How to Paint a Room

painting a wall with roller on a pole

Let us teach you how to paint a room! I have a love-hate relationship with painting. For starters, I hate that the house is in disarray (moving everything out of the room into other rooms) and I don’t exactly love to paint . . . but I LOVE the result! I am never disappointed with how clean and crisp the room looks when we are finished.

Materials needed:

  • Putty knife
  • Spackle
  • High-quality paintbrush
  • High-quality paint
  • High-quality rollers
  • Roller handle
  • Roller pole (optional, but helpful)
  • Paint roller tray (we used disposal ones)
  • Dropcloth or large piece of plastic
  • Screwdriver or drill with Phillips’ head and flat bits
  • Rags
  • Ladders
  • Artist’s (small) brush if needed for small crevices
  • Vacuum (optional)
  • Painters’ tape (if needed)

Selecting the Right Paint:

  • It is difficult to select the right color when just looking at a small paint chip. Trust me, I know because I have many mistakes in this area. ?‍♀️ Choose wisely. It may be better to get a sample jar to test the color on the wall before purchasing several gallons and painting an entire room. However, in this room, we used Titanium (light gray). This is actually a Sherwin Williams paint color we used in our previous home, but we used Behr paint from Home Depot and had them color match the paint. This paint is such high quality, we only had to paint one coat!
  • Purchase quality paint. You want paint that covers well, is durable, and is easy to clean. We have used Behr paint from Home Depot for several years and are always very pleased with this paint. Sherwin Williams is also another quality paint; we used this on the exterior of our house.
  • Choose the correct finish. Paint stores can advise you depending on the room and surface of the wall. We do not like a shiny paint finish so we use flat/matte in bedrooms and eggshell in higher traffic areas. The less shine, the more difficult to clean, but easier to touch up. The shinier the paint, the easier to clean, but harder to touch up.

Prepare the room and walls:

Remove all pictures, furniture, and knick-knacks from the room or cover items you cannot move. Painting a room can be a messy process.

Cover the floor, especially if you have carpet with a large piece of plastic or tarp.

Remove all outlet and light switch covers.

Remove all nails and screws in the wall unless you plan on rehanging the same pictures/artwork in the same location.

Fill holes:

Use a putty knife and spackle to fill nail/screw holes or other divots in the wall. Allow time for this to dry (read the manufacturer’s instructions). Once this dries, sand each area until smooth.

If needed, reapply and sand again until the hole is gone and the spot is completely smooth.

Clean the sanded surface with a dust rag or better yet vacuum the spot and the entire wall, baseboard, and floor where you sanded. It is essential to remove all the dust created by sanding prior to painting.


Depending on how much sanding and/or how much dust and dirt, clean the walls as needed. You want a clean painting surface. The better you prep the area, the better the result.

Wipe down the top of doors and window trim to remove dust (so does not get in your paintbrush).

Painters’ tape: 

Use painter’s tape as needed to paint around trim or other places where you need a straight/clean line. However, because we have painted so many rooms over our 33+ years of married life…I am good at edging and opt not to use painter’s tape.

Protect the floor:

Put a large piece of plastic or drop cloth on the floor, especially if there is carpet, to protect the floor.

Now…Finally, time to paint!

Paint containers:

We like using small containers to hold paint as trimming in. These ice cream containers work great because you can easily grip them with one hand as you paint (also a good excuse to eat ice cream ?). You can also put the top on them to save the paint. (We keep some paint in these to have available for touch-up. Be sure to mark each jar with the color of the paint.) Because we have so many requests as to this paint color, I am inserting a link HERE.

Select a high-quality paintbrush: 

Use a clean, high-quality paintbrush. We always use Wooster Shortcut brushes. They are high quality, can be used with any type of paint, and the handle makes them easier to grip.


Paint around all outlets, light switches, vents, etc.

Paint Corners: 

Use a paintbrush to paint all the corners.

Edging the perimeter: 

Use a ladder to paint the edge around the perimeter of the room (where the wall meets the ceiling or crown molding.) If you are going to install crown molding, edge before installing the crown molding to make this easier. However, you will need to touch up once you chalk the crown molding).

Do the same along the baseboard or along the perimeter of the room (where the wall meets the floor). Daisy had to come inside and check on our progress.

Painting small crevices:

Use a small artist’s brush to paint any small crevices.


Using a spout like this is helpful when pouring paint into the roller pan. This is another benefit of using Behr paint.

Use high-quality rollers that are best suited for the type of paint and wall surface. Pour paint into a roller pan.

Dip and roll the roller in the paint ensuring the entire roller had paint on it. Roll the roller on the textured part of the pan to remove any excess paint. Apply the roller on the wall.

Rolling tips:

Work in about a 6×6 space and gradually expand once this space is adequately painted.

Roll in a random pattern (left to right, up and down, and in an X pattern) to ensure adequate coverage.

  • Don’t press too hard. If your roller is running out of paint, apply more.
  • Check your work as you go for missed spots or areas that need more coverage.
  • Be careful not to hit the ceiling, molding, light switches, etc. the roller. It is better to take your time than to make mistakes that you have to clean or touch up paint with another color if you accidentally applied paint on the ceiling, molding, etc. But just in case you do, use a wet rag to remove the paint.

Helpful Tip:

If you need to take a break (we stopped to eat lunch) and don’t want to wash out your brush or roller, you can wrap each in cellophane wrap. It works like a charm!

Drying/curing time:

Allow ample time for the paint to dry.

Restore the room:

After the paint has completely dried (in 1-2 days), reinstall the outlet, light switch covers, and vent covers if applicable.

Fold up the drop cloth or plastic on the floor.

Rehang pictures and move furniture back in place. Our next step in updating this room was installing vinyl plank flooring.

Enjoy your beautiful room!  

WARNING: Once you paint one room, it will make the adjoining rooms look like they need painting. The good news is you know how to paint a room now!

To see our basement reveal and all the steps, click HERE.

Let us know what you think or if you have any questions by posting below.

Don’t forget to post this for future reference.

pinterest pin how to paint a room

Happy Painting!


  1. Brenda on 01/11/2022 at 1:55 PM

    Excellent tips on making sure your paint job is the best job you can do. Great tips…..thank you!

    • Suzanne on 01/11/2022 at 7:08 PM

      I am delighted these tips were helpful to you. We have painted MANY rooms over our 35+ years of marriage.
      Stay well,

  2. Eva B. Liland on 02/28/2022 at 8:07 AM

    What color is the paint or maybe insert a link to the exact color?

  3. Trish on 03/18/2022 at 11:42 AM

    Never choose your paint colors in the store. Lighting is terrible in all stores. Remember that the lights are fluorescent and twenty feet above. Not what you have at home. The amount of light you have in the room you are painting will directly effect the color of your paint. Invest in a color fan from a good paint company and choose your paint at home. You will be happy you did?.

    • Suzanne on 03/18/2022 at 6:12 PM

      Thanks for sharing your advice!

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