How to Paint a Room in 10 Easy Steps When You’re on a Budget
An easy way to update any room in your home is by applying a fresh coat of paint or changing its color. Whether you are painting an old kitchen or your child’s bedroom, you will see how easy and rewarding this can be.
Painting a room can be a tedious task that often requires hiring a professional contractor. However, if you want to save a considerable amount of money, consider taking on this job yourself.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about painting a room. This includes choosing the right interior paint color, getting equipped with safety gear, painting tools and materials, verifying the temperature conditions, and learning how to organize your time the smart way.
It’s also a good idea to find out the cost and time required to paint a room. Next, we’re showing you all the steps required for painting a room. You can also learn the best indoor paint and additional tips and tricks.
Everything You Need to Know about How to Paint a Room
If you decide to paint a room on your own, without resorting to an expert, you should know that preparation is key it ensures a durable DIY paint job with a professional finish. This includes removing the furniture, cleaning the walls, fixing any wall damage, removing any previous paint or wallpaper.
Choose the Interior Paint Color
In general, it’s best to go with a neutral tone since it goes well with most decorating styles for home painting. For example, if you have a large piece of modern art or furniture in the room, a neutral or muted color balances it out.
White paint is always a good choice, whether the room is big or small. It acts as a canvas, allowing you to showcase your room’s character through versatile decoration choices.
Plus, neutral colors leave less room for error; if you pick something with warm undertones, it may show through the finish. On the other hand, dark colors are dramatic and help reduce space in a large room, but they require additional coatings.
Neutral or Bold Colors
However, nothing is stopping you from painting a room in multiple colors. For instance, you can create an accent wall by turning it into a bright color and keeping the surrounding walls white. Or, you can design a gradient.
It’s best to try multiple colors until you find the ones you like best. Another good idea is to test the paint colors with your room’s natural lighting to see how it looks like at different times during the day.
Gather the Safety Gear, Painting Tools and Materials
It’s essential to buy all the necessary painting tools and materials before starting to work on your walls. This includes safety gear, paint, primer, a bucket, paintbrushes, paint rollers, drop cloths, protective covers, paint trays, fine sandpaper, sponges, sugar soap, painter’s tape, and masking tape.
Before heading to the store, calculate the square footage of your room (including the ceiling) to determine the amount of paint and primer you need. Keep in mind that you should account for one coat of primer and two coats of paint.
Then you can read the manufacturer’s instructions and compare notes. A gallon of paint should be enough to paint 400 square feet.
Check the Temperature Conditions
Even if you’re painting indoors, it’s vital to check the weather and pick a day with suitable conditions. Since ventilation is key during a paint job, you will need to keep all windows open in the room.
And, if the humidity is too high, the paint will take significantly longer to dry off. Consider using a dehumidifier and fan to keep maintain air circulation and keep the room dry, even with the windows open.
Organize Your Time the Smart Way
Since DIYers are not professionals, it’s natural to assume they take longer to paint a room. As such, you should create a checklist, inspect the room, figure out what you need to do, and plan your actions accordingly. When the time comes, start the job early in the morning to ensure that you won’t burn the midnight oil.
You will likely have to spread your work over 2 or 3 days, especially if additional time is needed. For instance, you might have to remove wallpaper, fix wall cracks, or thoroughly clean wall grease. Or, if you decide to go with dark colors, you will need extra coating, which means more time for drying and repainting.
Take Advantage of Natural Light When Painting Walls
Regardless, it’s best to work with natural light to get a better view of the room details, which means that you should set working hours. Otherwise, you will have to retake some steps.
For example, if you remove furniture and clean a room during a weekend, then decide to start painting it the next weekend, you will have to go through the cleaning steps again. Also, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or family member for help to speed up the process.
Cost to Paint a Room
The costs required for wall painting depend on the size and complexity of the job. If you’re looking to hire a professional home painter in your area, be prepared to pay anywhere between $350 and $1,200 (or more) for an average-sized room.
For instance, hiring a pro can cost up to $700 or more for painting 1500 square feet. Of course, this figure includes prep work like patching holes and sanding. But it also takes into account labor time, equipment rentals, materials, and other factors.
