How to Paint Walls

My love of home and what is inside began when I was young. My mother enjoyed redecorating every few years and painting new room colors. When I started working as a paralegal, my former boss bought and sold houses as a side interest and for investment. I was able to see the houses transform before my eyes, sometimes with just new paint color.

I found that many people are frightened to plunge in and begin transforming their home. Don’t be afraid! Start with something simple, like painting walls. Start in a room that isn’t easily visible so you can practice. Chances are, you’ll love what you’ve done. If not, it’s only paint.


  • Good quality painters tape – You’ll find a wide variety of painters tape on the shelves. Take some time and look at all of them. They are varying widths, and you can find tape for delicate surfaces, exterior surfaces, crisp lines, etc. Get the picture?
  • Good quality paint brushes (trust me, don’t buy cheap paint brushes). Better quality brushes are your friend. They shouldn’t leave brush strokes and can be washed over and over. I suggest a 3-inch angled sash brush and a 1-inch angled sash brush as a minimum to start. Wooster makes this 3-pack that would serve you well. Check the package to make sure the brush is designed for the type of paint you are using.
  • Paint tray, roller frame and paint rollers. It is equally important to buy rollers that are designed for the type of paint you are using and the surface you are painting. Check the packaging. Again, don’t buy cheap rollers.
  • A drop cloth. You can purchase one or use old sheets.
  • Paint! Trust me with this: Become friends with the people at the paint counter. They are highly trained and know what you need. They have given me so much good advice in my projects, and I’ve rarely been disappointed. I suggest starting your paint endeavors by visiting a store such as Home Depot. They sell different brands of paint and are so knowledgeable as to which paint is best for the job you are working on. I’ve also found that the paint brands keep changing their product. What might have been the best one to use 5 years ago may no longer be that particular brand. Ask questions. You will be so happy you did. Experiment with different brands from different stores. Over time, you will know what you like and what you specifically want.
  • Q-tips. Yes, you read that right. They come in so handy for hard-to-reach spots and making corrections.
  • Rags and paper towels. Wipe up those messes immediately!
  • Paint clothes! Believe me, I’ve ruined some favorite clothes by not changing into my paint clothes. If you don’t change, you will constantly be worried you are getting paint on yourself. Come on, this part of the project is easy!
  • Sandwich bag and garbage bag.

You are now armed and ready! If you are not going home and using your paint immediately, make sure when you do begin painting that you stir it thoroughly each time.

Decide ahead of time that you will be doing 2 coats. I know, the manufacturer may advertise it is paint and primer in one, and you only need one coat. That may be true, but resign yourself to the fact that you’ll need 2 coats. If you don’t need 2 coats, happy dance!

Remove all outlet covers! I know, I know, you want to get started. Trust me again. Paint adds a layer to your wall. If you don’t remove the outlet covers, the next time you change your wall color and take off the covers, there will be a raised edge of paint where you stopped painting at the cover. Throw all covers and screws in a bag and you won’t be looking for those tiny screws when you’re finished.

Place the painters tape along your ceiling line, along your baseboards and next to any trim you need to protect. Make sure to press it firmly in place. Use the 1-inch brush and apply paint to the brush. Dip the brush about halfway into your paint and wipe off a bit from the brush or it will drip. Begin painting where the ceiling and wall meet and go around the room. Brush the paint away from the ceiling about 2 inches down onto the wall. When that is complete, start painting both sides of each wall corner. Paint out from each corner about 2 inches. Lastly, paint along the baseboard, painting up from the baseboard onto the wall approximately 2 inches. Allow the paint to dry. Now go back and repeat. Allow to dry again.

You are now ready to roll paint! Fill the paint tray with paint. Experiment by pouring a small amount into the tray. You don’t want to overfill or it will spill out. You also don’t want to completely soak the roller in paint. Roll the roller back and forth in the tray so the roller is covered. Begin at the top of the wall and be careful not to get too close to the ceiling. After you have painted one wall, use your paintbrush to brush back and forth between the edging paint and the wall paint so both are blended together. This will give you a clean look.

After all walls are painted, allow to dry. Then go back and repeat, always making sure to blend the paint together where the edges meet the rolled paint.

Remove the painters tape as soon as you are finished. Don’t leave the tape in place, or the paint will adhere to the tape and be difficult to remove. If the paint is still damp, that’s ok. Just pull off the tape carefully and discard.

If you have to stop at any time during painting, place your brushes in a gallon plastic bag and seal. This is the best way to keep the brush wet. If I know I’ll need my roller later in the day to continue painting, I put the roller and paint tray in a kitchen size plastic garbage bag.

When the second coat is dry, go back and look for missed areas and touch up. Here’s where those Q-tips come in handy. You can use them in crevices or areas where the brush isn’t reaching.

You have just painted and transformed a room! Wasn’t that easy? Have fun on your painting journey!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s