• It’s easy and economical to do it yourself with interior paint projects. But take the time to do it right, with step-by-step instructions and painting techniques.

    If you have more money than time, you may want to hire professional painters to paint the interior of your home. But if you would prefer to save money by doing the job yourself, here are detailed instructions to help you paint like the pros.

    Don’t Cut Corners

    You may have seen it yourself in a home or apartment that you have moved into; the paint streaks and smudges on fixtures, outlet covers, and edges of the ceiling are the hallmarks of a sloppy, hurried paint job. This happens when amateur painters don’t put in the upfront planning and prep time to do the job right.

    Prepping for painting can take nearly as long as the painting itself, but adequately preparing the room is the essential step that will give you the professional results you are seeking.

    Items You’ll Need for Painting

    This list is based on a small 10′ x 10′ room. If you need to paint a larger space, speak to a knowledgeable salesperson where you purchase your paint and supplies. I recommend this site, as they are happy to answer any questions you may have by phone.

    One can of primer

  • One can of a tinted paint
  • One roller
  • 2-pack of general-purpose roller brushes
  • Metal or plastic paint pan
  • Plastic paint pan liners (make clean-up much more manageable)
  • One good quality angled 2″ paintbrush
  • One good quality angled 4″ paintbrush
  • One large roll of painters tape
  • A bucket of dilute soapy water
  • A large plastic bag to hold outlet covers switch plates, and screws
  • A step ladder or stable chair (to reach high places)
  • A fan
  • Screwdriver
  • Several wet rags (to wrap brushes when you take a break or to clean up mistakes)
  • Shower curtain liners to cover furniture that you aren’t removing from the room
  • Paint tarps to cover the floor

You may be tempted to use old sheets instead of paint tarps, but sheets are not heavy enough to prevent paint spills from seeping through, and sheets also don’t stay put as you move around the room with ladders other equipment. If you are painting before replacing the floors (the best time to paint), you don’t need to worry about protecting the floors.

Washing Walls

Before you begin taping and painting, the walls and the trim must be washed and free of dust and grime. They don’t have to be sparkling clean, but the paint and the tape will adhere better to a reasonably clean surface.

Removing Fixtures

Rather than taping the edges of all the plates and fixtures in the room, remove any that you can. Unscrew outlet covers and switch plates and place the plates and screws in a plastic bag so that you can easily find them later. For items that are more difficult to remove, such as wall or ceiling mounted lights, tape them around the edges.

Taping the Trim

This step can be very time-intensive, but it is necessary if you want a crisp, professional-looking job. After the washed areas have dried, apply paint tape to all edges where you do not wish to paint (base-boards, window frames, door frames, the edge of the ceiling, etc.). Ensure that you place the edge of the tape carefully to create a straight line, and press down firmly so that paint does not seep under the tape’s edge.


Start with the primer, and allow it to dry for several hours. Then apply the tinted colour. Use the following strategy to apply each coat of paint: 1 coat of primer and two coats of tinted paint. Between coats, turn on a fan in the room to speed drying.

Use a good brush to paint all the edges, at least a 3″ wide strip around all outlet areas, window trim, and ceiling (3″ strip of paint at all taped edges). Put the paint in a small container that you can easily carry with you as you work your way around the room.
Pour the paint into the paint pan. Using the roller or brush apply paint to the large areas of the wall.
As you work, scan the room for any dripping paint that was applied too heavily. Use your brush to smooth any drips or runs before they dry.



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