On the bright side, a DIYer will only spend around $150 to $250 for an average-sized room on their comfort level. Keep in mind that a gallon of paint costs somewhere between $30 to $60. This depends on the range of available colors, but you can also choose to go for a cheaper brand if you want your room color to be more neutral.
Time Needed to Paint a Room
The time required for painting a room also varies by room size and paint type. It also depends on your painting skills and whether or not the room requires additional work, such as cleaning, sanding, and removing wallpaper.
For example, if you intend to apply one coat of paint to an average-sized bedroom, you are looking at anywhere from 3 to 5 hours total time. This includes prep work, the paint job, drying time between coats, and cleanup.
On the other hand, if you use dark paint colors on a house paint job, you will need additional coats for superior coverage. This means more time waiting for the paint to dry between each coat, so be sure to factor this into your schedule.
How to Paint a Room the Right Way: Step-by-Step Painting
Check out the following instructions to learn how to paint a room the right way.
Step 1: Gather your painting tools and materials
- Drop cloths or protective sheets
- Low-tacking masking tape or painter’s tape
- Putty knife
- Plaster, spackling paste, fiberglass, or joint compound
- 100-120 grit sandpaper
- Safety goggles
- Protective mask
- Heavy-duty nitrile gloves
- Cleaning gloves
- Sugar soap or light detergent with water
- Clean rags
- Wall paint
- 5-gallon bucket with a paint grid (if you need more than 1 gallon of paint)
- Roller covers and frame
- Roller extension pole
- Paint thinner (for oil-based paint)
- Optional: dehumidifier, fan
Step 2: Ensure room ventilation
Open the windows to allow air circulation in the room you’re working on. It’s also a good idea to use a dehumidifier to keep the room dry. If you feel that there’s not enough air circulation, install a fan, turn it on, and keep it running, even with the windows open.
Step 3: Remove furniture and appliances
Be sure to clear the room of all furniture and appliances. If that’s not possible, move them to the center of the room. This helps to avoid any issues with paint damage. Besides, you will be able to focus on the walls.
Step 4: Cover the floor, switches, sockets, and any furniture
Use drop cloths or protective sheets to cover the floor and furniture moved to the middle of the room. It’s an important step if you don’t want to have a mess all over your house.
You can uselow-tacking masking tape or painter’s tape to protect switches, sockets, skirting boards, and the door frame from dust, paint drips, and splatter.
Step 5: Remove any flaky plaster, peeling paint, or wallpaper
If your walls have a flaky, loose surface or any exposed plaster, peeling paint, or wallpaper, you need to scrape it off. A putty knife or flat head screwdriver will do the job.
Step 6: Fix any wall cracks or holes
If you find any wall cracks or holes, make sure to fill them up before painting. Plaster, spackling paste, and fiberglass are great for this job. You can also use joint compound to repair any hairline cracks or holes.
If there are any exposed wall studs where you want to place a shelf or if the plaster has been removed and there’s an unsightly gap, fill it in with new plaster.
Step 7: Sand the walls
Use 100-120 grit sandpaper and sand all over the walls until they feel smooth to the touch with no visible dust residue. This will help in creating a uniform paint base so that the new color doesn’t look patchy in places after it dries off.
Furthermore, the new paint will stick better and improve durability over time. While sanding, be sure to wear safety goggles and a protective mask as well as to ventilate the room.
Step 8: Vaccum the room and clean the walls to remove dirt and grease
After sanding, it’s essential to vacuum the room and remove any residue. And don’t forget about the top edge of the skirting board since it’s a dust magnet.
In the following steps, clean the walls and ceiling to ensure they are free of dust and grease. It’s best to use a clean cloth with sugar soap for this job. But you can also mix water with a bit of light detergent to wipe down all surfaces thoroughly with clean rags.
A vital step is to allow time for full drying before proceeding to the next stage.
Step 9: Apply one coat of primer to the walls
A primer ensures that the paint will adhere well to the walls, particularly when working with plaster and lime walls. It’s because regular wall paint is not water-resistant enough to hold on to these surfaces, which can cause cracks and peels.
