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The Best Way to Paint a Room

The Best Way to Paint a Room – Easy techniques and tips.

With 20 years of painting experience, I wanted to share the best way to paint a room with you.  There are easy things you can do to have any room in your home looking like it was painted by a pro.  A lot of it has to do with technique.

Before getting started, there are a few important steps.  Making sure any patching and sanding is complete.  Make sure all spackle is completely dry, and clean the walls and trim of any dust created by sanding.  

Make sure ceilings and walls are free of any cobwebs as well.  These are important to the process of the best way to paint a room.  Once this is done, you’re almost ready to start painting.

The next step is the most important.  Having the right tools for the job makes a HUGE difference in how your painting project turns out.

I have gone over my recommendations for which tools are best, and what you’ll need to begin your painting project on my post, Interior Painting Tips and Tricks.

I recommend referencing this before you buy any painting tools for your project.

If you need help with choosing the right paint color, check out this awesome cheat sheet that takes all the hassle out of knowing what color to decide on,
Click Here!

Once you’ve prepped the room and you have your paint color and necessary tools for the job, you’re ready to start painting.

If you’re painting your ceiling (sometimes it’s not necessary), you’ll want to paint this first.  Start in a corner of the ceiling, and with your brush, cut in the ceiling first.

Dip your brush into your ceiling paint, wipe off excess paint, and then re-dip your brush, again wiping off excess paint.  It’s important to do this when the brush is dry.  The reason for this is that the brush needs to soak in some of the paint.

You’ll want to use a smooth back and forth motion with the widest part of the brush. Always brush back and forth, using the same motion all the way around the ceiling.

From experience, I recommend cutting in a ceiling with 3 coats.  Typically once you start rolling, if your ceiling requires 2 coats, the cut in will appear lighter if you only use 2 coats.

Dip your brush often, but be sure not to apply the paint too thickly.  Don’t worry about getting ceiling paint on the walls, it will be covered up once you start applying the wall paint.  Don’t forget to cut in around ceiling fans or light fixtures!

On to the rolling –

Once you’ve finished cutting in, begin rolling your ceiling. You’ll want to apply the same process to a dry roller cover as with a dry brush.

Dip the roller into your paint tray, carefully pushing it forward to cover all sides. Roll off excess onto the ridged area of your tray, and repeat this process once more.

Start in a corner of the room, rolling smoothly in a back and forth motion.  I’ve found it easiest to do this in sections.  After applying the first coat, let it dry for around 15 minutes or so before applying the second coat.

On to the Walls -​

Now for the fun part!  To start, if you’re using the same brush to cut in your walls that you used for your ceiling, be sure to rinse it out thoroughly.  Dry it out as much as possible, if not, the excess water will cause the paint to drip off of your brush.

Tip:  Go outside, and holding the handle of the brush firmly, hit the metal part of the handle by the bristles while holding it sideways, against the toe of your shoe. It’s a quick and easy technique for drying out a brush quickly​.

​When your brush is ready, choose a corner of the room to get started.  I typically prefer to get the hardest part done first.  That would be cutting in the walls that meet the ceiling.

Be sure not to have too much paint on your brush.  Starting in a corner, hold your brush sideways with the longer end of the angle on your brush facing up.

Place the brush tip on the wall about an inch from the ceiling in the corner, and slowly slide the brush up, gently filling in the corner with paint.

Once your corner is filled in, re-dip your brush, remove excess paint, and holding the brush ​horizontally (wide end facing ceiling) slide the top edge of the bristles along the line of the wall where it meets the ceiling.

When you’re ready to lift the brush away for more paint, as you’re sliding it across the edge, slide it downward.  Then you can pull it away from the wall safely without getting paint on the ceiling.

Tip:  Be confident in your abilities.  Don’t worry about getting a little paint on the ceiling, you can always touch it up!  Having a damp rag on hand can also remove any mistakes while the paint is still wet. ​

​Finish cutting in the walls below the ceiling, and repeat this process with a second coat.  Be sure to cut in wall corners, using the wide end of the brush in an up and down motion.

Brushstrokes make all the difference when it comes to the best way to paint a room.  ​

You’ll cut in the bottom around the trim and any windows in the same fashion as the top around the ceiling.  Again, don’t worry if you get paint on the trim, you can use a damp rag to wipe off any mistakes, and if you’re painting your trim, that will also cover any mistakes.

I recommend cutting in around any areas where there are receptacles and switches as well.  In order to have this part of the cut in blend well with the paint once you start rolling, I use a specific technique.

I learned that if you brush each side of your switches and receptacles in an up and down motion, and then brush the top and bottom in an up and down motion as well, versus side to side.  This is a great tip when it comes to the best way to paint a room.

I’ve found that it blends much better.  It definitely comes out looking much smoother than brushing the top and bottom of your switches and receptacles from side to side.

Tip:  Leave a 2 to 3 inch wide cut in.  This way, you don’t have to worry about getting so close to the ceiling or the trim with your roller.  ​

​Rolling the Walls –

With the cutting in complete, it’s time to start rolling the walls.  Get your paint tray ready with your paint, and dip your roller until fully covered.  Use the same re-dipping technique for the new roller cover as done with the ceiling.

​Start rolling around 1 to 2 feet away from the corner of the wall using a smooth up and down motion.  Work your way up and over to the corner, and then down until the area has been covered.

Continue this process, moving across the wall, starting from the middle of the wall, moving up, over and down until it’s fully covered.  Repeat with each wall.  Be sure to keep that same smooth up and down motion.

Let the first coat dry for around 15 minutes, or until paint is dry to the touch. Repeat the process with the second coat, starting with the same wall that you began with for the first coat.

Let it dry well, for at least an hour.  It needs to be fully dry before you move on to painting the trim.  If it isn’t fully dry, it can bleed into your trim paint, not fun!

Final step: Trim -​

best way to paint a room

You’re almost done!  You can start anywhere you’d like with the trim.  You could start in a corner, working your way around, including doorways and windows as you go along.

Keeping with a specific order of things can be helpful in remembering where you left off.  This is especially helpful when you need to stop to take a break.  When it comes to the best way to paint a room, it’s always good to keep things in order.

You’ll want to use the same up and down/side to side motion as with cutting in on the wider parts of the trim.  I recommend 2 coats on the trim as well, as it provides not only better coverage, but also a smoother look.  Again, be sure the first coat is dry to the touch before starting on the second coat.

​For the top edge of the trim next to the wall, use the same technique as with cutting in the ceiling.  Start with the longer end of the angle, with the outer edges of the brush gliding along the edge next to the wall.

​Then just let everything dry, and step back and admire your work!

I hope you’ve found this article, The Best Way to Paint a Room,  helpful.  If you have any suggestions you’d like to add, or any further questions, please leave a comment below!

If you need help with choosing the right paint color, click on the link below for some great tips!

How to pick the right kind of paint.

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