Painting can be fun. It adds a splash of vibrancy to any room. Painting is a way to add your personal mark to your home. It can give a room new life, or salvage it from poor choices. But how does one tackle the great obstacle of painting? Many people think it's as simple as buying a bucket of paint and a roller and rolling it on. If you're looking for a professional-grade paint job, there's a little more to it. Here are some helpful tips; let's get started!

Painting Image

Before we dive in, here's a list of tools and materials you'll need:


  • Scraping and patching tools
  • Putty knife
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Paint roller
  • 2.5-inch angled brush


  • Wall art, decorations
  • Furniture cover
  • Canvas tarp
  • Caulking
  • Paint
  • Primer


1. Get Ready

Begin by removing all wall art, decorations, and any other fixtures. Shift furniture away from walls. Although it seems obvious, many overlook this step. After clearing the room, inspect your walls. Note areas with runs or drips as these spots will need scraping, patching, and gap-filling before priming or painting. These processes are detailed in steps three and four.

For walls free of scuffs, or if you're working on new walls, ensure they are clean. Wipe them down with a damp cloth and mild soap to eliminate accumulated grime. A grit-free surface ensures optimal paint adherence.

2. Cover Everything up, and Remove the Hardware

If your walls don't need the following two steps, proceed by draping a canvas tarp over your furniture and floor.

Remove any hardware from the walls and ceiling if you're painting it too. Pro Tip: Store wall hardware in large zip-lock bags or reattach screws to fixtures to prevent misplacement. Next, tape over the fixture holes. But, be careful with taping: excessive tape can lead to paint seepage or peeling. Tape approximately half an inch around fixtures ensuring they can cover the paint edges when reattached. Instead of taping baseboards or ceiling edges, opt for angled brushes for precision.

If your room is now prepped and doesn't require scraping or patching, apply a coat of primer. This preparation helps the paint adhere uniformly.

3. Fill Gaps, Holes, and Scrape

Ensuring a smooth wall surface is vital. For plaster walls, use patching compound; for drywall, use joint compound. You'll also need a putty knife and 120-grit sandpaper.

To patch: Apply the relevant compound smoothly with a putty knife, scraping off excess. Once dry, sand it flush.

For gaps between the wall and moldings, use caulking, a bit of water, and sandpaper. Pro Tip: For better caulking tube control, cut a 1/8-inch angled hole in the tip. Apply caulking, smooth with a damp finger, and sand once dry.

If scraping older paint, ensure there's no lead-based paint in deeper layers, especially in homes built before 1980.

4. Sand it Down

For optimal paint adherence, the wall should be smooth and clean. Examine the walls for scuffs or previous repairs. Use a 120-grit sandpaper and, wearing a dust mask, sand the walls evenly. Pro Tip: If you've primed the walls, sand them before painting to achieve a uniform finish.

5. Edge the Room

To prevent using painting tape, "cut a line." Approximately an inch from the wall edge, dip a 2.5-inch angled brush in paint, tapping off excess. Pro Tip: To avoid paint contamination, use a separate paint container for brushing. Paint the edges using the brush point for precision.

6. Line Your Walls

After edging, paint a 2-3 inch line along the edges, providing ample space for roller application. Work one wall at a time to prevent drying before rolling. Pro Tip: Keep a wet towel nearby for immediate mistake corrections.

7. Roll it On

Pour paint into a tray up to the grate. Evenly coat your roller. Experts recommend an "M" or "W" pattern to avoid overlapping. Make sure to blend in with the edges for a seamless finish. If a second coat is necessary, repeat steps five through seven. Pro Tip: Clean brushes and rollers immediately to prevent paint drying.

8. Finish With Trim

For wide baseboards and moldings, use a broad brush. For edges, employ the "cut line" technique. If mistakes occur, a scraper covered with a wet towel can help correct them.

Painting a room like a pro involves much more than just applying paint to walls. From prepping the room, patching and sanding the walls, to edging and lining your walls, these steps will help you achieve a professional-grade paint job. Although it may take some time and effort, the final result will be worth it. Happy painting!