onto the walls in a W pattern. Fill in the gaps without lifting the roller off of the wall, and repeat until the walls are covered in the first layer of paint.
  • Don’t use your paint too thickly or too thinly – While you don’t want to overload your walls with too much paint, you also don’t want to stretch it too thinly. This will affect the texture and colour.
  • Need to take a break? – If you need to take a break, wrap your brushes, rollers and roller trays in cling film and place them in the refrigerator. Just remove 30 minutes before you need to use them again.
  • Finish things up! – Once you have finished painting, it is time to remove the tape. Do this just before the paint is completely dry, when it is not tacky, but still a bit damp. If the paint does start to peel, you can use a razor or box cutter to remove the tape with no damage.

There you have it! Painting a room this spring can be a fun and rewarding process, as long as you prepare carefully and have the right tools.

Edward Sloane

Edward is the managing director of Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs. He is an expert in quality, comfortable upholstered chairs.


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