How to Paint a Wall Like a Pro

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a house. If you are ready for a change or just want to breathe new life into a room, painting your walls is one of the best upgrades you can make. Painting is a subtle change, but there are some things you can do before, during and after the process to give your walls a professional look and maintain that freshly painted feeling for years.

Before You Start

To paint a wall like a pro, you need to start like a pro. From the colour you choose and the supplies you buy to how you set up your workspace, there are all kinds of things you need to keep in mind before you paint your walls.

Choose the Right Colour

Of course, the colour you choose is important. When you first thought of painting your walls, you may have imagined the perfect hue. But that’s only the beginning. Go to the paint store and get a few paint chips or even paint samples and put them on your wall. Colours will look very different in your own home than they do in the store. That is because your home’s lighting, natural lighting from windows and decorations all make an impact on how a colour looks on the wall. Also be sure to look at the colours at different times of the day to see how the changing daylight affects how they look.

Buy the Best Supplies

When you’re ready to buy your paint, be prepared to also get some additional supplies. You’ll need:

  • Primer
  • Stirrer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint rollers and trays
  • Angled brush
  • Drop cloths
  • Screwdriver

You may also need some spackling and, if you want, an edge painter to help you navigate around trim or doors. Don’t forget to wear old clothes and a facemask.

Prep Your Walls and Room

Before you even open that new can of paint, you need to make sure your walls and room are ready for the job. Start by clearing out the room and covering the floor and any remaining furniture with drop cloths. Remove fixtures like lights, power outlet covers, light switch plates, pictures, vent covers, shelves, hooks and knobs and then use a damp cloth to wipe any dust or grime from your walls. This step is important in achieving a professional look because it will ensure the paint sticks to your walls and is applied in smooth coats.

If there are any holes in your walls, now is the time to fill them with spackling. After you have filled the holes sand away any excess spackling and use the damp cloth to wipe away dust. Once the walls are completely dry, use painter’s tape to block things like edges and fixtures. Painter’s tape will help you keep the paint where you want it and will help you achieve nice, crisp edges, which look very professional.

As you get ready to start painting, make sure the room is well ventilated by opening some windows or using a fan (that is situated away from the paint and walls) on a low speed.

The Pro Painting Process

If you are covering dark walls or raw drywall, you’ll need to use primer first. A hardware store specialist can help you choose the type that is best for your walls. The main purpose of primer is to cover old paint and create a smooth, blank surface for a new coat of paint.

Use an Angled Brush to “Cut In”

Once the primer is dry, open the paint can with the screwdriver and stir it with the stirrer. This ensures that the paint is smooth and well mixed and that the colour is evenly distributed.

Then, use an angled brush to “cut in” from the ceiling, trim or doors in the room. “Cutting in” is the process of painting a border of a few inches around the room so that you can use a roller to fill in the bigger spaces. Start with the brush as close to the edge as possible and then drag it in, toward the centre of the wall. One tip is to stretch a large rubber band around the paint can and then use it to remove extra paint from the brush, as you dip it into the paint.

Some people are tempted to skip this step, but pros always do this to make sure the edges of a room look crisp and evenly painted. An angled brush lets you get around corners and cover details like a roller can’t. If you purchased an edge painter, now would be a good time to use it to help you paint hard-to-reach edges.

Role the Paint on Evenly

After the edges of a room have been painted and you have cut in around all the features of the room, you can use the paint roller to apply paint to the larger portions of the walls.

Pour some paint into the tray and dip the roller into it, using the tray to remove excess paint. The trick is not to use too much paint on your roller. You need just enough to make the roller damp and create a solid covering, but not so much that paint drips or is applied too thickly to the walls.

As you roll the paint onto the walls, try to use an even pressure on the roller and apply it in even coats. Professional painters apply paint in “W” shapes. That is, instead of painting lines up and down they paint in big, angled lines across the wall, filling the space. This technique can help you avoid roller marks so that your walls look smooth and even.

Let the first coat dry completely before you add another coat, if needed. Not all paint colors and walls will need a second coat. Keep in mind that when you add additional coats of paint, you could be affecting the colour, making it darker or deeper.

Maintenance Tips

When you’re done painting, taking good care of your walls can help ensure they will maintain that professional look.

  • First, don’t move the furniture back into the room until the paint is completely dry. This will help you avoid damaging the paint job.
  • Be careful that furniture and shoes don’t add scuffmarks to the walls.
  • Instead of hammering nails into your walls, try using removable hanging strips to hang artwork.
  • Write down the names and brands of the colours you used for each room so you can buy more paint, should you need it. It’s also a good idea to keep extra paint on hand, or at least a small portion of it, for touch ups.

With the proper preparation and by following some simple guidelines while you’re painting, it’s possible to do a pro painting job without having to hire a painter.

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About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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