Besides, it’s recommended to use a primer if you want brighter paint colors. Brush the primer on with a long-nap roller.
Step 10: Apply at least two coats of wall paint
If you’re wondering how many coats of paint you should apply to the room, go for two. You should also take into account the following painting tips when working on a room:
- Start with the ceiling to prevent any potential mess from ruining other work. It’s easier if the room doesn’t already have overhead lighting since you can seamlessly paint the ceiling without worrying about staining your light fixtures. And, once the paint dries off, you can determine the appropriate placement for your lights.
- Move on to paint around the room’s edges, light switches, skirting boards, doors, and corners using a small brush. The process is called cutting-in. Use a 1-inch or smaller brush to work on these awkward areas with cutting in paint.
- If you intend to work on plastered walls, they should be completely dry before painting them. A simple indicator is a lack of any dark patches.
- If you’re wondering how to paint a wall, be sure to roll on full coverage strokes and use a 4-inch brush or 9-inch roller to handle large areas. It significantly cuts down the working and drying time to ensure a smooth paint job.
- Apply even pressure and roll the paint in all directions at a steady speed. If you’re moving too fast, the paint will not adhere well to the walls. And you will be covered in paint spray.
- Work on one wall at a time. Otherwise, the paint will start to dry off and create uneven marks.
- Allow the first coat of paint to completely dry before applying the next one.
Step 11: Clean up after your work
After finishing the paint job, it’s time to collect your painting tools, clean them, and store them for further use. You can also use a damp cloth to remove any paint from the floor and all other surfaces. It’s necessary to use soap when removing residue from wood paneling and wainscoting.
Best Paint for Walls
If you need help with choosing the best paint for interior walls, check out our recommendations.
1. BEHR Premium Plus – All-in-One Paint and Primer
The BEHR Premium Plus includes both indoor paint and primer. It offers a durable, long-lasting finish, together with low odor. Furthermore, it’s safe to use since it doesn’t contain any VOCs. And it works great with any kind of wall painting design.View price on Amazon
2. Microblend Interior Paint and Primer – Best for House Painting
The Microblend Interior Paint and Primer is an acrylic interior paint that also contains primer. It provides a silky smooth, luxurious finish, featuring stain blockers and rust inhibitors. You can use it to express all your wall painting ideas indoors.View price on Amazon
3. KILZ TRIBUTE – Top Bedroom Paint
The KILZ TRIBUTE is an acrylic interior wall paint with a semi-gloss finish, which also includes primer. It provides low VOCs and comes in 100 classic neutral and bright colors. The product is an excellent choice for bedroom wall painting.View price on Amazon
Room Painting FAQ
Discover more information about room painting.
How much to paint a house interior?
The cost of painting a house interior varies; it depends on the size of the house, the type of paint, and the number of coats of paint.
If you’re wondering how much does it cost to paint a room, you should know that it’s between $100 and $300 to paint a room on average.
However, if you don’t feel comfortable taking on this job yourself, it’s best to hire a house painter, although it will end up costing you more.
How to paint a room without disturbing the furniture?
Move all of the furniture and other items out of the room that you wish to paint. If that’s not possible, you should move everything to the center of the room and cover it with drop cloths or plastic sheets. Then put everything back where it was after the paint dries.
Can you mix latex and oil-based paints inside a house?
No, you should never mix latex and oil-based paints because this will cause the latex paint to harden.
What are your best tips for painting a room?
The most important step in saving yourself time and effort is to ensure that all of your equipment is clean before starting a painting project. Cleaning your equipment means getting rid of any dried paint, dirt, and dust particles. If you don’t do this beforehand, it will certainly make the overall paint job more difficult.
How to cut in around windows?
The best tool for cutting in around windows is a small brush or an angled painter’s pole having an angled brush attached to the end. The key is to cover both sides of the brush bristles with paint so that you can hold it at an angle where light will not show through.
Are spray paints good for interior painting?
Spray paints are best for small jobs. If you have a large area to paint, it’s better to use a brush or roller.
How do I paint my walls without drips?
You must use steady, even strokes when painting your walls. Be careful not to work too quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble keeping the paint from dripping on the floor and running down the wall. If this does happen, move your ladder close to the wall and then move forward to continue painting.
