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How to Paint a Room Like a Professional

How to paint a room couple painting
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If you are wondering how to paint a room like a professional, look no further. Painting a room at home may seem like a task for the experts but by undertaking the decorating yourself you can keep costs down and ensure get the perfect finish. 

Follow our expert tips below and discover how to paint a room and create a finish to be proud of.

(MORE: Discover what DIY is best left to the professionals)

1. Preparation is Key

Before you paint a room it’s important to prep your surfaces - filling and sanding are the bulk of any decorating job and if you want a top job you have to be prepared to do both. 

Even new plaster should be lightly sanded before a mist coat is applied to ensure it’s smooth. But fear not, there are some great products available to help you get the job done. 

Try a dust free sanding system like the ones made by Mirka (available at Ironmongery Direct), which consist of a sanding block you connect to a vacuum cleaner and Velcro-backed sanding pads that allow the dust to be collected. 

(MORE: How to Patch Plaster)

2. Cover Everything

Nothing looks worse on a newly decorated wall than paint-covered sockets, switches and skirting boards so make sure you go cover everything on your wall that you don’t want paint on. 

When learning how to paint a room make sure you unscrew sockets before painting and wrap them in freezer bags to keep them safe and clean.

Did you know? Masking tape is actually best avoided as it can be difficult to peel off and worse still, can bring paint off with it. FrogTape is a dedicated tape which prevents paint from leaching, and in some instances, can be removed up to 21 days after being applied.

How to paint a room man applying mist coat

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3. Seal New Plaster

It’s important that you mist coat new plaster with a watered-down trade emulsion paint to seal it prior to applying your finished colour. It allows the paint to soak into the plaster rather than just sitting on the top, and forms a much better bond. It may be time consuming but this is a crucial step.

4. How to Paint a Room and Caulk Properly

Expert Advice

Have a bowl of water and a small sponge handy when caulking and wipe and rinse as you go for a neat finish

Caulk is a filler which is used to seal around windows and gaps and is very useful if used correctly.  It should be used sparingly to fill along skirting and architraves and around openings only. 

Any areas in the middle of a wall or ceiling should be filled with a powder filler and sanded flat.

How to paint a room roller paintbrush

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5. Invest in Quality Tools

If you want to paint a room well then buy decent quality brushes and rollers, it will pay dividends with the finished look. If you have the luxury of time then a quality brush often gives a great finish but a roller will be significantly faster at covering large areas and a much easier way of doing ceilings. 

Fixed-arm roller brackets, which have an ‘arm’ on each side, are much sturdier such as the Hamilton Vantage Double Arm Roller Frame 12inch, £10 from B&Q

6. Painting Tips

Top Tip

Clean the sides of your roller regularly to prevent paint build up — it’s a good way to avoid tramlines. Also keep a damp cloth to hand when painting to prevent paint build up on your brush. 

Always remember - work from the top down. Paint ceilings first so you can deal with any splashes on the wall before you do the final coat, and use as big a brush as you can handle for cutting in walls and ceilings. 

You will get a better finish when you don’t have to keep stopping to reload with paint. If you are having a different colour on the walls, bring the ceiling colour down the walls a little and then cut in the wall colour very slightly short of the corner. This way, you will achieve a much crisper line. 

Spraying is becoming more and more popular, and goes a long way towards addressing the problems with rollers but you need a lot of masking tape and a steady hand to stop any overspray.

(MORE: How to repair old ceilings)

How to paint a room woman painting a wall

(Image credit: Getty Images)

7. How to Paint a Room and Deal With Woodwork

Top Tip

Try using medium a wire wool to flat the surface between coats

Paint on woodwork has made a bit of a comeback after several years of stain or varnish being the preferred option. 

Remember to prep woodwork like skirting boards and internal door architraves with two coats of undercoat followed by a coat of satin or gloss wood paint. 

8. And Finally…Decorating Doors

Doors should, ideally, be removed to paint but if you can’t do that then you should at least mask the hinges and remove the handles. There is a recognised sequence for painting a door which many professionals take: 

Start with the panels or glazing beads followed by the top half centre stile, top rail, top half side stiles, bottom half centre stile, centre rail, bottom rail, bottom half side stiles and edges last. 

It sounds complicated but it works really well and gives a lovely, even finish.

(MORE: How to Strip Doors)

How to paint a room couple painting a wall

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How to Paint a Room: Your Quick Step-By-Step Guide 

Use foil or a plastic bag to line your paint tray and protect your roller. It stops dust in the tray being picked up by the roller and makes cleaning up a lot easier

Bruce Bendall
  • Prep your room by putting down dust sheets on the floor and using tape to cover any edges, woodwork and switches
  • Sand down your walls removing any uneven areas and creating a clean smooth surface
  • Add a mist coat to newly plastered walls or a primer to previously painted walls. Leave to dry fully
  • Stir your paint and work from the top down starting with ceilings first so that any drips onto your walls can be covered easily. The ceiling can be easily painted with a long handled roller
  • Paint your walls again from the top down and apply two coats. We recommend using a good quality brush
  • Finish off by using a smaller paint brush and neatening any edges, lines or areas along skirting boards and sockets
  • Go over any woodwork now with two undercoats and then a top coat of colour. Leave all the paint to dry before peeling off any tape

(MORE: 7 Brilliant DIY Tips for Beginners)