Best Way to Paint a Room

Painting a room can be a difficult job, especially if you’ve never really had to do it before – there are so many tools, option, and methods that you can use, and it’s not always easy to decide between them. It’s not like you can take the paint down and start again straight away – mistakes take time to fix. We at Best of Machinery have created this short guide to make painting easier, whether you’re dealing with a single wall or an entire room.

Cover things Up

Even the most adhesive paint will drip as it slowly dries, especially on walls or ceilings, which can ruin other things in the room if you’re not prepared for it. If you’ve got furniture you can’t move, make sure it’s properly covered up with a plastic sheet or large bag, and try to cover or roll back the carpet so that it won’t get stained – it can be difficult to get wall paint out of certain materials, especially wooden furniture.

You should also wear clothing that covers as much of you as possible: while getting paint on your skin won’t hurt, it’s still a huge inconvenience. Most DIY hobbyists will have a set of old clothes that they wear for painting jobs, usually, things that they would throw out anyway, by putting together one of your own will let you stay covered without ruining your normal outfits.

Prepare the Surface

It’s easier to paint a surface when it’s clean, dry and consistent, so making sure that it’s all properly prepared is an important part of the painting process. Make sure you’ve cleaned off any stains and dirt that you can see, since that’ll affect how smooth the paint coverage will be, and try to dry it off if there are any moist or wet areas – this can be done with nothing but a mop and some paper towels, although you can use any tools you want to.

You should also tape over anything you don’t want to paint, and remove the plastic covers from power outlets and light switches so that they don’t get splashed (you should also tape over the holes, just in case any paint gets into them).

Apply Primers and base Coats

Some paints might work better with primer coats or extra layers. Primers can be a variety of different colors, including translucent, but they won’t usually impact the color of any paint you place on top of it – they’re simply there to improve the bond between the paint and the surface. However, applying one will be a very similar process to painting the wall anyway, and you’ll need to wait between coats so that the paint and the primer don’t mix together.

Sometimes, you can use an extra coat of paint to alter the end color you’ll get, and you can even mix your paints together in a larger can to create a new shade – a darker base coat might turn a white top layer into a grey one, for example. If you’re trying to get a very specific color, it might be worth looking up combinations of paint layers that can create it.


Painting a surface is probably the easiest part of the entire process, especially if you have prepared everything properly. There’s a variety of different tools you can use, from smaller brushes to large paint rollers, but they generally all give the same result in terms of coverage. All you need to do is dip it into the paint, gently shake it to drop any large blobs back into the can, and then start painting it like you would any other object – the smoother and more balanced your coat, the better it’ll look when it’s dry.

Depending on the height of the wall or ceiling you’re painting, you might have to use a stepladder or extendable roller to make reaching higher-up spots much easier. If you’ve got appliances or pieces of furniture that rest against the wall, like radiators, you might need to use a smaller brush or roller to reach behind them and paint over and hard-to-reach spots.

Paint sprayers can also help with this, but not all of them will be suitable for use indoors, and some will have a spread that’s too wide to help with more precise painting work. Some painters also recommend having at least one tiny, hobby-sized brush to deal with small mistakes, since this saves you having to cover the entire area with another layer of paint.

Tidying up

Once you’re done painting, and you’re just waiting for it to dry, make sure you put everything away properly. It’s best to leave the plastic furniture covers and floor protectors up since the paint will likely still drip for a while, but everything else can easily be stored away. Wash the brushes and rollers (or clean out your paint sprayer, if you used one) and make sure that the water you’re running through them has gone completely clear before you put them away – if it’s discolored, then there’s likely still paint in the bristles somewhere.

You should also rinse out any paint trays you used, but make sure you don’t wash the paint can unless it’s empty – as long as you re-seal it, it should be usable again in the future, so it’s not worth wasting it unless there’s practically none left in the can anyway.

Once everything’s dry (at least dry to the touch – most paints take longer to fully dry, but will still seem “dry enough” after an hour or so), feel free to remove the covers. It’s unlikely that it’ll drip once it’s at this point, so you won’t need to worry about the mess anymore.

About the Author

Bob Robinson has been a tool enthusiast and lawn care expert for the past 11 years. First working with John Deere to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst building his love for writing in his spare time. Now, Bob runs the editorial team at BestofMachinery and tends to his garden in his spare time.

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