What is the more expensive way to paint a room?
The most expensive option for painting your room is hiring professional painters. On average, this costs between $1 and $5 per square foot of the surface area being covered. This price varies depending on where you live and other factors.
How long does it take to paint a room?
The amount of time that it takes to paint a room varies; it depends on the size of the room. On average, it takes about 2 hours to paint a 10×12-foot room and at least half a day to paint a larger area.
How much does it cost to paint a 12×12 room?
The price of painting a 12×12 room varies; it depends on the contractor. On average, you should expect to pay between $350 and $850 if you hire a professional contractor. However, the price increased when including the baseboards, ceiling, and trim.
How do you paint a room without making a mess?
To eliminate any unnecessary mess during this process, use painter’s tape to create a straight line along the ceiling and baseboards. It will protect those areas from paint drip and splatter.
How do you make your walls look smoother?
You can make your walls appear smoother by using joint compound (also known as drywall compound) to fill any holes or dents in the wall. Once this compound is dry, paint over it to make your walls look seamless.
Do I need to prime before painting?
Yes, it’s essential to apply a primer to achieve the best results since the paint will stick to the walls better. Otherwise, the final color coat will not look as rich and vibrant as you would expect.
Do I need to use primer on already painted walls?
It depends on the condition of the existing paint. If the walls are clean, free from dirt and grime, and smooth enough to provide a strong surface for new layers of paint, you don’t need to worry about using primer.
What’s the best paintbrush for edging?
The best paintbrush for edging is a small angled brush with nylon bristles. When selecting the proper size for this type of brush, consider the width of the space you’re trying to fill in order to select an appropriate length.
How to paint trim?
The best way to paint trim is by first applying a primer coat using tape to cover the edges. If necessary, apply another thin coat of paint on top of the primer before removing the tape. This will ensure that your trim looks fresh and crisp after it’s painted.
What’s the fastest way to paint a room?
Painting your room as quickly as possible is almost impossible; there’s no such thing as a speedy painting process. However, if you’re willing to settle for mediocre results, you can save time by using a roller and paint tray that has been pre-filled with the desired paint color.
How to paint drywall?
If you’re painting drywall, remove any doors or baseboard trim that might get in the way. With a utility knife and paint roller tray, cut in the paint along the ceiling and walls using wide, smooth strokes.
In the following step, roll out additional paint onto your angled roller frame to start painting. Be sure to use a steady hand when painting along the ceilings and around the edges.
How to paint high walls?
It’s safest to use a roller extension pole instead of a ladder when painting high walls. This also helps to improve your balance.
How to prep walls for painting?
When preparing walls for painting, remove any loose paint with a wire brush or scraper. Afterward, clean the dust and debris from the walls using a damp cloth followed by another dry one to ensure that there’s no leftover residue.
How to make a room look bigger with paint?
Use a lighter color to make a room look bigger. For instance, using an off-white color makes the walls appear taller and creates the illusion of space.
How do you make your wall look like it has recessed areas?
Apply a base coat that is darker than your intended wall color. To give the illusion that there are spaces between each wall, use painter’s tape to create straight edges on the ceiling and baseboards before applying the second coat of paint.
What’s the best paint for doors?
Enamel is the best type of paint for painting doors; it lasts the longest and is resistant to chipping. Oil-based interior paints are also a good choice.
How do I paint my ceiling?
The best way to paint a ceiling is by flipping your brush over to reach the top of your walls. After using up all paint, remove the brush from the can and cut along the edge with a small knife or scissors, making sure not to damage or bend the bristles.
Do you paint the ceiling or walls first?
You should paint the ceiling first since it will generate more dust. Then, proceed to paint your walls.
How do you remove paint from clothes?
To remove dried paint from clothes, place them in a plastic garbage bag with ice cubes for at least 1 hour or until the fabric is completely dry again. Afterward, use a wire brush to remove any leftover paint particles.
How do you paint a room without getting wall marks?
To avoid leaving marks on the walls when painting, make sure to apply thin coats in a single direction and use a dry roller in straight lines. If the roller starts to leave marks or clumps on your wall, replace your roller with a new one before finishing the painting job.
How do you paint stripes on the wall?
To create straight lines on your wall, use painter’s tape as guides and apply it from corner to corner of each stripe. Then you can dip your brush or roller into paint and start applying it.
Do you paint the trim or walls first?
You should paint the trim first since it will generate more dust. Then, proceed to paint your walls.
What are the best wall painting techniques?
To achieve the best wall painting results, use a roller and brush in tandem: apply your paint with a wide base and use a smaller brush to finish it. It’s also a good idea to smooth out drips and paint around objects using a brush.
Furthermore, you should avoid creating any overlap marks when switching colors and drag a damp cloth in straight lines along the wall’s edges.
What’s the best way to paint inside corners?
Before you paint inside corners, ensure they’re straight by using painter’s tape as guides. Then, dip your roller into paint and apply it to the corner until you completely cover it.
Does paint dry darker or lighter?
Paint dries lighter than the color it appears when wet.
How do you tell if paint on walls needs another coat?
To tell if your wall needs another layer of paint, take a dry paintbrush and run it along the area you want to check. If the walls are still smooth to the touch when you pull the brush away, then you don’t need another coat of paint yet.
How do you get rid of drip marks?
To get rid of drip marks, cover the bristles of your brush or roller with a paper towel before dipping them into paint. Afterward, roll it on a flat surface to remove any excess paint.
How to paint a wall with a roller?
To use a roller, dip it into paint and start rolling the wall. To get rid of any excess paint on your roller, roll it over a flat surface. Make sure to apply enough pressure for even application and try not to go back over areas that you’ve already covered.
What color should I paint my room?
When thinking about what color to paint your room, try consulting a color wheel: choose a warm and cool color and use them together. Or you can balance a color with its complementary hue.
To give walls dimension, consider picking two colors that are next to each other on the wheel. Another good idea is to create an accent wall for expressing your DIY painting ideas.
What’s the best way to paint doors?
To paint doors, first remove the hinges and hardware. Next, sand down any marks with fine-grit sandpaper and apply a primer before painting your doors.
How do you paint the floor?
To paint hardwood floors, sweep off any dust and vacuum spilled crumbs and dirt. Then, fill in any cracks with wood putty and gently sand the floor until smooth. Afterward, apply a coat of wood stain and wait for it to dry before applying a second coat.
How to touch up wall paint?
To touch up paint, wait for the original layer to dry and then apply either a second or third layer. If you want a deeper color, use a darker shade. Similarly, if you want to brighten the walls, choose a lighter color. When painting over existing wall paint, make sure to wait at least half an hour between coats.
What’s the best paint for a bedroom?
Bedroom paint should be light enough to create a relaxing mood while still brightening up the room. For this reason, choose neutrals like white or cream. You can also use two colors to paint your bedroom.
How to paint a bedroom?
To paint a bedroom, remove all furniture and cover any surfaces (like walls or light fixtures) with painter’s tape. Then, apply primer before painting the walls. Next, use an angled brush to paint the trim, switch to a paint roller to handle the large areas, and place your furniture back when you finish. You can also use tape for non-conventional wall paint design ideas.
How to paint trim with carpet?
The most efficient way is to remove the carpet before painting the trim. However, if that’s not possible, cover the carpet with plastic sheets and use a large brush to cut in around the wall, ceiling, and floor. Afterward, switch to a smaller roller for the larger areas. Finally, carefully apply your second coat of paint.
What’s the best way to paint baseboards?
To paint baseboards, start by removing them and sanding down any marks. In the following step, cut into the wall with a paint knife or mask around it with painter’s tape and primer. Finish by painting two coats of new color over the baseboard and floor using a smaller paintbrush for the trim.
How to Paint a Room: Final Thoughts
Painting is often seen as a hassle. However, the right paint and color will make your home feel like a completely new place. Choosing to paint can be an affordable way for you to express yourself in your living space, as opposed to hiring a professional contractor.
Now you know how to paint a room and prepare walls for painting by cleaning, sanding, and priming. You can also take it one step further by removing wallpaper before painting.
What are your best tips for painting a room? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.